1. How do you dream up your characters and situations? 

Like most creative people, I tend to day dream, and I day dream so much that often at parties or work functions or social gatherings, when the conversation becomes boring, I find myself daydreaming just to get me through the event. I don’t mind socialising, I just dislike intensely conversation that is dull and I start of think of anything else I could be doing other than this. From there the ideas enter my head and I can’t stop the process until it has to run to the end, and then I determine if I like the idea or not.

 

 

2. What are your quirks, so readers can understand you as a writer more than your advertising spiel.

 

Some quirks, let me see. I often cut my own hair because I don’t like it to neat, and hairdressers always make it neat. I can’t abide pictures on walls that are crooked; if you wanted to distract me for a while you could tilt all the pictures in my house because I am obsessed with symmetry, which seems in total contradiction to the neat hair but it’s not. I don’t like wonky hair, just messy hair. I also can’t stand ticking clocks so I will always pull the batteries out of a ticking clock when staying over someone’s house, but I put the batteries back in the clock and set it the right time in the morning. Usually.

 

I also can’t stand waiting in line for anything. I have been known to walk out of many places simply because I can’t stand waiting in line. How it is that I managed to wait in line for 2 hours for a signed photo of Richard Dean Anderson at last year’s Comic Con is a huge mystery to me.

 

3. How do you develop your characters?

 

I start off with characters who have a passion in something that I don’t. For example, I’ve written about ice hockey players and I’ve never met an ice hockey player but learning about what drives sports peoples has helped me to develop traits and behaviours. I’ve created characters who are dancers, website designers, legal secretaries, guardian angels, soldiers, characters who are nothing like me. And then I do a lot of people watching and eavesdropping on conversations to pick up on other traits and behaviours that I can blend in with my characters. And then I put them in a situation and wonder how they’ll get out of it.

 

 

4. What are you reading now?

 

Since I’m in the middle of edits for “Welcome to the Apocalypse Book 2” , I am not reading anything other than snippets of books to get my brain juices flowing. I find it handy while editing. So on my pile at the moment is: “The Twelve” by Justin Cronin, “Break No Bones” by Kathy Reichs, “Cell” by Stephen King, and “Stiletto” by Daniel O’Malley.

 

 

5. Why do you write and what drives you?

 

I write because I must. It drives me crazy. There have been moments when I’ve wonder why I can’t just accept the job I have and be happy going to work and planning the next overseas holiday and renovating the home and going out with friends. I had spent a few years living a somewhat normal life when I’d stopped writing during a big transition in my life. But it felt superficial. I wish I could be happy not writing, because writing is not without its frustrating and doubt filled moments.

 

What drives me is my determination to succeed. I chose this life and I must either succeed or give up, there is no middle ground. And I want to become a full time writer.

 

 

6. Who inspires you?

 

This might sounds crazy, but I’m inspired by people who do brave things for no reward, such as rescue teams who spend days saving a horse trapped in a flood or a dog who’s fallen down a well. Health staff in war-torn countries are pretty inspirational as are people who work in soup kitchens or volunteers who assist the elderly. I’m so in awe of people who want to do good and do it without falling into the horrible pit of corruption and greed.

 

Superman was always my favourite superhero because while he questioned if mankind was worth saving, which is definitely questionable, he chose to do good anyway, because doing good defined him. I’m not religious, but I do believe in goodness and anyone who can live their life without hate and greed and cruelty is an inspiration to me.

 

 

7. What inspires you?

 

Courtesy and honesty. You can almost inspire me to do anything provided you are courteous and honest about it. Unless I don’t really want to do it and then I aim to be courteous and honest about my reasons why. And world peace, that inspires me too. if I honestly didn’t think we could one day achieve it, I don’t know if I’d bother doing anything.

 

 

8. Is there a single thread/ idea/ belief which appears everything you write?

 

Second chances tend to show up in most of my writing. Redemption, the option to redo your life over and considering what you’d change if anything, regret and the chance to apologise. I don’t know that I mean to write this theme but it’s there in my novels, especially the YA novels. “The Bird With The Broken Wing” features a teenage girl who thought the answer to her problem was to commit suicide, and I really wanted to be able to instill the sense of second chance in this novel. So many teenagers feel this way that if they could just wait a few more years they’d realise that nothing is worth killing yourself for.

 

 

 

9. What book/ story/ movie do you wish you’d written?

 

The Hunger Games. I know why it was a huge seller, it has everything I aim to put into a book. I’m writing science-fiction at the moment and for me, a great sci-fi / dystopian / apocalyptic story must have three elements. One, it must take a current policy or practice and predict a future world if said policy went unchecked. Two, it must have the science behind this predicted world so the reader can see how it could be done. Three, it must have a philosophical angle so the reader can ask whether it should it be done.

 

 

10. How often do you think of an idea, but see it’s been done? What do you do?

 

The weird way my mind works makes it less of an issue, because while it is said that there is no such thing as a new idea, I always aim to put my mark on a story. And it must be true. Many of the reviews for my books state things such as “this is unlike anything I’ve read”, or “not your usual dystopian book”, “this isn’t the usual trope”. In a way I wonder if making it unlike anything they’ve read is to my detriment. It can make it hard to gain new readers if all they want to read is something familiar.

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