Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
I think you can’t be a good writer if you aren’t a good reader, so my advice is to read anything and everything – books, magazines, on-line articles. Also, read the genre that you write and you’ll soon pick up on what works and what doesn’t. It’s a great way to hone and polish your won writing.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I do receive so many lovely comments from readers on social media and it really does make all the hard work worthwhile. They’ll tell me that my books make them happy, cheer them up, help them to escape from the real world for a while; make them laugh and cry. Comments like that, are just the biggest compliments possible.
Do you play music while you write — and, if so, what’s your favorite?
When I’m writing, I have to have music playing. It seems to help me concentrate! I think it also gets the imagination flowing, listening to lyrics. I love Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood Mac, Kate Bush, Bastille, Ghost, Bon Jovi…
Do you prefer ebooks, printed books, or audiobooks most of the time?
I personally prefer printed books. I just love to hold and feel a book in my hands; turn the pages, hear the rustle of the paper and admire the cover. There’s nothing like it.
Have pets ever gotten in the way of your writing?
We have a rescue pup, Cooper, who’s three. I take him out walks three times a day and sometimes, it can be a bit of a juggling act, trying to fit in my writing with caring for him. But a lot of the time, he’ll curl up by my chair when I write and it does help to get out with him, spend time in the fresh air and clear the cobwebs.
How do you come up with character names for your stories?
I’ll think about my characters and what they look like and their personalities and sometimes that helps me choose names for them. Other times, I’ll read a name which jumps out at me from a magazine or on-line. Sometimes, it’s just a name I really like.
How do you develop your plot and characters?
I’m a bit of a pantser, so I’ll start with the characters and setting and then go from there with the plot. I try to plot out rough bullet points for each chapter, so I have an idea what’s going to happen in each one, but not in any huge detail. I don’t write directly onto the computer. I find I just can’t do that. I’m obsessed with pretty stationery, so I’ll write in long-hand in notebooks and then type it up, usually three chapters at a time.
How long does it take you to write a book?
I usually try to get the first draft written in about six months and then work on revising it and editing it, before I sent it to my agent for her revisions. Once she’s happy with it, she then sends it to my amazing publishers, the HarperCollins imprint One More Chapter, for their suggested changes and revisions!
If your book were made into a movie, which actors would play your characters?
For The Highland Lodge Getaway, I would love someone like Anya Taylor-Joy to play Lottie; gentle, enchanting and charismatic. For Blake, it would have to be Ryan Reynolds – handsome, sarcastic and a bit antsy! Stephanie Styles would be Hannah Waddingham – glamorous and sassy. I think she’s terrific!
What is the most valuable piece of advice you’ve been given about writing?
Never, ever give up! It only takes one person to say yes and like anything in the arts and creative industries, what one person loves, someone else won’t be so keen. A published writer is an unpublished writer who never gave up.
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