Your first book Just What Kind of Mother Are You? was loosely based around the heartbreaking news story of Brenda Slaby 'America's Most Hated Mom'; how do you juggle being a mother of three around your work?
Like every mother I try really hard each day and never ever get enough done. But my kids are not toddlers, so they don’t require constant attention. As long as they are loved and fed, I reckon they will turn out okay.
Both of your books are based around female friendships, but not in positive ways; are your own friends worried they may end up in your novels?No, they’re not worried. I have only two close friends and we’ve known each other since childhood. My relationship with them is very different to the relationships I’ve portrayed in the books.
DC Joanne Aspinall is a very sympathetic detective rather than the usual hard-hitting variety. What made you decide to write her this way?I wanted something different! I wanted to write about a detective I could know - a normal woman with no real baggage (no drink problem, no sinister backstory). I felt it hadn’t been done before and I could do a good job with a character like that.
You are a trained physiotherapist, but have you always wanted to write, and how did your publishing deal come about?I read Stephen King’s book – ‘On Writing’. In it King encourages you to just start writing and to see what comes out. I began as soon as I finished the book and was surprised to find I didn’t want to stop. I found writing thrilling and knew immediately I wanted to try to make a career out of it if possible.
I quickly wrote a novel and sent it out to agents. One agent said she would like to represent me but wanted me to go away and write my second novel. That second novel was rejected by all major publishers and so I wrote a third. The third novel was Just What Kind of Mother Are You? and lots of publishers wanted to buy it so it went to auction.
Any advice to anyone dreaming of becoming an author?Read a lot, write a lot, and persevere. The difference between an unpublished and a published writer is simply perseverance.
Where do you get your writing inspiration from?Honestly, I don’t know. Ideas pop in from nowhere and if I feel excited by an idea I will pursue it further. But generally I’m looking for a new take on something familiar.
What are you working on next?
A novel with similar premise to the film Indecent Proposal, but with life and death stakes. It will be another thriller set in The Lakes.
If, heaven forbid, there was a fire, what possession would you grab first to save?My dog. Then laptop.
Thank you Paula. Next time I will be in conversation with Rebecca Mascull.
Miss Chapter x