Q. How do you think of stories to write?
A. At some stage during the day I’ll put my brain through a few minutes of creative gymnastics. This involves opening the newspaper randomly with my eyes shut and putting my finger on the page, then, reading the chosen paragraph, I spend a couple of minutes using it as the basis for a story line. Any ideas that particularly appeal to me get written down for future reference, perhaps as back-story or motivation for a character. However, ideas can be triggered by something as ordinary as a snatch of overheard conversation, a picture, a memory and the all-important words… ‘What if…?
Q. How many words do you aim to write in a day?
A. I try to do more than a thousand words a day, preferably two. However on a good day I’ll just keep going. The most I’ve ever written was 11,307 but I could barely stand up straight at the end of it!
Q. How fast do you write a book?
A. I once wrote a 50k category romance in 11 days but that was the only time. I’ve also put myself through the exhilaration/exhaustion of NaNoWriMo several times, but usually, factoring in research and rewrites, I average two months, allowing for distractions such as family events, celebration cakes, quilt making, knitting, gardening/bonsai, etc, etc.
Q. How do you cope with so many hours sitting at the computer?
A. I live in a house on the side of a hill so have dozens of stairs to climb and also do my own version of keep fit for shoulders, fingers and bum. I enjoy swimming and I love to dance whenever I get the chance.
Q. What sort of research do you do for accuracy in your books?
A. I have amassed a large number of reference books and I’m not shy about approaching people to ask questions - about medical matters, of course, but also specific backgrounds for a particular story such as mining in Cornwall, Lifeboat rescues, goldsmithing… you name it! - and I love exploring places so I’ll have vivid pictures in my head of the locations where I set my stories.