A Conversation with Author, Felicity Fair Thompson

This evening in the Library we have Felicity Fair Thompson, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.

You are very welcome, Felicity, please introduce yourself:   

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I was born in Australia and after a short career in ballet in the UK, I spent several years as Senior Assistant Manager at the Odeon Leicester Square, the first woman in Rank’s West End Cinema management team. In 1977, I settled on the Isle of Wight where my interest in photography and travel expanded into film making and writing. A Conversation with Author, Felicity Fair Thompson

A Conversation with Author, Marie Laval

Library

Today in the Library we have ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Marie Laval, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.

PlMarieLaval (2)ease introduce yourself, Marie:

I was born and brought up near Lyon, in France. After studying at university there I moved to England and worked at the University of Manchester for several years. When I had my second son, I decided to retrain as a teacher and move to the Rossendale Valley in Lancashire. It’s a lovely place, even if it does seem to rain more there than anywhere else in England! I love writing, researching stories, and dreaming up romantic heroes and heroines…

Did you read much as a child? Are you an avid reader now? Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?

I always loved reading. As a child and teenager you could always find me with my nose in a book. I used to have very eclectic tastes and read a wide range of genres but I have become a lot more sensitive than I used to be these past few years, and I now find it difficult to read about death, loss, and grief. Therefore I don’t often read crime novels or really sad stories. I read a lot of romance, and historical material when I research for a novel.

Are you self-published or traditionally published?

I am traditionally published. All my novels are published by Áccent Press.

Which genre do you write in and why?

I write romance, both contemporary and historical, because I like happy endings. For me romance is the ultimate escapism, especially historical romance.  

Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?

That’s a very difficult question! There have been so many authors whose work really made a big impression on me. If I had to pick a few, I would say that some of my all-time favourite writers are Wilkie Collins, Joseph Kessel, Barbey d’Aurevilly and Maupassant.

Has your country of origin/culture influenced your writing?

Very much so. I have drawn inspiration from my childhood in France, from my beautiful hometown Lyon, my family holidays in Provence and more generally from my whole upbringing. My mother was a French national born and brought up in Algeria and her wonderful stories, legends and superstitions filled my imagination from a very young age. I have drawn on my fascination for her stories when I wrote my historical romance, THE LION’S EMBRACE, and all of my short stories. One of these short stories, THE CEMETERY OF THE TWO PRINCESSES, was published in an anthology SHIVER which was released by Áccent Press last year for Halloween.

What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it?

I love writing and researching but I’m not very good at plotting. In fact I am really bad at plotting, which means that I often have to rewrite whole chapters time and time again, delete sub-plots, add new characters or ‘kill’ others! Every time I start a new story I vow to be more of a ‘plotter’ but somehow it never happens.

Do you have a favourite time of day to write?

Any time works for me! With a full-time job and a busy family life, I have to grab whatever writing time I can get.

What is the best thing about being an author? And the flipside – what is the worst?

I don’t like promoting myself, probably because I am not very good at it.

Is social media an essential chore or something you enjoy? Which forum do you prefer?

I have learned a lot these past four years about the industry and I have made really good friends thanks to social media. I do prefer Facebook to Twitter because basically I have no idea what I am doing on Twitter!

I have made really lovely friends thanks to Facebook, several of whom I have the great pleasure to have lunch with once in a while in Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire.

If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?

I cannot imagine not writing. Even if I wasn’t published, I would still write my stories…

It’s the last day and the earth is facing oblivion – what book would you read?

My daughter’s poems and stories. She is ten years old and has a wonderful imagination and she makes me smile.

Please tell us about your latest published work. 

My historical romance THE DREAM CATCHER, which is The Dreamcatcher FINALset in 1847 in the far north of Scotland, was released by Áccent Press at the end of November. I am very excited about this release because THE DREAM CATCHER is part of a trilogy and I have never written a trilogy before. The other two parts will be released at the end of January and March.

To learn more about Marie check out the links below:

Amazon  Facebook  Twitter  Blog

 

 

A Conversation with Author, Iza MacLeod

 

Library

This evening in the Library we have ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Iza MacLeod, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.

Please introduce yourself:

I’m a vegan who loves chocolate, animals and wine, and I’m an English girlIza MacLeod, Argentina in my thirties who grew up in Coventry/ Warwickshire. I’ve lived in Argentina and France and I now live in Mallorca with my husband, and dog that we found on the streets of Argentina.

I began writing in 2011. My first romantic fiction novel, Buenos Días Lucy London, is set in Argentina/UK and was published last year.

Did you read much as a child? Are you an avid reader now? Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?

Yes, I read quite a lot as a child – Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton and Judy Blume. I’ve been an avid book fan intermittently since a young age, finding saviour in reading after a relationship break-up, and later finding comfort in writing during a period of bereavement.

I like to explore different genres but fictional romances set in foreign countries tend to be what I am drawn to most.

Are you self-published or traditionally published?

Self-published

Which genre do you write in and why?

Romantic fiction set in foreign lands. This is probably because I enjoy travel so much, and with the two books that I’ve written so far, both stories are based in a country, and location, that I have lived. I enjoy reading and learning about different countries and cultures so I like to write about some of the things I have experienced and learned in the countries that I have lived.

Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?

Gregory David Roberts – he’s a great story teller, and what a story! Despite having been in prison and a drug addict and not having studied creative writing or literature or come from a writing background, he has still become a successful novelist. I’ve never been a criminal, like he has, but I don’t have an artistic/creative writing background either.

If I can name a second … it would be Stephen King. I’ve only read a few of his books but I also read On Writing, which I found to be of great use by listening to his advice. The story of his life was interesting and inspirational too.

Has your country of origin/culture influenced your writing?

Yes. I like to write from the heart and from my experience and opinions of an English/Midlands working girl, which is what I am. I like to use the language and Midlands/British phrases in my book that I often use myself.

What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it?

Marketing. I just keep taking small steps and learn as I go along, and never give up!

Do you have a favourite time of day to write?

Yes, in the morning – I seem to function better and feel at my most creative first thing.

What is the best thing about being an author? And the flipside – what is the worst?

The best thing is becoming so engrossed in the stories of my fictional characters that I feel like they are my real companions/friends. I also like being in control of the lives of each character and deciding what will happen. And the worst thing? Coming back into reality.

Is social media an essential chore or something you enjoy? Which forum do you prefer?

I only joined Facebook when Buenos Días Lucy London, was published, and I’ve only been on Twitter for a few months. I enjoy using both social media sites to interact with other authors and potential readers, but I don’t have a preference.

If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?

I’d perhaps be socialising a bit more or learning another language.

It’s the last day and the earth is facing oblivion – what book would you read?

To Kill A Mocking Bird. I hate to admit that I’ve still not read it!

Please tell us what you are working on at the moment.

I’m currently working on my second fictional romance, Katie Cannes, chick lit2which is set on the Côte d’Azur. I’ve actually completed the 94,000 word manuscript and am now reading through it and making minor changes. I hope to have it published this year.

 

 

You can learn more about Iza and her work by following these links:

Facebook

Twitter

dorianAmazon.com

 

 

 

 

 

A Conversation with Author, Sean MacCotter

Library

Today in the Library we have Sean MacCotter, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into his life as an author.

Thanks for dropping by, Sean, tell us a little about yourself:

SeanThis author thing has come to me pretty late in life.  I suppose you could find my name listed in the dictionary under ‘procrastinator’.  When I was a child in post-war England, I was exposed to three things which have stayed with me throughout the years and finally brought me to my keyboard.  First, I was a Yank, pretty well isolated in a foreign country surrounded by sights and experiences which would fill any young lad with wonder.  I lived directly atop the cliffs in Southeast England, near the old Roman fort of Reculver, with playmates who actually lived in a castle. That’s a Wizard of Oz experience for a boy from Kansas City.  Second, being alone much of the time, inspired by my librarian grandmother, I read a LOT – Robin Hood, Ivanhoe, Shakespeare, boy stuff.  Third, I had a school teacher who knew the history of the area and always shared the little things that bring old events to life.

As an adult, I had occasions in the military and business to travel back to England and Europe many times.  Each time, I would try to spend a day or two away from the ‘sights’ and walk the streets of the villages and fields which are the real heart of any country.

As I grew older, I inherited my grandmother’s mantle as the family historian, along with her voluminous collection of books and original documents (back in the days before Al Gore invented the internet).  Until I retired, I collected facts and added them to our family database.  I guess you’d say I’m a collector of memories.

When I retired I found myself surrounded with crate loads of old family pictures, documents and random bits I’d found interesting at one time or another and decided to organize them and file them away.  One high resolution scanner and more than 10,000 documents later, I finished that job.

From there, I turned to writing documented narratives for my family to bring some relevance to them from all this hoard.  Family members read the things I’d prepared for their eyes only and encouraged me to write something for a wider audience.

Finally, after sixty years of waiting, I wrote my first book, The Key, about the fictional adventure of a very distant relative of mine from a little town in Berkshire who goes off to fight in the crusades.  The writing has been great fun, and the research to fill in the huge gaps in my knowledge has taken me back to those Medieval days I imagined playing knights on the cliffs over the North Sea.

Did you read much as a child?  Are you an avid reader now?  Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?

I read a lot of books as a child.  As I said before, I spent a lot of time alone in England, and later moving frequently from place to place in a military family.

Since I began writing narratives and novels a few years ago, most of my reading has been limited to research.  While I enjoy digging out little known facts, I miss having time to sit with a good read and enjoy the trip.  I’m taking off the next couple of months from writing to enjoy the holidays and read a few entire books.

I tend to be a binge reader.  If I find an author I enjoy, I’ll read as many of his/her books as I can until I get bored.  Then I’ll move on.  The same goes for genre.  I’m about historied and biographied out for a bit.  I think I’ll turn to some quantum mechanics or other science topics – I’m pretty obsolete when my grandchildren are asking me questions I can’t answer.  I read your historical romance, The Bowes Inheritance, a few months ago (my first romance that I recall), and found I enjoyed it much more than I expected – so I might add a few more to my stack.

Thanks, Sean. Are you self-published or traditionally published?

I’m self-published at this point.  I wanted to test the waters for acceptance of my writing before I invest too much time and money publishing.  I set a goal for myself to write and publish The Key Trilogy as an e-book first.  Then, invest the proceeds from that into printing the same three books.  And then, if they are reasonably successful, approaching publishers for future books.

Which genre do you write in and why?

I write historical fiction.  I am an historian at heart and am fascinated by the details of the lives of the lesser known people and events who create history.  If I can write an interesting story which, in its telling, pulls the reader into the life and times of the characters, I’ve succeeded.  Regrettably, most history is written by and for academics, which most general readers find dry and difficult.

Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?

I can’t name a single person.  My grandmother introduced me to research.  Various teachers encouraged me to write non-fiction and creatively.  Reading a wide variety of authors and topics broadened my world view.  My family’s encouragement and support has probably been the most influential.

Has your country of origin/culture influenced your writing?

Certainly.  No one can avoid the effects of their environment.  I try to write in the world in which my characters live, but I’m sure my own biases creep in.  Basically, I’m an American with a strong English history and experience.  It’s easiest to write in that world.

What part of the writing process do you find most difficult?  How do you overcome it?

I tend to over complicate plots and find myself 1,000 or so words off track when I get really inspired.  After a cup of strong coffee and a slap upside my head from my alter-ego I overcome it by a liberal application of the Del key.

Do you have a favorite time of day to write?

Early, early morning.  Between 5am and 9am, before the real world interferes with my concentration.

What’s the best side about being an author?  And the flipside – what is the worst?

The best thing so far is giving birth to all the stories I’ve locked in my head over the years.  So far, I’ve not had a worst – except possibly not being number one on the New York Times Best Seller List – yet.  I’m not sure what will happen when the ‘easy’ stories are all on paper.  Will it become work, or still be fun.  I’ll let you know in a few years.

Is social media an essential chore or something you enjoy?  Which forum do you prefer?

I’m very new to social media.  Throughout my career, someone else was always responsible to round up my audiences; then I walked on stage and presented my topic du jour.  Now, I’m having to build my own market – totally new concept.  I’m still learning.  Right now, I’m somewhere between a chore and enjoyment.

If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?

I’d be travelling.  Exploring new things.  Learning new ‘stuff’.  And boring my family having to listen to me tell me about my day – in excruciating detail.

It’s the last day and the earth is facing oblivion – what book would you read?

The Bible – my grandmother’s dog-eared copy so I could make sure to read all the good stuff before the oblivion part happened.

Please tell us about your latest published work.

Book coverI just finished The Gentleman Adventurer: Book Two of The Key Trilogy.  The Kindle copy hit the cyber-street on November 23rd.

You can find it on:

In U.K. Amazon.co.uk

In U.S. Amazon.com

 

 

A Conversation with Author, Helen Hollick

Library
Today in the Library we have ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Helen Hollick who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.
Thanks for dropping by, Helen, tell us a little about yourself:

H2 Helen Mediumello! I am Helen Hollick, I live on a thirteen-acre farm in Devon, England, although until three years ago I lived in a north-east London suburb – I managed to Escape To The Country – literally as we found our house through the British TV show with the same name!

I wrote pony stories as a teenager, moved to science-fiction and fantasy, and then discovered historical fiction. Published for over twenty years with my Arthurian Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy, and the 1066 era, (Harold the King – UK edition Indie B.R.A.G. July 2015title/I Am The Chosen King – US edition title). I became a ‘USA Today’ bestseller with Forever Queen (titled A Hollow Crown in the UK). I also write the Sea Witch Voyages, pirate-based fantasy adventures – if you enjoyed the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, you’ll love meeting my Captain Jesamiah Acorne.

As a supporter of Indie Authors I am Managing Editor for the Historical Novel Society Indie Reviews, and inaugurated the HNS Indie Award.

Did you read much as a child? Are you an avid reader now? Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?

I was a lonely child, with few friends and extremely lacking in self-confidence – but I discovered that other world of imagination from a very early age, so I actually had dozen of friends, albeit fictional ones. But that has stood me in good stead for ‘meeting’ my own characters! I don’t read as much now because I have a sight deficiency so reading is more difficult – but thank goodness for Kindle where the font can be enlarged! I read most things except horror – I love a good mystery!

Are you self-published or traditionally published?

Both. I am traditional in the US with my ‘serious’ historical fiction and indie in the UK.

Which genre do you write in?

I write historical fiction and pirate-based nautical adventure with a touch of fantasy

Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?

Rosemary Sutcliff.

Has your country of origin/culture influenced your writing?

I suppose being British I have always been interested in the history and the past, so in that sense, yes, otherwise no not really.

What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it?

Marketing! Being an indie author the marketing is all down to me – and while I love social media, blogging, etc., it can sometimes overtake the actual writing. I try to stick to marketing in the morning and writing in the afternoon – except life has a tendency to  interrupt the day … especially living here in Devon on a farm!

Do you have a favourite time of day to write?

No – although I’m often more productive of an evening.

What is the best thing about being an author? And the flipside – what is the worst?

Meeting so many wonderful people, either for real or ‘virtually’. The worst – being indie, is the cost of producing good quality books. It can be very expensive.

Is social media an essential chore or something you enjoy? Which forum do you prefer?

I regard Facebook as my ‘shop window’, Twitter I use for more social contact and my blog is a bit of both. I tend to stick to these three, although I do have other accounts elsewhere.

If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?

Mucking out horses and mending fences round the farm I expect!

It’s the last day and the earth is facing oblivion – what book would you read?

Mark of the Horselord, by Rosemary Sutcliff. I’ve read it dozens of times and I still cry at the end!

Please tell us what you are working on at the moment. 

I am finishing the fifth Voyage in my Sea Witch Series – On The Account (hopefully published early 2016) and I have also been commissioned to write a non-fiction book about Pirates… watch this space!

Thanks so much, Helen.

If you’d like to know more about Helen and her books check out the follow!! WEBSITE LOGOing: 

Buy from Amazon : viewAuthor.at/HelenHollick

Website: www.helenhollick.net

Blog: www.ofhistoryandkings.blogspot.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/HelenHollickAuthor

Twitter: @HelenHollick

A Conversation with Author, David J. Robertson

Today in the Library we have ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­David J RobLibraryertson, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into his life as an author. So pull up a chair and join the conversation …

You are very welcome, David, please introduce yourself.

Hi, I’m Dave Robertson, a … year old, (sorry the number lock seems to be broken!), bloke from the Black Country. I was an engineering designer until the heart attack, so I retired early to follow what my heart desires (sorry – bad pun!) I decided to write – properly – not just for fun as I had done for years. David RobertsonThat’s not to say that I don’t enjoy it – I do, I love it. So, what do I write?

Well, I’ve done quite a bit of flash fiction and there’s a children’s book in the pipeline – about my dog Misty. So keep your eyes peeled for that. A second Misty book is floating about. (Which was actually the first until things got complicated – don’t ask!) There are even the faint scribbling’s of a third – I must really have got the bug.

And of course there’s the novel. Haven’t we all got one somewhere? It unfortunately needs attacking drastically with the red editing pen. It’s a humorous (allegedly) science fiction/fantasy adventure. I only started it in 2006 so it must be nearly finished by now.

Did you read much as a child? Are you an avid reader now? Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?

My first reading memory is The Secret Seven series by Enid Blyton, progressing to Biggles and literally anything literal that I could get hold of.

Life unfortunately gets in the way of reading – until recently reading was relegated to a holiday activity (I have been known to take 14 books on a 14 day holiday – and not thin tomes either!)

I will read anything that interests me, fact, fiction, autobiography.

Are you self-published or traditionally published?

My first children’s book ‘DOGNAPPED!’ will be self-published by Matador on 28th April 2016

Which genre do you write in and why?

Children’s 6 – 10. A long planned sci-fi/fantasy novel. I write short stories and flash fiction. A lot of what I write could be described as humorous (I hope) but is not restricted to that genre.

Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?

Whoever’s book I was reading when I thought: ‘This is shite, I could do better than that!’ It really was that bad and is only memorable by the fact that I have no idea what it was called or who wrote it.

Has your country of origin/culture influenced your writing?

Only in the sense of ‘you write what you know’ and I am familiar with the Black Country, the canals, the accent – you really should read my flash fiction piece, ‘Th’auld pol on th’cut.’ (My old friend on the canal) – it is on the website at www.mistybooks.net

However, I recently wrote 2 pieces of flash fiction in a Texan dialect (well southern American anyway – in case some pedantic soul argues that it sounds more like a voice from a little known region of eastern Arkansas!) purely because I was holidaying there at the time, (yes, sadly I do also write on holiday) so perhaps it is fairer to say that I am influenced by my surroundings.

What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it?

The editing – I hate it. It’s not something that can be overcome in my experience. It has to be done and done properly. Anything above draft three is a particular balls ache! I usually take at least seven!

Do you have a favourite time of day to write?

No. I don’t set aside a time, day or week for that matter. I write when in the mood which means that my inane scribbling’s can be weeks apart. But once I do start I rarely stop until the piece is finished. It’s in me – it has to come out. You can’t beat paraphrasing John Lee Hooker.

What is the best thing about being an author? And the flipside – what is the worst?

The best – Writing something that you think – ‘Yes! That’s exactly the point, experience, emotion that I was trying to convey!’

The worst – It happens a lot, when someone says ‘Oh you could have the hero/heroine/villain/someone who is not even in the story, do this/do that/do the bloody other. And why didn’t you name one of the characters after me?’

Is social media an essential chore or something you enjoy? Which forum do you prefer?

I’m on Facebook, but that’s a relatively new thing. I find it strangely addictive, but I guess in time the novelty will wear off.

I also have a Twitter account – what’s that about!?

If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?

I recently retired early to do the writing thing properly, so I would still be an engineering designer.

It’s the last day and the earth is facing oblivion – what book would you read?

Catch 22 – again! Brilliant – but Joseph Heller’s second book was crap (in my opinion).

Please tell us what you are working on or your latest published work. 

Book coverMy first children’s book ‘DOGNAPPED!’ will be self-published by Matador on 28th April 2016. (ISBN 9781785891441), price  £8.99. Distributor: Orca Book Services 01235 465521 email tradeorders@orcabookservices.co.uk

I shall be adding a shopping page to my website shortly so that it can be purchased direct. Above is the provisional book cover – thanks to Ian R Ward for the wonderful pictures www.ianrward.co.uk

So – that’s me folks! Catch my blogs and stories at www.mistybooks.net,  read my tweets at @misty_books and catch up with me on Facebook at mistybooks2015                            

 

A Conversation with Author, Annie Whitehead

LibraryToday in the Library we have Annie Whitehead, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into their life as an author. So pull up a chair and join the conversation …

 

Yoheadshotu are very welcome, Annie, please introduce yourself.

I’m the mother of three grown-up children and I work part-time as a pre-school music teacher. I graduated in history, though, and history has remained my first love and my passion.

Did you read much as a child? Are you an avid reader now? Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?

I actually didn’t read that much as a child, because I could rarely find anything that engaged my interest. When I was about 11 or 12, I discovered the world of historical fiction and then I found that I could happily disappear into another world for hours. I am a very slow reader though, so it takes me a while to get a book finished. These days I read a lot of non-fiction and novels of pretty much any genre apart from horror – I scare really easily!

Are you self-published or traditionally published?

Interesting question! When I finished my novel To Be a Queen it was accepted by a literary agent who immediately asked me to sign a contract and get working on a sequel. I was, as you can imagine, rather excited. Time went by, however, and I heard nothing more. This, as I’ve subsequently discovered, is not uncommon. So, since I had the completed Mss, I decided to self-publish. One really nice side-effect of that decision is that it has brought me into contact with so many other writers and I now feel like part of a wider writing community.

Which genre do you write in and why?

When I was a student, I sat and listened, particularly in my “Dark Ages” seminars, and thought about the interesting characters and how one day I would write their stories. Eventually, when my children were old enough and I had a bit of time, I sat down and wrote those stories which became my three historical novels. Two years ago I was a prize-winner in a novel writing competition and the judges, among them Fay Weldon, encouraged me to complete that particular book. I’m currently working on it as part of the NaNoWriMo challenge. It’s not historical fiction and I’m not sure whether I will self-publish or try to get it mainstream published, simply because I’m taking my writing in a different direction.

Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?

In terms of the historical aspect, it has to be my tutor from my college days, Professor Ann Williams, who was one of those teachers we all meet if we are lucky – she simply brought the subject alive for me, made it interesting and enjoyable, and we are still in touch 30 years later. In terms of writing, I think I was inspired by three great historical fiction writers: Sharon Penman, Helen Hollick and Elizabeth Chadwick. They all write about strong characters but always succeed in keeping those characters true to their historical setting, and their history is dependable – they do their research thoroughly!

Has your country of origin/culture influenced your writing?

One of the most awkward things for me to answer is always “Where are you from?” I am British, but I was born in Germany and travelled round the world when I was a child because my father was in the armed forces. Even when we returned to England I went to four different secondary schools. If this nomadic childhood influenced my writing at all, it is that I have a very keen sense of what it is like to yearn for ‘home’, be it a place or a concept, and it’s something that a lot of my characters hold very dearly, this notion of belonging, and, conversely, the pain of feeling like an outsider.

What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it?

First drafts – I find it very difficult to ‘get going’. (Once I have some kind of rough outline down on paper, then I’m happy to play around with it, add new scenes, and even delete whole chunks.) The only way to overcome this is, I’ve found, to schedule it into my diary – “On Wednesday you WILL sit down and work out this plotline.” If it’s in the diary, it has to happen. That’s the theory, anyway …

Do you have a favourite time of day to write?

Straight after breakfast. If I can settle down then, I won’t break again until lunchtime. It takes me a while to get back into things after lunch (mainly because I get distracted by certain social media sites). It also depends on the stage of writing – if I am in ‘final edit’ mode then I barely come up for air and have been known to sit at the computer for 14 hours straight. At these times, I am not nice to know – I have the focus of an Olympic athlete and the social charms of a gorilla with tooth-ache.

What is the best thing about being an author? And the flipside – what is the worst?

The best thing is when the words are falling out onto the page. It is so absorbing and so enjoyable that it is the best kind of ‘mindfulness’ and there are few ways I’d rather spend the day. The flipside is probably the isolation; it can be lonely, not just at the time of writing but at the moment when you decide to share what you’ve produced with the outside world. It’s daunting, because you have no idea whether anyone else will like it and, if you’re a shy person like I am, promoting yourself can feel a little uncomfortable. Typewriters or their equivalent are great places to hide behind!

Is social media an essential chore or something you enjoy? Which forum do you prefer?

It’s both. I feel obliged to plough through my entire newsfeed for fear of missing something and that can be a bind. But I really enjoy interacting with other people. My early nomadic life means that I have friends all over the world and I’ve been able to get back in touch with them through social media. It may be my nature, or simply my age, but I prefer Facebook to Twitter, and that’s all I do – I don’t have an Instagram account. I recently set up an author page on Facebook too, to separate the personal from the professional, although there is always a bit of crossover.

If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?

Once upon a time I’d have answered “A singer in a rock and roll band”. I have sung professionally, but developed awful stage fright. I’ve given this a lot of thought and I’m fortunate to be able to say that I already do the only other thing I’d enjoy – teaching music and singing to little people. I love teaching and I love music so it’s the perfect combination; I’m freelance, which gives me quite a lot of freedom – I just go in, have a great time with the children, and go home again.

It’s the last day and the earth is facing oblivion – what book would you read?

I’d love to give a sophisticated answer to this one, but the truth is that my favourite book(s) of all time is the Flambards Trilogy by KM Peyton.

Please tell us what you are working on or your latest published work. 

Annie QueenMy novel, To Be a Queen, tells the true story of Æthelflæd, Lady of the Mercians, daughter of Alfred the Great. It’s been long-listed for the Historical Novel Society’s Indie Book of the Year 2016, which is very exciting. I’m hoping it will be available in e-book format in the New Year, and shortly after that my second book (title TBC) will be released in paperback. It’s also set in the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia and will be followed by my final ‘Mercian’ book later on next year.

To Be a Queen can be bought here:

Amazon.co.uk or here Bookdepository.com

and I can be found on Facebook

and on my blog  Annie Whitehead

A Conversation in the Library with …

Library

This evening my guest is book reviewer, David Baird, who has kindly agreed to join me in the library for a chat. Pull up a chair and join the conversation …

David – you are very welcome. Would you like to tell us a little about what you do?

The Book Reviewing Process

I run a book blog called David’s Book Blurg and mainly review works of historical fiction Davidbut can quite happily read almost anything. The book reviewing process can actually take a lot longer than you think. It’s also more enjoyable than you can imagine.

How did I come to run a blog, you might ask? Well, I’ve been on Twitter a number of years and followed some authors whose work I’d enjoyed. Authors like to communicate via Twitter with fans more than I had imagined. Because of this, I felt a little guilty just leaving a star rating with no actual comments. I’ve always liked the idea of a blog but never thought anything I had to say would be interesting enough. Once I’d settled on the idea of leaving more detailed reviews, I decided I’d found the subject I could blog about! I posted reviews about a couple of books I’d recently read and within a matter of days, I was contacted with my first review request.  Since then I’ve never looked back. A Conversation in the Library with …