Welcome to my blog, Jennifer! It's great to have you here - I am looking forward to finding out more about you and your work :) Let's kick off with my questions...
1) What did you want to be when you grew up?
Why, a writer, of course! I never really thought I would be a ‘proper’ writer but I always knew that I’d end up doing something with words. And indeed I do — as well as novels I also write travel and Earth science articles.
2) Coffee, tea or hot chocolate?
Coffee first thing in the mornings, because otherwise I don’t wake up. Green tea for the rest of the day. And although I’m trying to avoid too much sugar (yes, I know, boring!) a hot chocolate is just perfect for those days when you get really cold, really wet and really miserable. And there have been a few of those recently!
3) What genre do you typically read? Why?
I read across genres so what I’m reading depends on my mood. If I had to pick one it would be romantic suspense, which has always been a favourite. I like a bit of (non-romantic) action alongside the romance but I really don’t like too much blood and gore. Romantic suspense pretty much fits the bill. At least then you know your main characters are going to survive!
4) Share a favourite childhood memory.
I don’t have many memories of my childhood, probably because it was so long ago! Some of my favourite memories are of beach holidays in North Wales. We went to Abersoch and sat on the beach with a striped canvas windbreak, green and white and orange. I don’t know why I remember the windbreak so clearly, but I do!
5) Do you have any shameless addictions? ie. Tea, Books, Shoes, Clothes?
All right, confession time. I’m a stationery freak with a particular weakness for notebooks. I have more than I can ever fill (or even begin to use) but I still keep buying them and other people keep buying them for me as well. I particularly love ones with maps on. In theory I have a new book for each story but I have so many ideas that I never have the right notebook with me and they end of full of snippets from different plots.
6) What do you think is the biggest challenge of writing a new book?
Without a doubt, it’s maintaining my self-discipline. I used to get an idea and sit down to write before I’d sorted out plot or characters, and that just led to confusion. Over the years I’ve learned to hold back until at the very least I have an idea of where I’m going, and preferably until I’ve drafted something fairly detailed. But the worst part is desperately wanting to start writing and knowing the idea isn’t ready.
7) Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages a day?
Only when I’m doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel writing Month, and initiative in which writers are encouraged to write 50,000 words in the month of November). Then I try nd write as many as possible — my record is around 12,000 in a day. But I do try and write (or plot, or research) every day. It isn’t hard, because I usually have several novels on the go at the same time, at different stages.
8) What are your thoughts on writing a book series?
Funny you should ask — for the first time I’m in the middle of doing just that. Previously I’ve written stand alone novels but I wrote one over the summer and found that though I’d concluded the story comfortably enough from my heroine’s point of view, two other young women were clamouring for their stories to be told. It’s more difficult that I thought, though — it’s a particular challenge to know how much of the earlier books to include in the later ones.
Looking For Charlotte — Blurb
Divorced and lonely, Flora Wilson is distraught when she hears news of the death of little Charlotte Anderson. Charlotte’s father killed her and then himself, and although he left a letter with clues to her grave, his two-year-old daughter still hasn’t been found. Convinced that she failed her own children, now grown up and seldom at home, Flora embarks on a quest to find Charlotte’s body to give the child’s mother closure, believing that by doing so she can somehow atone for her own failings.
As she hunts in winter through the remote moors of the Scottish Highlands, her obsession comes to challenge the very fabric of her life — her job, her friendship with her colleague Philip Metcalfe, and her relationships with her three children.
I live in Edinburgh and I write romance and contemporary women’s fiction. I’ve been writing all my life and my first book was published in February 2014, though I’ve had short stories published before then. The thing that runs through all my writing is an interest in the world around me. I love travel and geography and the locations of my stories is always important to me. And of course I love reading — anything and everything.
They parted just beyond the bridge across the Ness, Grace heading up the pedestrian streets and Flora cutting across to the library, fronted by the long line of cars full of Saturday shoppers manoeuvering towards the car parks. She wasn’t a regular library user, but once the idea had taken her she remembered that there was something she wanted to check.
In the reference section, she stood for a moment before selecting the Ordnance Survey map that covered the area south of Ullapool. She knew it quite well. When the children were young they’d gone walking there regularly, able to reach the open spaces without pushing the slowest (usually Amelia, though Beth was the youngest) too hard. They’d graduated to more difficult walks, then stopped walking altogether. Eventually she had developed a fondness for the slightly less bleak terrain to the south of Inverness, where she went occasionally with Philip and his brother, or with a colleague from work. She hadn’t been out all year, not since before Christmas, in fact, and even then they’d been rained off not very far in and driven back to the comfort of a tea shop in Grantown-on-Spey.
A nostalgic yearning for a good long walk swept over her as she unfolded the map and smoothed it out across one of the desks. She and Danny used to look at maps together plotting their routes. His stubby forefinger, with its bitten nails, had traced the most challenging route to start, sliding along the steep and craggy ridges until he remembered the children and reluctantly redrew, shorter, safer.
She thought she knew the place where Alastair Anderson had left his car, and found it easily enough. Under her fingers the map was a flat web of never-parallel lines, of ugly pock-marking that told of steep, loose rocks and inhospitable terrain, just the type of place they used to walk. Somewhere up here, Charlotte Anderson was buried. Carried there, already dead? Or walked there and then killed? Surely neither was realistic; surely they would have found her, with their dogs and their mountain rescue helicopters scouring the ground for new scars, and all the rest of the equipment they had at their disposal.
Looking at the map had been a mistake. It was obvious now. Besides, she couldn’t see it any more; all she could see was the image of Suzanne Beauchamp, that beautiful face with the cold façade, like a wax death mask from Madame Tussauds. More poignant, of course, since it must hide a struggle, a struggle to conceal or to suppress a deadly mixture of grief and guilt.
‘Go away!’ she said softly to this mirage of a grieving woman, a little afraid of its power. ‘Go away!’ And then, in the only defence left to her, she began to fold the map away.
JENNIFER IS WAITING TO CHAT! QUESTIONS? COMMENTS?