When did you first start writing?
I started writing in April 2012. I always feel a bit of an imposter when I confess that; so many authors seem to have known they wanted to write since they could hold a pencil! By contrast, I adore reading and love books!
Are you a structured writer or a see-what happens?
I am a structured writer. I start with an idea for a story, usually just the beginning and end, and then I work through the whole plot so that I can see if the idea is strong enough to be a complete novel. That said, I leave lots of room for the characters to react in which ever way seems right at the time. I also don’t plan out every single detail. For example, in the novel I am planning at the moment, I know that one character will try to sabotage another person’s work, I don’t know how yet but I’m sure the character will let me know nearer the time!
Tell us about ‘Conditional Love’
Conditional Love is a romantic comedy about a thirty something girl who has had her head firmly stuck in the sand for so long that she has almost forgotten what her dreams were. She avoids confrontation, loathes planning and lacks the confidence to follow her own path. After her boyfriend dumps her for being boring, she inherits her great aunt’s estate on condition that she meets her father. She is confronted with a few home truths about her past and has to face a new and uncertain future. A cast of others add to her troubles including the socially inept architect, her two bickering flatmates and her ex-boyfriend who comes back on the scene. It is a light-hearted funny read with some serious elements about different kinds of love and discovering that not all loves are unconditional.
When you put ‘Conditional Love’ out there, did you get the response you hoped for?
When I first published Conditional Love on Amazon, I was petrified that no one would like it. The only people who had read it were my beta readers; my friends and members of my family. I had no idea whether complete strangers would enjoy it and I was very nervous of bad reviews. I was playing quite a dangerous game; I chose to self-publish in order to gain a readership, build a profile and learn the industry. My longer term goal was (still is!) to secure representation and a traditional publishing contract and I hoped that Conditional Love would ‘get me noticed’. The last thing I needed was to be noticed for doing really badly! I booked a book blog tour with Fiction Addiction Book Tours and the feedback I got from book bloggers was more positive than I could have wished for. Only after that did I dare to hope that the book would be well-received.
What inspired you to write it?
Whilst the plot is not in the least biographical, my husband inherited an old bungalow from his father five years ago. We have always been big fans of Grand Designs and decided to have a go at a self-build project ourselves. The original seed for the story came from our experiences and I built a storyline around it.
Are you working on any new novels at the moment?
I finished my second novel just before Christmas. It’s a romantic comedy about three women who meet at a funeral and commit to help make each other’s dreams come true. I’m hoping to have this one traditionally published. And I’ve just started working on a new book which I’m very excited about. It’s another light hearted comedy, this time based on an allotment. I don’t have an allotment myself but my mum does and it’s a hot bed of gossip and intrigue!
What motivated/inspired you to become an Indie Author?
I felt that in such a competitive and crowded market the best way to attract the attention of an agent was to prove myself, not just as a writer but as a marketer. I planned to use Conditional Love to help me build a readership and a social media profile. I am hoping that this will stand me in good stead with book two.
You mentioned the book blog tour, but how else do you market your books? Do you have a process?
I have used all the marketing tools I could think of, from a quirky launch in a phone box to press releases and guest posts on my own blog. I never turn an opportunity down, no matter how daunting it is. For example I’ve been asked to speak at a conference at the University of Nottingham in March. I’m really nervous about it but couldn’t afford to turn it down.
Having used all the marketing tools, do you think there was anything that worked better than others.
The blog tour I ran with Fiction Addiction was hugely successful, as well the series of guest posts I ran on my own blog the week of the launch.
What advice would you give to any writer wanting to do it the ‘Indie Way’.
The reader doesn’t know whether you are Indie or not so don’t think you are only competing with other Indie authors, be as professional in everything you do, from the cover to your Facebook page.
Tell us what you are reading at the moment.
The Arcade by Kitty Charles – I highly recommend it!
Anything else you would like to add to your readers or to other writers.
I would like to say a huge thank you to all the readers, bloggers and other authors who have supported me with the launch of Conditional Love. I’ve sold over 10,000 copies now and the help and support I’ve received has been amazing! And thanks to you, Vicky for inviting me into your blog.