Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’ve written four novels for children, two collections of short stories, three stage plays and a non-fiction book about the craft of writing. I’m currently working on the fifth of my novels for children, as well as a thriller for grown-up readers.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
I’ve just published a collection of sort stories called ‘Girlfriend Interrupted (and Other Fictions). Some of the stories have been published before (in literary mags) and some are new. They were all inspiered by different things, such as previous relationships, deaths, meetings and encounters.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I don’t think it’s particularly unusual, but I do try to spend a certain amount of time standing up to write. Many famous authors, including Hemingway, Virginia Woolf and Nabokov, used this technique
as a means to get the creative juices flowing. My own reasons, though, are more to do with health benefits – it helps posture, burns more calories and is said to prolong life.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I’m influenced my many authors, including Iain Banks, Philip Pullman, Margaret Attwood, Stephen King, Louise Welsh, Stewart MacBride, Doris Lessing, Arthur Conan Doyle, Peter Ackroyd, Ian McEwan, Hilary Mantel and of course, Raymond Chandler. I think it’s really important for writers to also be readers – anyone who believes it’s possible to do one without the other is an idiot.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on finishing two books: ‘The House That Wasn’t There’ is one of my ‘puzzle’ titles. The idea is that by giving myself a title that doesn’t necessarily make sense, or can be interpreted several ways, there’s no obvious direction for the story to go in, which gives me more freedom. The novel continues the exploits of my eleven-year-old heroine, Christie McKinnon, who discovers a local boy is missing.
The other book is my first thriller for adults. ‘Ariadne 7’ is about a con-man who gets mistaken for someone else and finds himself on a hitman’s list. As he can’t go to the police, he must find the real target and work out who is behind the killings.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I don’t have a particular method, other than trying to get my books on as many sites as possible. If I discover the magic formula, I’ll let you know!
Do you have any advice for new authors?
It’s hard sometimes to keep writing when there isn’t much in the way of success. All writers want to be read, they want feedback, interaction and (naturally) praise. The only way to reach your goal is to keep writing and striving to improve your work, but mainly I think it’s about writing what you want to write, not what you think you should write.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Stephen King said it all:
Read a lot, write a lot.
What are you reading now?
I’m reading ‘The Good Son’ by Paul McVeigh
What’s next for you as a writer?
My novel writing has kind of taken over a bit, so I want to get back to short stories.
What is your favorite book of all time?
‘I am Messenger’ by Markus Zusak