Thank you very much to Angela for agreeing to feature on the Author Chat’s strand of my blog. Angela a romance writer lives in Nashville, Tennessee the home of country and western music but originally hailed from Cornwall in the south west of England. I asked Angela a few questions about what she likes to read and how she goes about her writing. I wasn’t surprised to find another fan of Enid Blyton, there is a certainly a trend amongst the authors that I have featured!
Who was your favourite childhood author or book and why were they a favourite?
I remember enjoying Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five and Secret Seven stories. Also anything with horses, ballet dancers and girls at boarding schools despite the fact I’ve never had any desire to go horse riding, don’t have the body type for ballet and no one I knew went to boarding school! One book that always sticks in my mind must have been from when I was quite young and contained 365 short stories one for every day of the year. My late father would read them to me and wouldn’t skip ahead to the next days’ story no matter how much I begged.
When did you start writing and when and what was your first publication?
I’ve always been a voracious reader and enjoyed English at school but after that I never considered writing anything more taxing than Christmas cards! After we moved to Nashville I saw a short creative writing class advertised in 2000 and the lure of six evenings away from my three noisy young sons was too tempting to resist. I became hooked almost immediately and started writing in any spare moments. My first book, Truth and Consequence, was published in 2006.
Which authors do you currently enjoy?
I actually read a lot of mysteries and psychological thrillers, often preferring British set stories. Some of my favorites are PD James, Elizabeth George, Ruth Ware, Robert Galbraith and Colin Dexter. I’ve recently discovered Ann Cleeves and in particular her Shetland series. I enjoy Harlan Coben’s books because they’re such great page-turners. There’s always room for good romances and women’s fiction particularly Joanna Trollope, Nora Roberts, Kristin Hannah and Liz Fenwick. Recently I’ve been re-reading the whole set of Winston Graham’s Poldark books and have saved the twelth and final one for a while because I’m reluctant to have the series wrapped up!
Do you have a ‘usual’ writing timetable and a special place that you write in? What is on your desk or what is around you as you write? Perhaps you enjoy the view from your writing window?
Being an empty nester and with a newly retired husband makes it easier to carve out writing time. Generally I start most days checking emails and doing social media. My weekday morning tend to be taken up with my water aerobics class, volunteering at my local library and unavoidable household chores. After lunch I settle down to write and keep going until it’s time to see to dinner. I’m lucky to have my own office that used to be my oldest son’s bedroom but I appropriated it when he left home. I’ve got a lovely old desk that belonged to my late father-in-law, a sofa for thinking times (it has seen the occasional nap!) and a tea table for sustenance to keep the ideas flowing. I’ve also got a bookcase loaded with favorite books including one shelf devoted to my Poldark/Cornwall collection.
Sounds perfect Angela! …..and can you tell me something about your latest book please?
I’m expecting edits any day now for Here Comes the Best Man, my next Choc Lit release due to be published in early 2018. It’s a sequel to my award-nominated novella The Wedding Reject Table
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on the first of what I hope will be a linked series of novellas named after the twelve months of the year although it’s still a vague concept because I’m not a plotter by nature so we’ll see what happens!
What are your usual methods of research when planning a new book?
There’s no real ‘usual’ because it depends on the book but as I don’t plot I tend to do research as the story develops. Sometimes I leave blank spaces to come back to later as I want to crack on with the story and stop later to do more research. I use a lot of online resources or might visit a particular place for background information. Sometimes I’ll ask for help from author friends for example when Daisy from ‘Love me for a Reason’ insisted she was a children’s book illustrator a friend put me in touch with a talented local illustrator who was very helpful.
Do you use social media and interact with readers?
I do although it’s difficult to know how much time to spend on all of these things and which will be the most valuable use of my time. Readers can follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads. I dabble a little on Pinterest and Instagram but not a lot as yet. I love to hear from readers there’s nothing better than knowing your story has touched someone’s life or made them smile on a bad day.
….and finally any tips for aspiring writers?
Persist. If you want to write you’ll find the time and energy to make it happen. Read, read and read some more. I must admit I find it hard to understand any writer who says they don’t have time to read. For me it’s crucial to belong to a community of writers whether it’s online or in person because it can be a lonely business. I’m a member of the Romance Writers of America and my local Music City Romance Writers chapter. I also belong to the Romantic Novelists’ Association. It’s important to study the craft of writing and hopefully to discover what works for you because then you can learn to trust yourself and your way of storytelling. Above all hold onto the joy that writing brings you because at the end of the day that’s more important than sales and Amazon rankings.
Keep in touch with Angela at