Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
When I look back I’ve been so many persons – teacher, psychologist, manager, and now, author. I came to writing almost by accident, and I wish I’d started 40 years ago. I’ve published a novel and a book of short stories (“From the Heart: Stories of Life and Love”).
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
“Choose: Snakes or Ladders – a Psychological Coming-of-Age Novel” – it started from a brief writing exercise, and refused to be put away. The character, a young woman in the 50’s, lived in my mind from the first words. Her naive optimism, her dreams and her strength in the face of fear and setbacks is revealing and inspirational.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I don’t know how others do it, but for me its an ‘avoidance/approach’ pattern. So many thoughts and scenes lurk in my mind beforehand – during the night, while doing boring tasks, even sitting on buses. Eventually I’ll push myself to sit down and then, once I’ve begun, I don’t see anything else for 2-3 hours. I’m exhausted.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Marvelous classical authors – Tolstoy, Louisa May Alcott, Henry Handel Richardson –
and good modern writers – Virginia Woolf, Sebastian Faulks, Kamila Shamsie, Helen Garner, Tim Winton, Chimamanoa Ngozi Adiche, Ian McEwan – too many to list. And there’s always the odd writer whose stunning writing leaves me paralyzed, such Marie Jalowicz-Simon, writing of her own experiences.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on the sequel to Choose: Snakes or Ladders, and I’m excited about the way it is following the themes of the first novel – the struggle for safety and independence and love, but with even more mystery and drama. It’s about a young woman growing up so it does touch upon the sexual side of life.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I’m new to publishing, and I was awesomely helped by David Gaughran’s website and his books (Let’s Get Digital). I’ve heard good things about Book Gorilla, BookScream and of course, Awesome Gang. I need to develop a Social Media presence.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Don’t give up, but remember, it’s about enjoying your writing (or, at least the ones you finish!).
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Try everything. Keep going.
What are you reading now?
Secret River, by Katherine Grenville, set in an early Australian settlement.
What’s next for you as a writer?
After I finish the Choose: Snakes or Ladders sequel. I’m chasing a character in my head – a narcissist male and how the others he first enthralled make their escape from him. And then, I know there’s a story in my grandmother’s leaving England for country Australia without support – another strong female character that gets through a lot.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
War and Peace; Confessions, by Jaume Cabre; A Sense of an Ending, by Julian Barnes.