What do you love most about being a writer?
I love the process of writing. I love exploring characters and their emotions. I love the sense of achievement when I’ve typed The End. And of course I love hearing from my readers! It is so humbling to be told your book/s have touched someone deeply.
If you could have your time over what would you do differently?
I would have started writing earlier. I talked about writing a book for years without ever doing it. I’m so glad I eventually sat down and believed in myself enough to do it. It horrifies me that I could have so easily missed out on the joys of being a published author.
What are three words that best describe you?
Enthusiastic, passionate and energetic.
What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Everyone says it: read, read and read. I think that’s terribly important but what is even more important is to write. It is in the process of putting words on a page that you learn how storytelling works. You can’t read it in a book or learn it in a workshop quite the same way as doing it for yourself, finding your voice, developing your unique way of saying what you want to say. I read thousands of books over the years but it was only by sitting down and writing that I found my voice and style.
You write for both Harlequin Presents/Modern and the Medical romance line. Is it difficult moving between the two?
My voice is the same so I don’t find it difficult at all. I have the same amount of sensuality, and while the heroes in a medical might not be quite as alpha as in a Presents/Modern, mine usually are.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and how do you overcome it?
I have never had writer’s block per se but I’ve had scene block, setting block or character block. If I have stalled it is usually because the story isn’t strong enough in some way, or I’ve overwritten it, or written myself into a corner. I find it helps to go for a long walk to clear my head. Even taking a day or two off when I ban myself from my work in progress and just read can be an amazing breakthrough. Staring at the screen in a rising panic never works.
How long does it take to write a book?
I’m a fast writer so usually it takes me four to six weeks. I like to have the framework of the story there and then I can deepen the emotional intensity and conflict. It helps to have some distance from it and then go back with new eyes to see how I can make it better.
What do you do when you are not writing?
I read and watch movies, have coffee and people watch. I have regular massage, which helps me to relax. I envy serene, chilled out people. I haven’t got an off switch. My mind is revved like a Ferrari. I’m always thinking of the next story I want to write. I drive myself nuts!
What is your writing routine?
I find it hard to write straight off the block. I have to get other things tidied up first or I can’t get in the zone. I do all the business stuff first thing, and then I go for my walk or my swim before I sit in front of my computer. It is usually late morning or just after lunch and I work until it’s time to do something about dinner. I have numerous cups of tea and the odd biscuit to keep me going!
Are you a plotter/outliner or a wing- it, see how it goes type of writer?
I used to think I was a wing-it writer but lately I’ve realized I do both. Some books seem to write themselves, but I think it’s because I’ve done a lot of subconscious processing before I sat down to write them. There is no right way to do it. I think each writer has his or her own process. I switch between both processes now depending on the book and the amount of time I’ve had to indulge in thinking time.