1- Explain how you use humor in your books.
The humour really just happens. I’m probably taking experience from stage work I’ve done in the past and scripts I wrote while I was at school. I never sit down and plan something to be funny and I don’t think I’m particularly hilarious, I just end up reading something back and thinking “that’s quite amusing.” The humour tempers the dark aspects of some of the subjects I write, but is a natural entity. Life is not just one thing or another, it’s a mixture of light and dark, funny and sad, love and hate. There are people with absolutely no sense of humour whatsoever, but the majority of people I have met over the years have the ability to say something that will amuse at least one other person. So much of the humour in what I write comes from the characters and dialogue rather than the narrative, just because that’s been my experience. I never intend it to happen it just turns up.
2- You said that Modified started out as a story in a mundane office and then you moved it into space, can you explain why.
Sheer terror. I am constantly looking at ways to reduce my stress levels. I had tried to write the story set in London and on our moon. A couple of weeks before I published I realised I barely had a grip on reality anymore and was terrified that someone would point their finger at my fictitious version or London or some piece of technology that I’d made up and take joy in pointing out that what I’d written was ridiculous. A lot of it is ridiculous, but that’s the point, it fires the imagination. Throwing the whole story onto a made up world just took away the stress of potentially dealing with people who think everything set on our world should be absolutely true to what we know about our universe. It’s my world, I created it, therefore my rules apply.
3- What are the challenges of being an indie and juggling your regular life?
Finding time. I read so much about how authors write until 4am or get up hours earlier than everyone else. I can’t do that because one of the symptoms of my hypermobility syndrome is fatigue. I need to sleep. I have a family and I run a small part time business, there are a few hours of the day, usually in the morning when I’m awake enough to get things done. Being an indie is hard work. It’s not just about writing the book. If you haven’t got the money, you’ve also got to edit the book yourself, format it, create the cover and do the promotion. It’s a huge amount of work. Another challenge is dealing with self-doubt. It’s there and I deal with it some days better than others. Modified should be available as a paperback by now, but my head is full of too many “what if’s” and not enough “oh for crying out loud woman, just do it’s.”
4- What life experiences have helped prepare you for being an indie?
I’ve run my own business for the past 16 years. It’s a people based business. I’ve spoken to and advised hundreds of people in that time. That form of communication, along with previous blogging experience and work I’ve done with online forums has helped hone an ability to get a story across in what I hope is an engaging way. It was gratifying years ago to read that my blog was the first thing someone would read when they got to the office in the morning. It gave me confidence. I have had a few knock backs in life, whether it was the abuse growing up or not quite being good enough to get into drama college when I was a teenager. These things have helped me remain more of a realist. I am not expecting to win awards or make a fortune or be remembered in 200 years for anything I write. All I want is to write things people think are fun to read and vaguely enjoyable.
5- Where do you see yourself ?
Writing full time and better. Better at writing, better at editing, better at covers, better at promotion. Or, better than that-better at writing and affluent enough to pay people better than me to do everything else.
6- What would you tell your 21 year old self?
When you meet the guy you’re married to now and you’re looking to buy a house-MOVE AWAY! Go far and do not be tied to the abuse you grew up in. Escape. I really should have done that.
7- If you child tells you they want to become a writer, what advice would you give?
They both already write. I believe they have both published online. I won’t pry because I won’t do to them what my mother did to me. I would tell them to read widely and keep writing and if they haven’t produced it in bottles you can buy in the shops yet-learn patience.
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