Lyla Immortal Vows: Clans Isken and Utbek Book 1 by Katherine Prince Genre: Time Travel Historical Romance
If they are to have a future together, they must return to the past…
A not-so-ordinary woman…
Lyla has the nearly-perfect life in England, but deep within, she struggles with her identity. Sometimes, she feels as if she doesn’t belong in the society around her. An orphan, raised by her aunt, Lyla has no pictures or memories of her parents except the beautiful sapphire necklace she’s worn all her life. Then shortly after her aunt’s mysterious death, unexplainable climate catastrophes begin occurring, coinciding with the nightmares that have begun tormenting her. Are the answers to be found in her aunt’s secret diaries? And who is the strange man who seems to be following her?
Shadows of the past…
Watcher. Protector. The Shadow Man understands his duty to his tribe. Find the girl, retrieve the stone, and return to his own time eight hundred years into the past to save his people. And Lyla certainly bears watching. The alabaster-skinned beauty has no idea of the danger she’s in. No idea of the supernatural and magical powers she possesses. How can he protect her when his duty is to persuade her to step through a portal into a past she doesn’t remember, to fulfil a destiny that may end her life? How can he do that to someone who has captured his heart?
Two worlds, one chance…
Now Lyla is being hunted by enemies she doesn’t even know she has. The only chance they have for a future is to escape into the past. Can Lyla and the Shadow Man learn to trust one another with their lives, and their hearts?
Immortal Vows: Clans Isken and Utbek Book 2
The invisible superstar…
When Rhea Adams sings, the whole world stops to listen. A deeply private person, who prefers solitude to stardom, Rhea slips in and out of the spotlight, singing, then disappearing. Growing up, her difference had attracted bullies. On stage, the unique power of her voice attracts screaming audiences. But her voice has also attracted another kind of attention. Trapped for centuries in an abyss of darkness, the ruthless queen of the Isken tribe, Ricolda, has been unable to return to her own time in the 13th century. But through a glowing blue orb, she can watch Rhea. Is the beautiful singer Ricolda’s ticket to her own time, to her army of giants, and her quest to rule all of Scotland?
A simpler time…
There’s magic—true magic—in Rhea’s voice. It’s the key that unlocks Ricolda’s prison, freeing her to once again pursue her evil plans. When Ricolda appears to Rhea, then steps through a mystical portal, Rhea is compelled to follow her, into the past, into a place where there are no screaming fans, a place where Rhea might find the peace she craves. But nothing could prepare Rhea for Dahniell, a man who enraptures Rhea at first sight. And Dahniell is equally entranced by her. But can Dahniell and his village trust this beautiful stranger who consorts with the likes of the dark magician, Ricolda?
No time for love…
Ricolda believes love is for the weak, and she is not weak. She plans to be immortal. To conquer the world. That having power is greater than having love. Can the beauty of Rhea’s singing, the power of its magic, transform evil? Can Ricolda in fact be the saviour of the village, or will the past and future collide, condemning them all to eternal darkness?
Rhea asked as soon as she got over his looks and started to notice her surroundings. Where she was looked alien to her and try as she did, she had no idea where she was or where she was going to from there. It was then it hit her with resounding force, Ricolda and her appearance into Rhea's life, the talk they had and the swirling vortex she found herself drawn to. Ricolda was nowhere to be found, and Rhea started to worry. That was the main reason she was where she was in the first place, and that was also why she got to meet this beautiful but annoying man that stood in front of her.
"You don't know where you are? So, are you lost by any chance?" Dahniell asked, his eyes urging her to answer. He saw the sincerity and the earnest confusion in her eyes. She truly didn't know where she was or how she had got there. It was either she was very sincere, or a very good actress. He hoped it was the former because he'd already started to take a liking to her and he would hate her to be the spy he was warned against. In fact, it'd really mess up his day in ways he didn't want to think about.
"I don't know how to explain it actually. It all happened so fast and before I knew it, I was here. Actually, I remember most of it. It was a woman who came to thank me for freeing her from some prison she'd been trapped in for so long. Actually, I don't know which way to put it, but she looked much like you, different in a way..." As Rhea trailed off, Dahniell could only look at her in unmasked horror and prayed to all the deities, that he knew, that he was wrong about what he was thinking. He really did hope he was wrong.
"Did you by any chance, get her name? I'm asking mainly out of curiosity." Dahniell spoke in a low tone, with underlying danger. He knew what it would mean if what he was thinking was true. He just hoped against hope that it wasn't.
"Oh, sure I did. She said her name was Ricolda. That's what she said, Ricolda. It's a pretty weird name though." Rhea looked deep in thought as Dahniell schooled his face to one of nonchalance. If she had no idea about the true meaning of Ricolda's existence, he wasn't going to enlighten her to it. At least not while they were standing. Ricolda was a menace and her journey in and out of time was a little bit tiring. She was known as the Darkest Magician ever which made Dahniell wonder why she hadn't been killed earlier. It would have saved a lot of anguish.
"Oh well. By the way, since you're lost, do you think you can come with me to find a place to stay? I promise I won't bite. In fact, I swear to it. In fact, I'd give you as much space as you want. I just don't like to think that you'd be roaming these parts unattended. Who knows what or who might come along if I leave you here?" Dahniell, always the voice of reason spoke, and she could understand where he was coming from. She was bone tired and needed a place to lay her head at least.
"Okay, I think I'll take your offer for today. You don't look like a kidnapper or anything of that sort of people. So, I'll be trusting you for today. So, can you lead the way?" Rhea flashed her best smile at him, and he returned it. At least he was going to have company while he walked home.
“Certainly miss, anything for the damsel in distress." Dahniell spoke, executing a mock bow which Rhea reciprocated with a courtesy of her own.
"Lead the way, my knight in shining armour." Rhea spoke and Dahniell concurred. They were well on their way to building a beautiful friendship or something even more.
Time would tell.
Edinburgh born and bred Katherine Prince is the author of steamy Scottish Historical Sci-Fi romance with dashes of the fantastical. Passionate about Scottish folklore, storytelling, culture and history, Ms. Prince is also inspired by the amazing festivals, writers, events, castles and places in her homeland of Scotland. Writing from her converted loft with views of the city, her studies of Archaeology and Scottish literature contribute to her books' immersive sense of place and authenticity. She loves stories with sweet characters and ultimately happy endings, but not until they've had a bit of adversity and challenges!
In the morning, Ms. Prince may be slightly incoherent until her first cup of Artisanal coffee or tea has rejuvenated her. It may or may not be accompanied by another of her loves, traditional South American chocolate. When she's not writing, her beautiful spunky son and little diva of a cat keep her busy and entertained, along with games of noughts and crosses, and a quirky and delightfully unexpected taste in music and films!
Ms. Prince enjoys hearing from readers and looks forward to connecting with them on any of her social media sites:
Can you, for those who don't know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I have always been a bit of a book worm and have read voraciously for most of my life. I always loved Historical, Romantic, Scottish and Fantastical fiction, even as a girl. I visited many ancient and historical places living in Scotland, which helped to cultivate my love of the ancient, the fiction I love and things like archaeology. The excitement and romantic nature of a lot of the books I love quickly inspired me to want to do this for myself. I remember the first “novel”I wrote, as a youngster, it was in a ring bound note pad - and was hardly coherent and jammed full with way too many ideas and I only got maybe 7000 words in, but you have to start somewhere right? Anyway for a few weeks I really enjoyed it, but then decided upon something I fancied better. I just kept going and practicing from there. I have heard it said that in order to write you must read. I am a massive subscriber to this maxim. It is so true, scary true as I like to say. One of my favourite things to do in my youth was to ask for a batch of books in these genres for my Christmas’s and Birthdays. Sometimes my mother and grand mother would surprise me with books I didn’t know I was getting but they thought I would like. William Boyd was among them once or twice.
So how did I become an author, the short answer is out of reading and love of books. It may sound cliched but there it is.
What is something unique/quirky about you?
I like Artisan Coffee and connoisseur food and drink. Traditional food, of it’s place and beautifully presented. I will love anything like this and I usually love the sorts of places (usually rustic places I have found) who do this kind of food. A good example would be what I guess you could call UK Chic in Matthew McConaughey’s character Michael Pearson’s pub in the recent film “The Gentleman” or Scottish celebrity Chef Tom Kitchin’s restaurants The Kitchin! Such treats!
Tell us something interesting that has happened to you!
I have a son and I met author William Boyd.
What are some of your pet peeves?
Lack of humour! And when people confuse illusion with reality ,accusing fiction of ALWAYS having to reflect reality. It can of course, but much does not, hence the words ”Escapism” and “Fiction”. Also when they scold fiction for not being fair to characters or not being true to life etc. One is imagination and one is reality, I think I can’t explain it more simply than that.
Where were you born/grew up ?
Edinburgh, Scotland. With frequent contact with St. Andrews Scotland
If you knew you would die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?
Oh my goodness, a question of too many answers. But if I had to venture one of the many, it may be writing a story in Tom Kitchin’s The Kitchin with a fine fresh traditional Scottish lunch and a rich hand roasted coffee to follow! Or writing in The Elephant House which I also love, where Ms. Rowling penned a good deal of Harry Potter. Or going to the fair with my son.
Who is your hero and why?
Lydia Kendall, William Boyd and a few others. They write such real and compelling women and men. But I just click with their women. And I keep wanting to re-read them, as I do! A little like the films of Stanley Kubrick, even when you have seen them 10 times, you still feel like you don’t know what is going to happen and it is always surprising when what happens happens! An amazing sort of phenomenon it really is. Eyes Wide Shut is an excellent example!
What kind of world ruler would you be?
I fear a bad one but I hope a good one. I would let everyone achieve their potential in any way they desired and not pin them back for any reason or let the egos and jealously of others affect them.
What are you passionate about these days?
My son, I want him to him to be the best person he can be.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
It may sound a cliche but I write, I find the process soothing. I also love spending time with my son of course. He is really into skate boarding so we spend a lot of time at the skate park. He likes films too so we watch films together. I love artisanal cafe’s and sitting in them. I do like fashion. I walk a lot too.
How to find time to write as a parent?
He’s (my son) at school a lot, so I write then. But I am quite a night owl too so I write after his bed time.
Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
Oh my goodness! Okay let me try, literary, hopeful, adventurous, good natured.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Probably when I left high school. I felt a certain freedom I hadn’t had before and I felt I could express myself in my writing
Do you have a favorite movie?
Probably too many to say, but let me venture a few, Brave! Haha:), has to be up there and I am sure this will not come as a surprise. Trainspotting (The first one). This may come as a surprise! The new IT films based on the Stephen King novel, the Toy story films, The Shining, Eyes Wide Shut, A Clockwork Orange. The Falling, I loved the latest Little Women film and The Two Popes. I love the Colin firth 1995 Pride and Prejudice and of course Downton Abbey. The Haunting of Hill House series was AWESOME too! Some of my tastes are somewhat contradictory I grant you! I love most anything by Hitchcock too. I think the realness and compelling nature of the women in Hitchcock films are grossly underrated. I love films about close relationships between intimate groups of people whether successful, dysfunctional or both at times.
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
I hope it’s okay to say but all if I may. As I really see them in my head as sort of little movies and this helps me write them and makes them very clear in my head to write.
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
Well a frequent one to The Elephant Room I suppose. I saw the Wordsworth House too.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
What inspired you to write this book?
It is part of a series, so what inspired my to write the series. From my reading and my reading in the Scottish, Fantastical, Historical and Romantic genres; I as you would imagine encountered many book series. I enjoyed and enjoy the sprawl, scale and scope that series offer. I like the proverbial “Cliffhanger” that instalments in series have too. In short I liked the format and what the format can do for some stories. It immediately appealed to me to plot my stories over the format of a series. I feel that series can work and feel very excited with short stories! As well as this, from my reading of a great myriad of books, authors, stories and series and the desire these gave me to write in these genre’s I started to formulate and imagine my own (dare I say it) saga from my inspirations and imaginings. The characters and elements in the story started to present themselves to me over time, over reading and over many day dreaming sessions imagining what should go in these stories.
What can we expect from you in the future?
Many more books, short stories and maybe even novels… ;).
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
Oh yes and they will be published in due course!
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Ricolda?
Without giving too much away, yes a bit. It goes into more detail on the series villain Ricolda the ethereal trans generational sorceress who has been watching Lyla and the world from a paranormal dimension. But this time she manages to be made more flesh than the characters could ever dream of or desire. A new character Rhea, a pathologically shy girl whose salvation and safe haven is singing. She has a most beautiful voice but with a difference. A feature that will all too literally ring through time and come to the aid of some people who she may not want her talent to help. Besides this her singing will draw her into an adventure she could not have imagined.
How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
I am passionate about this genre and voraciously read in it as well as other Historical, Scottish and Romantic fiction, so I have wanted to write it for a long time, the genre inspires me. I tried to imagine (the inspiration other books and authors gave me helped me greatly in this process too) the best characters and themes that would be a good fit for this genre. But characters that I fell in love with did start to emerge as I read and thought. So in short it was quite an organic process.
Where did you come up with the names in the story?
The same sort of way I came up with the title of the story as detailed later below.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
The same as with everything I write. I only write characters that I really have literarily fallen in love with. I find writing equally therapeutic as I do exhilarating, I enjoy getting lost in the worlds and people I write in the same sort of way I like to get lost in the stories I read. There’s not much that beats the feeling of walking to your seat to sit down to start writing with a beautiful view out of the window in front of you.
Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?
Well the Shadow Man or as Lyla finds out is actually called Milonis discovers in the first book that his love and attraction to Lyla is definitely what makes him tick. Singing is certainly the factor that makes Rhea the new character tick. Regaining her former existence and power is definitely the driver for Ricolda. But also a degree of game playing and tormenting the protagonists by stealth. Lyla wants to evolve with and into her relationship with Milonis and further understand her late aunt and her own destiny. The events even with Rhea and Ricolda will tie into her path in ways some may not expect too.
How did you come up with the title of your first novel?
I like the idea of works whose titles are names after the characters or at least a character trait. Hitchcock’s films are a good example, like Psycho or Marnie. For some reason these titles which are characters names are fascinating and appealing to me. It’s hard to put into words you just get a sort of feeling or instinct for what you like and what you feel drawn to.
Who designed your book covers?
The great Juliana Stone!
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, I always ask myself this before I proceed with publishing. I always try not to let a work out if there is any doubt.
Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Always, about myself, the world, the characters and about history and literature as I constantly read and research things for my stories and just out of interest.
If your book were made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Henry Cavill and Jessica Alba would be great if they could do the accents (I’m sure they could!).
Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Thank you for showing interest in my work. I hope you find the information in this interview somewhat informative and that you enjoy my current and future work. It is a beautiful and remarkable thing to be part of such a vibrant community of audience and authors who make this a thrilling industry to be in and adventure to be on. Thank you for engaging with me and let’s support authors in general as well as paper book shops on the high street, I think that writer’s owe them a great debt and they got us started back in the day after all and still actively support and cultivate authors and the original literary experience. Holding the beautiful pulpy book in your hand and smelling its paper. (Nothing like that smell!)
How did you come up with name of this book?
As I say I read and study Scottish history, archaeology and literature as much as I can, I suppose I got a flavour of the names and as importantly the type of names from these sorts of works and I guess I played around with names and sounds that sounded good together and they came out of that, I tried to imagine names that could be possible or at least plausible in fantastical Scottish worlds.
What is your favorite part of this book and why?
I’m sorry to be a let down but I don’t really have favourite bits. I would personally feel concerned if I liked bits more than others, I would keep asking myself why don’t I like it all the same and why do I like some bits better than others. I don’t think in this way about my books so I cannot really answer this question sorry. This is just me and I appreciate that other authors may have very different ways of looking at this issue and that is absolutely fine and who am I to say anything about it.
If you could spend time with a character from your book who would it be? And what would you do during that day?
I would probably have to say Milonis, it would be nice to have a picnic on the shore of a Scottish Loch with him, if he were a real character there would be a lot I would like to ask him. Maybe even a little flirting too ahhh! :D As I say elsewhere here he looks like Henry Cavill in my mind whom I really like! It would be great if he could give me a tour of a non-ruin working castle. That would be awesome!
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
I both like and try to imagine as much as possible rather than do documentary reflection or recording of people, I suppose a few traits here and there I have included from people I have observed, but I love escapism and the escapism element of writing and fiction so I really try and imagine new people I have never met before in other worlds and parallel universes etc. I would say 95% imagination and 5% reality.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story, or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story? Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.
Akin to one of my other answers, no they rarely if ever do, maybe for a chapter here or there… a bit maybe on the occasion. But on the whole as I say I like to have everything mapped out clearly and pretty comprehensively beforehand. I could give you a sales pitch kind of thing to try and convince you why my book is a must read. But I never was a salesman type. I guess all I can say is that they are stories that I am genuinely passionate and excited about and about telling in the best way I can. I always aim to improve from piece to piece. I can honestly say the stories are ones I want to tell and have been told as I wanted to tell them without dilution or interference from any outside influence. They are very much in the Romantic, Historical, Scottish and occasionally fantastical realms and if you are a fan of all or any of these genre’s I can say that I feel confident that you may enjoy my work. I hope this answers your question. I find these questions tricky to answer, but a good challenge :).
Have you written any other books that are not published?
Yes! I have been writing for years and other people helped get me into the publishing game and encouraged me to do it. I was a little shy to begin with but I am so glad that I took this path and listened to them. I have drawerfuls of manuscripts so to speak of varying length.
If your book had a candle, what scent would it be?
Vetiver, Lavender and Sandlewood, perhaps with some heather, woodsmoke and honey.
What did you edit out of this book?
There was some stuff that on closer inspection seemed to me filler or laying pipe so I removed it. Saying maybe rather too much in dialogue instead of letting things come across naturally. Some descriptions, conversations and the like sometimes became rather “speech” like and I wanted to let things breath a bit more.
Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Lydia Kendall and Jane Austen. I think they not only write captivating women, but they do and get balanced what I am always trying to do between writing great women AND men. I find they write some of the most natural and detailed men I have read.
Fun Facts/Behind the Scenes/Did You Know?'-type tidbits about the author, the book or the writing process of the book.
Hmm, what can I say here. haha! :) Well, behind the scenes I suppose I can say that beside my desk on the floor and on my bed (as my desk is in my bedroom) I have extensive notes that I am always jotting down on a rolling basis arranged in a certain order. I jot down general ideas and suggestions to myself along with a rough blue-print to the story to each story all laid out and each page keeps my writing for a bit, then I double check the page to make sure I have covered everything I want to on it then I move onto the next page. It is like a road map of notes to each story. Sometimes when I have been sitting for a long time I lie flat on the floor alongside some of the papers to straighten out and rest my neck and mind ;).
Did you know that I drink aficionado coffee while I work sometimes. All sorts of roasts. I am fascinated by the process and concept of a physical operational process involving people and techniques translating into a taste. Like with wine and the like too, just intoxicating (no pun intended!) I can understand this sort of thing equating into a result, but into a taste. A fascinating alchemy. Same with other foods like honey, wine, whisky, craft beers and even cigars. I don’t smoke, not even cigars, but I do love to smell the occasional cigar. I have fun talking cigars with some cigar connoisseur’s in traditional tobacconist shops. I even purchase the occasional Cigar aficionado magazine. I guess I like the process and the discussion rather than the smoking. I am sure I am quite singular in this way. Speaking of which I love nuts too. Pubs and fancy hotels can do wonderful nut selections. Cigars are a forgotten art a bit I think. Not too many women I know entertain cigars in anyway. either and as I say I don’t even smoke them. The rolling of them is quite an art too. I like watching the craftsmen doing this on youtube sometimes. From my understanding though they are more a part of Scottish culture than one may think, often enjoyed along side a fine single malt, where, I hear, the tastes compliment each other.
I love going to the beach. Barbecues, trying new foods, travelling around Scotland and travelling in general introducing myself to new cultures I know nothing about. I really like old buildings, castle’s ruins etc. I think my visits to St. Andrews in my youth gave me this. the old ruins and castle there. Extraordinary and rich history. So when I stay in hotels and the like I love staying in country house hotels and hotels and similar that have a rustic feel that are connected with their heritage and where the old stone is still visible and tangible.
What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?
Too many to fully list, but I will give it a go and these are in no particular order. I know it’s more than 10 but some books are by the same authors as others on the list.
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
Sense and Sensebility - Jane Austen
It - Stephen King
Misery - Stephen King
The Shining - Stephen King
Highlander’s Love in Captivity - Lydia Kendall
Highlander Found - Rebecca Preston
Lord of the Flies - William Golding
Death Comes to Pemberly - PD James
The Children of Men - PD James
Cruel and Unusual - Patricia Cornwell
Restless - William Boyd
Love is Blind - William Boyd
Any Human Heart - William Boyd
What book do you think everyone should read?
Highlander’s Love in Captivity by Lydia Kendall has such a soft spot in my heart, I love it and re-read it, just something about it! I love most by Lydia Kendall, Rebecca Preston etc. Non genre ones would be things like Lord of the flies, IT and the books of William Boyd.
How long have you been writing?
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
All my characters are in my head long before I put the proverbial pen to paper, besides maybe a few little passing ones. But as a rule I like to have everyone (and everyone) planned out in advance.
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book
I am a voracious and addicted reader, I do rolling research, reading and visit places whenever I can and I speak to a lot of people and ask a lot of questions so I don’t really do a specific block before each book it is an ongoing perpetual process that I have been steeped in for 2 decades now, well a little more than that now.
Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely, more a career than work as in like a job. I think it has to be if you want to take it seriously and perhaps be taken seriously. I may be wrong as there may be exceptions but this has been my own experience.
What do you think about the current publishing market?
It is going in some very exciting directions for authors and audiences it seems to me and it seems to me that it gets better and better the more innovation that is brought to the market. I am a technophobe but I am fascinated with the innovations in the market. I may not know how they work but I admire them so much.
Do you read yourself and if so, what is your favourite genre?
If we’re talking exclusively about fiction here then I love and am passionate about Scottish Historical Romantic Fiction, my homeland and it’s storytelling culture has some sort of allure that I find fascinating, no more than that, intoxicating. I love horror, ghost. stories, classic romance and some contemporary romance.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
Mostly with music and sometimes a little silence can be refreshing. As to the why’s, I find silence can be oppressive and distracting and I find myself listening to the silence too much and it is distracting. Whereas music keeps you company and helps inspire you and see your little movie in your head more clearly and colourfully. But sometimes after a lot of music, silence can be very nice as it lets the music “nerve” so to speak rest.
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
It varies a little, I guess I start 2-3 and dip in and out for a little while and then one usually runs away with me after that and I keep going with that until I finish that one.
If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose?
There are many, too many to list, but I always think it would have been really cool to have been the author of Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Little Women! It would have been cool if I could have written much of Lydia Kendall, Hazel Hunter, Rebecca Preston and the like too! And William Boyd!
Pen or typewriter or computer?
I love pens, pencils and type writers and their timeless tangible aesthetic, but I confess I also enjoy and primarily use Apple computers and like the satisfying resistance of the keys under my fingers!
Tell us about a favorite character from a book.
I’m glad the question said “A favourite” character as there are simply too many for “The” favourite. Probably, well let’s say Eva Delektorskaya in William Boyd’s “Restless”. Layered, complex, so many facets to her identity and personality and her very life. An alive woman if that’s clear, vivid and textured she comes off the page and comes to life, sexually nuanced and real too.
What made you want to become an author, and do you feel it was the right decision?
Initially it was because I loved reading and I wanted to write things like I read. It almost instantly made me want to do it from as soon as I knew what it was to write properly.
A day in the life of the author?
I get up at 6 in the morning on week days. So I can shower and have breakfast slowly at my own pace and come to, so I can then get my son up for school. Of course get him dressed, breakfast and ready and then take him there. I love this routine though, there is something magical about this part of the day and I really love it, even though I am a bit more of an evening person and not a morning person. So even though a little groggy it is very nice. I am more awake after my first cup of artisanal coffee that I buy in bags from a couple of favourite places and then brew in a special Cafetiere. I then come back, do a few tasks for a part time job first then get to writing in my converted loft with views of the city as I say in my Amazon bio.
There is a particular Edinburgh Cafe I like very much too that I like to frequent, even more of late, (well with the exception of lock down of course, but it has started up again recently). I have come to know the owner quite well, he and his cafe have a very cool sort of retro-chic motif, where he wears clothes like a 1920s sort of Dock Worker kind of thing, a real Dickensian-cool motif. Really cool! I talk coffee there too a bit with him as he is passionate about the drink, his cafe and what he does. It is a thrill meeting people who have passions. When I can tear myself away from our artisan coffee conversations it is solidly writing with the Bose headphones on.
I write pretty solidly for a few hours, break for lunch. Sometimes I go out for a bite. Other times I go out straight away and write somewhere in town. Whether or not I write in or out of the house I then write up until I have to pick my son up again from school and then get homework/dinner/and/or after school activities taken care of. Then when he goes to bed I do some more writing, it’s funny I often feel at my most alert and productive in the evening and I sometimes feel this way and work quite late. Sometimes I strike it lucky and some of my friends are available during the day and I get to meet up with them, sometimes talk writing and sometimes other things. Some of them love reading and writing too. This particularly happens when I take the occasional day off to clear my head and re-fuel for the next instalment of writing.
I have a surprisingly social life actually for someone with such a solitary main profession.
Advice you would give new authors?
Start and keep writing every moment you get, even at school and whilst studying etc in earlier life. One cannot be a writer unless they write a wise person once said to me. The other piece of advice I feel is critical, certainly to my own success is promotion. Spend as much as you can possibly afford on a professional to promote your work even early on. Do everything you feel you are good at, then outsource everything else you feel you are not so good at to people who are awesome at it. I feel this is just as critical as the writing. It has been my salvation.
Describe your writing style.
I always find these sorts of questions really difficult to articulate in my answers. Let me give it a go anyway. Firstly, I would probably have to say, I try to make my fiction writing from how I write when I am being me. I try to make my fiction writing of the world it belongs to. Like, how would this world be described… almost like if it were being described by people in the world of the story. It may just be me, but I always imagined and felt that his must have been how Tolkien viewed his writing of The Lord of the Rings and how I imagine Hazel Hunter and Lydia Kendall write. I certainly like this idea at least in theory and I guess this is my preoccupation when writing. Hope this makes sense :)
What makes a good story?
A story told personally and absolutely as the writer intends, without compromise or interference. Also told in the way the writer wants. Everything after that I think is the lottery of the unknowable alchemy of the connection between work and audience/reader.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
If by this you mean my greatest weakness. Wow, a deep question. I think it would probably have to be these extraordinary writing techniques that some more experimental writers use like no punctuation and like 10 page long sentences and the like. As fascinating as I find them I just couldn’t get the hang of them when I tried. Some writers even devise their own method of punctuation! They are braver than I.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I really really really try to combine the two! This is a big mission of mine! What is good is that I feel that I want what my readers want when I write my work and read books in these genre’s. So A nice synergy exists I think in this way.
If you could tell your younger writing-self anything, what would it be?
If you want to be a writer, write like anything, if you want to be an X you have to do X. Reading about it and aspiring to it won’t do it or give you practice, so I would tell her to start sooner and do more and sooner.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Point of view I think. I never like to think that physiological things affect the mind, but I have a hard enough time writing from the points of views of women, but I find writing the points of view of men quite challenging. But an enjoyable one. I couldn’t tell you why I find this tricky. Just do but c’est la vie :)
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
I have had these stories in my mind for some time now and have been doing rolling research for ages so it is just the writing really, which for these current stories maybe 6-8 weeks including read overs and corrections etc. I am a fast typer.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Not really, I think someone who feels this doesn’t know what they want to say in the first place rather than the discipline of sitting down to write inflicting a “block” on them.
Would I ever collaborate with another author?
We’re not absolutely sure what my son wants to do yet, but if he were remotely interested in writing it would be so lovely if I could do something with him. Besides this yes, the idea of writing collaboratively may be something I would like to do in the future.
Would I submit my book to mixed author box sets?
Would I write with others and release a collaboration under a pen name?
What would I like to see to help the publishing industry and literary industry become more accessible to young and emerging writers?
I think that ego needs to go out of it completely on both sides. In terms of the writer, be yes men and women and take any opportunity that presents itself, I would not suggest trying to “shape” ones career with what they say yes and no to. In terms of the industry, I believe all games and ego need to be put to the side as from personal experience they can hinder the industry selecting good work and finding good authors and potential. Some houses seem to have very pigeon holed visions of what they are looking for and some I think feel the need to be the big man so to speak. I think this needs to be removed completely and I think that publishers need to be on the look out for everything and anything and rejoice in finding great work and talent and not playing games or setting too many “goals” for what they want. I think that I am old fashioned enough to believe that great work is what garners success not over moulded formulas trying to replicate or “be” this or that. I hope that’s clear.
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