# Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
I live in Kent in the south of England. I always wanted to be a spy, but having confessed to everyone without them even resorting to torture, I decided it was not for me. Volcanology scorched my feet. A morbid fear of sharks put paid to marine biology. So instead, I spent several years successfully selling cyanide.
After dragging up two rotten, ungrateful children and frustrating my sexy, devoted, wonderful husband (who can now stop twisting my arm) I finally have time to conduct an affair with an electrifying plugged-in male, my laptop.
Having spent years writing about straight romances, I now write almost exclusively gay stories in contemporary and paranormal settings. There is always plenty of drama and humour, and I hope my books are as much fun to read as they are to write. There are plenty to choose from. I’ve written over 50 books.
# What is/are the real-life story(ies) behind your book(s)?
Most of what I write comes straight out of my imagination, but that imagination can be triggered by things I read or see on TV. For example, Edge of Forever is about an American cowboy going to work on a Russian cattle ranch. I saw an article in a Sunday newspaper, kept it thinking it might make a good story and it did! In Falling, the background of one of the characters was inspired by a true-life story where a father, in the UK, had slaughtered his entire family because of debt. But most of what I write just flows out of my messy head! I don’t plan or plot, I just sit at my laptop and write.
# Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
For titles, short is generally best because if a reader is searching for it on Amazon, you want something easily found. For the same reason, if you can find something no one else has ever used – even better. I’ve found that including a character name in the title helps. The Making of Jonty Bloom is one of my best sellers. The one I’m currently writing is Waiting for Ru. But I’ve used some titles that are quite common because they fit the book so well. For example The Story of Us.
# How do you deal with creative block?
I rarely have it but the way I write has a certain pattern. I find the start of a book hard. I rewrite and reread the first few chapters many times until I feel they’re right. Only then will I write on. Each day for a few weeks, I reread from the start before I write on. Then once I’m completely comfortable with the characters, I only reread the previous day’s work. So I make slow progress in a way but my stories are tightly written by the time I’ve done. It’s rare that I’d need to make any major changes. If I feel stuck, I might read for a while instead but I never stay stuck for long.
# How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
Well, I know as an author I shouldn’t really read reviews but it’s hard not to. Sometimes, if the comments are personal and rather cruel, I get upset but something that is constructively critical – even if I disagree – is much easier to deal with. A lot happens in my books. I like action and drama and not everyone does so if someone criticises that – it’s fine. It’s not their cup of tea and I get that. The more books I’ve written, the easier criticism has been to deal with. I used to cry. I don’t do that now.
# What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?
Occasionally, I’ve found something about to be true when I thought I’d made it up. Well, I DID make it up but coincidences happen. I wrote about a man who’d been to prison for murder who saves lives in a terrorist attack, and lo and behold – the London Bridge attack had such a man. I had no idea. Similarly, I wrote about a night club attack not long before the awful attack on Pulse. A horrible coincidence. The best thing in writing a book is when I read it and like it. That sounds odd I know, but most writers seem to go through a dip in confidence as they write. One moment, I can hate what I’ve written, the next I’m in love with it again. I like being surprised by the direction my stories take – one advantage of not planning or plotting.
# Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?
I write what I like to read, that readers enjoy what I write is an added bonus. I’ve tended to write standalone novels but more recently, I’ve slipped into series where I’ve linked the characters between the books, though they still standalone. Demand for more Jonty Bloom led to a Christmas story, then a story of Jonty in Russia and a Halloween story will be out in September. Jonty is a pleasure to write but I’ve done it because readers loved him so much.
# What are your plans for future books?
My latest book – Waiting for Ru is about two chapters and an epilogue away from completion. I’ve already written Jonty’s Halloween as I said, I’ve also written a Christmas story called What If. After I’ve finished the one I’m working on, I have a sci fi one to finish and then I’ll begin a paranormal series – where the link will be the agency they all work for. There aren’t enough hours in the day! And I write 7 days a week.
# Tell us some quirky facts about yourself
Thirteen facts about me
1. I’m blonde, but after having spotted one grey hair – I now dye my locks with mixed results. I know I should read the packet but hey, what can go wrong? My nicknames – badger, skunk (purely the look!!), snowball and pinkie. Yes, that time it really did go wrong.
2. I hate milk. Can’t drink it, smell it or even look at it.
3. Writing. I really do love that. I started by making up episodes of TV series with me as the heroine. You name it, I’ve been in it. My range is from paranormal to suspense to contemporary to erotica but everything I write has a touch of romance and humor. Well, I think I’m funny. My family laugh at me all the time.
4. Former life – a sad cautionary tale. Started off as a government inspector – spying on people trying to cheat on their taxes. A short period as a media planner in an advertising agency. I fled that at dead of night. Several years selling cyanide – mainly to Sweden for the largest chemical company in the UK. Grand title of export manager. There was just me in the department. Had kids. Ughghghg. Then went to work as Government Inspector, spying on teachers. I was so popular, you can’t believe. Thank goodness I married well. (Married for money anyway)
5. No I didn’t, dear. Husband is financial whiz. Met at university when he was bringing a sack of potatoes to my flat mate. Romance is his middle name. Gifts to me include – supermarket vouchers, hedge trimmer and a hammer drill and reduced flowers past their wilt-by date. He spent most of his life in the aerospace industry making missiles. He’s atoning for his sins by doing my shopping.
6. Two children. Daughter a lawyer. Son has escaped to live in Texas. Enough said.
7. Books – I ADORE. I read at least one a day. I have thousands as I can’t stand to part with them. I read at lightning speed. 70-80 pages in 20 minutes. That’s fast? Right?
8. What do I do all day? Write. All day if I can. It’s my world and I love it. Start at 8.00 and finish late. Interspersed with journeys on the internet and satisfying needs of husband. No, not those sorts of needs. Really!! I was thinking of making coffee.
9. Worried about – possible visit from FBI. Research for one of my thrillers did involve some investigation into how a fetus would decay under a boat shed. Research into plastic handcuffs brought a deluge of porn. Well, that was my excuse and I’m sticking to it. I find I need to keep checking dubious sites. I might be addicted.
10. I’m very tall. 5’10 and a bit. I used to be very self-conscious about my height. Now I don’t care. I’m far more worried about other bits of me.
11. I won the prize at school for ‘Good Conduct and Example’ It was the worst day of my life. Well, one of them. I so want to be bad. Sigh.
12. I am incapable of telling right from left at crucial moments. Won’t be flying jets anytime soon.
I’m struggling now. I’m really not interesting.
13. Ohh, I was once kicked by a giraffe.
Phew, made it.