When did you realise you wanted to become a writer?
It was never a sudden dawning. More of an inner knowledge – just like I knew I could talk and walk. However, I did panic when I was a teenager, about how I was going to earn my living. For a time, I dallied with the idea of social work or teaching but then, after uni, I was lucky enough to get a place on the Thomson Graduate Trainee Course for journalists. Then I worked on magazines and started my family so had to put off writing my first novel for some years.
Can you tell us a little bit about your journey to publication?
I’ve mentioned a little of this, above. Basically, I always knew I wanted to write a novel but there wasn’t much time! Then I wrote something called Amersham Wives and got an agent. She was enthusiastic but didn’t sell it. She suggested I wrote another! To cut a long story short, I wrote a book a year for ten years. Two got taken into editorial meetings by big publishers but were turned down because they were similar to other books which were about to come out. Then I wrote THE SCHOOL RUN under Sophie King. My seventh novel has now just come out, eight years later.
You have published full-length novels and now a collection of short stories. Which form of storytelling do you prefer and why?
I love both. They fulfil different needs at different times. A short story is great if I get a quirky idea and need to write in a short burst. A novel is much more like a long, intense love affair. I can’t do both at the same time as it requires a different mind set so I tend to write lots of short stories in between my novels.
Which story from your short story collection, Tales from the Heart, is your favourite?
The heroine in Other People’s Children. She’s like me. Loves her children but is driven mad by them!
Who has been your favourite character to write to date?
Possibly Mel in The Wedding Party. She’s a stunning vicar (ex-advertising) who has to face contemporary problems like infidelity and loss.
Write about your passions. Write every day. Give your characters a serious series of problems to tackle. Make the reader laugh. Make something happen in every chapter. Read. Don’t give up.
Finally, what are you working on at the moment?
I also write novels as Janey Fraser so I am working on the next one. I never talk about ongoing stories as it takes away the urge to write them. I’m also publicising the latest Janey Fraser novel THE AU PAIR as well as, of course, TALES FROM THE HEART.
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Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.
The Au Pair and Tales From The Heart are out now.