How do you organise your writing day? For example, where do you write? And at what time of the day are you at your writing best?
My writing day varies (wildly) depending on what else I have on. Especially at the beginning. As the book progresses, I closet myself more and more with the writing, culminating in the last month, when I tend to do nothing else except write eat and sleep, in a cycle regulated only by energy levels.
Best time (by far) for writing is in the very early hours of the morning when I get out of bed.Sometimes as early as 4.40, more typically 5.30 or 6.00.
Do you use a computer?
Yes. I am an Apple Mac aficionado.
Do you use the Internet for research?
Yes. Although I am profoundly irritated and frustrated at present by an inability to snare broadband here. On the (very poor) landline I am forced to rely on, it can take up to half an hour to trawl through one website; and downloading is a nightmare.
Are there any books or websites you would particularly recommend for writers?
I rely principally on Google to direct me. It rarely fails.
Has your life changed leaving journalism and becoming a full time writer?
Dramatically. I have discovered that I am by nature a recluse – and would become a hermit if left to my own devices.Journalism forced me into the world. I maintain contacts with the outside through other activities.
How did you get your first book published?
I was commissioned by a publisher.
Do you have an agent? And if so, how did you find him/her?
I do have an agent, my second. My first publisher recommended the first agent. I found the second through personal contacts.
What are you working on at present?
I’m working on my eleventh novel, tentatively entitled THE SECRET MY MOTHER TOLD ME.
I’m also preparing this month to launch BE DELIGHTED, a tribute book to the late Maureen Potter (for New Island), and in January, CHILDREN OF EVE my tenth novel (for Headline); in addition, I am preparing a “financial product advice guide”, FINE PRINT, for the Open Door literacy series (New Island) edited by Patricia Scanlan.
Can you tell us about your research for Children of Eve?
CHILDREN OF EVE involved traveling for almost a month in the states of Arizona and New Mexico.
What books are on your bedside table at the moment?
CLOUD ATLAS (David Mitchell), ON THE BUS (Pauline McLynn), THE OPTIMISTS (Andrew Miller), and A TREASURY OF WIT AND HUMOUR by Hal Roach.
How important are books in your everyday life?
A source of guilt (because I don’t read everything I should) and delight (when I do get to read in big, dense bursts.)
Do you have any advice or tips for budding writers?
PERSIST, PERSIST, PERSIST…
And when you do get published, don’t read reviews.