What motivated you to become an indie author?
I knew from the moment that I began writing I didn’t want to go the traditional publishing route. Yes, I would love to see my book on the shelves of my favourite bookstore, but I also wanted to retain control over the decision making. So the life of an indie author it was for me.
What’s the best thing about being a writer?
The writing! I absolutely love it. To be able to create characters, their backstories, the worlds they live in, their loves, their disappointments. To be able to start building a story from nothing and then add to it, tweak it, delete it, try again with new ideas I find incredibly satsifying. Right down to considering how each character looks, speaks, their mannerisms, characteristics, I love it all when it comes to writing – and that includes the editing process!
What’s your advice for aspiring writers?
Write, write and write some more and and seek honest feedback, preferably from people other than your family. And read! Your genre, other genres, it doesn’t matter. Read quality writing and consider what it is that you admire about those authors. Is it the way they develop characters, write emotions, describe settings or something else? Is there something that you have learned in their writing that you can take back and develop in your own? It takes time to write well, so be prepared to write a lot of words and to do a whole lot of editing.
How do you approach cover design?
By not swearing too much! For me it’s far more about knowing what I don’t want rather than what I do. That’s my starting point. Then Craig (my cover design artist and fabulous husband) and I discuss ideas. Craig has a particularly good eye for seeing something in what I think would be a throw away photograph and bringing it to life.
A great example of this is the cover of At First Light. I was determined to have a sun rising over the water, and I spent hours upon hours looking at photos and taking my own. None of which fit the idea I had my mind. It was Craig that suggested the muffin that ended up on the cover.
Personally I think he just wanted to eat the muffin.
What is your desk like?
A huge mess! So much so that I often take my laptop and work elsewhere. My desk is covered with educational resources (at the moment it is geography and maths aimed at five year olds), lots of spare notebooks that are half filled with ideas and strangely enough, notes. But my wall is where the magic happens. Three big corkboards – one for school work, one for promotion of books and the other has a chapter by chapter outline of the book I am currently working on.
Where did you grow up and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small town in South Australia and it has completely influenced my writing. The town I grew up in is located on the banks of the Murray River and is a wine, fruit, wheat and sheep region. It’s why I love to write about small towns and the ebb and flow they go through with population changes. Even when I travelled overseas for work I purposely chose to work in rural locations rather than cities, and now as an adult am living in what is considered a city, but has the feel of a large town.
When you were first starting out how did you know you would be successful?
I wrote At First Light which took nearly two years to do around work and other commitments. I knew I had a book where I was passionate about the key storyline and that I had created characters who were real and could potentially resonate with people. I had no idea though if the book would be successful or not. I put my it out there in the big wide world and told myself I would be happy if I sold at least one copy per day. I have far exceeded what I’d hoped for and as I prepare to release A Second Wind my hopes are also changing slightly too. What they are though I’ll keep to myself for now!
And finally, what is your favourite vegetable?
Easy. Brussels Sprouts.