One of the stops on my recent book blog tour was at Bforbookreview.wordpress.com
and it was an interview. Here is a transcript:
– When and where do you prefer to write?
Two main places: I do actually have my own study (husband banned, except for kindly plying me with coffee!) and I work at my antique desk with all my research books and papers handily in the big bookshelf next to me. For A Shape on the Air, as with all my books, I have a ‘mood board’ on the wall beside me, with pics of inspirations for the main characters (it’s Rachel Weiss and James Norton) and pics that represent Dr Viv’s apartment, the mere and Anglo-Saxon life and times. I also like to write in the conservatory so that I can look out at the garden which gives me peace and inspiration. I write most weekdays as I resigned from the university in order to write fulltime and I try to write a session in the mornings and again in the afternoons, so I keep to ‘office times’ as far as poss. It doesn’t always work out, though, because if it’s a nice day I want to be outside, walking in the countryside or gardening!
– Do you have a certain ritual?
My main ritual really is that I go swimming first thing in the mornings (I do 20-30 lengths) and usually have a session in the gym while I’m there. Then when I get back home at about 9.30 I can feel ‘noble’ after my exercise and set my mind to my work. I ALWAYS take my first coffee of the day with me to the study. I check my emails first in case there’s anything I need to address, but I try to avoid social media until I’ve met my target for the day.
– Is there a drink or some food that keeps you company while you write?
I’m afraid that I drink far too much fresh coffee while I’m working; I have a coffee pot constantly on the go. But I compensate with camomile tea at other times! I don’t eat while I’m on my computer but I do stop for breaks and usually have fresh fruit – or if I’ve been baking I grab a ginger flapjack or almond macaroon or whatever!
– What is your favourite book?
It changes, because I’m an avid reader and the latest one is usually my current favourite. But some stand the test of time in my heart: I love anything by Kate Atkinson and Pamela Hartshorne. I love historicals and time-slips (because this is my ‘brand’ too)!
– Would you consider writing a different genre in the future?
I have written in several genres already (contemporary and historical romance, children’s, etc) but at present I see my ‘brand’ as medieval time-slip mystery romance, which is what A Shape on the Air is – and also my WIP (working title The Dragon Tree)which is a sequel.
– Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?
I guess most writers base characters on people they know in some way (we’re terrible people-watchers) but mine are generally amalgamations of different people. I pick characteristics and merge them into my characters, so they are, hopefully, unique. Possibly some of the characters in the Drumbeats Trilogy were nearer to known people than usual. But characters in A Shape in the Air mix up various friends of mine (don’t tell them!).
– Do you take a notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?
I have a glorious collection of beautiful notebooks (constantly added to!) and I do usually have one in my bag, along with some of my collection of gorgeous pens. The only thing is that I tend to get ideas at awkward moments when I can’t pull the notebook out to write them down! I desperately try to keep the ideas in my head until I can scribble them down.
– Which genre do you not like at all?
I like most genres. I love crime, police procedurals and psychological thrillers, but I couldn’t ever write them (I don’t feel qualified enough). I don’t like anything gory or OTT blood-thirsty and I’m not keen on erotica or inflicted pain. I hated Fifty Shades!
– If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
Barbara Erskine or Susanna Kearsley, because we’re on the same wave-length I think: medieval -ish time-slip Or maybe my friend Lizzie Lamb: although we write entirely different sorts of books, she’s excellent at marketing and promotion, so I’d feed off her!
– If you should travel to a foreign country to do research, which one would you chose and why?
Strangely enough, I’ve just been doing research in Madeira. My latest WIP is set there and involves its medieval history, 14th and 16th centuries. It’s a time-slip again so there’s present day Madeira to imbibe too. It’s provisionally called The Dragon Tree and it has the same main protagonists as A Shape on the Air: Dr Viv and Rev Rory, because I liked them so much I couldn’t let them go! My next will be the third in the series but they will be back in England at the Derbyshire rectory and my other favourite character (Tilly) will be back.
A Shape on the Air is available from Amazon at
Oooo- how I love to snoop on other writers and see how they plan their day. Full of admiration for your exercise routine – so important not to stay hunched over the laptop all day.