Her debut novel was Blue and Green Should Never Be Seen! which was followed by The Retail Therapist, both of these being romantic comedies/chick lit, a genre she adores.
When she’s not in writing mode she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, a task that usually produces good results; as her husband would say, as opposed to “his” experiments which often end in a culinary disaster. She lives in Coastal Kent, UK with two adorable dogs. Oh yes, and hubby too.
1. Why did you want to become a writer?
Honestly, due to having been made redundant. Not that it wasn’t already something I enjoyed, but other than about 15 years ago (my first attempt that still sits in the cupboard collecting dust), I never really considered it an option until I discovered a fellow indie author’s books and became friends with her on Facebook. After various discussions with her I thought to myself, whilst I was twiddling my thumbs waiting for those all-important interview calls, I might as well have another go at it.
2. What's the toughest part of the writing process for you?
The toughest part, at least in the past year or so, is actually finding the time to write. With our house having been on the market, then the resulting sale (which took almost 2 ½ years), house hunting each time we thought we had a buyer, looking after the house (regular cleaning due to said house marketing), hubby, dogs and marketing of my current books, along with a myriad of other distractions, I have struggled to get back into it, until recently.
3. What's the most enjoyable part of writing?
In my household, the most enjoyable part, at least as far as my current two books are concerned, are the conversations that have taken place between myself and my husband. He works from home too, though is glued to his all-important computer each day dealing with IT software that I wouldn’t ever attempt to comprehend. Having said that, in the evenings he read through what I had written and gave me a few pointers or would suggest where the plot might go next, or just plain laugh and joke about how funny my books are. Our house was filled with laughter during that time which seems to have translated to the pages; and I had found a new lease in life.
4. Out of all the amazing books out there, which book do you wish you had written and why?
If you asked me this a few years ago, I probably would have answered the Santagelo series by the late great Jackie Collins or and I have to say, Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series (can’t forget her as it was those that were the deciding factor on which genre I wrote). I was hooked on these for years and have read all but the last one which is still sitting patiently on my TBR pile. In the past year though, the book which touched me most was Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. I have yet to see the film, due to currently being stuck in France awaiting the completion of our purchase, but from the accounts of Facebook friends it has been made true to the book, which is a rare occurrence. I would love to have written that book as it has touched so many people’s lives in quite a profound way, as I am sure the film will do the same.
5. If you could only save one of your characters from fictional calamity, which would you pick and why?
That, I have to say is a tough question as I prefer each character to have found some kind of happiness or growth from their roles in my books. I think, if I wanted to be a bit of a devil about things, I might decide to rescue Jasper Barnes, not that he deserves it you understand, but it would be fun to play around with to get him out of the holes that he digs for himself.
6. If you could spend the day with your favourite literary character (not from your books), who would you spend it with and what would you do?
You probably would expect me to immediately say Becky Bloomwood but you are wrong on that one. Sophie Kinsella may have been somewhat of an inspiration to me when writing but having said that I prefer the strength of character that Lucky Santangelo has, so she would be my ideal literary character to spend a day with. As far as what we would do is concerned, I don’t have a clue. In any one day Lucky’s life took her through fashion, finance, dealing with The Mob, worrying about family and a myriad of other things. Anything that came her way I would be more than happy to ride alongside and hopefully find out how things pan out.
7. What can we expect next from you?
I have a few irons in the fire at this point and one or more of them may well have come to fruition by the time this interview is posted. I have three further chick lits under way, one of course being the sequel to Blue and Green Should Never Be Seen! (Or so Mother Says), another which is set in New York about a lawyer who is laid off, and the third is under wraps currently due to the title I have given it. Please don’t expect me to let too many cats out of the bag at this stage but they will follow my style of writing and therefore, hopefully will be as enjoyable as my first two.
8. Is there any particular writing advice you wish you'd been given at the start of your writing career? If so, what is it? If not, what advice would you give to someone starting out?
I think, other than the vast learning curve I had to take to learn how to self-publish, I would have loved someone to tell me just how important book bloggers are to authors! I knew that they needed to play a part when I set out and so enlisted the help of three to provide my first three reviews for each book. I then asked each of them if they would be OK with my placing an excerpt from their reviews on the back cover of each of my paperbacks. This they readily agreed to and I thank each one of them immensely for that. So, despite the hours of research I undertook following deciding to write, I still have plenty to learn, even now. I shall in future though, as much as I possibly can, enlist the assistance of as many bloggers as I can, hence this interview I guess, as they help every author they come across to reach a wider audience. I am so grateful for every approach that has come my way, despite it taking time away from writing books, as if nothing else you know that one or more people might be interested enough to buy your books as a result and the more that are bought and enjoyed the more satisfaction you feel from knowing that your hard work isn’t going unnoticed. Not only that but to put it bluntly your blood, sweat and tears though in my case mostly laughter, hasn’t gone to waste and you have brought, at least, a smile to someone’s face.
9. Tell us what a typical writing day involves for you.
Due to all that I have mentioned above, I don’t, at least these days, have a typical writing day. I did when writing the first two and that entailed starting the day with my dogs. They come first in my household (next to hubby of course) as they are my babies. So, every morning I put the kettle on to make my tea and whilst doing that I prepare their breakfast. That of course is a task as my two little beauties are rather spoilt. They have their mixer but I rotate between roast chicken, chicken livers, pork mince and as I am currently in France beef offcuts. I don’t give them any fat though as I want them to remain healthy for as long as possible. This they have a bit of with their mixer biscuits, as I don’t much like tinned dog food. Some days they even have green beans, carrots, courgette or some other veg as well. Whilst drinking my first cup of tea I catch up on the news on my Daily Mail Iphone App. Then comes the second cup of tea and usually by that time I’m up and running. I check in on Facebook etc, check through my emails and open my document relating to the next book. I re-read the last couple of chapters just to remind myself of where I am up to in the story and off I go. I’m not one of these people who plans at the outset where the story is going to lead and just follow my urges.
10. Finally, what are you reading at the moment?
If I had started this yesterday, I would have said I have stepped away from my favourite chick lit genre and had been reading Vengeance Wears Black by Seumas Gallacher. I was fortunate enough to win a signed copy and so needed to give it a go. It was a page turner and quite exciting and fast flowing so I was glad I did. Today, however, I returned to my genre and started You and Me, Always by Jill Mansell. This is another signed copy so I’m having to be careful as for this one I attended the book launch and was fortunate enough to meet Jill in person. Having said that, by the time this is posted, I shall be reading something else so next on my TBR are two books, one I am very much looking forward to though shall be saddened when I finish it is, The Santangelos. The other, which will be a first from this author, is The Debt and the Doormat by Laura Barnard. I’m not a prolific reader as that is one thing that I am slow at, but I am never without a few books to choose from, nor am I without one to start when I’ve finished one, due to hating the withdrawal symptoms…
It is like going into a sweet shop and not being able to buy anything, or not knowing what to buy first. That is exactly my line of business, helping people make the right choice.
I’m one of those fashion consultants that are so popular nowadays amongst the upper crust, although I started ages ago. Choosing the right clothes for the right occasion is not an easy task: the dress has to match your personality and, if it can, enhance it.
This story is about how I abandoned the rat race, spending days in a legal office, and followed my dream of becoming a fashion consultant. I believe I’m something more though, I’m a Retail Therapist and I’m sure you are itching to know the story about how I started and how I helped my clients look fabulous! So, what are you waiting for? Hurry up, click that “buy” button up there and be prepared to enter the mysterious world of a Berkshire Retail Therapist girl.