We’ve been in the same author circle for a couple of years now, so I’m really excited to feature you! From past conversations, I know we share similar philosophies when it comes to pursuing our artistic passions. What would you say is the driving force behind why you write?
To share and entertain with words and music is an urge which compels me to keep creating in whatever format I can. Whether it’s the page or the stage, performing your own art is the ultimate buzz…and I feel privileged to be able to do both.
What drives me most now is the need to create a living from my writing after years of doing it for love, and (at last) I’m ready to make room for it to happen.
My lovely husband is close to retiring, has looked after me for the last twenty years and needs a rich woman in his life who can work until she dies.
I’ve signed up for the job.
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You recently published a short story, Warrior Queen. What was the inspiration behind that book? And is it a lead-in into an upcoming novel?
Warrior Queen is a song from (our band) Morrigans Path’s, latest album, Beyond the Veil. I had an idea to write a short story for each track…and this is the first published piece.
The song was inspired by Boudicca of the Iceni tribe who fought bravely against the Romans not so far from here in Colchester, Essex. She was said to have worshipped the British goddess Andraste, who is an aspect of the Celtic goddess, the Morrigan. So eventually, the historical and the mythical connection weaved their way into quite a dark tale, which I loved writing.
A number of people who’ve read it have said they could see it being a novel so I’m open to that. The idea of playing around with the mind of a sex-crazed, blood hungry shield-maiden is tantalising… and killing all those bastard warriors in the process seems to me like a good use of all those hours spent in solitary confinement.
You also run a blog where you interview indie authors. What’s one of the best nuggets of wisdom you’ve picked up from one of them?
All the authors have given some great tips. But what sticks in my mind is Australian author, Andrew Einspruch’s advice: Maths is your friend!
I despised maths with a passion at school and have since convinced myself that I’m allergic to figures. But I quite like tracking my word counts, and am beginning to understand how focusing and recording those brings results… and with Andrew’s words in my head I am hopeful I can transfer that across to sales figures and learn to love numbers.
I want to sell lots of books!
Do you prefer outlining or are you a “pantser” as we like to call it in the industry?
I’ve pantsed my way along so far – and though I recognise the need for a rough outline beforehand – I can see and understand it better after I’ve written the story. I like to know what direction I’m heading in but would bore myself stupid if I planned every step. Where’s the excitement in that?
As long as I have a character and a situation and give the imagination a free rein the story begins to unfold naturally.
Trusting in the process allows the magic to happen!
What project are you currently working on?
I am halfway through the first draft of the third book in my Witch Lit series – The Madness and the Magic. Last week, I got the rights back to the first book, trad-published three years ago and I’m delighted as this means I have total creative freedom with book one in a series which, for an Indie, is a crucial part of the business model.
The noose is off.
I now have to work out the next step, which is to republish book 1 while editing book 2 and finishing book 3. One thing at a time, the husband tells me, who is steadily counting down the days to his retirement while I’m multi-tasking like a maniac.
They say harmony is the balance of opposites.
You’re also a songwriter and vocalist for your band Morrigans Path. (Clearly, you’re a woman of many talents!) Which do you find to be more of a challenge–writing a song or writing a book?
Without a doubt it’s the book writing. I can write a song in a few hours minimum, a few days max.
A book? It took three years from first draft to publication for my debut novel and eighteen months for a first draft of the sequel! The sheer volume of words for a novel is a mountainous feat to me because I am so busy doing ‘other things’ as well.
Apart from domestic and family commitments which I can’t change, I am trying to prune off as many other distractions as I can to allow me to be a more productive writer -that is the real challenge for me! I’m working on the theory that if I keep telling myself how organised I am, then somehow, it has to happen.
Do you listen to music when you write?
No! I have to hear myself think and music is too invasive…unless it’s a song I’m writing.
What is the last book you read? Did you enjoy it?
I finished The Author’s Guide to Cover Design by Stuart Bache today and yes, I did enjoy it but I’ve read about four non-fiction (for self-publishing) books on the trot now and I need to escape into a story. The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor was the last novel I read a couple of weeks ago and I devoured it in a day. What a great book.
What’s next on your TBR list?
Strangers to Superfans by David Gaughran is sitting on my desk at the moment, but I need some fiction so it’s down to inspecting the leaning tower of not yet reads on the bedside table. Don’t tell the husband, he thinks I’m cured.
Thinking about it, I’ve a feeling it will be Candyfloss Guitar by fellow indie author, Stephen R.Marriott who I’m interviewing in the Treehouse next weekend.
I need to do my homework!
What advice would you give to your teenage self?
That’s quite some time ago now..!
But here goes:
Nurture that book addiction.
Explore, experience and embrace life as fully as you can, diversity will enrich your writing.
Listen and learn from others…everyone is your teacher.
Have the confidence to break away from the herd when you need to..
Know that you can absolutely make a good living doing what you love.
Focus on your goals and plan to achieve them.
Visualize, believe and allow success IN.
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