I was born and raised in Swansea. I still live here with my husband and two children.
Tell us a little about yourself as writer and as person.
I started writing novels about five years ago and I haven’t stopped since. In fact, apart from looking after the children my life pretty much revolves around writing.
Tell us about the concept behind your book(s).
The Halloween series began a couple of years ago when I had an idea to write a short story with a Halloween theme. The plan was to write and release it for that Halloween but, I gave the initial premise and a few thousand word story to a beta reader who suggested the story could be expanded on. And so, that’s what I did.
The story behind it, well a small part of it is based on something that had happened in my house. It was quite creepy in fact and that to be honest is what sparked the whole thing off. The two main characters are inspired by children, and Danny the main character is named after my son. There’s a lot of Welsh mythology and magic, and other worlds in there. All inspired from Wales. It’s even based in Carmarthen and will be turned into a film by a Welsh production company. So keep your eyes peeled.
Which Welsh person would you like to invite for dinner and what would you serve?
Luke Evans because I love him in Dracula Untold. I think, instead of a dinner we’d go out for a bag of chips down the Mumbles haha.
Who is your favourite Welsh author?
Dylan Thomas is my favourite Welsh writer. He had such a colourful way of describing things.
Apart from our beaches and beautiful landscapes, we have an amazing pool of talent here. Oh and there’s Welsh Cakes – we can’t forget the Welsh Cakes!
What are you working on now?
I have put together an anthology of horror stories in aid of Save the Children. It’s called Madame Movara’s Tales of Terror. Lots of writers have already got on board with the project and have been submitting stories for it. I am so pleased with the turn out so far. It has gone above and beyond what I expected.
This was something I have been wanting to do for a long time, but what propelled me to do this now was because, not long ago I read an article involving a two year old child having to fend for himself, and it was a story that I couldn’t shake off. It really affected me. So I thought I needed to do something and what better way than to use my skills and contacts to create a book and donate all the proceeds.
What are the best and the worst aspects of writing?
The best is staring at a blank page knowing you can create a world from nothing. A blank page isn’t scary; in fact it’s the most exciting part because that’s where it all begins – with an idea and a blank page. The worst aspect is, and I’m struggling here to find an answer… um, perhaps the self-doubt. We all have those days and yeah, they are killer days, but we pull through and plunder on, don’t we?
Who are your editors and how do you quality control your books?
For my new book I will be looking for an external editor. There’s no way I can edit my own work to a standard an editor can. My covers are now done by graphic designers, so they do have a professional touch, also. When I did start out, I did the covers myself – needless to say, I am no graphic designer!
How have you found the experience of self-publishing?
I began as an Indie author, went traditional with Halloween and now gone back to Indie. Basically, I like the freedom that comes with being Indie, but in order to do this you really do need to have a lot of self-motivation. It is hard work trying to get your name out there. I was with a small press, and to be honest I found that I was doing most of the promotional side to it even then, so it just made sense to go back to Indie and have more of the percentage.
The lowest point of self-publishing is probably trying to get my books into local shops. There is still snobbery around self-published works, which shouldn’t be the case because a lot of authors actually do go out of their way to present the highest standard of work they can. One day, I’d like to see my books in a shop – that’s the dream.
What is your advice to new writers?
Find something, an idea/story that you are passionate about and don’t give up on it. Keep writing. Join writers groups; local ones or online. They will give you the encouragement and support you need to get the work done. I think having a support network really makes all the difference as well.
What is your favourite book?
I read the Bell Jar at 17 and to this day it remains my favourite.
What book are you currently reading and in what format (e-book/paperback/hardcover)?
How do you handle criticism of your work?
Reviews that are balanced and constructive are really helpful and I always appreciate the time it has taken someone to go out of the way to do, because they don’t have to. Now and then you’ll find one stars and you’re like, ugh, I can’t go on writing but if you look at it like this; that not everyone likes the same thing and nobody reads the same book and sees it the same way then it’s easier to digest and move on.
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