In the Booth – Writing Lives
I like to...tell the reader about the insecurities of a criminal character, the reasons behind their actions. I like to develop an anti-hero, as they’re always the most interesting characters, someone that the reader knows is a wrong'un but still cares for. I also like to delve into relationships, criminal to criminal, the loyalties, rivalries and double-crossing, and criminal to law keeper, the mutual respect, the game of cat and mouse and how one gets the upper hand.
I started writing my first novel, SHIT HAPPENS, when I was going through a messy divorce. I was in debt, living in poverty with four little ones and the phone had been disconnected. The novel started as a rant. I entered the first chapter and last paragraph into a competition and was highly commended. That’s when I was inspired to become a writer.
...there are a lot of very stupid things people are capable of doing. God knows I’ve done my share. My folks are never the clever sort of criminal who carries out the perfect crime. They’re more the sort of person sneaks down the air duct in a restaurant to rob it after closing. Only they fall into the deep fat fryer and have to call the paramedics.
Through my writing, I share my mistakes and my successes. I share my strength, my faith, my thoughts and my actions... Expressing myself through quotes became a daily duty... This fact brought my first published book called ‘THE BOOK’ made up by 231 quotes...and is a self-help spiritual book of true thoughts, phrases, lessons, inspirations, love and identification. The quotes aim to enlighten and inspire.
I'm drawn to the memoir genre because if I don’t write about my own experience, I feel like I'm drowning in it and I do need to ‘get it out’ and make sense of what is happening in my life... I can’t grasp the concept of fiction because the idea of ‘making up details’ or creating characters, for some reason, just doesn’t make sense to me when I already have so much information right in front of me...
I am a disabled graduate and have used writing as my escape from all that is going wrong with my body. I cannot get a job, so did the best I could with the skills I have, which seems to be working well for me... I have written six books: Fantacia, Bellazard, Orion, Sky, How to be a Writer, or Not! and Black & White Roses. I am mainly a dark fantasy writer for adults.
I used to manage care homes and during that time, I recognised there was a gap in the training delivered and that information was needed for my staff team, so I wrote some open learning workbooks to fill these gaps... My latest book, which has just been released 'Beyond My Control: Why The Health and Social Care System Need Not Have Failed My Mother' was difficult to write as it’s a true account of how my late mum suffered.
I write in whichever genre the story that’s demanding to be told falls into. 'Chilled' is a crime thriller but also a political thriller; 'In the Wake of Angels' is a spy thriller and I have another political thriller in the pipeline. I also research and write about PTSD and am working on an autobiography / self-help book which is much more academic.
I cover some pretty disturbing storylines when writing, and whilst most of my readers enjoy my books, I know that some readers will find some of the subject matter difficult to read. But the issues I cover do happen, they are out there. And with every dark, murky tale, there is always a survivor: a strong person who battles through their harsh reality somehow, and that is what I champion.
My debut thriller, CUT SHORT, was inspired by an encounter with a stranger in my local park... It genuinely never occurred to me that anyone else would ever read my narrative, let alone publish it. The story that arose out of that brief encounter in the park went on to be published as CUT SHORT, shortlisted for a 2010 CWA Dagger Award for Best First Crime Novel...
I write what comes to me. I never thought I would write children’s books, but that is what happened first. I really enjoy the creative process of our books, where we put together illustrations and quotes with the story. It’s really quite fun. And I have the best partner—artist Elisabeth Slettnes—in all the world.
I started writing stories when I was very young. I get inspired by people and things that I go through in my own life... I have read almost nothing but crime novels for years so I wanted to see if I could pull it off... I am currently working on Heir to Misfortune, the second title in the DI Frank Lyle mystery series.