Hi Rose and thank you for dropping by.
Thanks for having me!
Can you tell us a little about yourself, how you started your writing adventure and arrived at Crooked Cat?
Six years ago, I read ‘The Artists Way’ by Julia Cameron. It’s a book about unblocking your creativity. I felt very excited by it. I studied it with interest and did all the suggested tasks. I then managed to sit down, start writing a novel and keep going until I wrote ‘The End’. A year later I had written my first novel. I’m now halfway through my fourth.
I found Crooked Cat via luck and perseverance. Every writer will experience knock-backs. The trick is to pick yourself up and keep going. I told myself it had to happen sooner or later.
Both your novels, The Break-Up Test and How To Look Like You follow a departure from more traditional chic-lit, as they don’t just focus on one leading protagonist, but on different characters, both male and female. What made you choose this more choral approach?
That was accidental I think. I had a male friend who confided his love life dilemmas to me and I began to understand the workings of a male mind. So Jamie’s voice just became as loud as the female characters. It was fun to play around with. It helped me examine the theme from different angles.
Where do you find inspiration for your stories?
I start off with a theme first of all. It’s usually a topic that I want to learn more about. Something I want to investigate. Something I want to find different viewpoints on. It has to be a good gritty topic that I can get my hands on and play around with for a year.
Once I have a theme in place, I’ll start to think about characters. I might look at extremes – for example, a really shy character versus a really confident one. I’ll start to think about what they look like, what their background is.
What’s your writing “regime”, if you have one?
I set aside a few hours on a certain day that I can write. I tell myself that there is no pressure – I can just play about with ideas. I put the kettle on and make coffee. I’ll pretend that I’m in the audience watching the characters. I just record what’s happening. I tell myself that it doesn’t need to be funny or clever or brilliant – I’m only playing around with ideas at this stage. I coax myself like a little child really. But with the absence of pressure, I seem to write better.
I know you worked in the theatre world and once wrote a short play which made the stage. Would you like to try your hands at writing scripts again? Are there other genres you’d like to explore in future?
I prefer writing novels. This is because I can describe place and character more fully. I can also jump around from scene to scene. And of course the story can be much longer – there is more scope for twists and turns and the story weaving in many directions. I feel a bit more limited with script writing. However there is a major buzz with script writing in that it’s a joy to see an actor perform your words on stage.
The Break-Up Test is released in paperback today and How To You Look Like You will follow on the 5th October. How do you feel about digital and paperback formats? Have you got a favourite?
I am a kindle convert. I received one for Christmas last year and though it took me a while to get the hang of it, I now love it. I love being able to download free samples. I love that my kindle slots into my handbag and is easy to carry around. I love that I can have a variety of books at my disposal in one small space. However, it was a real joy to receive the paperback version of ‘The Break-Up Test’ in the post. I kept flicking through it and seeing my words jump out at me. It made my dream seem very real – I have actually written a book!
You are an avid reader too and a reviewer for Judging Covers. What do you enjoy reading and which are your favourite authors?
Well I don’t mean to sound obvious but I love reading chick-lit! I’m not great with horrors or crime because I’m such a scaredy-cat. I get too involved in the story and the horror scenes give me nightmares. I recently read a psychological thriller because my sister recommended it to me. It was indeed a very well written book, but I had to sleep with the light on for a few nights!
I prefer light hearted stories that leave me feeling happy and inspired. I could rhyme off a list of favourite authors such as Paige Toon, Lisa Jewell, Marian Keyes and Mike Gayle. However I am always open to discovering new writers.
Writing, reading… what else do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Well, as you know, we had a fabulous time at the recent Stone Roses gig! And I have enjoyed all the chat about them and finding out more about the band. I have watched loads of YouTube videos on them, listened to their music, even read a book on them! I’m hooked!
Apart from that, I love watching films and reading stories.
I enjoy walking. I like putting the ear-phones in and going for a good long walk – It’s a great way to raise the serotonin.
I love sitting in coffee shops watching the world go by; writing or reading.
I like sitting at home writing. I have a lovely view of the water and it’s very inspiring and peaceful.
I love shopping. Clothes and music and jewellery – especially in charity shops – you can’t beat a good bargain!
I love meeting up with friends and having a good chat/ laugh/ giggle over food/ coffee/ nibbles.
And I like dancing! I don’t get out clubbing as much as I used to but I do love a good dance!
Thank you for chatting to me, Rose, and all the best for the paperback releases.
Thank you for having me!
Find Rose on her Blog and on Twitter
The Break-Up Test
available in paperback from today
How To Look Like You
available in paperback from 5th October
Rose and I,
on our way to see The Stone Roses