1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am a qualified fitness instructor and a wife and mum. I live in Glasgow, Scotland with my husband, my two daughters and my dog who I absolutely adore. I previously lived in Melbourne Australia also having lots of family and friends there. Australia will always hold a special place in my heart. I absolutely love reading and writing. When I’m lost in reading or writing I can go days without resting or taking a break, or sleeping. I love to laugh, have fun and I am outgoing adventurous. I have a quirky, playful sense of humour but I reckon it’s healthy and keeps me young at heart. I am also fairly spiritual and I love yoga, relaxation and mediation when my mind is not overactive. I’m a hopless romantic deep at heart and quite a sensitive soul and find comfort in loving my friends and family.
2. What do you do when you are not writing?
When I am not writing, I love to read and when I’m not reading I love to dance. I have taught dance aerobic and fitness classes over the years so I love to make up new routines when certain music inspires me. Although I have not had a lot of time this year to fit in as much dancing as I would like but I hope to make time to enjoy more of my passion. I love cooking, good food and wine and entertaining. Socialising and meal times are important to us and I love to cook for my family and friends. When I’m not doing any of that, I’m helping my daughters with their homework and walking my energetic dog.
3. Do you have a day job as well?
My day job is fitness instructing and specialised health, but I have an injury of my own so left my full time position as I was teaching 35 classes a week a few years ago and needed to take a step back and rest. When I started writing it was supposed to be a stop gap while I recovered from my injury, but it’s actually more than a full time job now because I barely sleep, I type day and night but would not change it for the world.
4. When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I’ve had the inspirational ideas for my plot and characters whizzing around in my head for around two years now. Christmas 2012, I read a new book everyday over the holidays and would make lots of notes in a journal about my characters and every Monday, I would wake and say ‘right today is the day I start writing’. Then every time I sat at my laptop I would shiver with nerves and shy away. This went on until Valentine’s Day 2013, my husband came home from work with beautiful flowers and one striking blue coloured orchid caught my eye and then I said right enough is enough, I’m taking the leap of faith and going to spread my wings. I sat at the laptop and have barely moved since. So maybe it was a sign, a push in the right direction.
5. How did you choose the genre you write in?
Three years ago when we were on holiday, I thought about writing YA, and I would not dismiss that idea because I have an amazing idea for a YA series which I’m sure has not be done before. But then after reading fifty shades of grey, I was hooked with Adult books, so I must have downloaded 5 to 8 a week and have spent a few years reading in between doing my classes. It was a no brainner I would write romance but the Contemporary/Erotic Adult genre seemed to fit and fall into place and I wanted to ensure I had a different story all together so after researching I decided change it up a little.
6. Do you listen to music while writing?
This question really excites me because music is my thing. I love music and music and dance go hand in hand and now writing and music goes hand in hand for me. There is not a day that goes by that I’m not downloading and listening to varied music whilst typing, my playlist is so diverse. From R&B, Country, to Love Ballads, Alternate Rock, House, Dance and Soul. I permanently have my earphones in. That’s what I loved about my classes, I would spend hours picking fresh music, or old remixes searching for a good distinctive beat. When I’m writing I need to listen to music, it seems to get the creativity flowing better if it moves me.
7. Chips or chocolate?
Chips – Always and forever, it’s my guilty pleasure. I am a savoury girl and have been known to polish off a movie size bag of kettle chips without sharing when I have PMS.
8. Do you ever experience writer’s block?
Yes, I did probably more with the second book because I introduced more characters and the plot deepened, so there was much more thinking and elaboration. When I get writers block, I take my dog out for a walk for some fresh air or do some exercises and stretches in my living room.
9. Do you work with an outline, or just write?
Yes I work with an outline, I like to have things mapped out. I made loads of notes and ultimately I have scripted the start, middle and end of the series but when I started typing things will change because something just comes to me and I find it’s a better way to work when something inspirational grasps me. I still have the main idea but just let it flow naturally.
10. Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
As a child my prize possessions were the Enid Blyton famous five box sets and Roald Dahl box sets. I kept them for my children and actually found them recently in my attic. As a teenager I loved period classics like Shakespeare, Emily Bronte and Jane Austin. As an adult I love to read lots of various genres, styles and authors work. I enjoy a cryptic Dan Brown, Mario Puzo, James Patterson and John Grisham book and also love Khaled Hosseini in between reading the more adult, romantic novels. I also loved the hunger games, for something fresh and exciting. If I enjoy a good book I’ll read it several times and I love to be brought to tears when reading a story. Of recent my favourite authors are SC Stephens, Sylvain Reynard, Jodi Ellen Malpas, Katie Ashley, Katy Evans, Samantha Towle, Mia Asher, Jasinda Wilder, J.C Reed, J.A. Redmerski, L.D Davis, Molly McAdams, Colleen Hoover and Jamie McGuire to name a few.
11. Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
It’s a mind field. I have spent 2-3 years researching and even that is not enough. Like any industry it’s changing all the time. No matter how much I think I know, every day I’m faced with another challenge. I was always self-publishing from the start but I am rusty to say the least with all things tech - y, so I’ve had to ask, ask and ask again to navigate my way around. It’s a nerve wrecking experience and can be stressful; I take my hat off to other fellow authors who have done it. Every day is a school day as they say.
12. If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
When I was nearly finished the first book I had so many thoughts going through my mind, like maybe I should have done this, done that, changed this and changed that. The reality is I read it back so many times that I knew it was working the way I intended and I would end up frazzled if I constantly changed too many things. If I could have changed anything it would be to have forward planned better with the publish side of things and have everything booked in adequate time. I discovered that people are booked way in advance and this being my first time I had to estimate, so it’s been a learning curve.
13. How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
Social networking via the book bloggers is a true god send. It’s been the biggest form of marketing I could have possible have and reaches so many book groups, pages and blog sites. I find this works best but as it’s still early days I may consider other avenues to market in the future through the press. Around two years ago I joined , liked and still continue to follow mostly all these pages and sites. Every book I purchase or download is based on the reviews and teasers from these incredible bloggers sites/pages. I always trust fellow readers especially with this type of genre and base my choices on what’s trending and what has the best exposure, interest and feedback.
14. Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
No. The Luminara series is my debut Series, I did write when I was younger although I’m sure most of my journals and printed MS documents are long gone from my parent’s attic.
15. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
It’s all purely imagination. The plot, characters and scenes are all based on imagination and are fictitious although the dog Doris is actually based on my own dog. I found it easy to describe and write about her watching my own dog run away with my slippers when I was busy typing and not paying her any attention. The dog actually gets up to a lot of mischief in the second book.
16. What was your favourite chapter (or part) to write and why?
That’s a hard one, there were so many chapters I enjoyed expressing and creating. I enjoyed writing the chapter ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’, when Lexi meets Francesca for the first time, Lucca gets drunk as is struggling to cope and after a night of debauchery Lexi runs away from him. It was very intense writing this scene as it was the first chapter that Lucca does not come across as being perfect. My heart was thumping writing it actually because I did not want to portray him as being bad, but still wanted enough controversy that he failed with unacceptable behaviour and would crumble at the thought of losing Lexi and beg for her forgiveness. I found it very emotional and wanted that point in the story to have something raw and emotionally disturbing with a little shock value. I also loved Hazel cartwheeling down the hallway, I smiled writing that and when Marissa walks in on Lucca and Lexi and nearly catches them in an intimate moment. I also loved the scene Cameron reads her journal and they cry together and embrace, oh and when Lucca turns up at the night club in Firenze. I could go on and on…
17. How did you come up with the title?
Lussuria is the Italian word for Lust and the theme of the series is Lust, Love and Light. In the early days I actually planned to call it something else and it was not until the book was completely finished that I eventually changed the name as it was much more fitting. My Cousin, Husband, Editor and friends also had a lot of input and gave me endless ideas to eventually help me to decide what was right for this book.
18.What project are you working on now?
I am almost finished Book 2, in the Luminara series which will be called L’amore meaning The Love. Then I’m scheduled to start writing book three in the next coming weeks and write book four early next year and book five the middle of next year so I’m going to be a busy lady.
19.Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
I’m pretty happy with all my characterisations and theme. I spent a great deal of time thinking of how I could theme it to work in with branding, story and content etc. The second book will explain the characters in more depth, bring her group of friends back into it and many new characters will be revealed some friendly, some not so much. We will explore her family in book 2 also. I tried to imagine if this were on screen, how the large circle of family and friends would be personafied and visualised in the settings and scenes.
20. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
I think it goes without saying that we all like different things in life and as writers we won’t please everyone and there is always going to be mixed opinions with anything. It’s difficult sometimes to accept negative critique because we try hard not to take it personally. A very kind fellow author told me at the very beginning not to read any reviews wither they be good, bad or indifferent because it can really affect your enthusiasm and mood and the main thing is to stay level headed and focused. My toughest criticism has to be that family and friends know it’s of a sexual content. In a light hearted way, they have teased me about it, which I try to rub off the best I can although it does secretly embarrass me. I’ve also been told I am very descriptive. My best compliment has to be that my husband and kids and friends tell me that they are very proud of me and that’s what makes it all worthwhile.
21. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
I like to sincerely thank all the readers, fans and bloggers from the bottom of my heart for their continued support and enthusiasm everyone is giving me and my series. I hope you’re all as passionate about The Luminara Series as much as I am and it’s a joy to be able to write and bring my imagination to you all. I’m indebted to you all for your kind words and encouragement I have received and it goes without saying that if it were not for the support from fans, readers and bloggers I could not successfully deliver this series to you. I’m delighted to be able to share this with you and I will always be entirely grateful for your love and best wishes. I am overwhelmed with appreciation and touched by every little message of kind words. Thank you readers, fans and bloggers xxx
Dream Cast –
My ideal Actress to play Lexi would be Mila Kunis,