I love genre fiction so I’m more than happy to define my work! The Blackbrooke Trilogy is young adult horror. It borders on new adult due to its themes. Definitely for older teens.
What made you choose that genre?
The books that got me reading when I was young were horror. I started with R. L. Stine’s Goosebumps series and then moved onto Point Horror. When I grew out of those, it was all about Stephen King. I love the idea of creating something scary that relies on the imagination of the reader rather than showing them horrifying images.
How long does it take you to write a book?
It’s differed as the trilogy progressed. The first book only took six weeks to complete, whereas the others required a bit more time and planning. Blackbrooke II needed a complete rewrite, and Blackbrooke III had me procrastinating for a good six months!
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I work full time so do a lot of my writing in the evenings and over weekends. I find the internet and social media a massive distraction so I try to get out of the house and sit in a quiet coffee shop. I deliberately don’t connect to the Wi-Fi so I can concentrate on writing. It does get difficult when you’re promoting books and trying to write them. The ‘marketing’ side of things requires a completely different mindset.
Where do you get your ideas for your books?
Everywhere and everybody! I take elements from my everyday life, as well as thinking about the things that scare me. Music is another big one. If it wasn’t for Paul Young’s Come Back and Stay, there would be no Blackbrooke. I’ve no idea why the plot came to me by listening to that song! I compile playlists for each book and when I really need to get into the zone I’ll put my headphones on and get typing.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I was about 23 when I wrote my first book, Driving Exile. I took inspiration from some of my Dad’s crazy stories from when he was in a band and brought it to present day. I was never happy with it though. It was regular fiction and I struggled to write something that didn’t have an element of horror!
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I love reading. I used to work at Waterstones and got spoilt by all of the free proofs. My partner still works there though, so he keeps me in books! I also like to be active and spend time keeping fit and doing yoga.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
It surprised me how much I still have to learn. I’m not the best technical writer. My grammar needs a lot of work and I learn more with every book I write. I thought I was a great writer after completing a degree in English, but it’s amazing how quick you forget everything. I’m firmly blaming ‘text speak’. Plus, I type so fast that I do make a lot of mistakes. I ignore them until the edits and then I always get a shock.
How many books have you written?
Four. The Blackbrooke Trilogy and Driving Exile.
Which is your favourite and why?
Well, it’s not Driving Exile! I love all of the Blackbrooke books, but there’s nothing like the magic of the first one. The excitement I got when I was writing it, wondering if people would like it, hasn’t been repeated yet.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to be an author. I remember crying at the age of 10 when my friend got her poem printed in an anthology and I didn’t. I was sobbing to my mum that I just wanted my name in print. The drama! I should have been thinking about riding my bike and seeing my friends, but I knew exactly what I wanted.
What are you working on now?
What am I not working on might have been a better question! I’ve started three books and have an idea for a fourth. I’ve written about 30,000 words for each and now need to decide which to choose. It’s exciting and quite scary. I miss my Blackbrooke characters a lot but it’s time to move on and fall in love with new ones.
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