Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
‘Murder In The Bush’ is my seventh novel. I spent a career as a Journalist and Editor and now devote my time to researching and writing historical fiction. All of my books are set either totally or partly in Scotland. I live in Australia but my father was born in Scotland and I have visited several times. My first three novels were based on my ancestors in Scotland. ‘The Undertaker’ and its sequel ‘The Undertaker:Masquerade’ have a young female undertaker working in Edinburgh in the 1850s and have proven so popular that I am working on a third book in the series. I have also written a book called ‘The Last Hurrah’ about a terminally couple who are disconnected from their adult children.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
‘Murder In The Bush’ is based on a true story and I have enjoyed researching life in the Highlands of Scotland and the colony of Queensland Australia in the 1880s. As editor of a Scottish magazine, I received an email from the grand-nephew of the hero of the story. He had traced his family history and thought I may be interested in a story for the magazine. When I read what he had discovered I knew I had to turn it into a novel.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I am usually up very early in the morning because that is when I get most of my writing done. I’m always full of ideas early in the day. I’m a scribbler. I’ll write down ideas and information on the nearest scrap of paper.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I think every book we read influences us in some way. I loved the work of Walt Whitman and Ralph Waldo Emerson when I was studying at university.
What are you working on now?
‘Murder In The Bush’ has just been published and I am on the promotional trail. I have three novels on the drawing board. I think the third instalment in ‘The Undertaker’ series will be the next draft to get my attention.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I talk to a lot of people, both face to face and on Facebook and Twitter, and enjoy answering questions from readers. Promoting your books takes a lot of time and effort and you have to keep at it.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Don’t be in a hurry to get your work into print. It’s your name on the cover and if you don’t produce a quality book it could ruin your reputation before you even get started. If you can afford to employ a professional editor and cover designer it will be worth your while.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Great readers make great writers.
What are you reading now?
I have a pile of books on my bedside table with bookmarks sticking out of them, but my go-to book when I need inspiration is Rhonda Byrne’s ‘The Secret’. It always makes me feel very positive.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I will be visiting Kate ‘The Undertaker’ in Edinburgh again very soon to see how she goes in her efforts to get into medical school. Women weren’t allowed to study medicine in the 1850s, but Kate likes a challenge.
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?
A volume of poetry by William Wordsworth
‘Macbeth’ by William Shakespeare
‘The Old Man And The Sea’ by Ernest Hemingway
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