Tell us about yourself:
- Where do you live? I live in the county of Berkshire, around 25 miles outside of London (in the UK).
- How long have you lived there? I’ve lived here since I was five years old. My family is originally from Lincolnshire and when my father left the army, he was stationed in Royal Windsor. My parents loved it there so much, they never left!
- Are you married? I’ve been happily married for 18 years, although my husband and I have been together for 22 years.
- Kids? We have 4 amazing children. Our eldest daughter is 16, our son 14 and our twin girls are 11 years old.
- Full time job? My family is my full-time job and I write when the children are at school and my husband is at work. I make it work around my family life.
- Education? I was educated in Windsor, from primary to high school. I’ll admit, I didn’t love school, but I left with fairly good qualifications across the board. I’ve always loved History and English Literature was my favorite subject. I didn’t go to University as I was eager to get a job, earn some money and travel the big wide world, which is exactly what I did.
- Who is your favorite author and book? This is so a hard! I have so many I love for so many different reasons but ultimately, it’s probably the book of a generation, Bridget Jones by Helen Fielding. I remember thinking how fresh and new it was at the time and very, very funny. I’m never tired of reading it.
- What is your preferred genre? Another hard question. I love the classics, such as Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights and Emma, but at the moment, I read mainly Contemporary Romance. I also like the odd dark read.
- How did you start this journey to become a writer? I think like a lot of people; self-publishing gave me the opportunity to write, without the heartache of being rejected by a publisher. I’d always loved to read and write stories and when I read This Man by Jodi Ellen Malpas and also learned she was self-published, it opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me. I knew I had a book inside me but she inspired me to get it done.
- What have you written so far? I’ve been writing for 5 years now, but it took me 3 years to complete my first book, because to be honest, I re-wrote it 3 times before I was happy with it. Luckily the second book didn’t take quite as long and to date, I’ve written and published two Contemporary Romance novels. Where She Is and Secrets are a duet and both set in Australia and run in parallel with one another.
- Tell us about your current book. The book I’m writing right now is called The Vow We Made. It’s set in London and is centered around a hot, but overworked doctor and the women he bumps into on more than one occasion. This book is more of Sweet Romance and a little different from the first two books. I haven’t revealed the blurb for this book yet, but I’ll leave a small snippet of it here as a small exclusive:
I was once vivacious, determined and knew what I wanted from life. My goals were simple; a husband, a home, and a family. When I met my one, he offered me all those things and more. He would love me beyond my wildest dreams and never let me down. There was no reason for me to think otherwise because I knew I’d struck gold and found the perfect man, hadn’t I? He was after all, my destiny, right?
Wrong. My dreams turned into a nightmare and now three years later, I find myself widowed, mentally scarred and alone. My search for the perfect relationship no longer exists. In fact, I’m unable to see myself with any man.
Dedicated to my profession as an A&E Consultant, I had little time for any kind of relationship and found comfort in the odd meaningless liaison, until Victoria. Her warmth, beauty and vulnerability struck my heart on first sight and now I want her regardless of all obstacles in our path and one in particular. Consumed with guilt, I have to decide between damning the consequences to put things right or let my professional conscience get the better of me.
Could Aiden be the one Victoria was meant to be with? Chemistry, passion and an undeniable mutual attraction all point to the reasons why Victoria believes he is. But they are both keeping secrets and the consequences of those secrets could destroy their chance at forever. Sometimes, the first step to embracing your destiny is honesty.
12.What is the inspiration for your current book? I began a poll in my readers group, just for fun. I asked them to tell me about their perfect man and voted on everything from hair to eye color, if he had a beard or was clean shaven, personality traits, his career and even his name. I put all their suggestions together and Aiden James (my main character) was born. I was actually in the middle of writing another book at the time, but felt my readers had taken the time to vote, so I should give them the book boyfriend they deserved. So, in answer to your original question, my readers group was the inspiration for this particular story.
13. Who was your favorite character to write and why? I love to write over the top, dramatic characters. Freya is a character of mine that features in my first book and the main character in my second. She is something else, and was once compared by one reader to Alexis Carrington/Colby from Dynasty. I take that as a great compliment.
14. Is there anything of you in that character? I do hope not. She’s extremely nasty in the beginning, but as we learn later, she has very good reason. Maybe that’s why I love to write her. She’s a world away from the person I am.
15. What sets your book apart? I’d say my books have an element of surprise with their unexpected plot twists. I love a little mystery and to sow seeds of information through my stories. Some things are picked up on easily and some not, but in the end, it all comes together.
16. What’s your favorite part in the book? It’s a scene from Where She Is. My female lead, Hannah, is acting very defiant and decides to get drunk with her friend, despite knowing her boyfriend Daniel is trying to get hold of her. She’s mad with him and when he sends his driver to collect her, she’s even more determined to let him know she’s in control:
I nod my head, turn around and walk towards the bar again and when I get there, I order an extra-large glass of Pinot Grigio. Before I have a chance to pick up my drink, a hand reaches out for mine.
“Can I help you with that Miss May?”
“Has his Lordship sent you?” I’m pretty sarcastic, but he doesn’t flinch.
“Mr Grant has asked me to take you home now. The car is just outside.”
Good job I put my big girl pants on today because I know I’ve got to stand firm. However, it’s not Jack’s fault. I won’t take it out on him.
“Thank you, Jack, but no. I’m having a nice drink with my friend here and I don’t want to go home yet.” Rubbing his arm, I say, “When I do” my pointing finger now rudely in his face, “if I do” pausing only to turn away and smile to myself. “I’ll make my own way but thank you.”
My nod in his direction is confident after paying for my drink and heading back to Maddie…
“That showed him…I will not be walked over or ordered around by any man again, especially a man I can’t trust.”
…and my muttered mumbles are all very brave but only I can hear them.
I have to give Jack his due, his resolve is impressive. He waits patiently at the bar, drinking his iced water. I spend the whole night in continuous, mindless chatter with Maddie while throwing back far too much wine. Each time I go to the bar and order, I give Jack a sympathetic smile. I can imagine the ear bashing he’ll get if he doesn’t return me home.
After a couple of hours and five enormous glasses of wine, Jack decides he can’t watch me anymore. He walks over to our table and once I’ve clocked him, the volume of my over excessive laughter turns up a notch. I want to make it clear I’m having a great time, although Maddie isn’t finding our conversation quite so hilarious. She can see what I’m up to.
“Excuse me Miss May. It’s time we made our way home now.”
“I’m not ready.”
“Miss May, Mr Grant would like you to come home.”
I feel the heat of my blood as it runs through my veins. It gives me power! Then a very strange sensation comes over me. I feel defiant and with that feeling comes an out of character action. I shout at the top of my voice, “IF HE WANTS ME, HE WILL JUST HAVE TO COME AND GET ME HIMSELF!”
I’ve let the whole bar know how mad I really am while poor Maddie tries to hide her devastation under the table.
I really do feel sorry for Jack as I refuse again to leave with him. Daniel will have a fit when he gets that call but I’m passed caring. I’ve had at least seven glasses of Dutch courage which help and my head feels fuzzy, which is marvelous!
My eyes are playing up. I’m sure there’s a wine glass on this table somewhere, but…
It’s then I notice Jack exit the bar. Excellent. Now I can concentrate on drinking myself into oblivion. It feels nice.
Maddie reaches over the table and rubs my arm.
“You can’t go on like this Hannah. Either talk to him or finish it, but getting drunk isn’t the answer.”
“That’s what he said to me once.” My sniffs turn to sobs. Uncontrollable, shoulder hunching, ugly ones. I could do with a tissue to wipe my running nose and I bet my face is black with mascaraed tears.
“No more wine eh Hannah? Let’s get you cleaned up in the ladies.”
I sorrowfully nod while she helps me off my stool and leads me towards the loo. It takes some serious concentration to put one foot in front of the other. She is so thoughtful, wiping away my tears and telling me it will all be all right. Maybe it’s all she can do. I’m too drunk to absorb any words of wisdom.
I realise how packed the bar is once we’re settled in new seats. It seemed to happen very quickly or maybe we were gone longer than I realised. Maddie heads to the bar and orders me coffee. What would I have done without her?
It’s been about an hour since Jack left and I’ve had a couple of coffees and some water. I can’t say I feel any better. If anything, I feel worse and my stomach wants to reject all the liquid lying on top of it. I ought to head home but I just don’t want to. I can’t face him.
“Maddie, can I stay with you tonight?”
She opens her mouth to answer but a stiff breeze catches our attention from the main doors. Holy shit! It’s Daniel and he looks super pissed off. I’m unable to move a single limb as my body freezes. He walks over and literally chucks me over his shoulder in a fireman’s lift. Being the wrong way up churns my insides. I kick my legs and pummel his back in frustration.
“Put me down you stupid arse or I’ll puke!”
He wedges his arms over my legs so they’re tight against him and I’m no longer able to move them.
“You told Jack I should come and get you myself, so here I am. You got what you wanted. You’re coming home!” he shouts over his shoulder.
I begin to cry again, but it’s that horrible drunken ‘you don’t understand me’ cry. I know I sound pathetic and I probably look it as well, but it doesn’t stop me.
“It’s not my home. I don’t want to be with you anymore! I’m going to Maddie’s! Put me down! I don’t want you anymore you cheating bastard!”
“Enough Hannah!” His hold tightens around my legs and his whole body feels tense. Even in my drunken state, I know I’ve pushed him too far. I hang limply over his back and listen to him talk to Maddie. I catch the name ‘Tabatha’ so I know he must be explaining himself. Then I can hear Maddie relay my wine intake and my crying fit. I feel almost betrayed by her. Why is she not kicking him in the balls! I don’t feel good. I hope I don’t vomit on his backside. My body buzzes from head to foot. I feel sick…no…no, I’m ok, just tired…If I close my eyes, will the spinning stop? I need to sleep now…this is better…much better…
17. What was the most difficult part to write? In Where She Is, there is a loss of a loved one. I’ve had a lot of experience of this having lost my dad and my brother when they were both fairly young. My heart and soul are in those scenes and I used a lot of personal experience. It was very difficult to write, but I wanted to keep it as real and true as I could.
18. What was your favorite book to write? So far, it’s the current book, The Vow We Made. There’s quite a lot of humor and the supporting cast, especially, are a lot of fun.
19. How do you write? Do you have a set time or place? How many hours a day? I have a small corner of my children’s playroom with a desk and laptop. I write every weekday while my children are at school, so a good 4 to 5 hours per day and I stick to these hours fairly rigorously.
20. Why did you want to be a writer? I didn’t know I wanted to be a writer until a lot later in life. I’ve always been a big reader, but found myself writing bits and bobs as my children got older. Then I think stories kept popping in my head that I couldn’t ignore. I kept thinking, someone needs to write that story and eventually, I decided that I could do it, why not!
21. How do you get your ideas? They form in my head on a constant loop. I might be driving the car and something will catch my eye and spark a beginning or I’ll read a magazine or an interview and that will give me an idea. I get inspiration from many different things and they’re often random.
22. What do you have planned next? I’m torn. I have a novella I’d like to write which follows on from The Vow We Made, so there’s that. I also have a story inspired by my husband, and I don’t mean our relationship. He bought me a notebook and told me about an idea he had which I loved. It snowballed from there. To be honest, I have notebooks full of ideas, it’s just getting time to write them all, I have a problem with.
23. What advice would you give new writers? Just write. Get the whole story down, then read, change and correct it later but it’s important to get as much of the initial story down as possible.
24. How can readers get in touch with you? If you’d like to contact me or just keep up to date with all my news, here are my links, including sign up to my newsletter!
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