Tell us your latest news?
Well, at the moment I have a book out called Roman’s Having Sex Again, and by the time the event comes around, I’ll also have a joint venture with Victoria Johns out. It’s called I Wanna Get Laid by Kade and is based around a reality TV show – but there’s much more to it than that, for those of you who don’t like reality TV. I’m also really excited about my next book, Box of Hearts, which will hopefully be out in April. It’s a move away from romantic comedy, into contemporary romance and is set on a ranch in the US. All a little different for me, but is the start of a new series-The Connor’s series
What book are you reading now?
I’m currently reading J Daniels Alabama Summer series. I’ve read most of her books and love her mix of sexiness, romance and funny one liners. All her women are strong and feisty and her men alpha and brooding, so her books are always a good read.
Your books are so emotional. How long does it take for you to be able to get the characters out of your mind and move on to the next?
I tend to have my characters running through my books, even though they are all stand alone, so I never really leave them behind. I think of them all as living in this little community that I’ve created and enjoying their lives. I do find it hard to move on to a new story/characters if there is still work to do on my last book, such as edits etc. I have no idea how some authors write 2 or 3 books at a time.
Are the names of the characters in your novels important?
I think names are hugely important. I like my characters names to depict their personality. For example, my male characters have to have a ‘hot & manly’- a name to help to create the image that I want. I do sometimes pick a name simply because I like it, or because it’s a little bit quirky, or on occasion because it fits the storyline (you’ll understand that if you read Roman’s Having Sex Again).
What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?
Not giving yourself ridiculously unattainable deadlines is the most important. I’ve done that before and almost cracked under the stress of getting the book out on time. I don’t think it benefits your writing either. You start to rush and don’t give the story or the editing process all your attention. I also think you have to accept where you are in the writing world. By that I mean be happy that you’re writing and doing something that you love, and don’t stress over the fact that you’re not number 1 in the Amazon charts or that you haven’t made the NYT best seller list. Yes, it’s a great goal to have, but don’t worry if you’re not there yet otherwise you’ll go crazy thinking about it.
What is the most demeaning thing said about you as a writer?
I wrote about a character in my second book, No Bra Required, called Lucy Meadows who was a teacher. I had no idea that there had been a news story in Cumbria about a teacher of the same name. The story of the real Lucy Meadows was extremely tragic, and a reviewer on Goodreads accused me of using the name to shamelessly promote my book. I was very upset and would never have used the name had I known. The reviewer went on to call me some very unpleasant things in the review which were totally unfounded.
How do you react to a bad review of one of your books?
At first I’d get really upset and start wondering about my ability as a writer and whether I should re-write the whole thing. I then realised that for every bad review there are 5 or 6 good ones and you really can’t please everyone. Now, if they’re constructive, I take it on board, maybe make some notes in my ‘bible’ and then move on. If they’re not constructive, such as ‘didn’t like the characters names so I give it 1 star’ – yes I really did get that review – I have a little chuckle to myself and forget about it.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I have to say the blurb. I really struggle to put 360 plus pages into a few, interesting words that will grab the reader’s attention.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learn something from each book that I write and think my writing improves with each one. With Roman one of the other things I learned was don’t try and write two books at the same time. I was writing Box of Hearts too and was totally engulfed in it, so Roman’s first draught wasn’t anywhere near as good as it should have been. I then went back and almost re-wrote it and it’s a much better book for me doing that and spending time and effort on it without other distractions.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I don’t write books with a deep and meaningful message in them. I think the only message I want to give is that you need to take time out and read something that will make you smile. There is so much horror and pain in this world, that if I can make you laugh or smile then I’ve done a good job and got my message across.
Have you ever read or seen yourself as a character in a book or a movie?
Not so much now, but when I was a teenager I was every unlucky in love girl/woman in every romantic comedy film I ever watched. I’d like to say I can see myself in Erin Brockovich, but I really am much more Andie Walsh (Pretty in Pink) or Baby Housemann (Dirty Dancing).
Describe in 5 words, your writing:
Fun, sexy, romantic, humorous and heart-warming
What do you use to write your book?
I write straight on to the PC and always write the first and last chapter first.
Do you listen to music while you write or read?
I didn’t used to, but since I’ve been writing contemporary romance I’ve started to and create a playlist for the book. Music is a fantastic way to evoke emotions and it really helps when you’re writing something from deep within your character.
If you could write with any other author(s) who would it be and why?
There are so many, but from traditionally published authors it would be Marian Keyes – I just love her writing and how she can evoke laugh out loud belly laughs with one line and then just a few pages later have you sobbing. To be able to work with her would be a dream and a nerve wracking experience all at the same time.
As for other authors, it would have to be Helena Hunting first and foremost. Her books make me laugh and cry too, but mostly laugh. Her characters can be so inappropriate, particularly in the ‘Pucked’ series, and that is just my sense of humour. I have to bite my tongue so much but Helena’s characters say and do the things I’d loved to do if I wasn’t a 50 year old woman who stills gets into trouble from her mother for being too rude and foul mouthed.
NON- BOOK QUESTIONS
When you were a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
First of all an actress and I was going to call myself Sarah Star – I have no idea! When I was around 10 we started to write poetry and short stories at school, that was when I knew I wanted to be an author and it’s stuck with me throughout every job I’ve ever done.
Did/Do you have a nickname?
Bubble is my family nickname. It’s a very long story how I got that name, but it stuck and now family and some friends still only call me by that name.
What are your pet peeves?
Rudeness and people that don’t indicate at roundabouts!
There is no reason not to say please and thank you or to acknowledge someone when they’ve taken the time to reach out to you. As my nanna used to say ‘manners cost nothing’ and she’s right.
The roundabout thing drives me mad too. I need to know where you’re going so that I can move on and keep the traffic flowing, if possible. Give me a clue and use your indicator!
What is your favourite coffee shop drink?
A black Americano. That’s mainly because I know it will come in a cup/mug. I have a totally irrational phobia about hot drinks in glass cups. It makes me feel physically sick, so if I do go for a latte or hot chocolate I have to take on board the strange looks I get when asking for a proper mug because glass ones make me ill.
What's your favourite tv show?
I love Miranda and could watch it over and over again, but I also love a lot of stuff on Netflix. Can’t be missed, and I need to watch just one more episode, oh God it’s 2 in the morning, shows for me are; Narcos, Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones.
What is your favourite kind of cookie?
Double chocolate chip or salted caramel, as long as you can taste the salt.
If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you have and why?
My Kindle, and hope the battery lasts, photographs of my family and my husband – his batteries last a lot longer than a rabbit’s
Where would you go if you had a time machine?
As I’ve lost my dad, probably to when I was small and I hadn’t discovered boys and he was the most important man in my life. My parents were divorced so we only saw him at weekends, but I don’t think I appreciated how hard it was for him to be apart from us. I’d go back to then and tell him more how much I loved and missed him
Which is your favorite quote?
That’s hard because I have a terrible memory, so even if I think something is amazing and profound I can never remember it. I tend to remember lines from films so mine would be ‘…I'm scared of walking out of this room and never feeling the rest of my whole life the way I feel when I'm with you.’ It gets me every time.
If you were an ice cream what flavor would you be?
Rum & raisin – because my gran used to say I was ‘rum ‘un’ meaning I could be a bit mad and act silly.
What song best describes you?
I’ve always said I want ‘I’ve had the time of my life’ at my funeral, so it’d have to be that. Although, my friends and family might say it’s Madness’ ‘She’s an embarrassment’.
THIS OR THAT
Pepsi or Coke
Cows or Sheep
. Castle or Town house
City or Country
Lover or Fighter
Pop or Rock Music
80’s or 90’s
Singing or dancing