WHICH GENRE DO YOU WRITE IN AND WHY?
I write historical fiction with strong romantic elements and mystery novels with a central romance. I love writing romance but I don’t write insta-love. I prefer to write about relationships that develop over time so I send my heroes and heroines on a journey in search of their happy ever after. As well as that, I’ve always had an interest in history and genealogy and I’m lucky that I have very varied ancestors – I’m of Irish, Dutch, Welsh, German and Scottish descent – so in my mystery romance novels I’ve combined romance with history and/or genealogy with plenty of suspenseful twists and turns to keep everyone on their toes!
SHOULD THE FITZGERALDS OF DUBLIN SERIES BE READ IN ORDER?
Yes. Each novel in the series builds on the previous novel and you will be lost if you try to start with book three.
WHAT CONTENT RATING WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR NOVELS?
All my novels are intended for adults so 18+. If you’re looking for an ‘inspirational’, ‘clean’ or ‘safe’ read my novels are not for you. My novels contain adult themes, sexual content, strong language and in Into The Unknown, the cost of war. The Fitzgeralds of Dublin Series also contains prostitution, violence, disease and the consequences of Victorian medicine. I believe the past should not be sanitised.
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHAT IS IT THAT STRIKES YOU ABOUT THEIR WORK?
Historical novelist Sharon Kay Penman. The amount of research that went into her novels must have been phenomenal but it never showed.
HAS YOUR COUNTRY OF ORIGIN/CULTURE INFLUENCED YOUR WRITING?
The city of Dublin plays a large part in my family history so I’ve always wanted to write some novels set there. My paternal ancestors were from Dublin and I’ve done a lot of research on the family tree as well as research into the areas where they lived and also into what they did for a living. I’ve also lived in Dublin, so having all that work done and being able to visualise streets and buildings and know how long it takes to walk from A to B was a great help to me when I sat down to write A Scarlet Woman. I still had to undertake a great deal of research for the novel but the groundwork was already complete.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE TIME OF DAY TO WRITE?
I used to write very late at night as I’m a night owl. More recently, it’s been in the afternoon (when possible) and in the evening. I must be getting old!
WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING AN AUTHOR? AND THE FLIP SIDE – WHAT IS THE WORST?
The best thing is when someone you don’t know tells you they enjoyed reading your novel(s). That makes all the hard work worthwhile. The worst is promotion. It has to be done but I’d rather be writing.
IS SOCIAL MEDIA AN ESSENTIAL CHORE OR SOMETHING YOU ENJOY? WHICH FORUM DO YOU PREFER?
I do find social media an essential chore. I don’t like Facebook, it’s far too Big Brother-like IMO, but I need a Facebook Author Page. I much prefer Twitter as tweets are short and to the point and, so far, Twitter doesn’t restrict who can see them.
I joined Instagram but my favourite social media platform is Pinterest. I can spend hours there. I have boards for all my novels, one board with some great old photos of Dublin (which is an enormous help to me in writing The Fitzgeralds of Dublin Series) and many more, including my favourite TV series, films, music etc.
IF YOU WEREN’T AN AUTHOR, WHAT WOULD YOU BE UP TO?
Something involving historical research. I love research! I’m a research nerd!
IT’S THE LAST DAY AND THE EARTH IS FACING OBLIVION – WHAT BOOK WOULD YOU READ?
If the earth is facing imminent oblivion, I don’t think I would be reading! I would be saying goodbye to family and friends instead. But if I was stuck on a desert island, my books of choice would be Sharon Penman’s Welsh Princes Trilogy – Here Be Dragons, Falls The Shadow and The Reckoning. I was brought up in North Wales so I’ve either been to or know of the places mentioned in the novels.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON NEXT?
I’m working on the next instalment in The Fitzgeralds of Dublin Series.
Favourite Authors: Sharon Penman, Phil Rickman, C.J. Sansom, Thomas Hardy
Favourite Books: Here Be Dragons/Falls The Shadow/The Reckoning by Sharon Penman, Star of the Sea by Joseph O’Connor, Sovereign by C.J. Sansom, Daughter of Lir by Diana Norman
Favourite Films: Hitchcock’s Rebecca and The 39 Steps, Last of the Mohicans, Lawrence of Arabia
Favourite TV Programmes: State of Play, Upstairs Downstairs, Ripper Street, Six Feet Under, Blackadder, Robin of Sherwood
Favourite Colours: Purple, Green, Deep Red – anything bold and not wishy-washy!
Favourite Animals/Birds: Chickens and guinea fowl (I keep four chickens and one guinea hen). I love dogs, too. I haven’t owned one for a long time, but I hope to again one day.
Favourite Food: Pasta or most Italian foods – I prefer savoury to sweet!
Favourite Way to spend a Saturday Night: Pizza and Scandi-noir on BBC4!