Hello, Babs – please tell us a little about yourself …
After a 20yr career in the civil service, my hubby and I sold up and escaped to the country. For the last 5yrs we’ve lived in the Northumberland National Park in a cottage built atop a medieval crypt…the inspiration for an historical trilogy. Although I’ve dabbled with writing for many years I entered the published world via the Yeovil Literary Prize with my first crime novel which was runner up in the 2011 novel category and subsequently accepted for publication.
What inspired you to write?
…Basically a love of reading. As a child I lived opposite a library. I would borrow a book a day, read and return the following day, until I’d run out of books. While awaiting new books to arrive I began to scribble my own adventures. As an adult I progressed to crime novels and would say that is my favoured genre. I take my inspiration from the likes of John Connolly, Ian Rankin and Dennis Lehane.
How many books have you written?
I have two completed books. One published, one awaiting publication; Four further works in progress, one of which is almost complete, two that are currently entered in competitions and one at the embryonic stage. I like to have lots of projects on the go at the same time and I switch between them as the mood takes me.
Briefly, give us the lowdown on what they’re about, including genre and
Mrs Jones is a crime thriller, which follows the attempts of a New York detective to uncover the mystery of an English woman who is witness to a murder. Crooked cops, Mob hit men and a twisty plot. It’s been described as an action movie in print. Published in December 2012 it continues to sell well on kindle after 15,000 free downloads in its first 5 days. The sequel Molly Brown will be out later in the year. Wildewood is a jump in genre to medieval Northumberland and a tale of unchivalrous knights, hidden treasure and revenge. It’s loosely based on the history of the valley where I live, which played a vital role in border defences during the medieval period. It’s the first of a trilogy and is currently being edited prior to publication.
Where can we find your book/s?
Mrs Jones is published by Taylor Street Publishing and can be found in paperback and e-book on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk
For a sneak peak at Wildewood you can check out the trailer on YouTube.
Or you can check out all my books on my website at:
How do you feel about e-publishing compared to traditional publishing?
Every author likes to think of their work in print, a real book that you can hold. In reality unless you are with a major publisher I think it’s unlikely you’ll make significant print sales. By comparison I’ve had considerable e-sales, which have allowed me as a new writer to gain exposure and develop a readership. E-publishing operates in the now. Immediate and reactive, it allows exciting opportunities for promotion. It also allows the emergence of new talent which can’t be a bad thing. In conclusion I’d say I’m an e-book convert but I also enjoy the personal promotional opportunities of book signings and readings, so you do need a few real books kicking around.
What’s your all-time favourite read?
A difficult question, there are so many books that remain as firm favourites. But I’ll give you two if I may. My all time favourite read aloud book for kids … “Noggin the Nog” The opening line “In the lands to the North, where the black rocks stand guard against the black sea…” is just perfect for a Jackanory voice. For grownups … Ken Follett’s “Pillars of the Earth” or anything with John Connolly’s tortured hero Charlie Parker…or…You see, I told you it was a difficult question.
Do you draw from personal experience when writing, such as situations and
Yes and no. It depends on the book. Mrs Jones is about as far removed from my little village as you could possibly get. On the other hand Wildewood is fiction woven around documented historical fact.
Are the characters in your books based on real-world people (you don’t need
to name names!)?
Not deliberately, but I think it’s very hard not to let characteristics of known people creep in. A few friends/family members who’ve read Mrs Jones have recognised traits and mannerisms, rather than actual people.
If you could morph into any animal, what would it be, and why?
Got to be a Border Terrier. Feisty and determined. Great fun, but watch out if you’re a rat!
Have you attended any writing classes or workshops? If so, which ones?
No, but I’ve got an O-level in pottery and a blue belt in Judo…does that count?
What’s your overall impression of self-publishing?
There are loads of great writers and excellent books and quite simply not enough opportunities to publish the traditional way, so I’d say if you’ve the confidence to self publish…go for it. The “class” distinction is becoming increasingly blurred with the advent of the e-book. We now have a situation where books and authors can be successful based on merit rather than publisher dictate. The only caveat I would add is edit…edit…edit.
Where’s your favourite place in the world, and why?
Probably where I live now … in the midst of the Northumberland National Park. I look out onto vast acres of woodland…perfect.
How do you handle negative feedback from readers?
First day, “How dare they!” Second day, “Okay, so not everyone loves my work.” Third day “I wonder if there’s anything I can learn?” Fourth day, “Huh, did someone say something negative?” Basically, it hurts, but I don’t dismiss it out of hand nor do I let it change my world. It’s one person’s opinion and they’re entitled to it.
If you could sit down with any author and have a chat, who would it be, and
I was fortunate to attend the Brympton literary festival this year and sat down with a few authors. Alison Weir, historian and historical fiction writer had to be the most interesting and also the most generous with research material. Sophie Hannah, crime writer was definitely the most entertaining. But if I had to pick a “late great” I would choose Tolkien. I’d want to hear him pronounce all those tongue twisting names.
Do you use social networking such as Facebook and/or Twitter, and if so, how
do you find it?
Mmm…I do use Facebook but not to best effect…still learning. I haven’t moved up to Twitter class yet.
How do you market yourself and your book/s?
I’m involved in quite a few writers groups, both online and off. I enjoy meeting people so this year I got involved with readings and talks at Brympton. I’ve also had success with magazine articles and blog interviews. I’ve donated books to the library service etc, but the most successful promotional tool so far has been the free promo’s with KDP.
If you owned your own planet and the laws of physics didn’t apply, how would
you have it?
If you could sum yourself up in one word, what would it be?
Fan-dabby-dozey…no, just kidding…Easygoing
What does the future hold for you and your writing?
Hopefully, continued success.
Lennon or McCartney or neither, and why?
McCartney…because I saw him live at the City Hall in Newcastle, many moons ago.
If you were stranded on a desert island, and needed to burn books for
kindling in order to survive, which of these would go into the flames
first – The Bible, Catcher in the Rye or War and Peace?
Well, obviously I’d have the foresight to take hardbacks, so I’d rip all the covers off first to keep the fire going while I deliberated. I’d want to keep on the Big Man’s side just in case and I enjoyed Catcher in the Rye, so I reckon it would have to be War and Peace.
Thank you, Babs, for your your Interview responses!
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