Hi Deirdre! Welcome to my blog - I am looking forward to learning more about you and your writing! Let's kick off with my questions...
What is the strangest talent you have?
No strange talents, at least none that I’m aware of… I do have a mild form of synaesthesia, though, which I suppose is a little bit strange. My days of the week have colours, as do some names, and my letters and numbers have a physical location. I get called up to Sussex University occasionally where they test my brain function!
What is the best Halloween costume you’ve ever worn?
Never worn one. Don’t do Halloween. I went to a few Halloween parties as a child but I don’t think we dressed up. It was all about the apple bobbing.
Are the titles of your books important?
Yes, I think all titles are important. The title is your first line of communication with a potential reader, along with the cover. Luckily my titles so far have been easy to come up with as they were readily suggested by the story. I like to have the title firmly in place before I start writing. For me it anchors the book, somehow. That’s not to say I wouldn’t change a title once I’d started, though, if the book takes an unexpected turn as it goes along. In fact, I might change the title of the one I’m working on now.
If you’re struggling with a scene or difficult character, what methods help you through it?
My number one method is to leave it alone, go away and do something else. As likely as not, the solution will pop into my mind while I’m gone. Other than that, if I’m having problems with a scene, I’ll try to stand back from it and ask myself what the purpose of the scene is, then take it from there. If it has no useful purpose, I’ll cut it. If it needs to be there, I’ll think about whether it would be better shown from a different character’s viewpoint. I like to form my characters fairly well early on in the story, if not on paper then at least in my head, and that way they don’t tend to present many problems. If they do I’ll check their motivation, in case I’m making them act in a way that’s inconsistent with that.
Do you prefer dogs, cats or none of the above?
Cats. I’m quite potty about them. We’ve had cats for a number of years now, the current one being a tabby and white six-year-old called Chester, and my goodness do we know we’ve got him; he’s such a character. It seems appropriate that I’m published by Crooked Cat!
Who’s your favourite author? Why?
Now there’s a question and a half. I have a set of favourite authors rather than just one, and it changes according to what I’ve just read. Among my top favourites are Isabel Ashdown, Lisa Jewell, Jo-Jo Moyes, David Nicholls, Hannah Richell. For sheer quality of writing and acute observation of human behaviour, William Nicholson is hard to beat. If I have to pick one favourite, then it would be Deborah Moggach, again for superb writing and pure entertainment.
Do you have a pet peeve?
Depends what day it is. There do seem to be more peeves these days then there used to be, so obviously I’m turning into a Grumpy Old Woman. What gets me at the moment is not being able to find a comfortable seat on the bus. The tip-up ones you have to vacate as soon as someone gets on with a baby buggy. I don’t feel qualified – yet! - for the elderly and disabled seats, the ones at the back give out tremendous heat, and what’s left in the middle are rock hard and I can’t get my legs in. Upstairs is all right, if I want to risk being thrown bodily down the steps as the driver stamps on the brakes. OK, you get the idea about the buses…
Do you remember your dreams when you wake up in the morning?
Sometimes I do, if I’ve had a particularly vivid dream, but it will only stay with me for a moment or two. Just as well, probably!
Thanks very much for inviting me onto your blog, Rachel. I’ve enjoyed answering your questions.
Blurb for Remarkable Things (Deirdre Palmer)
When Gus Albourne finds himself as sole inheritor of Aunt Augusta’s cottage in the Sussex village of Hangburton, he has more than just a property on his hands. Why him and not Robert, his more deserving brother? Gus needs answers. As he searches for the truth behind the legacy, the cottage begins to reveal its secrets and Gus realises he’s looking at his own life story. Only it’s not the version he knows.
Millie Hope is searching for her missing daughter, Karen. When Millie’s ex-husband dies, finding Karen becomes even more urgent. But there’s more than one barrier to the search. For a start, there’s Jack, Karen’s terrifying ex-boyfriend. And then there’s the reason Karen disappeared in the first place, which seems less certain as time goes on.
Friendship between Gus and Millie deepens into something more as they share confidences over endless cups of tea in the back room of Millie’s shop. But how can they begin to think about the future when the past is clamouring to be rewritten?
Author of ‘Remarkable Things’ published by Crooked Cat Publishing: