- Did you always dream of becoming an author?
No it was a skill I didn’t know I had until late in life. I always had a passion for words and reading. I knew I could write factual material, articles, reports and academic material but never considered fiction.
- What was your first job?
At 17 I began my working life as a secretary in the Chief Constable’s office for the West Suffolk Police.
- How did you come about writing your book? Was that your intention or did you start writing for fun?
I started writing as a form of therapy following my husband’s death in 2011. My brain had closed down and refused to wake up. It didn’t want to know the world but I knew I needed to spark it back to life. I joined the Hospice writing group and slowly my brain awoke but it woke up filled with stories. My first attempt was a novella. That was the first time I had carried a story from beginning to end.
The first full novel was Chain Reaction and was an experiment to see if I could write a murder mystery. The answer to that was Yes I could.
My latest (and third) novel is completely different and really wrote itself. I just held the pen. It was a lot of fun to write and as it weaves itself in and out of time zones, it took quite a lot off working out. A bit like putting a jigsaw together with many surprises along the way.
- What was your life like before you became an author?
Up until retirement my life was busy. I had a very responsible job in middle management and I was also caring for my husband. I retired in September 2011 but by November 2011 I was a widow and my life seemed empty, changed forever.
- Did you face any struggles before becoming an author? If so, how did you overcome them?
My struggles were psychological in that I had to come to terms with losing the most precious thing in the world to me – my husband. We had been married for 45 years. I had never lived alone before. Writing has helped fill that empty void. I enjoy creating interesting characters and placing them in challenging situations, working out their back stories and weaving them through the pattern of the novel.
- Now that you are a published author, how has your life changed, if at all?
Its busy because there’s not only the next story to work on there is also the promotion and marketing of the last and previous novels. This is challenging when you don’t really know what you’re doing. It’s not helped by the demise of local independent book stores and those that do still exist seem to have become reluctant to host book signings. The opportunities for such promotion seem to be dwindling and getting the local press interested is also an up-hill struggle. It can become quite disheartening and I sometimes feel me and my work are invisible. I have yet to find a way of making my books more visible. It’s a work in progress.
- Can you please describe a typical day in your life now?
I don’t have a typical day. Each day is different. I give my services voluntarily to the Hospice in Bury St. Edmunds two mornings a week. I spend two afternoons a week with my daughters and grandchildren. I don’t have what you might call a regular regime for writing. I have to have the words in my head otherwise nothing appears on the page. I tried treating writing as a job but soon realised that it didn’t work that way for me. So my days tend to be flexible but also have a sort of loose routine.
- What is your most memorable moment of your life as an author?
When I was told my first book Chain Reaction was to be the publisher’s book of the month, with its own banner. I couldn’t quite believe it. I didn’t know how to react. I was quite over-whelmed.
- In a few words, how would you review your experience with Pegasus Publishers?
Very positive. I have found them supportive from the very beginning. They have walked me through the process and appear to like my stories.
- Why did you choose Pegasus Publishers?
I already knew they had a good reputation for non-fiction publications and when I found they also published fiction the decision was easy.