Q. What inspires your writing?
A. Travel is a big inspiration. We lived in France for three years and were surrounded by the most beautiful mountainous countryside and constantly changing light. Music also, as it stirs up deep emotions. Swimming, too: I often think about my work-in-progress while swimming, perhaps sorting out a problem with plot. Breaststroke apparently is meant to be good for “opening up” the mind.
Q. What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
A. Several things. It’s a space I can access any time, that isn’t dependent on colleagues, weather, money. I can travel in my head. While others are enduring another blustery, wet Edinburgh afternoon, I could be in the lakes and mountains of Switzerland, or an old town in the south of Italy.
Q. What is the toughest part of being a writer?
A. Isolation - you’ll spend the day writing and receive no feedback, unless you’ve actively sought it out. There’s no other writer “on tap” to talk to. And once you’re published, whether by a publishing company or yourself, promoting your work is difficult if no one knows of you. In addition, I still struggle to control my inner voice telling me that it isn’t nice to tell people about my book, in the hope that they’ll buy it!
Q. If you could not be a writer, what would you do/be?
A. Before writing full-time, I worked in health promotion with the topic of smoking, so I’d probably try to find something similar, but perhaps in mental health. However, I’m aware it would be extremely hard to be line managed again, having become accustomed to so much freedom.
Q. What would the story of your life be entitled?
A. Made it, more or less. I seem to have done everything relatively late in life. Perhaps this has made me appreciate my (modest) achievements all the more.
Q. What is your favorite book of all time?
A. Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient, which won the Booker Prize
Q. What character from all of your books are you most like?
A. I think I relate most to Vienne in Daughters of the Lake. A bit insecure at times, overly analytical.
Q. Which book would you love to take a weekend vacation inside of?
A. Anita Shreve’s Strange Fits of Passion. I love her story telling ability, her sense of place and her use of language.
Q. What do you want to be remembered for 100 years from now?
A. Someone once described me as having a lovely presence which people would find reassuring. This perception still intrigues me as I know I can look fed up or angry, when not smiling, but it was one of the best compliments I’ve ever received. So, this would be a delightful way to be remembered.
Q. What is your favorite season?
A. Autumn: the trees turning; the smell of wood smoke; sunny skies or misty light; crisp air
Q. What inspired your book cover?
A. A graphic designer did the cover. I left the design to him, apart from suggesting it included a lake. I am delighted with the cover as it conveys a brooding atmosphere, a suggestion that all is far from well with the characters who have reunited again.
Q. Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.
A. The only thing that springs to mind is more embarrassing than funny. Daughters of the Lake originally had a different cover and title. When contacting a reviewer, I forgot that she had reviewed my novel under its first cover and title. She replied tentatively saying that she believed she’d already reviewed it.
Q. Are you working on something new?
A. I’m at the final stages of editing Chergui’s Child, which I actually wrote beforeDaughters of the Lake. Since its first draft I’ve radically rewritten it, and although the story line is essentially unchanged, it feels like a different novel now. It should be available from Amazon by the middle of April.
Q. Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?
A. Thanks for reading this interview. If you read and like my novel, I’d be delighted if you’d review it on Amazon.co.uk.