Life before characters
Life, ‘as we know it’, before I became a writer was a dark, messed up place. Weird people came to me in my head with lives that demanded to live. They’d talk to me about wanting to be ‘set free’ and I had no clue as to who they were or why they were in my mind.
My imaginary friends drove my mum to despair!
I tried to lead a normal life as I grew up: school, college, work, marriage, kids, work. But then I discovered I could write about these weird people and give them the life they craved.
My first shot at it was awful. OMG awful, in fact. I think it even began ‘It was a dark, stormy night’ to give you an idea of how awful it was. That book won’t ever see the light of day! Thank God, I say.
There was another weird person in my head who used to come to me in dreams. He was scary, sexy, dangerous and an enigma until I got to know him. The first night I dreamed about him I woke up with the cliché pounding heart and a sweaty bod. But in the next dream he apologised for being an ugly mother effer, and after that I think I fell in love with him a little.
He became my superman in my thoughts. When my weird people got themselves into scraps he saved them—or tried to. He wasn’t infallible and made mistakes, but I loved him more for his errors. He became Fly and I put him in my first published book called Eden.
My biggest mistake was making him more palatable to look at. In my thoughts his face is scarred—part of his mouth his missing—and his hands are distorted through scar tissue. But readers weren’t able to see through his ugliness and told me so in reviews, so when I wrote the follow up, Hunted, I went back and rewrote Fly in Eden to be more agreeable to look at.
He mocks me for that.
My books have an element of romance, but the overall storyline is loneliness. All my weird people are lonely and want (or need) to be loved. I do my best to please them.
Eden and Hunted are a soft science fiction, A Proper Charlie and Oh No, I’ve Fallen in Love! are comedy romances, although Oh No, I’ve Fallen in Love! is a lot darker than most romcoms.
What I read for pleasure is what I like to write: bad verses evil, love conquers all… you know, the usual.
In my latest book, Wide Awake Asleep, it has the theme ‘riches verses happiness’ and my character needs to choose which she wants when she is repeatedly pinged back in time. Each time she goes back her future, and those around her, changes.
I was inspired to write Wide Awake Asleep by the Life on Mars series with Sam Tyler being sent back to the 70s, although Wide Awake Asleep isn’t a crime story or a series, and only my character, Julie, consciousness is sent backwards through time for her to appear inside other people’s bodies, it has a similar theme of Julie trying to get back to her present time by correcting her past.
Basically, it’s a time travel novel with twists and turns along the way, and set in the small village of Potterspury (outskirts of Northampton in the Midlands). It’s truly British!
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