- You have interviews on your blog but as you wisely point out, they are mostly valid for the moment they were taken. So tell us who Cheryl is now.
Your guess is as good as mine. I live so much inside my head, I wonder who the ‘real’ me is sometimes. Not that I’m complaining. My world is so much nicer than the one out there.
At the moment, my son is not able to attend school so a lot of my time is taken up with juggling tutors and homework. Writing remains a happy release. I am also busy as heck making Christmas presents. After having being made redundant after 28 years as a solicitor, I made the decision not to go back to work, which was just as well, as I now have the time to devote to my son, and my writing. It does, however, mean I’m totally broke so I’m making mostly all my presents this year.
- The book we are about to introduce has a rather heavy subject matter at the time when everyone is releasing cozy Christmas stories. Why did you make that choice? Or it wasn’t a choice?
Well, it is and isn’t heavy subject matter. Yes, it’s about past abuse and mental health issues, and set in rather a grim environment, but the characters lift the mood quite a bit, I think. Dory, in particular is very endearing and a lot of fun.
As for the time of its release, I wasn’t given much choice, but I have no problem at all. Yes, everyone is indulging in froth and sweetness, just as they indulge in lots of chocolate and sweets, but I think people need more. There has to be some bitter in the sweet, some coffee with the chocolate, and that’s Shade’s Champion; a bitter sweet, light and serious, funny and heartrending. An evening of chocolate, wine and coffee, and a relief from all that Christmas kitch and twee.
- You are an expert in writing complex characters. Are these characters entirely created by you or they come as they are, or there are “real life” people behind them?
As far as I am aware, my boys live only inside my head. There is, of course, a chance that people I know and have met, contribute to the characters’ make up, but it’s not deliberate.
- Is there anything which is outside your comfort zone? Something you’d never write about?
- It is true your stories read like plays. Speaking of this, if you could rewrite one of Shakespeare’s plays as a modern novel, which one would you chose and why?
That’s a hard one. I considered a gay version of Romeo and Juliet, but I get frustrated with all the misunderstandings and mistakes.
My favourite play is Macbeth; I love the witches in particular, and it would be plenty dark for me, but surprisingly, as I don’t really write comedy, I’d love to do Midsummer Night’s Dream. I could have so much fun with Puck.
- Are there times when Nephy and Cheryl fight over a story idea – one pulling it towards the YA spectrum and the other insisting on some more heat to it?
No, not at all, although I guess Ari really straddles the line. I write the story that comes to me and then decide which category it fits in and which personal should take responsibility. There really isn’t any difference between Nephy and Cheryl, except that Nephy is naughtier.
In practice, Cheryl is taking over more and more. I think there is more freedom in YA writing. No pressure to give the reader romance and no apology for there being no sex. Also teenagers get up to all kinds of things adults don’t. To them, insta love is very real and lasts forever (until the next argument or someone better comes along), bad decisions outnumber good ones, and they jump head first into adventures without thought of consequnces.
- What are your plans for 2016? Writing mainly but you may share anything you like 🙂
Writing is a given. I can’t help myself. I’m currently working on book II of a three, or possibly four book series. I’m also working on book II of a two book series, and I’m up to book IV on the Enigma series. Silver is calling me again, and I have never been able to resist him.
I also have some painting projects on the burner, and making Christmas presents has rekindled by love of sewing, so there might be some embroidery or cross stitch in the near future.
On a personal perspective, I’ll be putting all my energy into my son’s education. He’s very bright but unable to cope socially with school. He’s being tutored at home, which gives me very little time to myself, and I seem to be constantly fighting for what he needs. I’m determined to get him through GCSE’s and into sixth form college.
- Here’s the place where you ask yourself one question you would like to answer.
This is the hardest question you’ve asked. There are many things I’d like to ask myself. Most of them begin with – Why the hell did you––
Q: What’s your favourite quote?
A: “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
I know it’s kind of trite, but I think it’s very true. I’ve been involved with re enactment for a long time, and I love to watch the blacksmith work, making swords. I think this ties in with the quote, because every time the sword goes through the fire, the gets beaten with a hammer, it gets stronger. It’s hard to see that when you’re in the middle of the fire, and easy to call the whole thing a load of bull, but when I look back and see the things I’ve been through, I can definitely say that each and every bad experience in my life has taught me something that makes me stronger and more resilient today.
Although, thinking about it in more depth and from the point of view of many of the clients I’ve seen in my career as a family solicitor I think it could do with a tweak. Perhaps – that which does not kill or break me, makes me stronger.
New Release Book 3 in the Upstaged Series – Duet
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