Tell us something unexpected about yourself!
I’m a genealogist.
What novels affected you the most growing up?
I loved family stories about overcoming adversity, and stories that took me back to a previous time. I read ‘Gone with the Wind’ as a teen and loved it. Jean Plaidy was the author that hooked me into historical fiction.
Where did the idea for your current book come from?
The story of Brigid is loosely based on the true story of early immigrants to New Zealand, itself a new country in the 19th century.
Do you think there’s any way you could ever run out of ideas for books?
Not while there is history to tap into.
What is your routine for writing and has this method changed over the span of your career?
I write one book at a time – and it can take me months to write it. I research before hand and then do additional research as I’m writing. Some days I can write for hours, others I can barely write a paragraph. I’m a ‘pantser’, making the connections as I go along, and I’m a ‘fiddler’ and will work on the book until it’s as near perfect as I can make it. I hate errors. I haven’t changed my style, but I have tightened the way I go about the process.
How important is marketing and social media for you?
I use social media: Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Goodreads etc, to tell people what I’m doing, but I can’t Tweet. And marketing might as well be a foreign language. I know it’s important, terribly important, but I always put off doing what I know I should do. It’s an area I need help with.
What advice would you have for other writers?
Editing is the most important part of writing, in my opinion. Get beta-readers to help in the first place, use computer programmes to help pick up the errors, edit again and again until you think it’s perfect, and then pay for skilled services in editing, layout and cover design. The finished product has to be the best you can produce.
What are you reading now?
I read a lot of New Zealand authors, especially those who write historical fiction. I’ve just finished reading Kirsten McKenzie’s ‘The Last Letter’, and am currently reading ‘The Bell Curve’ by Keitha Smith. On my list is Jenny Patrick’s latest novel, “Leap of Faith”.
What’s your next step?
I’m in the finishing stages of my next novel, “Gwenna”. Set in 1899, in New Zealand, Gwenna’s life has changed. Her Pa is dead and Gwenna has no idea how to bring his dreams for the family confectionery business to life – not while living with her abusive stepbrother. A romance and hasty marriage offers a way out, but tragedy strikes and she returns home, pregnant, to pick up the pieces.
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