My guest on my blog today is lovely Linda Mitchelmore, fellow Devonian and also fellow Choc Lit author.
Welcome, Linda! Please make yourself comfortable on my fat and squashy sofa - that desk looks a bit hard - and have a coffee and a cookie or two before I ask you some questions.
Linda's debut historical novel To Turn Full Circle was published in 2012 and its sequel Emma - There's No Turning Back is now available as an ebook on Amazon and all the usual ebook platforms. The print version will be in the shops in January 2014. I'm definitely going to get the print version, but I suspect my twitchy fingers will download the ebook, too!
What about this cover - isn't it gorgeous?
As well as being a fabulous historical novelist, Linda is a hugely successful writer of short stories whose work has been published in just about every UK magazine, online and in many anthologies. Linda's achievements are all the more impressive because several years ago she lost her hearing, but she hasn't let this hold her back in any way.
I think she's finished her cookie now, so let's let Linda speak for herself.
1 - You have a sequel to To Turn Full Circle
out this month. What's going to happen to Emma in this new story?
Emma was barely eighteen-years-old when To Turn Full Circle ended. She was
very much in love with Seth Jago then and, at the start of Emma - There's
No Turning Back, they are set to marry. But life is never straightforward
for Emma and all sorts of obstacles are put in front of her, not least
the arrival in her life of a baby, born to Seth's ex-lover. But Emma rises
to the challenge of caring for a child her birth mother has rejected, and
along the way she turns from a girl herself to a woman. Throw into this
melting pot one very charismatic and mysterious man from Emma's own past,
Matthew Caunter, and she begins to question what being in love is - and if
it's possible to love two men. Only Emma can decide that....but you will
have to read the book to find out what her decision is.
2 - You write stories set in Devon, where you live. What do you find
particularly inspirational about Devon?
I was born here so I am probably more than a little bit biased. There's no
finer place, is there? It has everything. A rich past, fantastic scenery,
weather that is warmer than most parts of the UK. Why else does the rest
of the country swarm here for holidays? It was good enough for Agatha
Christie and R F Delderfield and now Hilary Mantel has made it her home,
so.....a writery sort of place, I would say.
3 - As well as historical fiction, you also write stories set in the
present day. What kind of fiction do you enjoy writing most?
My absolute favourite is first person, present tense. Whatever the
character I am writing, then I AM that character, be it a good one or a
bad one. That said, I've only ever written short stories in first person,
present tense. It would be my dream to write a novel like that, too
....maybe one day??
4 - How do you organise your research for your historical fiction?
An interesting question. I tend do things a bit back to front. I almost
never write a synopsis until I have finished the first draft of an
historical novel (I have, by the way, written contemporary novels and have
a contract on one called Red is for Rubies with Choc Lit). I write from a
very emotional angle so I like to let my characters do their own
story-telling in a way. Obviously, I am aware of the period and the key
political and worldwide events in which my story is set before I start and
have a very basic library of books around me. But once the first draft is
done I will go through it chapter by chapter and add more historical
detail. Working like that might not work for everyone, but it works for
5 - Do you have any tips or hints for anyone starting to write fiction?
Only do it if you are prepared to take criticism at every level as you
learn your craft. It IS a craft and few of us go in at the top of the
game. It took me seven novels and almost as many years before I held a
book with my name on the front cover in my hand.
Five quick fire questions:
1 - Any New Year Resolutions?
Yes, never to make any - I've found they are more or less pointless as
something always happens to upset the applecart, often from circumstances
beyond my control.
2 - Most important things or people in your life?
I'm not hugely attached to things, such as antiques or clothes or cars or
jewellery. At the back of my mind I always hear my father's voice, 'It
doesn't matter if you break things, love, as long as you don't break my
heart.' So, my family - husband, children, grandchildren, and grand-dog,
Guinness - and I wouldn't want to be without any of them.
3 - Biggest mistake you ever made?
Possibly not standing up to my mother who made me leave school when I was
seventeen years old, denying me A levels and a University education. But I
had a good grounding at Grammar School and life has taught me much. But my
weakness then still rankles somewhat.
4 - Biggest success you ever had?
Having babies easily, and more or less painlessly (I know, everyone hates
me for saying that!) on a personal level. On a professional level - it has
to be the first time I ever saw my name in print....thank you Woman's Own
competition way back then.
5 - A fairy godmother grants you one wish - what will you ask?
Is having my hearing back too big a wish??
Let's hope medical science makes some giant leaps forward in 2014, Linda, and that one day your wish will come true! Thank you for chatting to me, I've enjoy it very much indeed. Do take another cookie to nibble on your journey home!
I've set up this blog so that all my friends, relations and colleagues in the world of writing can keep up to speed with what I'm doing - from now on, I'll never have to say sorry for not keeping in touch.
Or anyway, that's the plan.
Or anyway, that's the plan.
So do please link up with me on Facebook and Twitter - https://www.facebook.com/margaret.james.5268 and https://twitter.com/majanovelist
You can find my novels as digital downloads on Apple iTunes, Kobo, Kindle and Nook, and most are available as print paperbacks, too.