Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I was born, and lived most of my life, in Scotland. Although I now live in Australia, I try to get home every couple of years to spend time with my family and enjoy my beautiful homeland. I also get a chance to do research which I enjoy immensely.
I have written three novels, two of which are set mainly in Scotland. I have always been fascinated by ancient and medieval history, and the legends and myths of the past. In my storytelling, I enjoy entwining real historical characters and events with supernatural elements such as reincarnation and magic.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book, Memories of the Night Sky, is set in Scotland in three different timelines – the 8th century on Orkney around the time of the arrival of the Vikings, the 14th century at the Knights Templar headquarters at Balantrodoch (now known as just Temple), and the present day.
I am fascinated by the history of the Templars and Druids in Scotland, and I wanted to incorporate them into a story set in the present. I enjoyed every minute of researching this novel.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I enjoy writing by hand. In fact, I wrote the whole of my first novel by hand on the two hours a day I spent on trains going to the office. I find I get more inspiration from sitting up in bed in complete silence, thinking or writing on a notepad, than I do sitting in front of a computer screen. I always have a notepad beside my bed as I often get a good idea when I am asleep.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I am drawn to the way a story is written and the ‘voice’ of the storyteller. I remember reading Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier decades ago and I loved everything about it – the story, the sense of place, and the writing. Another of my favourites is Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice, and more recently My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares. Again, it was the writing that drew me to the books and made me want to tell my stories that way.
What are you working on now?
I am presently working on not procrastinating. I am currently reviewing my collection of short stories with a view to publishing them, I have written a few chapters of a sequel to my first novel, Distant Whispers but would really like to do a sequel to my second novel, There is a Place, and I have an idea for a new story. As my last novel Memories of the Night Sky has only recently been published, I am also cleaning out files and in preparation for the next project. I intend to end my procrastination period very shortly because I do love writing.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I have a website, a Facebook page, an Amazon Author Page and a Twitter account, but I have to admit, writing books comes a lot easier than promoting them. I am working on finding other outlets to do this.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
If you want to write, just do it and enjoy every minute of it. No matter what the outcome, you will have fulfilled a passion.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
I displayed this quote on the wall next to my desk when I was working on my first novel and wondering if I had it in me to be a writer. It is still there today, and I still need the reminder.
“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” Ralph Waldo Emerson.
What are you reading now?
I am reading Wolf of the Plains by Conn Iggulden – the story of the Khan Dynasty, Beyond the Law by Tom Benson – set in Glasgow with lots of action, and The Northern Throne (Warrior Druid of Britain Book 3) by Steven A McKay.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I plan to begin a new novel within the few weeks so I will be putting my thoughts on paper and mind-mapping the research required. It is hard work but I do love this part of the process.
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?
The Manual of the Warrior of Light by Paulo Coelho, The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, and Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. That would give a rescuer plenty of time to find me. If I was allowed to be stranded with a cat, then that would be a whole different story.
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