Q – What inspired you to become a writer?
A – It’s hard to pinpoint one particular thing, but the fact that both of my parents were journalists as I was growing up, must have been a big factor. My dad was an editor and my mam was a reporter and I remember thinking how brilliant it must be to have interviews with people and then turn them into stories that people actually wanted to read. And seeing them turn up in black and white in the newspapers was thrilling to me. Add that to some pretty awesome English teachers and a love of reading and you’ve got yourself a writer in the making!
Q -Who are your biggest literary influences?
A – The first books I remember affecting me as a child were probably those by Roald Dahl. I loved his world-building and characters that stayed in my mind long after the book was over. After that, taking English Literature at college was a huge turning point and discovering Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte was a game changer. I honestly think that book might be the original chick lit and the emotionally complex worlds of Heathcliff and Cathy were so compelling to me. Since then, I love any author who has a strong, identifiable voice – somebody who grabs me with their personality even if it’s fiction. Think Elizabeth Gilbert, Caitlin Moran, Gail Honeyman, Marian Keyes and I also love the poet, Hollie McNish.
Q – How do you handle negative reviews or criticism of your work?
A – To be honest, I don’t get that many negative reviews and that’s not because my work is flawless but more because I’m still growing my readership. At the moment, I’m doing a good job of attracting the right readers to my books but as that grows, I know the negative reviews will come rolling in. That’s just part of being an author. I did get my first 1-star review a few months back and it felt like an important rite of passage! Sometimes I get mean, unhelpful comments on my social media posts but I just block really nasty ones and the rest can just roll with the punches. The good far outweighs the bad!
Q – What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
A – Just do it! I know this sounds a bit trite, but I wasted years wondering whether or not I should write, whether anybody would read my stuff, whether it would be rubbish and what people would think. I’ve come to realise that none of this matters at all. Writing is a creative endeavour and it’s all about how it makes you feel. There’s a wonderful quote by Goethe: “Whatever you think you can do, or believe you can do, begin it. Action has magic, grace and power in it.” This really helped me to get started and after that it’s all about perseverance, coming back to the feeling writing gives you, and tuning into your own voice.
Q – What do you hope readers take away from your writing?
A -After all of the feedback I’ve had since becoming published, I’ve learned that readers will take back from the writing whatever they’re bringing to it. As a writer, there’s only so much power I have to determine what that might be and that’s honestly one of the things I love about putting my books out into the world. Whilst my books contain themes about self-love, motherhood, friendship, multicultural love and mindfulness, the reader will only take the bits that are meaningful to them. With that in mind, I’d say my hope is that readers find an authentic voice in my writing and they recognise the stories are written with real passion and integrity. Then everything else is a bonus!