Friday, 30 November 2012

Reviewing My Year...

Do you take time to seriously look at how you've done each year? And I don't just mean waiting until January the 1st and making resolutions-they usually don't last long...

Early December is my writing assessment time - if it's not been done earlier in October/November.

Reviewing the Writing Year
I've found looking at what's worked, and what's not gone as I'd hoped, is useful.

So last year (2011) I'd only achieved 2 of my 4 targets, that I'd set myself in late 2010; so I didn't do more than make general plans.

Here's what I decided I wanted for 2012:

 So I'm going to be getting on with my novella for the remainder of the year.

This coming Saturday I'll be at Sally Quillford's Pocket Novel workshop, which I'm looking forward to and I'm sure I'll learn a lot.

Hopefully next year will be more productive.

Did I keep to any of them?

I attended the Pocket Novel workshop and enjoyed it very much. I was reassured that I'd understood the requirements, and it did make me look at a few aspects in a different way, which I've taken into my other writing.

I also came home with another couple brewing in my head.

Yes, I've been working on the novella. Not as much has been done as I'd hoped, but I'm finally getting on with it.

Has it been productive?


I completed the revisions of the short story that I intended to send to Woman's Weekly. I sent it, and a few days off the four months received the standard rejection letter. But I actually got it sent off this year.
In the New Year it will be getting another look over and being sent off elsewhere...

A previously abandoned One Word Challenge Anthology book began a new life as an e-book project, and finally became available for purchase mid-November. I have contributions in it, and Serena does too.
So that was something I hadn't anticipated happening this year...

(You'll be able to read about the anthology by the Talkback Writers in the January 2013 issue of Writing Magazine-possibly with photos of some of the contributing writers included.)

I've got the basics of a few other projects which are in line for future development and writing up- some full length, others probably novella length.

I read some of my flash fiction to an audience at the Fringe at the Ship event in Lowdham in June.

Last week I did a slot on local BBC Radio promoting the 'One Word Anthology' with a fellow contributor (Catherine Dalling).

The past six months have shown me what I'm happiest doing, and what the best system of writing is for me personally.

I have my office area- that was just something on my wish list last year.

And Serena Lake has finally made her debut, quietly...

That is a lot more than I'd decided on last year.

Now I need to consider what I want to aim for in 2013, but I've been so busy that I haven't even thought about it yet. But I will.

image courtesy of Danilo Rizutti /

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Back to Normal - Almost...

I'm glad to say I'm now fully online again, so will be catching up over the next few days.

Only when you lose your internet use, do you realise how much you use it for.

My OH did let me use his little netbook, but it couldn't cope with sites that had lots of graphics and pages with adverts on- I couldn't do anything until the page was loaded and it was so much slower than I'm used to...

My computer has had a couple of replacement parts, so I got an IP address again (my computer lost it's identity at the weekend along with my internet access) but it still didn't work.

The technical experts at my ISP (internet service provider) did a brilliant job, despite being on the less usual solutions stage.

And the answer to my problems?

Apart from adjusting settings and typing in codes to get it to do specific things, it improved after uninstalling the computer's security package, and replacing it with an alternative- internet access was immediately restored.

I'd done quite a few standard checks before I rang anyone; run the diagnostics on my computer, checked wires and connections and the old favourite of turning the router off, then on; turning the computer off and then back on, clearing cookies, browser history, cleaning the disk.

I have a basic housekeeping routine for my computer each week to keep it running happily, and it is something everyone should do regularly- and you can set your computer to defragment your files once a month.

I'm just glad there was someone on the other end of the phone who could eventually solve my problem, when the initial work didn't resolve the issue.

Have to say I can see the advantages of wi-fi, but even that doesn't protect you from security updates
upsetting your computer...

A big thank you to all who left comments on my previous post- they helped retain my sanity when I was getting upset and annoyed at the numerous phone calls and brick walls I kept facing in trying to get back to normal.

Now, I'm going to catch up on what's been going on in the writing world ready for my weekend post...

Monday, 26 November 2012

Computer Issues...

My regular posting schedule is going to be out this week.

I've written this on my OH's netbook- had to plug a mouse into it, so I could get anything to move...

No idea what's wrong with my computer, but I can't access the Internet, and the security package isn't working either on my desktop.

Strangely enough everyone else using a wireless connection in the family is fine and secure.

My service provider claims it's a computer provider issue- because the laptop computers are able to access the browsers and security package okay, even though I can't on the wired line...

So tomorrow I will be contacting Dell to see if they can resolve the issue, even though I've run all the diagnostic tools and not come up with any obvious issues.

I expect to spend most of Monday on the phone and tearing my hair out in frustration. :(

I'd been intending to spend some time getting the size of the book in the side column reduced in size, but at the moment it will have to stay as it is, until I'm back to full browser access.

So apologies for the size-but the link to works if you click on the book. Apparently 69 copies have been sold so far, though I don't know if that includes the Amazon sales...

If you've bought and read the anthology, would you consider adding a review to Amazon?

The writers who contributed stories and poems to the anthology are reluctant to write and add reviews themselves, as they are concerned about the ethics of doing so.

They don't want to be linked to any accusations of sock-puppetry...

As soon as my computer is back online, I'll be blogging again.

In the meantime I'll be trying to keep to date with as much as possible via the netbook.

Apologies for not visiting and commenting on fellow bloggers pages meanwhile.

Fingers crossed it's not a major problem...

Saturday, 24 November 2012

December Approaches, So it Must be 'Britain's 'Most Dreaded Literary Prize'...

Time for the Literary Review's shortlist for the annual Bad Sex in Fiction award...

This is the 20th year, and the ceremony to announce the winner "for the most embarrassing passage of sexual description in a novel" will take place on Tuesday 4th December.

I do wonder if some authors don't leave these dreadful scenes in, rather than edit them to make them better, so they can improve their chance for the shortlist and get their book publicity - no actual cost in time or money needed. 

As it's really not bad publicity on the scale of everything that could be classed as bad publicity...

Others no doubt, just aren't very good at writing such scenes- though I'm sure they think they're okay at the time...

If you had the option, saying you did it deliberately is much better than admitting you write bad sex scenes... :-)

In a year that has seen the rise of 'Fifty Shades of Grey', you might expect the book to have been a sure-fire candidate. But no, and here's why.

"The purpose of the prize is to draw attention to the crude, badly written, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel, and to discourage it. The prize is not intended to cover pornographic or expressly erotic literature."

So that rules FSOG out...

There've been the usual newspaper articles mentioning names;  the shortlist includes the following: (if you've actually read any of them, and have an opinion, do please comment.)

  • The Yips by Nicola Barker
  • The Adventuress by Nicholas Coleridge
  • Infrared by Nancy Huston
  • Rare Earth by Paul Mason
  • Noughties by Ben Masters
  • The Quiddity of Will Self by Sam Mills
  • The Divine Comedy by Craig Raine
  • Back to Blood by Tom Wolfe

  • "For snippets from the shortlist, follow Literary Review's twitter account, @lit_review. The tweets are tagged as #LRBadSex2012."

    I'll definitely be following on Twitter...


    Thursday, 22 November 2012

    Thursday's Radio Interview...

    Another experience in the book promotion of the One Word Anthology has been achieved- the radio interview.

    Nottingham has a BBC Radio and local news studio on the edge of the city, and that's where Catherine (Dalling) and I were this lunchtime.

    We had an interview about the e-book on the Gareth Evans programme that airs between 12 midday and 4pm.
    Our instructions were to be there by 1.30 for 1.40...

    Actually we were there by 1.05, as we weren't sure how long it would take us. We were fortunate that the tram came along just as we were approaching the Royal Centre stop, otherwise we wouldn't have got there until nearer 1.30.

    It's not far to walk from the tram terminus- about 5 minutes- so we had time to sign in, sit in reception and chat, and watch the four screens on the wall- we had a choice of BBC News reporting on the flooding around the country, the lunchtime antiques show, and at one end the local BBC news studio presenter preparing for the East Midlands report that follows the main One O'clock News, while at the other end and with sound, the radio presenter Gareth in his studio.

    It seems the whole show for today was word related: with questions about words, fun news that was word related; so we were going to fit right in with the One Word Anthology...

    We went upstairs and waited to go into the studio.

    Then it was time. Introductions were done while the music was playing, we sat down and then it was time to put the earphones on.

    Catherine and I naturally alternated answering the questions, and during the next music break we were able to tell Gareth about the contributors who are in Fiji, and Australia and Europe, as well as the UK and Ireland.

    So when we put our earphones back on, this community aspect became part of the next question.

    We talked about the words used in the anthology- why does the mind always go blank on important things? :)

    Then it was time to tell listeners where they could buy the book, and say thank you.

    It was the 2 o'clock news and we could leave the studio. Hopefully some of the listeners went and bought the book- or will do in future...

    Everyone was pleased with how well it went; and fellow contributors were happy with our efforts. As were we.

    The e-book
    So here's an edited version minus the music. Interview.
    Hope you enjoy it. (Thanks, John.)


    Tuesday, 20 November 2012

    Grammar and the Radio...

    Well I hope my grammar will be right on the radio...

    Thursday lunchtime- Catherine Dalling and I will be on BBC Radio Nottingham talking about the One Word Anthology, with Gareth Evans.

    If you want to listen to the show live, you should be able to access it via the BBC iPlayer Radio pages in the UK.

    Family members who are not otherwise occupied will be at home listening. And numerous friends will be tuning in to hear our efforts.

    It is a bit scary- I did a short guest slot one New Year about five or six years ago, so it will be interesting to see how much has changed since then...

    *   *   *

    Now I mentioned grammar earlier, and I know how some writers struggle with it - there are bits I'm still not sure of too. So a good book that explains every aspect clearly, with examples, is a very useful addition to the bookshelf.

    So I'm going to suggest you have a look at 'Grammar for Grown-Ups' by Katherine Fry and Rowena Kirton. Amazon has a look inside option, and it's cheaper than at Waterstones (where I bought my copy). It even has a Table of Tenses which I know I'll find useful...

    I didn't know about this book until I saw it in Waterstones today, when I was browsing the reference section. I've since discovered a couple of people I know have also bought a copy.

    *   *   *
    I'll be doing my next blog post late Thursday, so I can include a link to the interview.
    (That's assuming I don't get struck down with any seasonal bugs between now and then. :-) )

    Sunday, 18 November 2012

    Bond is Back and Writers Will Like It...

    Now you may not think that the latest Bond movie has much to interest a writer, other than you might like Daniel Craig as 007, the fast cars and the action scenes- the escapist fun.

    But I have to say this was actually a film that a writer can truly appreciate.

    At the end I came out feeling that the story had been done properly.

    On previous Bond films I've seen, by the end I've felt dissatisfied, that something was missing, but this time I knew it had been done right.

    (Yes, I know a lot of that is due to the Director, Cameramen/Women, Stunt Artists, and the Editor to name just a few- and the credits are long.)

    Just as in a novel there are the recognisable ups and downs that a story needs. And it certainly had a beginning, middle and an end.

    There were lots of little mysteries which were all tied up by the finish of the film, but even then heralded a new beginning.

    You had the big climax of the film, but just as in a good book there was that final winding up that left you with a resolution.

    There was a lot of character development- 'M', you really see how tough a woman in such a high position has to be to do the job- I know it's fiction, but I bet there are women in all areas of life with big responsibilities who would probably recognise aspects shown by Judi Dench's 'M'.

    There's a new young 'Q' ( Ben Whishaw) - forget the gadgets, it's all up to date now with technology- but nothing's perfect...

    I even had some sympathy for the villain (Javier Bardem as Silva) at times, but he was still the baddy and got what was coming to him...

    Then we have Bond. We all know that our past experiences shape us, and in this film you actually get to find out some of his back-story- someone has really thought this story through.

    And if you wonder why it's called 'Skyfall', like I did, you'll find out as the story builds to a climax, as long as you're paying attention...

    The final thought, technology can do a lot of things, but sometimes the old ways get the job done, which is probably the appeal of Bond...

    Saturday, 17 November 2012

    Back Later...

    I'm just off to see Skyfall- the latest 007 Bond epic.

    So I'll be posting later this evening.

    See you then... :-)

    Wednesday, 14 November 2012

    A Learning Experience from Promoting...

    Well I've learnt a lot about book promotion this past week, so I thought I'd share a few of the things I've discovered.

    Plan ahead

    It might help you to make a list of all your potential outlets for advertising your book- flyers that can be left at any local shops, libraries, writers groups and community settings (these do depend upon the genre of your book of course, and permissions).

    Local newspapers - worth looking at the free papers that get put through the door; if you can find a local slant to appeal, as with any regional paper you buy. (Our daily paper has a weekend supplement with the Saturday edition and includes books, and local related articles- often by specific writers, so send a suitably adapted press release.)

    Check out local radio- if you're in a big (UK) city you'll possibly have a BBC radio station. You may find a show during the day that has a book slot that would welcome local writers.

    Flyers with your book cover, author name, where it's available (for e-books) and the price, plus a bit of the blurb. More can go by e-mail nowadays but please don't just send it to everyone on your contact list and every writer you have a contact address for. That is spamming them and they will not appreciate it, or buy your book. You can lose more friends and contacts that way.

    Social media- hopefully you have a presence on Facebook and Twitter; so you've made friends who might retweet a message when you're tweeting about your book launch, or giving links to where they can read about and buy your book.

    If you've created a page for your book, invite your friends to like it.

    For the anthology we started with the important posts - images of the book, the back page, and the gorgeous Lola, trained by the charity we're giving 10% to.

    Each day a small related link was posted as a countdown to the official launch, which hopefully kept the book in the back of readers minds, and coming back to find out more each day.

    On launch day as many of the writers who could do so blogged, visited, commented, tweeted and retweeted, and posted on Facebook, also sharing. (Be warned it is tiring, so have regular breaks.)

    And then there were the launch parties...

    Only time will tell how sales from all sources have done, but yesterday the anthology was 17th in the kindle store anthologies list. Of course it's dropped back today as everything has gone back to normal and other anthologies get promoted.

    As is inevitable there were the odd typos that slipped through, but they've now been corrected.

    If you're just one person promoting a book you can only do so much. And a lot of it can be done online to reach more potential readers, so choose your best methods to get the news out and books sold.

    A really important point to remember when approaching local press/radio- especially at this time of year; are there any major events going on, either locally or nationally?
    Last weekend was Remembrance Sunday, and this Friday is Children in Need- both big news events, so I'm not approaching local press about the anthology until early next week, and hopefully it won't get passed by.

    (It may still be, but why make it harder for yourself spending time sending out press releases that won't get read because there are big events going on with lots of local coverage filling the pages?)

    I'll be adding the book cover in my sidebar (somewhere). It's a lovely reminder that I've been published in a book before I'm another year older... :-)

    Are there any tips you would like to pass on? If so please leave a comment below.

    Monday, 12 November 2012

    Launch Party Today- Join the Fun...

    Today is the day, the One Word Anthology e-book by the Talkback Writers is launched, and you can now buy it from for 99p.

    It's available in the following formats e-Pub for e-readers other than Kindle.
    - mobi for Kindle.
    - pdf for reading on your computer screen.
    Buy it now!

    10% of the revenue from the anthology goes to support the work of Medical Detection Dogs - you can find out more about the valuable work this charity does in training animals to support and save

    30 writers have contributed stories and poems that were written for the monthly One Word Challenge on the Talkback forum - which is part of the
    website, run by Writers News and Writing Magazine.

    Each month the writers are set a word prompt. They have
    200 words (excluding the title) to create a story, and/or poetry up to 40 lines.

    Lola, the Diabetic Alert Dog
    The winner of the previous month's competition- one for poetry and one for prose- read the entries and choose a winner, both winners then set the word for the new month and will judge the entries at the start of the following month.

    The anthology is a selection of the variety of stories and poems inspired by the chosen words.

    A big thank you to all the writers involved, I'm proud to be among you.

    It really has been a joint effort getting the anthology organised and put together, to now being available for sale.

    Special thanks must go to writers: Jay Mandal, who suggested the competition many years ago and started it all.
    Brenda Gunning, who collated the pieces and edited them ready for the publisher, Rosemary J Kind - who has the patience of a hundred people (if not more) and the technical expertise.
    And finally Marion Clarke who took our assorted suggestions and created
    the absolutely brilliant cover.

    Early in December there will be an interview with Rosemary and Brenda in Writing Magazine (January issue) where you can find out more about how the book developed.

    I'd like to give a big thank you to the WM/WN editor Jonathan Telfer who has supported the One Word Challenge on the forum from the beginning, and rightfully has a few words at the start of the book -we couldn't leave him out...

    Okay, that's the official part out the way. Here's my self-promotion bit :-)

    You'll find my four stories appearing under both Carol Bevitt and Serena Lake (my other name).

    Carol's stories are 'Junk Mail' and 'The Child in Everyone'; while Serena's stories are 'Surprises' and 'After Heat'.

    The e-book is also available on Smashwords $1.60 (it's changed to UK currency ) and Amazon; but please buy direct from our publisher if you can, as it means the charity will get more...

    Now it's time to party!!!

    Find us on Twitter, Facebook and wherever we can spread the launch news, so please join in.


    (image from )
    Virtual bubbly will be swirling...


    Saturday, 10 November 2012

    Meet One of the Writers in the One Word Challenge Anthology...

    As we're only a couple of days away from the launch of the One Word Challenge Anthology, on Monday the 12th, I thought it would be fun to introduce you to one of the writers in the anthology.

    Catherine Dalling is not just a writer and friend, but also a talented artist.

    Catherine Dalling
    So to the questions and answers...

    Tell the readers a little bit about yourself.

    I’m almost 48, married with two teenage children, a dog and three cats.  I became a stay-at-home mum when the kids were born and other than a couple of part-time jobs have stayed that way.
     Twice a week I run a music quiz at a couple of local pubs and love it, even though I have to say I now know more useless information about one hit wonders and chart stats than I am probably ever going to need, unless one of my characters ever becomes a DJ.

    What started you writing?

    Up until the children were born I was predominately a portrait artist, people and pets,  but when you have two young children it's not easy to paint when you don't have the space. So the paintbrushes were put away and I got on with being a mum.  But something was missing, I needed something creative. 
    I had been a prolific writer whilst I was at school, short stories (somewhere between the Famous 5 and the Hardy Boys) and rather bad poetry.  So I started writing a bit of fan fiction, then it mutated into not-so short stories - always dark, either realistically so or heading into urban fantasy.

    As the kids got older I started painting again, but I have to admit I had the bug for writing. I enrolled on a writing course and really enjoyed it. I have very Gothic tendencies, but other than my beloved New Rocks (a particular type of boots) you wouldn't really notice it - well until you walk into my office that is...

    Some writers concentrate on one genre, others a variety. Which type are you? And what are you currently working on?

    I admit to a love of all things dark and macabre, but I don't do gore. I always think the less it's described the more it affects the imagination of the reader. So I tend to stick to what I know, and love.

    I have a vampire serial that is at the stage where it needs a good edit, but to be honest I've popped it in the back of the cupboard as I feel the market is so saturated in blood that it will probably drown. My vampires can wait.

     I am focussing on what will hopefully become a series of books involving the Nephilim; it's still in the early stages but the characters are already shouting at me at inopportune moments, which is always a good thing.In my head the characters are real. As long as I don't walk down the street talking to myself we should be okay.

    When you're writing do you need to shut yourself off from everything, or are you happy to work with everyday life going on around you?

    Normally I like to be all alone, locked away without distraction, once the kids get home from school I have no hope of getting anything done. Or if I don't want to be distracted by the washing/cleaning (can't work in a messy house) I take myself off to one of the local cafes with my net book for an hour and have a couple of lattes and get my brain working. I can shut the noise out, or I can people watch (it's valid research – honest).

     I used to write in silence but now I tend to have music on, something that sets the mood for what I'm writing: a bit of HIM, or Within temptation, Bach, Beethoven, it varies, of course.

    You have four stories in the anthology. How would you describe them to readers?

    I have to say that the OWC has been an interesting exercise for me. I remember looking at it and thinking there is no way I can actually get my point across in 200 words (she has) - probably takes me more to tell people what they are about. So looking at the four stories, each is different, but very typically me.

    • In 'Heat' I wanted to get over the feel of the inner city on a hot summer night, the seedy underbelly of nightclubs, I think I did.

    • Bounce – you know that kid at the back of the class that you always thought was a bit odd?This is how he could have ended up, school wasn't the happiest days of everyone's life.

    • Chaos – A humorous look at the beginning of the Apocalypse.

    • Witness – A look at humanity from an unusual viewpoint.

    As a writer in a rapidly changing book industry, do you see your genre as benefiting from them? Or having to adapt?

    I think it's a two edged sword (to use rather apt cliché). When I was growing up dark fantasy/urban fantasy wasn’t seen as a serious genre. It seem to be changing. You only have to look at the plethora of vampires around at the moment - some better than others - to see that technology (and teenage girls) seem to be the vampires friend.

    I remember when the books were either nestled in with the horror, or epic fantasy and you had to read the backs of covers to find what you wanted to read. Now it’s so much easier to find something that appeals, with no end of suggestions thrust at you when you have purchased online.

    I think ezines are brilliant. There’s more scope to showcase writers who would probably never see the light of day otherwise.

    I used to get the bi-monthly Fantasy and Sci-Fi (my abbreviation) periodical from the states (not overly expensive) but sometimes late etc; now I have it direct to Kindle for 99p - brilliant (I don’t own a Kindle but I have it on my phone) which means I read more as it’s always in my pocket.

    What authors would you recommend new writers read?

    I think it depends on what you want to write, but honestly, read whatever you can lay your hands on- especially if you aren't sure of what genre you fancy, or more to the point how you want to write it.

     I’d avoid how-to books until you’ve found your voice, as I think they can be slightly a negative influence; and if you read too many it will just confuse you. It’s like painting, you find your own way, or you just end up like someone else.

    Don't feel you have to like, or emulate someone if it doesn't do anything for you. There is nothing wrong with not liking what someone writes. It’s not bad writing, it just isn't for you.

    The same goes for your writing. Don't try to write to please anyone but yourself. If you love your characters and your story, it will show.

    So read, read, and read. 

    Read classics (in my case) Poe, Lovecraft, Wilde.  The Picture of Dorian Grey is a really well spun tale. 

    As for vampires you can’t beat ‘Dracula’. Bram Stoker was a genius.

    But for more recent authors (and again I can really only point you in the direction I go) look at  Jim Butchers 'Dresden Files', Mike Carey 'Felix Castor',  Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles and Tanya Huff, Laurel Hamilton, and Charlaine Harris.

    Where can you be found on the web?

    For my writing there is a fairly new blog which will be updated on a regular basis:

    For my paintings: and

    Thanks you for sharing your thoughts and inspirations with us, Catherine. And I'm certainly looking forward to reading your contributions  to the One Word Challenge Anthology on Monday.

    And remember you're invited to the official launch on Monday, here, and on Facebook (The One Word Anthology) and on Twitter...

    Monday, 5 November 2012

    An Exciting Week Begins...

    The countdown to the launch of the One Word Challenge Anthology e-book begins today.

    This is a very exciting week for me, as I have four pieces of micro fiction included in this e-book- two are by my alternative writing persona, Serena Lake.

    And the very best bit of all, beside the price (99p direct) is that 10% of the cover price of each e-book will go to Medical Detection Dogs, a charity that trains dogs to assist people with life-threatening conditions.

    Fantastic cover image by Marion Clarke
    But I'm getting ahead of myself...

    The book will be available to buy in a few days, direct from Alfie Dog Fiction.

    It will also be available from Amazon and Smashwords but there's no definite date yet for those. (But I'll add links and prices when they become available.)

    (Buying direct from the publisher will ensure the charity gets more.)

    I'm one of 30 writers who have contributed to the anthology, so expect to see other bloggers posting, tweeting and taking about it on Facebook as the week progresses.

    As the official launch is Monday 12th November, you're all invited to the virtual launch party I'm holding here.

    Lola the Diabetic Alert Dog
    A couple of days before, 9th/10th, I'll be bringing you an interview with one of the other writers' involved, Catherine Dalling.

    If you want to find out more about the Medical Detection Dogs charity that the anthology is donating to, please look here.

    (Lola belongs to one of the writers in the anthology; and the Talkback Writers have followed her progress through initial training to passing her final qualifications.)

    More news in a few days...
    A little bit about the book

    Saturday, 3 November 2012

    The Next Big Thing... (I'm working on it)

    I must thank Dream it, then do it  (otherwise known as Keith) for nominating me for The Next Big Thing.

    So now to the interrogation questions...

    What is the working title of your next book?

    After the Storm.
    A storm plays a part in linking the incidents from the past to the present.

    Where did the idea come from for the book?

    I was doing some local history research in the Local Studies section of the County Library (about 9 years ago); in a book of 19th century cuttings there was a report about a lady's diary entry (from earlier in the century) describing a mini tornado that she had witnessed during a bad storm.
    I made a note of it, and carried on with my research, but it sparked the idea...

    What genre does your book fall under?

    Historical Romance.

    What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

    I'd have to say unknowns for my hero and heroine. But I have a snobbish character, Mrs Chester, who only has a bit part, but I could imagine Imelda Staunton playing her.

    What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

    To make a future together, Hugh and Sarah must resolve the past.

    Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

    I'm open to self-publishing if I can't find a publisher, but I'm doubtful of finding an agent at this stage.

    How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

    I wrote the first chapter in about two weeks, about 3 years ago, but wasn't totally happy with the rest of the story, or some of the characters who were still a bit vague. So I've been doing other projects in the meantime, while my brain has been working on the weak spots.

    Having been in an accident between then and now, I've only just got back into gear with the manuscript, so I'm planning on getting the first draft completed by early spring.

    I'm one of those writers who does minor edits as I go along- before I start writing I re-read the chapter to help me get into the setting, and I'll make minor adjustments as I go. So hopefully I'll only need a couple of major revisions before I get a couple of readers to go through it and give me feedback.

    What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?

    I suppose it's a mix of Mills and Boon historicals of the past and the present.

    Who or what inspired you to write the book?

    As a small child I had problems reading- a slight speech problem delayed my reading development- and when I finally overcame it, I was suddenly open to a world of words and stories which I joyfully immersed myself in, and it made me want to write.

    So every author I have ever read has inspired me to write this book- and the others I have waiting in line...

    What else about your book might pique the readers' interest?

    That's a tough one.

    There's jealousy and how dangerous that can be. And also how the manipulation and/or suppression of truth can have a lasting effect on children when they become adults.

    Anything else?

    There's a Happy Ever After (HEA), and everyone will want to read my next book too... :-)

    I'm now passing this award on to Fiona Faith Ross.