First, can you give us some background about yourself?
In school, I was the ultimate wallflower! I've always been creative, though, and I am grateful for this, as writing was exactly the outlet I needed. I never said much out loud to anyone, but there was always plenty going on in my head! Being creative, of course, English and Art were my 'passion subjects' and I didn't care that I failed miserably at everything else! Creativity was the one thing that fueled those teenage-angst years and kept me sane.
When I look back, I can't really say that there was ever a 'jolt' moment where I thought, 'I need to be a writer!' I think this is because writing has always just been such a natural part of me that whenever I do sit down to write, it just feels like it's something that I was born to do! Cliche, I know, but that's the hopeless romance I have for writing, I'm afraid!
What have you written?
- As I love to read a variety of genres, I don't really limit myself to one genre when it comes to writing. I wrote and published my debut novel, Baby Blue, back in June 2016 and I would class it as Contemporary Fiction. However, this wasn't the first novel I ever started writing. I started writing my first novel when I was nineteen and unemployed! It is a Historical Adventure targeted primarily towards Young Adults and I am still editing and re-writing to this day! I am actually in between projects at the moment and it can be hard sometimes to put one story to rest while working on another! It's all part of why I love writing, though! I love the challenge of it.
Are you currently working on anything?
Yes, I am currently working on a series of novels for Young Adults entitled The Good Pirate. It is a Historical Adventure based in the 18th century and so I am currently immersed in trying to get all the little details just right. Researching is one of my favorite parts of the writing process! The first in the series is scheduled to release on March 1st!
How much research do you do for your writing?
This is definitely one of my favorite parts of the writing process! For my current project, there is a lot of research I am having to do as it is a historical novel. I spend time on researching different clothing of that particular era, what the village where they lived would have looked like back then, how they would have spoken, their accent or dialect, etc. Details that would make the story more believable for the reader and more authentic.
As an independent author, I only have so many pennies in the bank, so it's not that feasible to go out into the world and visit these places, as much as I would like to!
So, of course, libraries and Google are my most reliable sources at the moment for research!
What is your process like in the midst of writing a book?
- I'd love to say I'm more of an outline-planning type of girl, but I'm really not! And to be totally honest, as much as I've tried to outline in the past - as in plan the story beginning-to-end, page-by-page - that technique really doesn't work for me!
Those sudden bolts of inspiration that catch me unawares is what makes writing so exciting for me. I'll be in the middle of writing the opening scene, and then all of a sudden, my character will catapult forwards to the end and I'll have to write the last few chapters without even knowing what's going to happen in the middle! That's what's amazing about writing - you just never know what's around the corner! It's like the characters are controlling YOU, not the other way around! I love that feeling. It's what inspires me and keeps me invested in my characters and the stories I have to tell.
What does your routine look like when you get to the editing process?
- Fortunately, my brain is a little bit more organized once I have finished my first draft.
I'll go back to the beginning of the novel and then I will read it as if for the first time. This way, I can pick out any mistakes I was sure to have made when I started writing. I've also given several of my first drafts to family and friends who were willing to critique it objectively for me.
What I found really helped me in the editing process, though, was to take a step back from my work.
I would leave my writing locked away on my laptop for a few weeks, maybe months, and I would come back to it after not thinking about the story, or the characters for a long time. Sometimes, errors and plot holes would jump out at me in such a way that I would think, 'how on earth did I not see that before?!'
And then after I've re-read my entire story, I'll go back over it and check for grammar, spelling and formatting issues.
When you're a self-published author doing everything off your own back, it's a long and arduous task, but, again, I love the challenge!
Do you have any quirks or rituals that help you achieve your writing goals?
- Movie soundtracks.
I don't know why but I love the backdrop it gives me when I'm writing. If I'm struggling with a particular scene, and I play the movie soundtrack from Gladiator, it can fuel me on to finish the scene or it can even give me the emotion I need to give my character a little more depth.
Tell us about your work space.
- My workspace is pretty much any solid surface on which I can place my laptop and my cup of tea!
Are there any software or apps that help you in your writing process?
- I use Microsoft Word as it pretty much has everything built in that I need. Formatting, spell-check, the lot.
If I need to make some quick notes or I'm suddenly struck with an idea for a scene, I tend to jot down ideas in Pages, a built-in app I have on my iPad.
What do you do when you lose focus? Any tips for getting it back?
- If I lose focus on a project, then I HAVE to step back and take a break. Even if I don't get my writing mojo back until a week later, maybe more.
Once I step away and do something completely different - whether it's watching a bit of TV or taking a walk - I can come back to my writing with a fresh approach and renewed motivation for the stories I'm telling.
Tell us about your publishing process.
- I self-published my debut novel, Baby Blue, through Amazon Kindle and CreateSpace (for the paperback edition).
I didn't know anything about the publishing process when I finished Baby Blue. As a writer, obviously, all I wanted was to get my book out there! So, of course I had to do a bit of research. I considered contacting publishers/agents, but I knew how expensive they could be and I had heard that it can take several months to a year for a manuscript to be fully accepted!
Well, I knew I was too impatient for that and so I decided to try the self-publish route.
I definitely still have a long way to go when it comes to marketing my books and I can fully understand why this field alone is a full time job!
But, since self-publishing Baby Blue, I've learnt a lot and have been able to connect with like-minded indie authors who know my struggle all too well!
Where can people find you and your work?