Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
My name is Phyllis Burton and I have lived among the beautiful south-west Surrey Hills in southern England for many years and I feel they have given me the inspiration to write. Not only that, but I love choral and opera singing, walking and water-colour painting. I am married with three children and seven grandchildren. I love to write about my thoughts and those of my characters. I’m also an avid reader and often panic if I can’t find a book to read. After attending a Creative Writing Course, I soon started writing short stories, (two short-listed in competitions and one broadcast by a local radio station), poetry and one-act plays. I was also an enthusiastic member of the Haslemere Writers’ Circle and was on the Committee of The Grayshott Literary Festival.
I have written two full-length books: A PASSING STORM and PAPER DREAMS (published by Matador, an Imprint of Troubador Publishing Ltd. of Leicester, England) and in May I self-published a book of short stories…”FIFTEEN BRUSHES WITH LOVE”, through Kindle KDP and Smashwords.
I spent years treading the boards with my local Drama group, performing plays and pantomime (including the role of Cinderella, in Cinderella, and the Vegetable Fairy in Jack and the Beanstalk – much to the amusement of my children). I have produced a full-length play and two of my own one-act plays. I was Auditions Secretary for Opera Omnibus. I am a trained Soprano and sang solo roles with two Opera Societies. I painted the picture on the cover of A PASSING STORM.
I also love to BLOG and these can be found on my website: www.phyllisburton.com
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
I published my latest book – FIFTEEN BRUSHES WITH LOVE” as an ebook through Kindle and Smashwords in May 2013.
What inspired me to write this book?
My answer has to be the word “LOVE” This book contains fifteen short stories about LOVE. I have always enjoyed writing short stories and suddenly I had a pile of tales all with a love theme, but I would add that they are all quite different and unique. I love to explore the way people think and be able to put these thoughts down on to paper. After all, love in all its meanings, makes the world go round.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
People say that authors can be eccentric, so I suppose we all are to a certain extent. Sitting alone in front of an old typewriter or even the most modern computers or laptops would not be everyone’s idea of spending several hours each day. I often think of things to write about in the middle of the night and have to stop myself from getting up and rushing into the study to turn on my computer, so that I don’t forget some brilliant ideas. How frustrating it is when, just like a dream, that hoped for moment of brilliance is quickly forgotten.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I have always loved reading books of all kinds, so I suppose no individual author has influenced my writing. But I suppose it has to be the combined thoughts and styles of every book I have ever read that has shaped my writing style. Having said that, dear reader, I must admit to an unshakable regard for Jane Austen
What are you working on now?
Apart from constantly looking for new short story ideas, I have two current writing projects underway. I am mid-way through writing my third novel (romantic/thriller THE ICE MELTS). The main character, solicitor (lawyer) Sarah Wenham has to give permission for the machine that is keeping her husband Tom alive, to be switched off. Tom had been in a coma ever since the small aircraft in which he was travelling crashed into the side of a Swiss mountain.
Sarah cannot forget what she has done and despite the best efforts of John, her husband’s replacement in her firm of solicitors/lawyers, she spurns his advances. Several more problems ensue and have to be overcome before Sarah’s icy demeanour falters…and just as Sarah and John are beginning to get to know one another, more heartbreak suddenly looms on the horizon.
My second project is a future book with a title of ‘LITTLE PIDDLEWICK’. Earlier this year I wrote a short story entitled ‘EVIDENCE FOR BURNING’. The action takes place in the very English village of LITTLE PIDDLEWICK. Most villages are peppered with interesting characters and as an author friend pointed out, a collection of chapters/stories about the inhabitants of this fictional village could be great fun to write and hopefully great fun to read. I have some really intriguing ideas.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I don’t consider myself as being an expert on marketing and I spend a lot of time (when I know I should be writing), on Facebook, Twitter, Google etc. None of these sites seem ideal, but I have joined one or two sites like The Independent Author Network, AskDavid and only this week, I pinned my hopes firmly to The Author Marketing Club. And of course, sites like AWESOMEGANG!’ will also hopefully prove to be important in the long run.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Writing is a solitary occupation, but at some time, authors must come out of their shells to find a qualified editor to read their beloved manuscripts. Assuming of course, that they have already edited it, edited it and edited it again. Nothing puts off a reader more than finding errors that take their minds away from the story.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
The Internet and social media in particular, are absolute mines of information for authors, but to obtain an excellent grounding in all aspects of writing interesting and well-formed stories, budding writers should consider joining a Creative Writing Course. There is also the added advantage of having your writing examined and critiqued by other members. But you still cannot get away from the most useful and best advice, and that is to always make sure your writing is as accurate as you can possible make it. So,edit, edit and edit… But don’t let your family and friends read it for you, unless like me, your daughter is a copy-editor…she is very strict.
What are you reading now?
At present, I am reading a non-fiction book – I mostly read fiction – Miranda Hart’s book “IS IT JUST ME?” gives me a laugh a minute. Miranda has a wonderful self-deprecating style, which can be summed up in one sentence. “…It was a sad moment in my life to discover that a six-foot fifteen year old was no longer welcome in the ballet class.”
What’s next for you as a writer?
What’s next for me as a writer? I have to finish off my book ‘WHEN THE ICE MELTS’ in between trying to market my three other published books. My second project – LITTLE PIDDLEWICK – a quintessentially English book, the action of which takes place in the small village of Little Piddlewick. Most English villages are peppered with interesting characters, so it should be great fun. I have some really intriguing ideas.
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?
If I was stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with me, one of them would have to be “Pride and Prejudice”, by Jane Austen. I think I would probably take Miranda Hart’s book “IS IT JUST ME?”, because I would need cheering up, my own book “PAPER DREAMS”, because poor Katie Nicholson goes through some terrible times, but it all works out in the end. Finally (a bit of a cop out!) I would take any book that would tell me how to build a shelter, so that I could read when it is raining!.