- Guest Author -
Welcome to an interview with an author who runs a successful holiday business in the Charente Maritime, in France, and has four books published with another one due out soon.
Welcome, Catherine ...
1. TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WRITING JOURNEY.
I have been writing since I was a child. I have always enjoyed it.
2. WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A WRITER?
My first book was published in 2010. I had tried about 60 or 70 publishers!
3. WHAT TYPE OF PREPARATION DO YOU DO FOR A MANUSCRIPT? DO YOU PLAN EVERYTHING FIRST OR JUST SHOOT FROM THE HIP?
I just shoot from the hip – I love the expression ! My story often changes several times as I write.
4. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
I am a very creative person, so it really suits me.
5. WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
Marketing ! Writing the book is the easy part.
6. WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A WRITER?
I used to teach French and Spanish in secondary schools, then I had my own real estate business.
7. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?
“The Man with Green Fingers” is selling well – more about murder than gardening.
8. WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
A collection of short stories
9. WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Difficult to say … I get a story in my head and then I write it. They are usually triggered by real events.
10. WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?
For women, absolutely.
11. DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?
Yes, the marketing. Do not count on friends and family but only on your own determination. Friends and family may and may not buy a copy and likewise they may or may not think to share your book on Facebook or Twitter or whatever … but never count on them. They mean well, but somehow they just don’t get round to it …
12. DO YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK?
13. DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED WRITING SCHEDULE?
No, I just do what suits, as and when
14. DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?
Not really. I jot ideas down off and on all the time, anywhere I happen to be
15. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN WRITING?
I love poetry and get a real pleasure from it
16. WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?
A French author called Christophe Rufin. I don’t think he has been translated in to English – I don’t know – I read in French.
17. WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED FROM A READER?
“I couldn’t put it down” !!
18. WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?
One woman said it was boring. I don’t mind her finding it boring – clearly for her it was – but I think people who write a bad review just because they didn’t happen to like something (book, hotel, rental) are really rotten and small-minded
19. WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU?
Yes, most of my work is based on true stories.
20. OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
I do water-colours and enjoy that very much. I also run a holiday business in France and that is satisfying.
21. DID YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK / BOOKS PROFESSIONALLY EDITED BEFORE PUBLICATION?
The first two were … but there were still mistakes and even my English spelling corrected in to Amercian spelling !!
22. DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
Tea in bed in the morning, shopping with my daughter, wine and supper in front of the TV in the evening … it doesn’t necessarily include writing.
23. IF YOU WERE STUCK ON A DESERT ISLAND WITH ONE PERSON, WHO WOULD IT BE? WHY?
Paul Mckenna – I’d love to spend time with him.
24. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO SPEAK TO WORLD LEADERS?
Jeez – what a question ! I’d need thousands of pages to answer that, but I bet you get some clueless and naïve answers
25. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
I am 63 so I just want peace and harmony
26. WHAT FIVE BOOKS WOULD YOU TAKE TO HEAVEN?
Rupert Brooke’s verse, a massive encyclopedia, an atlas, a collection of short stories by somebody like Rufin and a dictionary
27. DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN ANY OF YOUR CHARACTERS?
I am the main character in “A Call from France” – it is a true story which ought to be read by all mothers of daughters
28. DOES THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY FRUSTRATE YOU?
Nah … not really
29. DID YOU EVER THINK OF QUITTING?
Nah … not really
30. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE MANUSCRIPT TO WRITE? WHY?
“A Call from France” served as a catharsis for me. It was a traumatic story that I needed to tell.
31. HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE ‘SUCCESS’ AS A WRITER.
Money ! I don’t want fame, but I want to dosh !
32. WHAT SHOULD READERS WALK AWAY FROM YOUR BOOKS KNOWING? HOW SHOULD THEY FEEL?
I hope my stories stick in their minds for a while afterwards
33. HOW MUCH THOUGHT GOES INTO DESIGNING A BOOK COVER?
I design my own book covers – they are simply sketches that I perhaps did a long time before. They seem to work, especially the cover for “The Man with Green Fingers” which has received a lot of praise
34. WHAT’S YOUR ULTIMATE DREAM?
At my age I just want family safe around me
35. WRITING IS ONE THING. WHAT ABOUT MARKETING YOU, YOUR BOOKS AND YOUR BRAND? ANY THOUGHTS?
I really ought to write an article about marketing because I am an expert and can give a lot of tips and advice. I often think of giving a talk about it and perhaps one day I will. Most people have no idea what to do or where to start. They often spend a long time paddling up the stream in the wrong direction.
36. ARE YOUR BOOKS SELF-PUBLISHED?
The first 2 were published but the publisher went bust and so I re-published them myself.
37. DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN FIVE WORDS.
Intelligent, multi-talented, attractive for my age … well, you asked !!
38. WHAT PISSES YOU OFF MOST?
People who think they know. A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing.
39. WHAT IS THE TITLE OF THE LAST BOOK YOU READ? GOOD ONE?
“Au revoir la-haut” which means “goodbye up there”.
40. WHAT WOULD BE THE VERY LAST SENTENCE YOU’D WRITE?
“This be the verse you grave for me …”
(R L Stevenson)
41. WHAT WOULD MAKE YOU HAPPIER THAN YOU ARE NOW? CARE TO SHARE?
But I am very happy
42. ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO ADD?
Yes, people often say “never give up” and I don’t agree with that. Writers more than anybody need to know when to change direction. There is no point in just going on and on and on. I don’t call it giving up – it is changing direction, which is not really the same thing.
Clancy's comment: Go, Catherine. I loved your snappy answers. Thank you. Good luck with the new book.