I had always liked the idea of writing a full length novel but I completely lacked the courage to do it. When my Uncle Alan passed away suddenly, it was the catalyst I needed to get started. It was a sharp reminder that life can be short and I decided not to waste anymore time.
How long did it take you to write the book?
Nearly four years. Of course I thought I’d finished after a year and half which shows how little I knew! 🙂
What was the hardest part in the writing process for you?
I think one of the hardest parts of the writing process for me was learning how to take negative feedback in a constructive way and not let letting it send me into the depths of depression! At first I found it very hard to move on from a critique but actually I found that my book improved after I worked through feedback. Now, I find that negative criticism is often the most valuable because it helps me improve as a writer.
What were some of your favorite scenes to write?
Well I like a bit of romance, and I was always rooting for Josie and Callum to get together, so it was fun writing scenes between their characters. I also enjoyed writing the scenes with Tom in England, even though they were emotional. It was cathartic in a way and my intention was always to write a chick-lit story with a poignant twist; I wanted Josie’s character to have layers. I hope I managed that!
Starting Josie’s blog was a huge learning curve for me. I was completely new to the blog world but I wanted to test the market and see if there was an audience for a character like Josie. Besides I felt she had a lot more to say than just what was in the book so the blog was a good outlet for her! I’m so glad I did it, even though I was petrified at first.
Are you currently working on another novel?
Yes I am and I hope to release it in the Spring of 2012! It’s called “Holding Me Up – A Life Without Jasmine” and it’s about Trisha Miller, a bereaved mother, trying to find a way to move on from the grief of losing her daughter. It’s starts off in a dark place but I pull her out to somewhere good in the end!
You also do voiceover work. How did you become involved in this?
Back in England my plan, since I was a child, was to become an actress. I studied Drama at Manchester University and then trained as an actress at the Webber Douglas Academy in London. However everything was put on hold when I started having kids and moved to Belgium! A few years ago I made the decision to move forward with a voice-over career because I thought it would be flexible enough to fit around my family life. I am proud to say that I’ve recently become a volunteer reader to the Dallas Reading Resource center which provides a huge variety of audio material for those people who can’t read. It’s a fantastic facility, they reach out to so many people, and it feels good to be using my training for such a good cause.
If you could be on any reality show, which one would you choose?
That is so easy! I am a HUGE fan of American Idol and The X Factor so I would have to be on one of those. Although I’d prefer to be a judge if possible because it must be absolutely nerve-wracking to be a contestant!
Where would be your dream vacation?
I would be alone in an old stone cottage, half-way up a hill somewhere with a view of the sea, there would be a log fire, a steaming coffee pot, a tray set with jam and scones and a bookshelf crammed with books. The only sounds would be the crackling fire, waves crashing back and forth and rain lashing against the windows. I would be wearing cozy jeans, a pair of fleece slippers and a huge, but stylish, baggy jumper and I wouldn’t wash my hair for days! Ooh when can I go?
What is your advice to aspiring writers?
My advice to anyone wanting to start writing is the same advice I tell myself all the time (and it’s also the title of a FAB book by Susan Jeffers which I always recommend because you can apply it to all aspects of life): “Feel the fear – and do it anyway!” Just get started and don’t delete ANYTHING at first. Let the story come out; there’ll be plenty of time to edit your work later.