Love Romances Cafe Interview Catch-up

On the Second Monday of every month, the yahoo chat group, Love Romances Cafe & More, host a Phaze author day. Due to various work stuff, I haven’t been able to take part for a few months, but yesterday, I was. Typically, as well as all the banter between authors, the owner of the cafe, Dawn, posts a series of questions for the authors to answer. And, as a cheap and easy way to post a blog entry, here are my answers to yesterday’s questions.

Why not start off telling the readers about the person behind the author name? What do you enjoy to recharge the muse?

Well, this weekend I went to look at caravans. I’m not normally that boring – honest. It’s just that it might prove cheaper in the long run that staying in gites all the time.

Actually, writing is my way of recharging. Since it’s a hobby rather than a full time career I use it to de-stress and get away from the real world –and let’s face it, with the state of the world economy at the moment, it’s good to be able to get away from the real world, don’t you think?

I enjoy spending time with my little boy too. He’s given my life meaning – not that it didn’t have meaning before, it’s just that now it’s got a much more important meaning.

I also relish my drive from home to work and back again. I can turn the stereo up and sing along as I ease the car through those country bends. It was Elvis this morning. It’s Oasis this evening. Bliss.

Now that we have settled in, why not discuss your latest release?

Ah. Yes. My last release was Lost & Found back in June. Since then I’ve been working on a new piece. At 87000 words (with just over half still to be edited for a 2nd and hopefully final draft) it’s the longest piece I’ve written to date. And hopefully the best. I’ve been giving regular updates on my blog and there’s a sneak peek of a scene I added last week here –

What is the biggest misconception about being an author?

That it’s easy. It’s not. It’s damn hard work. But like anything that’s hard, it’s worthwhile and rewarding. A bit like my allotment – it’s hard work getting stuff to grow, but it’s worth it when it’s in the pot.

When did you first decide you wanted to be an author?

When I was very little. I used to read all these books – I couldn’t read enough as a kid – and knew I wanted to tell those stories too. My fiction always got be better marks in English lessons than for the other, more boring stuff – like trying to explain why Romeo and Juliette had such poor communication skills that they both wound up killing themselves. I tell you, it wouldn’t happen today – unless one of them didn’t know how to use predictive SMS texts that is.

Do you have any special rituals to help you get in the mood to write?

Yes. But I can’t tell you about them, or I’d have to kill you.

How do you know what to name your books or the characters?

I don’t always. Sometimes a name just ‘feels’ right, other times it doesn’t and so it gets changed. I’m a bugger for changing character names part way through writing a story – which can be confusing where you’re getting on in years like what I am. (Okay, so 34 isn’t that old – it just feels it.)

Do you have any bad writing habits?

My worst habit is getting distracted and procrastinating. Some days I can sit with a WIP open on my laptop, but wind up watching re-runs of Red Dwarf on the On Demand service that comes with our cable TV. It’s a bit sad really. I must have seen “poly morph” a hundred times and still nearly die laughing when Kryten starts humping Lister. I’m a sucker for Blackadder too.

If you had to write yourself as a heroine/hero, what kind of heroine/hero would you be? What would you be named?

Back when I was 17, a friend of mine and I wrote what you could call a ‘satire’ based on our school, the teachers and the students. Basically some of us had to save the world from invading aliens by capturing Edd the Duck (a puppet from kids TV in the mid-nineties) and using him to power an ‘anti-cool’ drive with which to repel the invading hordes.

It was full of ‘in jokes’ which only people we knew would find even remotely funny. My character was called MC Perfect – a global rap star in the Vanilla Ice mode (yeah, yeah, I know).

Look, we found it funny at the time, okay.

Seriously, most of my male leads have a big chunk of me in them. From Matt in Reunion, to Adam in my WIP, Kiss by a Rose. They all start out based on a little bit of me, or how I’d like to be. Then they grow and change and become people in their own right. Which is good – I think.

If you had to write yourself as a villain, what kind of villain would you be? What would you be named?

I’d be a Bond villain, trying to take over the world and kill the good guy. I mean, seriously, if you can’t be Bond, best be a bond villain instead. Mind you, once I’d caught him, I think I’d just shoot him. I wouldn’t bother with all these elaborate traps that give him just enough chance to escape.

What is the strangest source of writing inspiration you’ve ever had?

Er… Hum… Well… I really couldn’t say. No, really, I couldn’t. It’s not something I’ve ever thought about to be honest and now my brain has seized when I try. Next question.

You come back from the dead as a spirit, what message are you trying to get across?

“I told you I was ill, but you didn’t listen, did you?”

If you were a world ruler and you were given a choice of 3 laws to enact, what would they be?

Ohh, don’t. Please don’t. You couldn’t hand me that much power, could you? Seriously, have you read my blog? I’d be too damn scary if I was in power. I mean, for a start, I’d get rid of this whole ‘democracy’ thing. It just gets in the way. And then…

 If your muse were to talk behind your back, what secrets would he/she tell?

Now, that’s just a way of asking me to spill the beans, isn’t it? See, I’m too clever for that. You don’t fool me that easily. My secrets wouldn’t be secrets if everyone knew them, now would they?

Read my blog/books. That’s all I’ll say. Remember when I said my male leads are all based on me a little bit? There secrets are my secrets.

There’s a free story on my website called “Public Performance”. Go read that, then look at my last sentence. That’s all I’m saying.

 If you were a Superheroine/hero, would you wear tights and a cape?

Tights – Yes. I think I’ve got the legs for it, although I might need to respond to some spam to get a satisfactory bulge. Or possibly go around with a permanent semi.

Cape – No. Have you seen The Incredibles? As Edna said – No Capes!

You are told you have to meet one paranormal creature, no safeguards, what do you choose? What do you bring with you?

Does Buffy Summers count as a paranormal creature?

You have to ask a fictional character out on a date—who would you ask and what would you do together?

I think I’d ask out Bridget Jones. She strikes me as a bit dirty. So guess what we’d be doing together.

Of all the individuals you have created, do you have a particular favourite? What appeals to you the most about this character?

I’ve said this before, but it’s The Colonel from Lost & Found. I think it’s just that over the course of editing the story I looked more into his motivations and wrote some scenes that gave an insight into his state of mind. And as a result, he well and truly earned my respect. I think a lot of people will still despise him, and still think he’s an idiot – but I think a lot of people will understand and sympathise with him too.

Has being published changed you at all?

Not really. At least, I hope not.

What makes a great book to you?

Two words. Plot. Character. Character without plot is just a lot of people standing around talking and I can get that at work. Plot without Character is uninteresting – we need to know, understand and care for the people involved before we give a damn about what’s happening to them.


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