Can you tell us about yourself?
I am an ordinary person who never ever dreamed that I would become a writer. Writing was never on my agenda. I always seemed to be able to say everything in a few lines – a paragraph at most.
When did your passion for writing begin?
I did an Open University Degree Course in Social Sciences, which meant I had to set out my answers to questions in the form of an essay. I was not to assume that the person marking the paper knew any more than I was telling him/her. Therefore everything I said had to be backed up. Slowly, I began to understand that writing was informing the reader exactly what I was trying to get across. They were not meant to guess. When I received my degree, I began a writing course with The Writers’ Bureau. They gave me the confidence to become a writer
What made you decide to do it as a career?
Writing is not really a career for me. It’s more of a hobby, though I admit writing can be a very addictive hobby. I found I was hooked when my first article was published in The Lady Magazine in 2001. I was so proud and wished I could have shown it one of my teachers at my old school. I think my writing took off from that moment.
What writers and movies influenced you growing up?
As a child, I enjoyed books written by Enid Blyton. I can’t say I was interested in the classics – so I won’t.
Tell us about your first book. What was the genesis behind it?
I decided that to get noticed, I needed to grab the attention of the reader from the very start and I like to think that I did when I wrote The Trojan Project.
In the Prologue I began by letting the reader know that something very strange was happening in the valley below the Maine’s family farm. Not only was Sarah concerned about her missing husband, but she was also very afraid of the strange things taking place. However, it was not until chapter two that I allowed Sarah find out for herself the destruction and devastation to the land around the farm. Actually, I made the scene so gruesome, that I felt rather nauseous, and so I toned it down a little.
From there I tried to keep the reader guessing as to whether Sarah would manage to escape to reveal to the world the secret in the hills.
How do you make your characters different and unique and what sort of characters can readers expect to meet in the books?
In The Trojan Project, I really tried to keep the characters life-like. Believable, if you like. Sarah is warm-hearted, as is Pete, her husband. The villain of the piece is a rather slimy character – someone you wouldn’t like to have on your team.
In Divorcees.Biz the characters are all quiet different. One is a very upmarket lady, one very conscious of her weight; another is a rather attractive slim lady, perhaps a little shy, while Sadie… well Sadie is Sadie. A lady who likes to say what she thinks – no messing. Perhaps she is a little like me, when I was younger J
Only Twelve Days is a sweet, tender love story. The main characters, Sally & Bill are a little shy and afraid to say how they feel about each other. On the other hand, their friends are much more outgoing – perhaps a little too outgoing at times.
How many books have you written and can you tell us about them?
I have written three books in all. They were published in the order mentioned in the above response.
The Trojan Project – http://bookShow.me/B00KGSAD7Q
I tried to put everything I could into this first book: action, fear, horror, as well as the love shown between Sarah and Pete. Not only their love for each other, but also the love they share for their children and their friends. This is contrasted by the hate and jealousy of the villain of the piece. I really tried to keep the story moving, I wanted to reader to feel they were on a roller coaster read. I must add that I felt quite exhausted when I had finished writing it!
I wanted my next novel to be more light-hearted and fun, so I began writing about four, thirty-something divorced ladies who decide to set up and online dating agency for Divorcees. The story is set in London and begins with the launch of the dating agency; a rather posh affair being held in one of London’s most prestigious hotels. Connie wants the agency to be rather upmarket, while the others are a little concerned about the cost of it all. The story is quirky and fun, not least because of Sadie and her outrageous ideas and her strange dress sense.
Only Twelve Days http://bookShow.me/B00G6ZN7WG
Only Twelve Days is another ‘women’s interest’ novel, though my husband loves it! The story is set in December 1979 when a rather shy young lady meets a lovely man quite by chance. He is slightly older than her and a financial wizard in a very large company. But what could such a man see in her? Yet… who knows what is in store for any of us.
Your books cross both romance and thriller/action genres. Do you have a preference or do you enjoy dipping in and out of each?
I really enjoyed writing The Trojan Project and did start a sequel. However, it was then that I decided to try my hand at something else. Divorcees.Biz was certainly less gritty and so much fun to write. I suppose that was why I followed on from there with Only Twelve Days. Though it is still a romance, it is slightly different in that it is set in a different decade and the characters are certainly a change from the likes of Sadie and Connie!
What platforms do you use now to promote your work?
I’m afraid I only use Facebook and Twitter. However my novels have recently been picked up by a new publisher – Creativia (www.creativia.org) so you never know, the sky could be the limit. Fingers crossed X
Was it a harder journey than you thought it would be?
As writing is more of a hobby for me, I’m not sure how difficult I expected it to be. But having said that, once the bug took hold I became more determined to finish what I had started no matter how long it was going to take or who stood in the way.
What can people expect from the books?
I like to think that they are getting the read they expect. The Trojan Project is advertised as an action-thriller, and a conspiracy, something for the readers to get their teeth into. I truly hope they find that this is so. The other books are light-hearted and fun. Hopefully people who have had a tough day at work will feel better in themselves when they read them.
Did your stories change at all while you were writing it or was it pretty much as you planned?
My stories change all the time. I never plan anything. I simply make them up as I go along. I used to write short stories for women’s magazines and back then I never had a plan – well only that I would think of the last line of the story. Not only would that be the last line it would also be the title. I then wrote the whole story making sure I ended up with the correct last line. Perhaps I should add here that I was never any good at taking notes or making plans. I always relied heavily on my memory. I did the OU course without making notes. My memory is not so good today, though L
Describe the feeling when you held the very first copy of your book?
I really can’t explain it. It was a most wonderful feeling. I had done it – something, a few years back I would never have thought possible. But I knew I had to write another.
How involved are you in deciding on the covers?
I have always been very involved. When Creativia took over, I asked if they would use the same covers. They agreed and contacted the various artists for permission. Just a few weeks ago, they asked about changed the cover of ‘Only Twelve Days’ and I agreed, as long as I approved of their choice. So now it is sporting a lovely new bright cover.
How important is networking for you?
It used to be very important, but I’m afraid it was taking too much of my time. So now I dip in and out.
It was once said to me that being a writer is the loneliest job in the world. Would you agree?
Yes and no. Yes because you are sitting tapping away on the keyboard for hours on end all by yourself. On the other hand you are creating characters. You can make them fun, sad, laugh or cry. It’s all down to you. So while you are doing that, how can you be lonely?
What kind of writer are you? Do you write to a schedule or do it when the zone takes you?
Short answer to that – no schedule. I like to do things when the mood takes me.
What defines the perfect book for you?
A story that has me so engrossed I don’t want to put it down until the end.
What is the most frustrating part of being a writer for you?
Getting a publisher to publish your work!
What has been the greatest lesson you have learned since becoming a writer?
Having patience – unless of course you are a celebrity and the publishers are falling over themselves to publish your book. But best I don’t get started on that!
What do you think is the biggest obstacle for writers getting their books out there today?
Again – publishers. Can I add here that I am not referring to my latest publisher? Creativia are great! For a start they reply to your emails promptly rather that you having to wait weeks for a reply.
What advice would you give to any budding writer out there?
I can only advise them not to give in. If one publisher turns you down, then try another. Or even publish yourself on Amazon.
What are you currently working on?
I am working on two novels at the moment – not a good idea for me. One is a sequel to The Trojan Project and the other is a sequel to Divorcees.Biz. This time the ladies are branching out into a detective agency. The title is ‘I Haven’t a Clue’ which just about sums me up J
Where can people find your books?
All my books are available from Amazon either in paperback or as ebooks.
The Trojan Project - http://bookShow.me/B00KGSAD7Q
Divorcees.Biz - http://bookShow.me/B00F3KD6JY
Only Twelve Days - http://bookShow.me/B00G6ZN7WG
Eileen, thank you very much!