Welcome, Anne-Marie! What prompted you to first start writing? What was the first thing you wrote?
I started writing when I was 9 after reading a book of Ray Bradbury short stories. His words were so beautiful all I could think was; “I want to write like that.” The first thing I ever wrote as far as prose is concerned was short story about a day in the desert. After that I wrote short stories for years, then moved on to poetry. I didn’t write my first novel til I was 20, and Ive never done anything with it!
Can you summarise your latest work in just a few words?
A paranormal whodunit.
OOH, sounds intriguing. What was the inspiration for this book?
There’s a Nick Cave song called God’s Hotel. It got me thinking about what if the afterlife was a hotel. Then I was thinking about that in a negative sense and the rest of the story just grew from that.
Did you do any research for the book?
I researched a few things, such as the Babes in the Wood murders which play a part in the story. The rest is just from my brain!
What does a typical writing day involve for you?
It’s rare that I get a writing day as I’m a mum who works full time! Any time I get after my daughter has gone to bed is usually spent chilling out with my husband watching movies.
But I generally write better at night, so when I was writing this book originally, which was twelve years ago, I used to stay up all night with a bottle of wine and write till I needed sleep. These days I tend to write at night still, just with less wine as my child doesn’t care if I’ve been up all night writing – she will still expect me to get up at 6am…
How do you decide on the names for your characters?
Other stories that Im working on have characters with fairly standard names, but this one was a bit different so the names had to be too. But I find the names just come to me and I trust that part of my brain so I just go with it.
Do you plot your novels in advance, or allow them to develop as you write?
This one just kind of developed over time with no planning. I have got another book in the works that I have plotted out meticulously. I don’t know what works best yet!
Which writers have influenced your own writing?
My biggest influences in writing have been Ray Bradbury and Jack Kerouac. Two very different styles, but both have written some of my favourite books. And even though I don’t write in the same style, Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights probably set the level for the kind of romance I write about. Rarely jolly.
What has been the best part of the writing process…and the worst?
The best part is when I get a good flow going and I can just keep writing and it all comes out on the screen exactly how I had it in my head. The worst is when I know what I want to say but the words don’t come.