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- Where did your passion for writing come from?
I have always enjoyed stories, from when I read the Chronicles of Narnia at nine years old, I have loved the written word and world building.
- What inspired you to write ‘A Hare in the Wilderness’, from the perspective of the strong female characters, Eujena and Ajeya?
There are lots of answers to this one. I find women incredibly strong and resilient. Through every experience thrown at them, they have to step up and show strength, and none more so than being a mother. To nurture and protect, a mother is the most demanding job of all, and yet, it is the most rewarding. It’s the most important role a woman will ever do, for it defines and shapes the next generation. From the child’s perspective, I believe that everyone has a strength, you just have to find it. And look past the affliction that you perceive to be a draw-back or a hindrance. It’s not. It’s there to give you strength. I think that we are all capable of incredible feats, we just have to believe in ourselves and never give in, that is what Ajeya represents. Give a child confidence and they will show you a strong person.
- Did you always know you would write such an extensive series, or was it a ‘happy accident’?
I wanted to write a five part series, but it has just kept growing. And although each book can be read as a stand alone, and in any order, because it is not about one sole character, the characters and the stories are interlinked so it’s best to read the series.
- You write in a way that is fluid, with emotion and as if you really are ‘showing’ the reader everything that goes on. How did you achieve this high quality in your work?
I act with words. In any given situation I become that character, or am involved in that battle, or am walking through that castle. I put myself in every situation and write from the heart about what I see and feel.
- Has anyone in the real world inspired any characters or instances in the first book?
Children inspired the characters in the first book. I love their desire for knowledge, their hunger to learn, and their need to do well. Children do not judge or complain, they do not show prejudice. It’s adults that do that. The general and the emperor represent injustice, the clan people represent loyalty.
- What other works, besides The Kingdom of Durundal series, have you written? Or would like to explore?
I would like to write a thriller or a crime novel. I like working things out and having lots of loose ends that come together in a final solution. I guess that’s why I like mathematics. It’s the same concept.
- How do you maintain such consistent world building? What techniques do you use?
I read a lot and take note of my surroundings when I travel. I love Scotland and the Lake District, so the setting and atmosphere there is pivotal for my Durundal books.
- Did you ever get any knock backs through your writing career at all?
No, I am always ready to go with the next book. My problem is time. Because once I am into a book, I am there. I am not good at dipping in and out, or doing small bits at a time. I like to keep the momentum going so I am always part of the story line.
- To new authors, or writers who are struggling with their work, what advice would you give to them? Read lots of books. Fiction and nonfiction. It helps children to read and write, it helps authors to pique their interest.
- What’s next? More from The Kingdom of Durundal or something different?
I am currently working on Sable, which is Book 10 in the Kingdom of Durundal series. Then it might be the crime novel that I am keen to delve into. Thinking of a detective’s name for the main character. Now that could be something for a future competition!