- You write historical romances, why did you write in this genre?
One of the reasons is that when I am reading I like to go places I haven’t been to before and to learn something – something to take away with me – so when I write I try to do that for others. With historical fiction, especially as I incorporate real events or adapt them, I hope I’m taking readers back in time and to somewhere they may never get the chance to visit.
They’re romances because I’m sure many will agree that it is a spark of romance that puts the zing into life. So even if you’re curled up on the sofa on your own, or trying to find a bit of peace from a hectic life, you can find yourself in a different time, a different place and with people you’d really like to get to know.
- Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
At the front of each book published an author will say that characters are purely fictitious. To a large extent that is true but I know that years later it is often revealed that a famous character is based on someone the author knew. I don’t use anyone I know well and I’ve made that promise to my family.
I create a character often by little more than a glimpse of a person and my imagination goes into overdrive. I have, for example, one I haven’t used yet which will be based on a man walking along a village road in the middle of Germany. Something about him still lingers and he is a gift for a writer.
One of my characters is based on the man who first asked me to dance. Does a girl ever forget that feeling? But the development of the character is totally fictitious.
I find I use people I come across rather like coat hangers and then I dress them from my imagination. Once the character is set down on the page they seem to take on a life and spirit of their own and I have to rein them in sometimes to stop them galloping off all over the place.
- Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
The inspiration for Hide in Time, a time travel romance, came when I was in St Paul’s Cathedral in London for a Watch Night Service. The old year was passing and the future stretched ahead as the bells rang out midnight. The words ‘past’ and ‘future’ gave me the idea of time travel and on the long journey home, Hide in Time was born.
For One Dark Night the inspiration came from a single visit to chalk caves leading down to
the sea which smugglers used to use. Some years later, my husband told me of his ancestor who was supposed to be a smuggler. We thought it was one of those family tales which had gathered a little stardust as the years went by until I came across a very old book and it mentioned this ancestor as a notorious smuggler. We were amazed – it was all true. Another gift for a writer!
- Give us an insight into your main characters. What makes you want to write he/she?
In Hide in Time there are two female and two male leads. So the reader has plenty to choose from!
In One Dark Night and my soon-to-be-released sequel Under a Dark Star, there are two male leads and one female. Writing can take a lot of energy because I almost become some characters as I write. For instance, Lucy in One Dark Night and Under a Dark Star definitely drew on my energy. As she sat on the cliff top on that cold Christmas day, lonely and sad, I could feel her predicament. And as her difficulties mounted, I went through it with her, rooting for her all the way. I gave her choices and I realized how agonizing choices can be when so much depends upon them. What made me want to write about her? One of the themes running through One Dark Night is that we all have choices to make and so much depends on us making the right choice. I find making decisions difficult and, looking back, I can see just how much depended on my making the right choice. I wanted to convey to readers that choices change our lives.
It’s the themes that drive the characters:
Hide in Time – They say that on your death bed it’s not the things you’ve done that you regret most but the things you haven’t done. Laura stormed off from her betrothed only to find she’d made a terrible mistake and that regret drove her actions.
One Dark Night – We owe so much to those who hurt us. Lucy was hurt so much but because of this she met people who changed her life for ever. Another theme running through is the importance of choices.
Under a Dark Star – All that it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. Karl and Daniel cannot stand back and let evil flourish. They feel compelled to do something!
- What do you love most about the writing process?
Getting the stories in my head out and onto the screen/paper.
- What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
A character kept making himself a nuisance in my head. He’s much better now he’s having adventures.
- Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
I ring fence about 15 hours each week. I try so hard not to let anything take over that time but it doesn’t always work!
- What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
Finding the time.
- What is the biggest surprise that you experienced after becoming a writer?
Making new friends. I have come across some terrific people, people I count as real friends, not just cyber friends. And the willingness of those who have ploughed this furrow before me to share their tips and experiences.
- Tell us a little about your plans for the future. Where do you see yourself as a writer in five years?
I have an orderly queue of stories in my head and I hope to have set quite a few free and on paper by then.
Hide in Time – International link http://authl.it/B00A3E925M?d
One Dark Night – International link http://authl.it/B00LNQ24UY?d
Under a Dark Star – available in September 2016 – if you ‘follow’ me on Goodreads you’ll be the first to know all about it.