At what age did you begin writing? Is writing your sole career/what other career/jobs do you have or did you have prior to becoming an author?
I began writing at a very early age, before I even became a teenager! I loved reading and eventually began to write my own stories. Back then (and no I am not that old!) computers were not something that everyone owned, so my Mom would buy me stacks of notepads and I would fill them quickly. When I was twelve, I entered a competition in a magazine to pen the next installment in their rolling soap opera. I remember very vividly receiving a letter in the post, asking me to write the next story. That was one of the happiest days of my life!
Writing is not my sole career. I have a day job as a Personal Assistant, working in amongst the buzz of Oxford Circus, London. I am, by day, a Super-PA; and by night, (and at the weekends!), I get to do what I love most: writing fantasy fiction.
What were some of the struggles that you faced in the writing process? How were you able to overcome them?
The biggest hurdle I have come across to date is getting that all-important ending of your book just right. I knew how my story would end, but penning it in a way that I felt did the story justice – having that elusive, ironic twist, which I am a fan of – didn’t come easy. I had to step away from it for a while and then, like a bolt of lightning, somewhere between petting my pug and making a cup of tea, it hit me! I stayed up till the early hours of the morning, but by 2am I had my first draft of the end chapters.
Sometimes I think giving your mind a rest, so inspiration can hit, is a good thing.
How do you see writing as an empowering experience for yourself and other women?
The great thing about writing is that it’s your creation; it comes from somewhere within you. That first spark, the inspiration that makes you want to tell a story, is thrilling. And then the process – having complete control of something that belongs to you – is even better. Your time away from the challenges of everyday life, allowing you to dive into your characters’ world instead, is such a unique experience unlike anything else.
Women today have busy lives and roles to play. We are mothers, wives, colleagues, friends and we belong to so many people, in so many ways, that to have something that is just for us – well, you can’t buy that! And then if you choose to ‘put it out there’, you get to share your vision and creation with the world.
What can we look forward to seeing from you in the future? Do you have any exciting plans or projects coming up?
Eight months ago I decided to place my first novel, LAILAH (a YA fantasy fiction), on wattpad.com – a readers’ and writers’ community – to get some ‘real time’ feedback from my core audience.
The book racked up over a million reads, 15,000 votes and over 3,000 comments in just six months.
Not only did I get tons of great feedback, I grew an audience who fell in love with LAILAH, the first book in The Styclar Saga.
I was then spotlighted in a Publishers Weekly article in July and since then have been offered – and have accepted – a three-book worldwide deal for The Saga with Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan.
Now, with the perfect partner and the most fantastic team behind The Saga, the traditional publishing dream begins!
LAILAH will be available in hardback in 2014, with book two and book three planned for release in 2015 and 2016.
Right now I am busy brainstorming the second story in The Saga!
If you had to describe yourself in three words only, what would they be?
Persistent. Creative. Dreamer.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would that be and why?
I’d love to do a road trip around America. It’s such a big country and every part is different. Plus, I hear the food is right up my street – I am a big sweetie fiend, and I wouldn’t mind sampling some of the best diners that the US has to offer, that’s for sure!