Who’s your favorite author?
Kazuo Ishiguro. I love his unique style of writing which leaves the reader having to use their imagination to understand the characters & conjure up endings.
Which book or books have most informed you as a writer?
I am a Charles Dickens addict & love the depth of his characters. I read a lot of work set in Victorian times as that is the period in which I am most interested. I would say that Agatha Christie has influenced me too, in that I like to add a good twist to my novels.
When did you realize you wanted to write?
Bit of a cliche, but from a very young age. I used to write plays for family parties, cartoon books, stories and poetry. As a child, if I was writing I was happy.
What was your last completed project?
'The Congregation' which was published on 15th December 2016. It's a cozy mystery novel set in 1970's England. The townsfolk are looking forward to the arrival of a new vicar with much anticipation but little does he know what secrets await him. It contains some black humour and quirky loveable characters.
What are you working on now?
I always research one book while writing another. At the moment I'm researching my second 'Jack the Ripper' related book and writing the fourth novel in my mystery series, it's called 'The Circus' and is set in the 1980's. Like the rest of the series, it's full of secrets and fun.
What is your writing “process” typically like?
I spend about three weeks creating the characters in my head, playing out scenarios like a mini-series, where I can see them, hear their voices and observe the interaction between them. After that it's simply a matter of putting pen to paper. Of course, with my non-fiction work it's a much more methodical process and I keep notes in a filing system until I'm ready to put it all together.
How do you combat writer’s block?
To be honest, I never suffer from writer's block. Working on two projects at the same time, I can alternate days, enabling me to start each morning with a fresh mind.
Where do your ideas come from?
I am a keen historian and love to research crime from the last century, which greatly inspires my writing. The characters for the mystery novels are a mix of people whom I've encountered in daily life and my wild imagination.
What’s your greatest challenge as a writer?
Due to the amount of work that I undertake and ideas that I have, my brain doesn't really shut off, causing me to suffer with insomnia. I find that a holiday in the sun every few months recharges my batteries and allows me to recover. I never write while away, that's my real downtime.
And what has been your greatest triumph (so far)?
I would say it was receiving the 'Jack the Ripper Book of the Year 2016 ' award for my first book 'Prisoner 4374'. It took me over ten years to research and contains many documents that have never been seen by the public before. I'm immensely proud of the work that went into the book and to have it recognised by criminologists, researchers and other authors was a dream come true.