I hope to invite other writers on my blog in due course so they can share information about their books and themselves as well as provide tips for other writers. As a practice run I thought I’d interview myself. So here goes…
What is the title of your latest book? What is it about?
Last year I had a novel for young adult readers published, called And Alex Still Has Acne.
And Alex Still Has Acne is about three teenagers who, on the face of it, have ordinary, comfortable lives. Life for fourteen year old Alex is OK most of the time. He enjoys school, has a best friend Sam, and a pretty and only mildly irritating younger sister, Nicky. But then Sam starts acting strangely, and so does Nicky – and both insist on sharing secrets with him and making him promise not to tell anyone. Then Nicky goes missing and only Alex feels he knows where to find her. But is Sam anywhere around to help?
What are the most challenging aspects of being a writer? And the most rewarding?
I find sticking with my intended plot outline quite a challenge – the characters often decide to do something completely different. Usually, unless it would mean completely re-writing the book (and that has happened!) I go with the flow and tweak the plot outline accordingly.
My most rewarding experience was when my son read the first draft of And Alex Still has Acne – and said it was quite good. Praise indeed from him; he wouldn’t have hesitated to tell his mother she was writing rubbish if that was what he thought. He did make a few useful suggestions as well, after all he had been a teenager a lot more recently than I had.
What is your top tip for an aspiring writer?
Read plenty of novels, especially from the genre you want to write in. Read for pleasure, but then think about what worked / didn’t work for you in that particular book before you move onto the next one.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am about to have another YA novel – Girl Friends – published by Solstice, so I am busy with editing, choosing the cover art, and lining up promotional opportunities. I also write plays and I have two recently completed ones to find good homes for. (One was commissioned for an event that did not then go ahead). I’m about a quarter of the way through another, but it’s not going too well at the moment, so I’ve just written a short story for a competition instead.
What do you like to read?
I will read almost anything from cereal packets to dictionaries rather than sit and do nothing. I like the classics (Jane Austen, George Eliot) but will also read new novels (Anne Tyler – A Spool of Blue Thread). I like non-fiction too and have not long read two books by Bill Bryson: A Short History of Nearly Everything and Mother Tongue. I love the way he conveys so much information in such an engaging way. I have just started reading Kate Summerscale’s true story about the murder of a little boy in 1860 – The Suspicions of Mr Whicher. Whicher was one of the first real life detectives, and the prototype for detective characters in novels by Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins.
Where can readers find you?
Nearly all my published novels and short stories are available from Amazon.
There is information about my plays on my website and you can contact me via the website if you want a copy of any of them.