Q – What inspired you to become a writer?
A – I’ve always loved stories and I’ve written ever since I was little, so I don’t know if there was one specific thing that inspired me to write (apart from a general love of books and reading and a hunger for the escapism and adventures the books offered). Having said that, I’ve a had a few breaks from writing fiction through my life, but then, when the time is right, the muse comes back and I’ll get characters and scenes playing in my mind, and the feeling of a story, and that’s when I pick up my pencil or open the laptop.
Q -Who are your biggest literary influences?
A – I’ve always been an eclectic reader, so I’ve been inspired by everyone from Jane Austen to Patricia Cornwell over the years. My favourite genres are fantasy (urban fantasy, paranormal and high/epic fantasy) and stories with magical elements (such as magical realism and contemporary fantasy). I also really enjoy women’s fiction and stories about people with real-life issues and where the character’s journey is what you’re there for. And I don’t mind a good tear-jerker. With all that said, nowadays, my biggest influences would be Sarah J. Maas, JR Ward, and Liane Moriarty. I love the way these women build out their worlds, as well as their characters.
Q – How do you handle negative reviews or criticism of your work?
A – I generally drink a chai whilst having a good cry to my hubby or writer friends. After that though, I try to take the criticism in the context and spirit that it’s intended. Generally, (if it’s a helpful negative review) I try to see if there are things I need to work on and improve from a story writing/craft perspective, or if there’s something I need to make clearer when it comes to the book’s blurb, cover and other marketing elements. But some negative reviews aren’t especially helpful, and when it’s something like a 1* “Not for me” kind of review, you’ve just got to respect that sometimes you have a book-reader mismatch and get back to work the next day.
Q – What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
A – Ooh, where to begin? Because my background is in naturopathy and health, I would have to say I think it’s important try to keep some healthy balance in your life. I’ve seen many a writer burnout (I’ve burned out too, but not from writing), but as an independent publisher, it’s easy to get so busy with all the things you need to do to help get your book out there, that things like eating healthy and moving your body are the first to drop out of your day. So, some advice from someone with neck issues, make sure you factor in veggies and movement, in your writing day.
My other main piece of advice would be to keep reading and to read widely (not just outside of your favourite genre, but also read a mix of independently published work, as well as mainstream published, and books from newer, as well as established authors). It’s great to go back and read the early work of a now well-established author and to see how their writing has evolved. But also, once you learn about writing it’s harder to “switch off” and get lost in a good book, so when you find yourself reading a really, really good book that’s when you know you need to go back and read it again to see just how they did it.
Q – What do you hope readers take away from your writing?
A – I hope that readers finish my stories feeling like they’ve just had a tasty comforting meal and a warm hug. I can’t guarantee there won’t be some tears (of sadness and joy along the way) but generally when things are all tied up, I’d like my readers to feel uplifted, thoughtful and entertained.