My journey started when I was a kid, constantly self-publishing longer and longer stories, using an ancient typewriter, and drawing all the pictures. Even a front cover on one. The pressures of education took over, and having thought that the only writing avenue I could go down was journalism, I gave up on the whole idea when I realised I didn’t want to be a journalist. Video and film production took me over, and all publishing was abandoned (apart from the occasional attempt at a screenplay).
A few years later, after a big change, and a move back to Cumbria, I realised that if I was going to write a novel, it was going to have to be then – no children, not even a boyfriend at the time to steal my time. My ambition was (and still is) to make a living writing, and be able to have a dog. I now have a dog, and I’m making my first foray into making a living writing, although the jury’s out as to whether either was a good idea!
My novel, Autotherapy was rejected (very kindly) by six of the UK’s thriller/action specialist agents, so I decided to send it personally to online publishers. The first kindly (again! I have been so lucky!) rejected it, and suggested some fixes for issues in the first 5 pages. The second was Rainstorm Press, and the rest is history (although believe me, I fixed the issues that the first company mentioned!)
I’m now regularly writing in the online copywriting trade, which is scary but exciting, and keeps the dog food in the bowl, and this is a whole different side of publishing.
What part of being a writer do you love most?
I love being locked in the flow. When the words just keep coming and there’s nothing to distract you. I see pictures and I love that. I’ve been revisiting some of the places I included in my book – I haven’t been there since I wrote about them in some cases, and it’s interesting to compare the images in my head to the real life places.
Which part do you hate most?
It sounds stupid, but it’s the writing I hate the most. I find it frustrating, partly because I block the main of the story out to begin with, so I feel as if I’ve already written those bits. I resent it a little when I feel like that. I love the editing stage, when someone has given some amazing and helpful feedback, and you can just feel the whole piece getting better. I love to cut things out (paragraphs, words, snowflakes) because I get a cathartic thrill, and the writing just gets better.
If you could be a supernatural creature – what would you be?
I would be a sorceress with a special connection to dragons. Don’t ask.
What life advice have you been given, that you wished someone had given you sooner?
Oh man, I struggle with this question. Everything I know has been worked out, read about, or hard won; my mum used to say that you can’t tell me anything (as if I’m gobby or something), and I think it’s because I evaluate what I’m told by what I know of the person, and then stomp off to make my own mistakes (thinking ‘I’m different, I don’t see it like that’).
The best advice ever IMO is ‘learn to take criticism easily’. But you need to understand the intentions of the criticism.
My inspirations were the dark hills of northern Cumbria, the legends about the town where I live, and the desire to write something, no matter what.
Who are your favourite authors and why?
I have no favourite authors, just those whose books I enjoyed very much. I go through fads, although I think it’s down more to my laziness as a reader than just liking those particular writers. Lazy as in ‘I know its easy to enjoy that, so that’s what I’ll read’. The one who has totally stood my test of time is Terry Pratchett, but again, it might just be a 20 year fad.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am working on a website idea at the moment, but a sequel to my first novel is looking fairly likely. There have been a few requests for one (not just from my mum), and there are hundreds of story possibilities that I could go with. At present, I’m just getting used to my new life, learning to copywrite, and making a living.
Where can fans find you online?
Blog Food and farming orientated, with the occasional rant.