Can you tell our readers what to expect from your current novel Putting Alice Back Together?
Alice is rather flawed and is dealing with a few issues. It charts not just her downfall, but the life that led to it and then her comeback from that. It’s a bit of a jigsaw without a lid and I hope the readers end up loving her – faults and all.
Where did your inspiration for the novel come from?
I don’t plot so I never really knew where the story was going. Initially it was a lot lighter and more chick lit but that soon changed. I wrote the beginning and ending but it took ages to work out what happened in the middle – my process isn’t a very tidy one.
Splitting up a character over 2 ages is a unique idea, how did this come about?
As I was writing the story I realised that I had too many flashbacks (I’m generally not a big fan of them) so I decided to write Alice at two ages, completely separately, and see what happened. In the end I printed them out and started slotting them together
How do you feel your travelling has developed your writing?
I think any experience and emotion can be drawn on for writing. I get homesick for the UK and I just have to think about airports and I can cry, so I use that type of feeling in my writing.
As you have worked as a nurse all your life, when did you decide to become a writer?
I have always written – I guess it was my hobby and I just kept going with it. If I wasn’t published I’d still be writing – even now I have a half finished book on my computer that, realistically, will never be published, but I love it and keep going back to it and will still be thrilled when I type “the end”, even if it’s only me that reads it.
Why is your favourite destiantion New York?
It’s so busy and loud and the people are just amazing - everyone you meet could be in a book. The accents, the food, the clothes, Sephora!!! We stayed in Times Square and looking out the hotel window at four in the morning and seeing the place still alive was wonderful.
What attracted you to living in Melbourne?
Melbourne is a wonderful city and I think it is a lot like the UK. Even the weather- it’s hailing today! It’s very cosmopolitan and the food choices and coffee culture are fantastic.
What advice can you give aspiring writers who are looking to write in this genre?
I think if you can try to write every day, even a little bit – you start to find your voice and the momentum builds. I used to write longhand on my coffee breaks or when the babies were asleep (forget housework). I love transferring my longhand to the computer, you get to edit it as you go – it works well for me. Carry a notebook everywhere and even when you’re too busy to write you can think about your story – “did you even hear what I said” is a phrase said to me an awful lot!
What future projects do you have lined up?
I am currently working on
revisions for the book after Putting Alice Back Together. I have a germ of an idea for another one that is still in it’s petri dish in the incubator, but I’m hoping when I haul it out it will have grown.
Interview by Lucy Walton