My typical writing day begins once I’ve dropped the children to school and nursery. I write from 9:00am to 3:00pm three days a week often with a cup of coffee in one hand and my notebook in the other containing plot ideas, timelines, or chapter notes. I write using a laptop (that now has half the letters missing from the keys) as I find it easier and faster to get everything down. I don’t edit until I’ve finished rewriting the first draft. When I get writers block I find doing something writing-related recharges my batteries. It’s more important than ever these days to promote and market your own work so I spend an hour each day doing this.
I write at home on the sofa, with a view of the Welsh hills and valleys from the living room window. We’ve recently moved to a quiet neighbourhood a short walk away from the river, and the backdrop is swimming with plotlines and stirring my imagination all the time. I have tried to take a break from writing, but find I become restless. We have a son with special needs, and I find the act of writing therapeutic; almost like meditation.
I always begin writing with a plot idea which often comes to me in a script-like sequence. The film plays out in my head with characters dropping in and telling me their stories. I never set out to cover any particular theme, they seem to emerge as the story progresses. To date I have covered intimate partner violence, missing people, serial murder, rape, obsession, adultery, addiction, grief, sexual abuse, and my current work in progress focuses on kidnapping, human trafficking, forced sex work, and drug smuggling. Lucky is a novel I began eighteen months ago which has so far resulted in the ideas for and publication of three other titles. Lucky wants her voice heard, and her story has unfolded and thickened as I’ve seen her character mature.
Beautiful Liar, my latest title covers domestic abuse from both the survivor and perpetrators perspectives. I felt it was important for both sides of the story to be told. Focusing on the psychology of both Erica and Joel emphasises the contradictory narratives they tell themselves about their own experiences. I always attempt to show the emotions of my characters through both their thought processes and actions. In situations where characters give opposing versions of events, I find it useful to draw on my professional knowledge. Psychopathic personality disorder is rarely a visible trait, and often the line between mad or bad is very thin.