1. Why did you want to become a writer?
I always wanted to be a singer and a songwriter, which I was during most of my twenties. But, after having kids, I found I didn't enjoy gigging and going up to London as much, so I gave it up. I desperately missed the creative side, and so began writing novels for my own enjoyment. Several years later, I decided to rewrite one of them and try to get it published. Now, eight-and-a-half novels later, I'm completely addicted to writing stories.
2. What's the toughest part of the writing process for you?
Making myself physically sit down and write. With two kids and my own business, there are always a hundred and one other things I need to do. But, once my bum is on that seat, the time is swallowed up and I can't stop.
3. What's the most enjoyable part of writing?
When something doesn't feel right in a book, and I can't work out what it is - but then, I have a eureka moment and everything suddenly slots into place. I love that feeling. It can be as simple as settling on the right character name, or as major as coming up with the perfect plot twist.
4. Out of all the amazing books out there, which book do you wish you had written and why?
I can't settle on one, as there are so many brilliant books out there. But Life of Pi is one of my favourites. It's beautifully written, colourful, tense, shocking, and also leaves you with an unsettled feeling.
5. If you could only save one of your characters from fictional calamity, which would you pick and why?
I can't be specific, as I'd give away too much of the plot, but in The Girl from the Sea, there's a character who is treated so badly, it made me wince to write it, and I wanted to slap the character who was behind it.
6. If you could spend the day with your favourite literary character (not from your books), who would you spend it with and what would you do?
It would have to be Moonface from the Enchanted Wood series. We'd check out the lands at the top of the Faraway Tree, and go down the slippery slip together. Apologies if you never read these books as a kid, and don't have a clue what I'm on about.
7. What can we expect next from you?
My next psychological thriller, The Best Friend, is out in the autumn. It looks at the toxic nature of some friendships, and what can happen when things get out of hand: They say to keep your friends close and your enemies closer... Wrong. Louisa’s new best friend has it all – the house, the status, the money – but she’s also hiding a dangerous secret. And, as she draws Louisa into her life, events take a chilling turn...
8. Is there any particular writing advice you wish you'd been given at the start of your writing career? If so, what is it? If not, what advice would you give to someone starting out?
If you want to make a career out of being an author, treat it as a business - set yourself writing schedules and marketing schedules. Look at other successful authors and see how they're doing it. Most importantly, set aside time to write every day.
9. Tell us what a typical writing day involves for you.
After I've sorted the boys out for school, I clear away the breakfast things, make myself a coffee and prepare to hit my word count by 1pm. If I don't make it, I'll try to catch up in the afternoon or evening. Usually, I reserve the afternoon or evening for promotional activities such as contacting book bloggers, or scheduling listing with promo sites. I also have to fight hard to resist the lure of social media and other online time-sucks.
10. Finally, what are you reading at the moment?
I've just finished reading The Broken Ones by Sarah A. Denzil. It's a British psychological thriller that gave me goosebumps. I recommend it!
The Girl from the Sea:
Perfect for fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, a chilling suspense story of wounded hearts and dark secrets.
Washed up on the beach, she can’t remember who she is. She can’t even remember her name. Turns out, she has a perfect life – friends and family eager to fill in the blanks. But why are they lying to her? What don’t they want her to remember?
When you don't even know who you are, how do you know who to trust?