When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
That is a very hard question to answer! I feel like I’ve just always been a writer. There was no “wanting” involved. I started keeping a journal regularly in college, and that morphed into writing stories. I started typing up my journal notes after work on my office computer (no one had their own computers back then) in my mid-twenties, so there must have come a time when I thought, “I want to try to get these stories published” but I don’t remember it! Back then there were two stories—a reincarnation-love-story and the story that would later become THE THORN QUEEN.
Who were the authors that influenced you as a youth, and in what ways?
Hans Christian Andersen, The Brothers Grimm, CS Lewis, Enid Blyton and Agatha Christie. The fairy tales often haunted me! They were so magical, and yet so sad, in many cases. CS Lewis opened my mind to all the possibilities existing in our world. With Enid Blyton, I loved her school stories and also her mysteries—ditto for Agatha Christie (on the mysteries). I got pretty good at solving them before the end!
How did it feel when you got to hold your very first advanced copy of your book?
Amazing! One of the best feelings throughout the whole publishing journey.
What was the inspiration behind your book(s)?
I feel like THE THORN QUEEN was informed by so many books I’ve read before, it’s hard to pin it down to any one source. A big theme is around finding your way home, which ties into my personal journey. The fact that it begins on a glacier was probably informed in part by my experience moving from England to Michigan in February, which was mind-blowing in many ways!
What was your publishing journey like?
Long!!!!! Lots of rejections. TONS of revisions (I’d put THE THORN QUEEN aside and written its sequel before dusting it off and re-writing it yet another time. Because of all the changes, that sequel no longer works so I’m writing a new one!). I’m very fortunate because I got connected with Stephen Roxburgh, who is an amazing editor. He’s the one that shaped it into its current form.
What advice do you have for aspiring young novelists?
Make writing a habit and protect your writing time fiercely. Also, join a critique group as soon as possible!
If you could have any superpower, which would you choose?
Hmmm. I just spent far too long thinking about this! I ended up discarding most of my ideas because they felt too close to playing God. So, I’ll go with something fun – the power to speak every language in this world (and others).
Where is your favorite travel destination?
I don’t really have just one. I love exploring. Mostly old European towns and villages.
When you’re not writing, what are your favorite hobbies?
Hanging out with my family and friends, reading, hiking, skiing and yoga. Although the latter is such bloody hard work I’m not sure it counts as a hobby.
Where can people find you online?
My website: www.whyismud.com