What made you decide to write in the paranormal genre and is it also your preferred genre to read as well?
My inspiration came from nightmares I was having. I dreamt entire scenes of Darkly Dreaming, so I didn’t get much choice. I write the books that arrive in my head. I do enjoy paranormal novels and films, but only when they are very well done.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
Probably Anne Rice, not just for her fascinating novels, but for her interaction with her fans too. She seems to get genuine pleasure from chatting with us, and is not afraid to talk about contentious issues.
When it comes to writing and reading do you prefer standalone books or series and why?
Darkly Dreaming is the first of a series, just because that is how it arrived in my head. I have the ideas for a stand-alone ghost story and angel story in my head to do after the Darkly Vampire Trilogy.
In terms of reading I will read what I enjoy, and so the length is dictated by the author- Barbara Kingsolver does not write series, but all of Terry Pratchett’s books interlink to some extent. I do love a good series though- like Deborah Harkness’s. Once I’m attached to characters I love to read lots about them.
Are you self-published or with a traditional publisher and what do you think the pros and cons of each are?
I’m self-published. I’ve been offered publishing deals with a couple of small presses, but I have a very particular vision of how I want my books to be. Although it’s been scary doing it alone, since it’s all new to me, I’m really enjoyed the adventure. I’ve commissioned my own art work for the cover, I’ve found a super editor I can trust, and a really great marketing guy to do my website, who can explain scary technical stuff in a way I can understand.
My concern with a small press was that I would be doing all the work, but sharing the profits (what profits?) and with a large publisher I was worried I would be bulldozed into decisions I wasn’t totally happy with, and my books would get lost in the crowd.
Self-publishing is remarkably easy with Createspace, and I can keep my prices nice and low, because while I might not like the idea of giving Darkly Dreaming away, I don’t believe books should be expensive, so I keep both the paperback and ebook prices as low as I can.
What is your favorite selling platform for your books and why?
Mineeye. It’s very small, but up and coming. The overall plan is to offer a selling platform to authors, artists and musicians all in one place, which I find exciting, and they are very user friendly. Small business, not big business.
If you could co-write a book with any other paranormal author who would you choose and why?
Anne Rice. That would be amazing. I wonder what on earth Lestat would make of Rae? He’d prefer Layla I think, but Rae and Louis would get on well. They are both serious, and worry about the bigger picture.
What can new readers expect to find when reading your books?
Darkly Dreaming is about the unlikely, and reluctant heroine, Rae, and her best friend Layla. Rae compromised herself away in the hope of fitting in; of finding love by pleasing others, then she escaped the misery she created by dreaming her life away. Until her fortieth Birthday, when she leaves her husband and moves in with newly divorced Layla.
They head off on holiday to France where they are infected by a vampire.
In this terrifying new existence they discover that vampires have special gifts, which are different for everyone.
Vampires don’t dream, so Rae has lost her escape, just when she needs it most. But she finds out that fresh blood can fill her mind with narcotic mists of her victim’s memories. She is determined to retain her humanity and refuse to kill, but how can she resist such temptation?
The new vampires are not welcomed by all in the Pride and soon tensions erupt.
They find themselves on the wrong side of a High Council, they didn’t even know existed, for breaking rules they hadn’t been warned about.
With all this going on the last thing Rae needs is to fall head over heels in love with the head of the Pride, who seems to be actively avoiding her. So that’s exactly what she does.
My vampires aren’t undead, they have been infected by a virus and undergone as radical a transformation as a butterfly does during metamorphosis. My vampires are as beguiling, cruel and fatal as cats. And just as irresistible.
How do you think social media impacts authors and what would you like to see changed?
I love the way that Social Media has allowed me to find other authors from all around the world, so I have a support network, and readers from around the work so I can make them aware of Darkly Dreaming. I love being able to chat to people from all walks of life from so many different places. I haven’t had any negative experiences, so I don’t feel the need to change anything.
When you aren’t writing what are some of your favorite things to do with your time?
I love to read, I’m a total bookworm. Although I am a slow reader I still get through a couple of books most weeks.
I also love watching films and good series. I’m a total Walking Dead Addict, even if some of the bad wrting makes my teeth ache sometimes. I miss True Blood and BBC 3’s Being Human terribly. I enjoy Penny Dreadful and Tyrant as well.
I have 2 dogs, a cat and a husband, so I love piling all of us onto the sofa and starting a great new box set.
What advice would you give to new authors that are just starting out?
Write. Read. Think.
Don’t paralyse yourself by thinking you have to write a good book straight away. Your first version should just be your ideas going onto the page. It’s the rewriting which will make it good. Allow time to do its bit. Don’t try to edit too soon, you’ll go word blind. I realised that good writing is like baking bread- you mix all the right ingredients together, and then leave it to rise, knead the hell out of it- or edit it extensively, and then leave to prove again, before kneading some more. A couple of months of not touching it will allow you to come back to it fresh and see which bits are well written, and which bits are lacking detail, because a lot of what you imagined is still in your head, and not on the page. You can use the time it’s resting to send it to your trusty criticals- or your alpha and beta readers. People with lots of patience who will help you wrest your masterpiece from the puddle of words your book is when you first finish it.