As well as 'Chick-Lit with a Difference', you also write in a range of different genres. When it comes to reading, do you favour one particular genre or is your reading just as diverse as your writing?
I read in various genres. I used to walk into book stores and just browse, see what may take my fancy. It really depends on my mood. I like non-fiction a lot, either biographies or anything to do with psychology. Books about depressions, about human behaviour, or about people's lives and how they coped with difficult situations. It's an interesting topic.
When it comes to fiction I don't care so much about genres; if the cover and blurb attract me, I'll read it. But between the heavier reads, I need something light and that's when I return to Chick lit, preferably one with a difference.
Describe your typical working day. Is your working style structured or spontaneous?
I'm ashamed to admit that I'm not a big fan of structure. Because I'm ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), I'm prone to lose my concentration a lot and have to work around it. I try to schedule my day so that I can work and write with many breaks in between. In the breaks I'll go to the roof garden to potter around, or take longer walks, thinking about the next scene. I think you could say my day is full of structured spontaneity.
How do your stories develop? Do you always know exactly how the story will work before writing, or does the story develop as you write?
Definitely the latter. I'm not a plotter, but fly by the seat of my pants. Normally, if an idea suddenly hits me, I develop it very roughly in my head, the major turning points, etc., to see what I could do with it. I'll not start writing before I have a scene like a film appear before my inner eye. Only then I know it's worth sitting down to write the beginning, because the characters have come to live. But apart from the major points, everything else are blind spots and I have to slowly feel my way forwards. As a result I have characters appear out of nowhere, demanding to be heard. It's fun, but it's also quite exhausting.
As well as being an author yourself, you also edit for other authors. Did the editing come before the writing, or vice versa?
Writing came before editing. Both hit me by surprise. I'm not your typical author who wrote all her life and always dreamed about being published. Far from it. I wasn't even interested in writing. The only book I tried to write was a biography, a rant about my past, if you will, to get rid of some old and uncomfortable baggage, but I never wrote more than thirty hand-written pages. I didn't think writing was my forte, so I gave up.
When I eventually started writing in 2009, I signed up with a writers' website where writers exchanged critiques. It then became apparent that I have a talent for editing. And I really liked it, so I studied it for myself―with the help of a very knowledgeable mentor―edited for free a lot to get experience and then started to charge. My writing has matured a lot since I became an editor.
What career do you think you would have if you were not an author/editor?
I can't imagine being anything else, but I have another dream and that is to open a reptile rescue and education centre in London. Somewhere where abandoned and abused reptiles can be treated and where I can find new permanent loving homes for them. I take a particular interest in Iguanas as they are one of the most abandoned species due to their becoming so big and often aggressive.
Could you imagine the Branded series being adapted to film? If so, who could you see playing Celia and Tom?
Funny you should ask. I had many people tell me that the series would make a great film, so yes, I can imagine to see it on screen. I saw it as a film while I was writing, as scenes develop as film in my head before I write them down. Who would play Celia and Tom? Good question. I know Ashton Kutcher would make the perfect Tom, but Celia? I have no idea, but I'd like to have a curvy blonde. Curves are beautiful.
Finally, with the highly anticipated release of the third Branded book, can you give away any clues as to what readers can expect?
Of course: Celia and Tom will take on their new jobs, there is a new girl in the restaurant, but she has a few secrets, too. We get to know Celia's mother a bit more and, of course, Adam's not giving up; he has a bill open with Celia, so Tom and Sam have their work cut out protecting her.
Thank you for interviewing with Pageturners! We look forward to adding the third Branded book to the website on its release!