1. Can you tell us a little about your average writing day?
No two days are ever the same for me. I think it would be very difficult to treat writing as a clock-in clock-off type of job. My story and characters become such a part of me when I’m working on a novel that I carry them with me all the time whether I’m ‘officially’ in writing mode or not!
2. When you are writing, do you use any celebrities or people you know as inspiration?
Yes I always start off with an idea of who my characters might resemble. But as they become fully formed in my head and on paper they take on personalities and characteristics of their own.
3. What is your favourite Women’s Fiction book of all time and why?
I’m going to choose A Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford. I remember reading this (& its sequels) many, many years ago and becoming totally engrossed in the life of Emma Harte. I must hunt the original out sometime and read it all over again and see if it’s as good as I remember it.
4. What is your writing process? Do you plan first or dive in? How many drafts do you do?
I’m a planner! But not to the extent of detailing each and every chapter. I start with a notebook, do some research, then draft out my ideas for the story in general. But I find it’s once I start writing that it’s my characters that really start telling the story for me, and all the planning in the world makes no difference when they start dictating what they want to do!
5. What was journey to being a published author?
An extremely long tortuous journey with more than my fair share of rejection led traffic jams along the way. But the final destination has turned out to be well worth the many miles of travelling.
6. What do you think is the biggest myth about being a novelist?
Getting a book published makes you ‘The next JK Rowling!’ Something I’ve heard constantly since From Notting Hill With Love...Actually was published!
7. What advice can you give to our readers who want to write a novel of their own?
Never give up! If this is what you really want to do and you genuinely believe your novel is as good as, or even better than what’s already out there on the bookshelves, then keep going. Listen to the feedback you get along the way, take it on board, be brutally honest with yourself and then alter your manuscript if you think it’s valid (the experts are not always right!) Then just keep trying, because one day it might just happen...
8. What’s are you working on at the moment?
My new novel – Breakfast at Darcy’s is about a girl called Darcy who finds out at her aunt’s funeral she’s to inherit her very wealthy estate. But before Darcy can claim one penny of the money she must go and live on a remote island off the west coast of Ireland for a year and set up a new community of people to live there with her. Darcy’s used to living in London where all she has to worry about is popping down to Starbucks for a coffee or which shop she can buy the latest designer handbag in, so remote island living doesn’t exactly come easily to her. But Darcy is about to find out that there’s something magical about the island of Tara that transforms the life of everyone who comes to live on her...