Thank you Talor and the team at Chicks That Read – like all Reviewers, your devotion to books and authors is amazing.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I was about nineteen, reading a novel on the train when I was working in London, and, you know sometimes you read something and think to yourself, I could do better than that, then, of course you try and, discover actually, you can’t – yes, that was the moment! But, it made me start writing and, to read with a purpose. Jilly Cooper and Barbara Taylor-Bradford were massively influential. I love getting lost in a book, so it made sense to create my own world as well as enjoying others’.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I hope my work never comes across as pedagogic and I would never want to be condescending to my readers, but I like to write female character who find that inner strength whatever life throws at them. Most people are trapped by some circumstance, and, life is full of challenges, even to those whose lives appear charmed, so no matter what, it’s never too late or, too early for that matter, to create a fresh way of dealing with something or a new path, or follow a passion.
Who designed the cover of The Vineyard, it’s gorgeous?
Thank you. I think so too. The designers at CarinaUK must take complete credit though. They’ve done an amazing job not only with mine but with all their covers. I love the originality of it! As well as the Mediterranean colours, to me it captures an air of mystery, for example, it begs the question, are there vineyards in the background or sea, and as a fellow writer asked, who’s been sitting in that empty chair.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned so much from writing this book. And, I want to keep learning, from reading too. I will always aim to improve. However, if I had to pull out one thing, one major lesson from writing it, and pass it on, I would say to a new writer, just get your novel/story written. It’s your story in your voice and you’re in control – complete it. The edits can come later.
What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?
Once I got started, the first challenges were keeping a pace going. I like a pacey novel as a reader so obviously, I want to write what I enjoy, but when you’re writing it, you are working in such relative slow motion and it can sometimes feel like it’s such a plod and it begins to get stale and boring…and everyone’s gone to sle..ep! (Snore).
Wakey, wakey! Yes, that was a challenge for me. So this being my first novel, I can understand why many writers give up. So, I could probably go on all day here, but the next big challenge was to make some changes to my character Anton. In the first draft, I had caricatured him rather than given him a believable depth. My editor liked him to a ‘pantomime villain’. I really didn’t like him but, I greatly respect her expertise. So, yes some structural changes, helped bring it to life.
What are your current projects?
There’s lots to keep up with launching The Vineyard and, I’m currently working on my second novel for CarinaUK.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Yes, it’s also partly set in a stunning setting. I do get inspiration from my travels. This is set partly in Montreux on the Swiss Riviera and partly in Venice, and, in a trendy part of West London but it differs in that it leans to the paranormal. And, yes, has again, strong independently minded, female characters who have pretty difficult challenges to face.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I think, Barbara Taylor-Bradford from her title A Woman of Substance for introducing me, all those years ago, to strong women characters who manage to retain their femininity and embrace a love and support for their family.
What books have most influenced your life most?
The above and, also, for a pace and wit Riders – Jilly Cooper, Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen, for sense of place and integrating past, The Island and The Thread – Victoria Hislop. For dialogue Secrets & Chances– Freya North and, any title Eileen Ramsay, Jill Mansell or Fiona Walker for voices that sing.
Finally, do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Absolutely! Can I say a huge thank you for taking precious time to read my book, I really hope you enjoy it because, that’s why I write. I would love you to take something away from my writing that stays with you and whets you’re appetite for more. If you wish to add a comment or let me know what your thoughts are, I would welcome them whether on sites such as Amazon, Goodreads or by contacting me on my website.
I want to say a huge thank you to Karen for answering my questions honestly, and with so much thought this Q&A is so interesting and fabulous I hope you all read this and enjoy it as much as I did!
Tomorrow We Have The Reviews Of The Vineyard By Me, (Tay) & By One Of My Fabulous Reviewers The Lovely Holly
Thanks For Reading My Lovelies
Chicks That Read
I'm a bookwhore, yes I said it, I have no shame, I will wander off with any old book I'm not even a little bit ashamed. Twenty Seven, Mum, SEND Teaching Assistant, general beauty hoarder and lover of the Irish.