Tuesday, 18 March 2014

A writer's life...FAQs... you asked so I'll tell...

Thank you so much to all those that sent me questions. I have really enjoyed doing this. I think I have included everyone I received. If I have missed any please comment below and I will answer them for you.Here goes...

  1. When did you start writing Beyond the Past? How long did it take?
I started writing Beyond the Past on the 26 December 2011. I finished the first draft in September 2012
  1. Why are you so interested in Rugby League?
Rugby League is probably the most exciting sport I have ever watched and believe me I have watched lots of sport. It is incredibly tough and requires a lot of stamina and skill. At junior level it teaches children to be part of a team, conflict resolution and lots of other life skills whilst they stay fit and most important of all, have fun. 

  1. Are the main characters based on people you know?
           No, absolutely not. The characters are purely people from my head, scary I know. I 
           love creating the characters and watching them evolve.

  1. You are writing the sequel, is it easier to write?
I am writing the sequel, Beyond the Lies and it is not easier to write at all. In fact, it is more difficult than I imagined. I love the characters in the book but there is pressure to make this book more exciting and gripping than the Beyond the Past. 

  1. What is Rugby League?
The best form (very biased) of rugby played in teams of thirteen, originally by a group of northern English clubs which separated from rugby union in 1895. Each team has six tackles to provide an attacking play. At the final tackle the ball has to be turned over to the defensive side if there has been no score. 

  1. Why do you support Liverpool FC when you are from Yorkshire?
This may be long winded so bear with me. My parents were huge Beatles fans. So we would spend a lot of holidays in Liverpool exploring the city. We also went to Anfield on many occasions. These were the days when Kenny Dalglish, Ian Rush and crew were playing. That’s when my interest in football started, way before rugby league.

I remember Hillsborough like it was yesterday and it still horrifies me that justice has not been served. My book is dedicated to the families and victims of Hillsborough as I admire them so much. In spite of taking on the authorities they never gave up and fought with such dignity and integrity. I hope 2014 will see closure for everyone who was affected by an avoidable catastrophe. 

My love affair with Liverpool is as strong as ever and I love taking my two boys to Anfield to watch the games when we can. My youngest had a birthday surprise last August when I arranged a tour of the ground and to Melwood. We stayed on to watch Liverpool play Notts County. He even won a lucky bag in a competition before kick-off. As usual the Scousers never let me down in making the day extra special.

  1. Who is your favourite rugby league players of all time?
Prior to Super League, the game was very much a forwards game. My favourite players played for Widnes in the first live game I ever watched. Kurt Sorrenson and Joe Grima were power houses with great personalities. My favourite in the modern game include Kevin Sinfield, Eorl Crabtree, Sam Tomkins, Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Jonathan Thurston. Hopefully my son’s name will be added in years to come.

  1. He is your ultimate sports star?
I have a few but I would say Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher, Steven Gerrard and Kevin Sinfield. I don’t think Gerrard and Sinfield receive the accolades they deserve but both great leaders and consummate professionals in their sports. Michael is incredibly clinical and Ayrton was, for me, naturally gifted and gave everything.

  1. What are your future writing plans?
I want to continue to develop as a writer. I have five draft ideas for further novels. I also have written a number of short stories and entered them into competitions. Fingers crossed people like them.

  1. What’s the hardest part of writing?
The hardest part is the lack of feedback. When you are appointed in a new job, you are given a place of work, a salary and people around you that can tell you if you are doing well or not. With writing you write, edit and if you are very lucky you get published. Once published you sit and wait to see what happens. It’s the waiting that I am not very good at.

  1. What made you change your career?
I think you know in your heart when you are in the wrong place. I know now I am in the right place doing exactly what I want to do. My illness is a pain at times and very unpredictable. I can go years with no ill effects other than not hearing parts of conversations but then I can have six months, like the last, when I wake up every day in pain. Its not sudden, I get warning signs and its pain rather than dizziness which is lucky. I needed to work, I have to work. It’s about having flexibility to be allowed to work. Employers are unsympathetic to invisible illnesses. Now I can work hard all the time, even when not well because I don’t have to travel anywhere to do my job.

  1. Was it hard to change career?
It wasn’t hard for me as I had lost my job. I needed something that was flexible enough for me to be here for the boys and to take time out when I had a bad bout of my illness. I am not one for sitting on my backside. I set up my small administration business and wrote my book.  Hopefully in time I will be in a financial position to spend all my time writing. The change in career is actually what I needed. 

  1. What are you most proud of?
My relationship with my boys and how hard they both work. Work ethic is so important and both boys have been encouraged to be involved in the voluntary work I have been involved in.  I am really proud of my achievements of bringing up two fabulous boys, managing an illness, writing and setting up my administration business. It would have been so easy to sit back and let the world pass me by but that was never an option for me. If I want something I believe in going to get it. Anything is possible.

  1. What process did you and your book go through before publishing?
The writing of the book was actually the easiest part. I edited three times before I was happy to let anyone in the industry look at it. In fact, chapter 3 became chapter 1! I sent it to lots and lots of agents and publishers. It is so demoralising when you don’t get responses. I did get a few responses that were straight ‘nos’. I did get some feedback telling me the story was good and to keep going. However, I almost gave up.

I wrote an article for an Authors Way website and had a light bulb moment. We all complain about celebrities using their names to sell books. Well, I decided to create my own self-promotion.  I set up social media accounts and my own website. I put the first three chapters on the website and started to promote the book before I had even been accepted for publication. It worked!

Surfing the net, I found Pegasus publishing. I emailed then and after a couple of weeks they rang me to say they wanted to see the full manuscript. A couple of weeks later I was offered a contract. 

After that, Pegasus dealt with edits and amendments giving me the final say. We worked on the book cover and all the hard work resulted in the publication on the 23 January 2014.

  1. What’s the hardest part of marketing your book?
It’s a whole new world for me. I have always been involved in marketing from my days in insurance broking and my voluntary work but I didn’t know how to market to the literary world. In reality the principles are the same. I can talk about my book until the cows come home and I do! However the hardest part of any marketing is knowing whether it is working. I keep going hoping that it is.

  1. Where do you get your ideas from?
When I wrote Beyond the Past the only two things I was certain of was the main character would be called Annie and it would involve rugby league. It's fascinating where your brain can take you if you let it.
In all honesty, I have no idea. Sometimes they come to me in the strangest of places. I recently went to Waterstones to collect a GCSE Science book for my son. Whilst I was there I had a coffee and had to buy a notebook as an idea came to me. By the time I had left, the full story line was developed and the main characters decided upon.

Another time I was sat outside my youngest son’s school and had to write an idea on the back of a Tesco receipt. Now, I take a notepad everywhere I go, including to bed!

  1. If you had to make a choice between Football, Formula 1 and Rugby League, what would it be?
                I love them all the same and even more if my boys are involved!

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