When did you know writing was for you?
I’ve always enjoyed writing—even as a kid, but you probably don’t mean that, right? 😉 Fast forward to my thirties, and I spent years writing my first book. I’m not kidding. I thought I knew how to write, but I didn’t. Not really. OMG the revisions! The tears! But I was determined (cue swear words and hair-pulling), so you can imagine the sense of achievement when I finally held A Heat Of The Moment Thing in my hands. That’s when I knew I’d be writing a second (and third and fourth) book.
Why was The Trouble With Dying a book you wanted to write?
Ever since a friend told me she’d left her body after a bad car accident I’ve been fascinated by out-of-body experiences. How did it happen? How did she get back? She told me the doctors were trying to save her and she was outside her body, watching everything, and it wasn’t until later that she found out she’d flatlined on the operating table. She knew things the operating team had said and done in those moments that she couldn’t possibly have known any other way.
I took that idea and ran with it, and the result was The Trouble With Dying. It brings together a whole bunch of stuff I’m interested in: clairvoyancy, ghosts, reincarnation, life and death and other ‘planes’ we may not yet know about.
I love your cover! Can you tell us who created it and how much input you had?
Thank you! I love it too! J It was created by Kellie Dennis of Book Cover By Design (http://www.bookcoverbydesign.co.uk).
How much input did I have? LOL Probably too much! I wanted this cover to have the same light, chick lit-y feel Kellie achieved for my first book. This proved quite a challenge, though, because The Trouble With Dying is a far more suspenseful read than my first book. Basically, I needed a cover that would project “light and fun” as well as “suspenseful and serious”. It was an impossible request!
Kellie came up with some stunning options, but they weren’t chick lit-y enough for me. I really wanted that consistency between the covers. We both searched for hours, looking for an image that might fit my criteria. (It’s so much easier when you have no idea what you want! I felt like a nightmare client!) In the end it was me who found the image we went with, but it was Kellie’s magic that made it the cover that it is.
What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?
Without doubt it’s the first draft. I’m not a fast writer. I want to be fast, I need to be fast, but I’m not. I still haven’t mastered the art of letting the words just spew out on the page. I know spewage is fine—it’ll be edited later—but try telling my perfectionist streak that! It’s a right royal pain in the writing butt.
What are your favorite genres to read?
I read a wide variety of genres. Romantic Comedies, Suspense, Chick Lit, Mysteries, Women’s Fiction, Young Adult . . . anything with a gripping storyline. But if I don’t get a happy ending it destroys the whole book for me. I need my happy endings.
What do you want readers to take away from your story?
Wow. That’s some question! I guess I want readers to believe that ultimately, whatever life throws at us, we’re in charge of our own destinies and we have to fight for what we believe in and never give up. But I also wanted to raise questions about life and death and the spaces in between.
How important do you think social media is for authors these days?
Unbelievably important. If it weren’t for social media, most of my readers wouldn’t know I existed. New Zealand is a tiny country at the bottom of the world so, physically speaking, I’m nowhere near my readers. Social media allows me to overcome that.
But it goes further than that. Through social media I’ve been able to find and network with other writers in my genre, which enables us to share readers and expand our own reader base.
Readers have insatiable appetites! If writers work together they can help keep readers ‘fed’—and social media is a great way of showing readers the menu.
What would be your advice to aspiring writers?
Write, write, write. Don’t do what I did and keep re-writing your first book in an attempt to get it perfect. Write one book, then write another, and another, and another, and another. That way, by the time you really know how to write, you’ll have five (or more!) books written and you’ll be able to edit them better and faster now you’ve upped your skills as a writer. The result will be five good, publishable books that you can release in a reasonably short timeframe. This is a great position to be in, regardless of whether you go the traditional- or self-publishing route.