1) What gave you the idea for your book series Northern Witches?
I’ve always been into local history (I live in the North East of England, we have plenty of it!) There was a witch trials in Newcastle in the 1600s where fourteen people were hanged and I wanted to write this into a storyline. This is where the idea first came from for the series. In the third book, I’ve incorporated stories about a witches circle in Winlaton, where witches were said to practice their craft.
2) Tell us about your writing background. Any other published works? Contests?
I was first published at the tender age of 14. A short horror story and followed in my teens by some poetry. I always said I’d write a book but wait until my life experience was such that I could write a good one. One day last year, my husband went off on holiday without me. Bored, I wondered what I’d do with my time. I picked up my laptop and before you know it, I was researching for my first book. I’ve been hooked ever since.
3) What got you into writing paranormal/romance/comedies?
The biggest blessing my mother ever bestowed on me was a love of books. At eight years old, she thrust Little Women in my hands and from that point on, I was hooked. My tastes have varied throughout my life but I do love a good laugh and a bit of romance!
4) Did you self-publish or go through a traditional publisher? Which do you think is better and why?
My earlier forays were traditionally published however my novels are self-published.
I am an avid reader, I’ve said that already. But I am also an avid reader who is a little tired of having my eye-teeth taken out every time I buy a book, especially when I know that most of my hard earned money doesn’t go to the person who deserves it; the author. No, the highest percentage of the book price goes to the publishers. The middle men. The same publishers who control the market, releasing a small percentage of the titles submitted to them each year. The same publishers who take a formulaic approach to making the decision on whether or not to publish. The same publishers who often get it wrong. We’ve all heard the stories of how many times our favorite authors were rejected before they ultimately were given a deal and then experienced runaway success and if not, just google famous rejections; it will open your eyes.
So why was I allowing these publishers to continue to make decisions over what I was going to read?
The next step, if you want to call it that, on my journey to becoming an author, was my absolute disgust in the fact that the cost of purchasing an e-book by my favorite authors was no cheaper than if I’d gone and bought a copy of the book from a shop. Wait a second, they don’t have all of the costs of printing and distribution, so why isn’t any of that benefit passed on to the readers?
Then I discovered indie authors. As I scrolled through the titles available on Amazon, I realized that many of the more realistically priced books were from independent authors, authors who weren’t backed by big publishing houses. I decided I’d suspend my belief that the quality wouldn’t be what one had come to expect and I was very pleasantly surprised. Yes, admittedly, some of the books published were not works of art and possibly won’t be around as long as books such as Of Mice and Men, for example, but that is also true of many of the titles now sitting on my bookshelf. Some of the e-books I read were pure gold, some I’ve even read more than once (to my mind, the mark of a good book!).
A germ started to form in my mind. I could write, publish and not put my faith in a publisher who would cream off a huge slice of any income generated and overcharge for something that costs very little to distribute. I’ve been fortunate firstly in that Amazon offer a platform from which I can access many, many readers but also fortunate in that these same writers seem to like my books.
5) What are you doing next?
I’m considering whether to write the first in a new series or the second in the Bite the Big One series. That book was only ever meant to be a stand-alone however I’ve had readers contacting me, begging me for book 2. Who knew a talking dog, a lousy witch and a girl who talks to dead people would be so popular?
6) What advice would you give aspiring authors?
First, do it for yourself, first and foremost. That way you won’t be disappointed. Second, spend as much time on marketing as you do on writing as both are equally important if you really want to make a go of it. Third, write every day, even if it’s just a few hundred words!
7) What is the writing process like for you? What is your writing day like?
I write from first thing in the morning and then a little late at night. I tend to try and squeeze an hour in between jobs I need to go and that gives my brain a chance to come up with new ideas.
8) What obstacles if any did you encounter or have to overcome while writing your book(s) (ie. research, finding your voice ) etc.?
Writing the first chapter of the first book was the hardest thing I’ve had to do, but it’s all about believing in yourself. If you believe you can do it, you can. We’ve all read that book we thought was rubbish, knowing we could have done better, right? So do it.