There are different coffees? Seriously, I’ll drink almost any version of coffee presented to me. When it comes to tea, I am a little more picky - English Breakfast first, usually Twining's. Followed by Earl Grey (but only if nothing else is available). I’ll drink peppermint tea, which is okay, but I don’t seek it out.
Walk us through a typical day. (Do you make sure you’re wearing your lucky underpants before you sit down to write, perhaps you prefer commando? While we’re discussing your underpants, boxers, briefs, or budgie smugglers. Inquiring minds want to know. Yes, that includes my Admins… we don’t piss off the Admins.)
Underpants must match your bra (or at least that was the case before I had children. Now I’m lucky if my bra is clean…).
A typical day is wake up, drink coffee, make breakfasts, make lunches, tell everyone to hurry up, walk them to school, walk home, drink more coffee, think about writing, faff about on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, read the NZHerald online, faff about on social media some more, kid myself that I’m making connections, make another coffee, make lunch, see that its 2pm, start writing, get into a great writing groove, bash out 500 or so words, then pick up the children from school, forget what my train of thought was, feed children, take them to their after school activities, come home, drink wine, make dinner, put children to bed, faff about on social media, at about 10pm find the motivation to start writing, write about 300 great words, then realise I have to get up in seven hours, so go to bed, and lose train of thought again…rinse and repeat.
Tell us about your main character.
I first met Sarah Lester when I was at work in the family antique shop. Oddly, she’s a little bit like me. Although one reviewer described her as a ‘bubble-head’. I was hurt at first, but actually I’ve embraced that side of her in my writing, and I think the reviewer did me a favour by calling me out on that. I like that she misses her Dad so much. I miss mine desperately, and have everyday since he died suddenly ten years ago of heart failure. Through her pleas to her father, I’m really releasing my own dreams for my father to come back.
Who are your favourite writers?
Edward Rutherfurd, he of the massive multigenerational tomes such as London, Paris, Russka, Sarum.
George R.R. Martin - for his utterly amazing character development, and his descriptive passages.
Deborah Harkness. It was reading her Old Souls trilogy which encouraged me to write.
Who inspires you to do better?
My brother, who in the beginning said I never finish anything, when I told him I was going to write a book…well I’ve finished two books now, signed two publishing contracts, and I am half way through my third one! My husband was all good with my quitting my job, and my children (mostly) leave me to do my writing after I’ve begged time to write “just two hundred more words”.
Do you ever put pants on your dog, cat, or budgie?
We have a fancy Santa suit which we try to dress the cat up in every year. She hates Christmas…
Describe your perfect day
Late sleep in. Breakfast in bed. Move from bed to outside in the summer’s sunshine, with a book, a guava juice, then a dip in the pool, cocktails by the pool, a dinner cooked by someone other than me. Did I mention the wine with dinner?
Who is your favourite fictitious villain? Or are you all about the hero? Who do you love to hate?
I like the cunning of Moriarty. The droll delivery of Professor Snape. And the creepy evilness of Hannibal Lector - where you can’t help but actually like the guy…
Do you have any quirks?
I am an eye roller…got me in plenty of trouble at work. Sometimes I just can’t help myself. Stupid people deserve a gratuitous eye roll…I must work harder at controlling this.
All-time favourite movie and why?
Midnight in Paris. 1/ It’s Paris. 2/ It has the best actors playing some of the best authors and artists history ever gave us. 3/ The soundtrack - I’m listening to it now as I type this.
Do you enjoy the editing process?
Actually yes. I find it easier than the writing of the initial story.
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why?
New Zealand seems pretty safe to be honest. And progressive. And clean. And I have travelled a lot. I’d prefer to live by the beach than in central Auckland, but that’ll come in the future.