Margaret Dilloway On Writing About Health Issues in A Work of Fiction + Tips To Writers Having A Hard Time Starting A Novel

img_1363Name: Margaret Dilloway (O’Brien)
Hometown: San Diego
Based In: San Diego
Education: BA Studio Art, Scripps College, Claremont CA
Briefly: Author of Sisters of Heart and Snow, upcoming, Putnam Books, The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns, Putnam Books.
Winner of the American Library Literary Tastes Award for Best Women’s Fiction, 2013; Winner, Bonus Book of the Year, Pulpwood Queens International Book Clubs, 2013. How to Be an American Housewife, Putnam Books; Finalist, John Gardner Fiction Award, 2011.
Author Crush: Ruth Ozeki. I read A Tale for the Time Being in as close to one sitting as I could get, and wept when it ended—not because it was horribly sad, but because I wanted it to keep going. I also read it at a difficult writing-time in my life, and something about it re-inspired me.

If You Weren’t a Writer You’d Be…a detective! I always notice weird little details other people usually don’t—something writers and detectives have in common.

Up Next: Sisters of Heart and Snow from Putnam Books.

You grew up in San Diego. What’s the best book fair memory you have of growing up in that fab city?

My junior high held a book fair and had an author visit—young adult/middle grade author Frances A. Miller. It was the first time I met a Real. Live. Author! And I was beyond excited.

Let’s talk a bit about your book How to Be an American Housewife, set during the Second World War. When you were writing it, did you feel that you historically had to have a revisionist point-of-view?

It’s not really a Continue reading

Carol Drinkwater On Being An Actress-Filmmaker-Novelist + Her Advice to Newbies

Carol Drinkwater-detail-1Name: Carol Drinkwater

Hometown: I was born in London and spent my childhood between my mother’s family farm in Ireland and an Irish convent in Kent in England.

Current Residence: I live between Paris and on an olive farm above the hills of Cannes, overlooking the French Riviera.

Favorite Read: there are so many and they have changed at different stages in my life. One or two that remain eternal for me are The End of the Affair Graham Greene, The House of Spirits—Isabel Allende, The Lover—Marguerite Duras.

Fiction-how-to-book You’d Recommend: I have never read a fiction how-to book. I occasionally teach workshops for Memoir/Life Writing. I do not think that writing fiction or non-fiction is so different. In all cases, a riveting story is what counts. Stephen King has written a fine book on the art of writing—On Writing. There are many such books but I single this one out because it is also autobiographical and so proves its case succinctly.

Pet Peeves: Many!

If You Weren’t a Writer You’d Be…I was first and foremost an actress. I continue to work in film, having written five documentary films – series entitled The Olive Route – inspired by two my books The Olive Route and The Olive Tree. I regularly record the narration for some of my husband’s documentary films.

Up Next: I have my second Kindle Single being published in the next few weeks entitled Hotel Paradise. The first The Girl in Room Fourteen reached number one in Kindle Singles both sides of the Atlantic so I am excited for this new one.

I have a young adult, First World War love story entitled The Only Girl in the World being published in April.

When you think of your childhood in Ireland, what book-related memories immediately come up in your mind?

I read very little back then and my life was very much an outdoor one. The wonderfully evocative stories of William Trevor and Edna O’Brien always draw me back to that early life.

When you’re writing…does the filmmaker and actress in you ever interfere with the novelist in you?

They are all part and parcel of the Continue reading

Erin Lindsay McCabe On The Process of Writing A Historical Novel + Manuscript Revision Stress

542148_515052671859160_398417159_nName: Erin Lindsay McCabe
Hometown: Chico, California
Based In: Newcastle, California
Education: Literature major/history minor at University of California, Santa Cruz; teaching credential at California State University, Chico; MFA in Creative Writing from Saint Mary’s College of California
Briefly: Author of I Shall Be Near You.
Favorite Read: Oh, so many! Alias Grace, by Margaret Atwood; The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy; The Story of Lucy Gault, by William Trevor; The Jump-Off Creek, by Molly Gloss; True Grit, by Charles Portis; Away, by Jane Urquhart; Away, by Amy Bloom; Lolita, by Vladimir Nabakov; Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon; The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger, A Sudden Country, by Karen Fisher, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote…
If You Weren’t a Writer You’d Be… a teacher. I taught high school for English for 7 years and still sometimes teach at the college level.
Fiction or General Publishing How-To Book I’d Recommend: Janet Burroway’s Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft. It’s pricey but well worth the money.
Up Next: I’m working on a novel inspired by the adopted daughter of serial killer Belle Gunness.

How old were you about when you first learned of the U.S. Civil War?

Oh, I don’t know. I very distinctly remember being utterly fascinated watching the entire Ken Burns’ Civil War documentary with my parents when I was thirteen. But I must have known about the Civil War before then.

How did you get interested in writing historical fiction?

As a kid, I was drawn toward books with a historical bent—I loved the Little House on the Prairie series and Anne of Green Gables, for example——though it took me a long time (until I was out of college) to realize that historical fiction was really my favorite genre to read—though I will read just about anything if it is character and plot driven. It was in college, majoring in literature and minoring in history, where I really began to see the overlap between literature and history—how what authors are writing about illuminates so much about the culture and concerns of their society and their time. That really fascinated me.

Can you give us an overview of the writing of I Shall Be Near You?

I first learned of the real Rosetta on whom my novel is loosely based, during my final quarter of college. I wrote a paper about her for my U.S. Women’s History final. But after that, I didn’t really Continue reading

Alyson Richman on Handling Virtual Book Clubs And Getting Into Foreign Book markets

alyson richman photoName: Alyson Richman
Hometown: Saint James, New York
Based In: Long Island, New York
Education: Choate Rosemary Hall and Wellesley College
Briefly: I love to write about art, beauty and what motivates people to create
Favorite Read: One Hundred Years of Solitude
If You Weren’t a Writer You’d Be…a painter
Up Next: The Garden of Letters, my fifth novel, comes out October 2014

Your mom is a painter. Would you say that you grew up in a home that encouraged artistic endeavors?

Yes, my mother taught me early on to see in a unique way. Not only did she teach me to look at everything for color, light and texture, she taught me about movement and composition. I’m constantly trying to incorporate these concepts into my writing. I imagine every chapter to be a mini painting. I want my readers to see every thing in their mind’s eye. To me, sentences are brushstrokes that move you through the story.

How did you get interested in writing historical fiction?

I think it began with taking my first art history class. Continue reading

Jennifer Handford On How Authors Can Maintain A Write-Life Balance

jennifer handfordName: Jennifer Handford
Hometown: Tempe, Arizona
Based In: Northern Virginia
Education: BS and MS in Political Science, Portland State University
Briefly: Author of Daughters for a Time, and one-time Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award winner.
Favorite Read: Wally Lamb’s I Know This Much Is True.
Fiction or General Publishing How-To Book I’d Recommend: Stephen King’s On Writing
Up Next: Acts of Contrition, scheduled to release on April 15, 2014

As someone who had spent her entire life living in Arizona, was it pretty scary moving to Oregon for college?

Not at all. When I was younger—in college and in my twenties—I loved the idea of moving around, traveling abroad, and exploring different places.

What was the most helpful course you took while in college—in terms of how it helped your writing and creativity?

When I was a freshman, I took Continue reading

Susanna Fraser On The Romance Factor of Historical Novels + Outlining a Book’s Plot

SusannaFraser2013Name: Susanna Fraser

Hometown: Wilsonville, AL

Based In: Seattle, WA

Education: B.S. in Economics, University of Pennsylvania

Briefly: (List your books, awards, and other literary accomplishments, etc)

I write historical and time travel romance. I also plan to write historical fantasy. My published works include three full-length novels and two novellas:

The Sergeant’s Lady (2010)
A Marriage of Inconvenience (2011)
An Infamous Marriage (2012)
A Dream Defiant (2013, novella)
Christmas Past (2013, novella)

Favorite Read: I have many, but lately it’s Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga

Pet Peeves: Bad drivers

If You Weren’t a Writer You’d Be…If I hadn’t decided to pursue writing seriously, I probably would’ve gone back to school for a History PhD and become a professor.

Author Crush: Lois McMaster Bujold

Fiction or General Publishing How-To Book I’d Recommend: The Writer’s Journey, by Christopher Vogler. I love the Hero’s Journey as a guideline for plot structure and characterization.

Up Next: I’ve got a bit of a gap before my next new release, which will be a 2014 historical romance Christmas novella with Carina Press. It’s about a pair of star-crossed lovers reunited just days before the heroine is supposed to marry someone else. After that, hopefully in the first half of 2015, I’ll have a full-length sequel to A Dream Defiant.
thesergeantslady

Who would you credit with introducing you to the world of books?

My mother. She loved to read and took me with her to the library every other week so we could get more books. She also gets credit for my love of history and historical fiction.

How did you get interested in writing?

I was given an Continue reading

Lucinda Riley On How to Evaluate Research Sources for A Historical Novel + Using Tech To Promote The Historical Novel

lucinda riley
Name: Lucinda Kate Riley

Based In: North Norfolk and the South of France

Education: Italia Conti of Performing Arts, London

Briefly: Author of The Orchid House, a New York Times Bestseller, Richard & Judy Book Club selection; bestseller in Germany, Norway and Norway. The Girl on the Cliff, a New York Times Bestseller. The Lavender Garden, a bestseller in both Norway and Germany and a Novelicious Book of the Year Award Winner.

Favorite Read: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton, Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh, Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel.

Pet Peeves: Negativity. And ‘smiley face’ symbols at the end of texts or emails.

If You Weren’t a Writer You’d Be…An actress or dancer

Author Crush: Scott Fitzgerald

Up Next: The Midnight Rose is being published in the USA and all major markets of the world in early 2014. The Italian Girl, which was originally published in 1996, and I’ve re-edited, is being released in Germany UK and Norway in mid 2014.

Who would you say has been the most encouraging person in your journey as a novelist?

My father, who was my biggest cheerleader when he was alive. The Orchid House is dedicated to him.

What historical novel do you remember being really taken by as a child?

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett and Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild.

What drew you to the historical fiction genre?

I have always instinctively been drawn to the past. Most of the fiction I’ve read has been historical. My favorite period is the 1920/30’s and the wonderful authors such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Evelyn Waugh who wrote so evocatively on that part of world history. All of my books are therefore told in dual narrative, with powerful back stories and an underlying moral of forgiveness, acceptance and the understanding of one’s past – in order to live happily in the present and also to embrace the future.

lucinda riley

For each of your novels, you do these behind-the-scenes videos that you share with your fans on website, and social media channels and on Youtube. It’s a really great way for you—an author who writes historical fiction—to implement modern technology in promoting your books.

The world we live in is getting more technology-based year by year and I think it’s incredibly important to find different ways of reaching your audience. Social media allows direct contact with readers all over the world for the first time. When I was an author twenty years ago, there was no such thing as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or even private websites, and I would do a lot of my publicity in book shops and during book tours. Today however, my two minute inspiration videos can reach readers all over the world, and the feedback I get is amazing and is a constant inspiration to keep writing. I also did the first ever live Google Hangout Q & A in Brazil which was watched over 200,000 times.

What was your research process like for Girl on The Cliff?

The main research I had to do was on the First World War, a subject I’m really interested in. I am also an ex-dancer and know the theatres and ballet schools of London well. I also spent a few years near to Cork in Ireland so know the area intimately.

That book debuted on the New York Times Bestseller list and also reached No 1 in Germany as well as Norway. How can authors position their books to accomplish such a similar feat?

I think that writing a good book is only one factor – you also need a publisher who really believes in you and prioritizes you within their portfolio.

When you’re researching a certain historical period, how do determine which sources are the most credible?

I start with reading books and seeing films about the time and place, but then I visit the location and meet people who have lived there over time, and build up a full picture. Interestingly I sometimes find that I am surprising people who have lived in an area all their lives with their own history.

How did the Midnight Rose, your latest work take shape as a novel?

Firstly, I read absolutely everything I could find about the locations and the real-life characters that existed in the last days of the British Raj. I also watched endless films and trawled the internet for information. At that point I began to form a picture in my mind of where the story should begin and it was then that I boarded a plane and flew to Jaipur and Mumbai. I visited the Moon Palace and actually stayed at the Rambagh Palace before journeying up to Cooch Behar in the far north of the country. The reality of modern India was a huge culture shock. It’s a country on such contrasts. The beauty of the landscape, with its stunning temples and palaces, yet coupled with so much deprivation for many of the human beings that live there, has had a lasting effect of me. It’s only when you’ve experienced the noise, the heat, the dust and the intense claustrophobia of so many human beings – many of whom live on the streets – you can begin to understand the chasm that still exists between rich and poor. I wanted to touch on that in the story, contrasting the vast wealth of the Maharaja and Maharani of Cooch Behar with the hardships experienced by the vast majority of the population.

And the most surprising thing I learnt was after I’d finished writing the story, my mother came to visit with a wonderful 90-year-old photograph album that she’d found in the attic. It chronicles in photo form the experiences of my great-great grandfather, who was a British Army Officer out in India in the days of the Raj. Not only were there photographs of many of the places I’d used in the story, there were also numerous photos of family members called “Donald”, “Daisy”, “Violet” and “Maud” – names that I’d randomly chosen for four of the main characters in the book. Not only that, but from the photo’s it seemed that my ancestors ‘fitted’ the characters I’d created.

When you compare that book to The Lavender Garden, how did the two works compare in terms of what they brought out of you as an author?

Although I find all my novels challenging, The Lavender Garden, was partly set in the South of France, where we have a house, and I love the area, architecture and…the wine! The Midnight Rose is set partly in India which is a country I have visited but never lived within, and although I have friends who are from India, understanding the country and class structure prior to independence was a huge project – but fascinating.

Do you think that it matters what goes on the cover of a historical novel?

It matters what goes on the cover of any novel, whatever the genre. It’s the first thing a reader looks at when deciding to buy it. I, like all authors, hope that the publishers will convey the ‘essence’ of the story in physical form. And so far, I’ve been so happy that they have. ‘The Midnight Rose’ is my favourite so far as it truly evokes the spirit of the story.

What tips do you have to offer to writers on how to write in the language style of the historical period that they’re writing in?

Read as many books by authors who lived in the period you are writing about as possible. Dickens, Austin, Evelyn Waugh all wrote in the language style of the time. But of course, it’s vital to develop your own personal ‘voice’.

I noticed that you have a link where your fans can buy your books from local indie bookstores. Do you think bookstores will always play a role in historical fiction promotion? Why or why not?

Bookstores will always play a vital role because the reader desperately searches for recommendation in a world where too many books are published, particularly in the English language. Yes, online reviews will play an increasing role but many people appreciate the personal touch provided by bookstores.

And also, you have free first chapters for your novels available online. Do you think that’s a sure-fire tactic?

I hope it helps prospective new readers to gauge my writing style without buying the book, and that must be a good thing.

What makes a great hero?

Someone you would be proud to be.

And how can an author know whether a book is a standalone or whether it has series potential?

I think that, unless you have a lot of experience as a published writer, this kind of question can only be answered by publishers and readers. That’s why I always listen to feedback on my books, both positive and negative—-painful though it may be sometimes.

Do outlines, index cards play a role in your writing?

No. I have no written plan for the book and I don’t use any kind of story boards – I dictate all my books “from within” and often the plot develops as I develop the characters and tell their story

What are your thoughts on self-publishing?

Self-publishing is exciting because it is opening doors for new writers, and has given publishers a gentle prod to make more effort on the promotional side of the business. As a result, publishers are becoming more effective and ‘self-publishing authors’ are now working with publishers to widen their distribution.

orchid house

Your book Hot House Flower made the prestigious UK’s famous Richard and Judy Bookclub. How can new authors make the best of bookclubs?

New or Old – I think all authors should embrace book clubs. It’s very hard to visualize one person reading my books, let alone millions. And every time I get an email from a reader saying they enjoyed it, I experience a thrill. And to hear people are taking the book for their book clubs and then discussing them is amazing! When I’ve visited or Skyped book clubs, and they know all the characters and are engaged with their stories, it’s very exciting to think they care about them as much as I do.

What are you working on right now?

I have just finished writing the first of a unique series of seven books called The Seven Sisters. These books – each one following the story of an individual sister –is based loosely on the mythology surrounding the famous star cluster.

Book one, entitled Maia starts in a beautiful lakeside house in Geneva – the childhood home of all the sisters who gather together when they are told that their beloved father, Pa Salt, has died. I’m not saying anymore about the over-arching plot, but the first book follows Maia as she discovers her past and comes to terms with her present. It’s set in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil in the 1920’s and Paris.

And the second book in the series is set … in Norway! I’m so excited about researching and writing it. And very excited about the whole project, as are all my publishers.

Lucinda Riley’s Website
Lucinda Riley Facebook
Lucinda Riley Twitter

Continue reading

Susan Rebecca White On The MFA in Creative Writing + Book Clubs + Authors and Social Media

susan rebecca whiteName: Susan Rebecca White
Author’s Website , Facebook, Twitter
Hometown: Atlanta, GA USA
Based In: Atlanta
Education: BA Brown University, MFA Hollins University
Briefly: Author of:
A Place at the Table
A Soft Place to Land
Bound South

Essays in The Huffington Post, Tin House magazine (forthcoming), The Bitter Southerner
Favorite Read: Hard to choose one, but The Confederacy of Dunces always makes me laugh, and Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird teaches me something new about writing each time I read it. I also love Wallace Stegner’s Crossing to Safety.
Pet Peeves: People who text / check their cell phones at the dinner table.
If You Weren’t a Writer You’d Be…A high school English teacher or a caterer.
Author Crush: Ann Patchett
Fiction or General Publishing How-To Book I’d Recommend: Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, On Writing by Steven King.
Up Next: A novel about college roommates in the mid 1960s whose lives go in very different directions during America’s counter-culture revolution. Also, I’m working on a lot of personal essays, motivated by the fact that I am pregnant and thinking about all sorts of things in regards to raising my baby.

Relax your mind for a bit. And think. What’s the earliest book-related memory that comes to mind?

Having my mom or dad read the line “goodnight mush” over and over again from the children’s classic Goodnight Moon. At age four, the thought of saying goodnight to the oatmeal was hilarious to me.

How do you react when you find yourself experiencing writer’s block while writing a book?

I get really self-critical and Continue reading

Neesha Meminger On Writing Authentic Teen Voices + Overcoming Second Novel Jitters

neesha meminger-author photoName: Neesha Meminger

Online: Author’s Website, Twitter, Facebook Amazon Page

Hometown: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Based In: Bronx, NY

Education: BA, Film/Video; MFA, Creative Writing

Briefly: Neesha Meminger is the author of Shine, Coconut Moon made the Smithsonian’s Notable Books for Children list; also named the Top 100 Books of 2009 by the New York Public Library’s Stuff for the Teen Age. Other nominations included a Best Book for Young Adults by the American Library Association and the online CYBILS award. Jazz in Love was picked as a top YA selection by the Pennsylvania School Librarians’ Association, Bookslut’s Recommended Summer Reading List. Other books: In the Wise.

Favorite Read: I love a lot of non-fiction, especially books about spirituality and self-growth. But if I had to pick some all-time faves, I’d say Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed would be up there near the top, as would Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover series and Marge Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time. I also love Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis and the works of Jeanette Winterson, Sandra Cisneros, Alison Bechdel…just to name a few.

Pet Peeves: I don’t really have many of these…

If You Weren’t a Writer You’d Be…A teacher, which I am, or a lawyer – which I am certainly not— lucky for anyone who needs a good lawyer.

Author Crush: it’s a close call between Marion Zimmer Bradley and Octavia Butler.

Fiction or General Publishing How-To Book You’d Recommend: I loved Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. Stephen King’s On Writing is a great read, too, as well as Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg.

Up Next: I’m working on my fourth romance novel (under a pseudonym) and I’ve got plans for a non-fiction, self-help, YA book.

What is your first book-related memory?

I loved “Tikki Tikki Tembo”, the Chinese folk tale. I was just learning to speak English when I first heard it read aloud in school, and the words in that book just delighted me. I had the same experience the first time I heard the Rumplestiltskin story. Something about names, maybe…

You started writing as a teenager. Do you ever look back at those writings?

I would love to, if they Continue reading

Camilla Gibb On Canada’s Writing Community + The Editing and Revising Phase

camilla gibb
Name: Camilla Gibb

Author’s Website

Hometown: Toronto

Based In: Toronto

Education: Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from Oxford University.

Briefly: Four novels: Mouthing the Words; The Petty Details of So-and-so’s Life; Sweetness in the Belly; The Beauty of Humanity Movement. City of Toronto Book Award; CBC Canadian Literary Award; Trillium Award (best book in Ontario); Giller Prize shortlist.

Favorite Read: Ever? Hmm. David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, J. M. Coetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians, most of Haruki Murakami’s novels.

Pet Peeves: In writing? Misunderstanding and avoidance of the semicolon. Use of a thesaurus.

If You Weren’t a Writer You’d Be…A landscape architect

Author Crush: David Mitchell.

Up Next: A memoir.

What classic novel have you come across that never ceases to amaze you no matter how much time has gone by since you’ve read it?

I find myself rereading classic children’s books now that I am a mother. We’re reading Alice in Wonderland, at the moment and I remember even as a child, knowing this was a grownup book and I was “getting it.”

What’s the writing community like in Canada?

That’s a big question. It’s relatively small and collegial. There remains a certain amount of cultural insecurity that tends to define true success as success beyond our borders. We are hugely proud when a Canadian writer does well on the world stage. We are currently basking in the reflected glory of Alice Munro’s Nobel Prize win, particularly because she sets her stories in humble ordinary Ontario towns.

What was like to have been a writer-in-residence at a major university?

It’s lovely for me, as someone who left academia, to come back to the university on my own terms. I get to share things I have not learned in any formal sense with students who are not necessarily studying creative writing or English. Fiction comes from the world, not from the classroom.

camilla gibb book cover

Your third novel Sweetness was called “grave” by The Miami Herald. The jury for the Giller prize that late awarded it its most prestigious award collectively called it deeply “affecting”. How can writers create settings and characters that so emotionally overwhelm readers?

You have to take the risk of dealing with feeling and human vulnerability openly and honestly. You have to be honest enough about your own experiences in order to be able empathize with the struggles of others.

And you’re a non-Islam person writing about Islam. Were you fearful at all at how the book would be received by those who had that background?

I was not fearful and I haven’t been given any reason to feel fearful. It was an informed book, written from a place of compassion and respect. If I hadn’t studied Arabic, read the Qur’an and lived in the Middle East, I couldn’t have written this book.

Do you think a book’s cover design is a big deal?

It’s rare that I’ll buy a book on the basis of its cover, where I will buy a bottle of wine based on a label. But overall quality – the paper stock, the typeface – those things can sell me.

What gave you the inspiration to write Mouthing Words?

Someone close to me was sexually abused but asked me to keep it a secret. I couldn’t bear the silence. Mouthing the Words was my compromise.

What was the editing and revising phase like for The Petty Details Things?

It was my second novel. Second novels are tough. If you write your first without any expectation, as I did, suddenly there is a level of self-consciousness with the writing of the second. And first novels, I have heard it said, often have a lifetime of gestation. They come out more fully formed as a consequence. There is a danger, if you have had any success with a first novel, that you will try to replicate something you have done perhaps better in the first. In some ways, the second novel is the one where you become a writer. It gets harder, not easier.

Would you say that that novel was one of the most tear-sucking writing experiences you’ve ever had?

They are all brutal in their own ways. I’m at work on a memoir right now, and I think this wins as most-painful-thus-far.

How can aspiring authors get better at writing?

Read and read and read.

Do you believe in outlines?

I don’t use them, but then I’m writing very character-based fiction, where the characters, as they evolve, dictate the plot, telling me where they need to go rather than me predeterming that for them. For something more plot-driven – mysteries, thrillers – I would think they are indispensible.

Is your bedroom your preferred writing space?

No, because the temptation to nap is just too seductive.

Can you imagine ever writing a book where the woman is not the protagonist?

I prefer writing male characters; for some reason I find myself with greater compassion for them. Two of the three main characters in my last novel, The Beauty of Humanity Movement, are men and most of my short stories have male protagonists.

What aspect of being an author gives you the most joy?

The surprise of where a character can take you.

What words of wisdom do you have to offer to writers who just can’t stop procrastinating?

Write your way through the block; get those muscles moving, even if it is utter crap you are putting down on the page.

Are there some things you wish you had known before you published your first book?

That there is only ever one first book. You will never again be so innocent. Try and enjoy that experience. Continue reading