What made you want to become an author?
I wrote so many short stories during my school years but after I took a different direction as a career path. I woke up every day hating what I did and decided to make a change. I began to study history then came up with an idea for my first book. At that moment I once again found that desire and passion that I had growing up. I was always told to follow my dreams and even though it was later than I had wanted, I did just that.
Why historical fiction?
History is my passion and one of my many inspirations. I set out to bring different aspects of it to life for my readers. We can learn so much from the past and if I can teach others a small part of it then I have succeeded in achieving one of my goals.
What else inspires you?
I am very close to my family and even though I had the confidence and willingness to undertake such a change in my career, they were there alongside me every step of the way. Their love and support drives me to take things every further. I collect antiques and holding an object in my hand and thinking about how much history is attached to it also inspires me to write.
What do you think sets you apart from other historical fiction authors?
One of my many goals I set for myself when I wrote my first book was to bring different aspects of the past to life. I wanted to be unique and I believe the writing style I use will confirm just that.
How do you come up with story ideas?
Sometimes ideas come to me in an instant and sometimes I will study a particular period of history in depth to come up with a storyline. At present I have made notes about many other ideas for future books. A few times I have been approached from people who have a family story they want me to write.
Cecilia House deals with a very sensitive subject, have you dealt with any criticism because of that?
As a writer you have to be prepared to deal with a certain amount of criticism however there have been certain people and organizations who don’t want some aspects of the past to be spoken or written about. This particular subject was upsetting to write but someone needed to be their voice and speak for them when long ago not many were willing to do so. If I provided only a small portion of the research I conducted to those who question my motives, I am sure most of them would change their way of thinking.
What was the most difficult thing you encountered when writing this book?
I knew once I decided to write it I would come across some disturbing stories and I was absolutely correct in my assumptions. The children who suffered at the hands of those whose responsibility it was to care and protect them were scared beyond belief while it was occurring but they were just as afraid many years later. You can look into the eyes of a sad child in one of the many very old photos of them from the 1930s and you can immediately see the pain and sadness in their eyes.
Was it easier to write a book that was based near your hometown?
It was easier from the standpoint of the research because I was able to visit the town and meet the locals. The beginning of the book is set from a city about 15 minutes from me and I grew up spending a lot of time there so I already knew so much about the history of it. Being able to drive through the streets and seeing the old homes helped me provide my readers with a glimpse into life in the late 1930s.
What have you given up to become a writer?
I gave up living the life most people do, I invested most of my money to publish my first book. My social life ended and it took 8 years before I was able to take a holiday. It made me a better person and I regret none of it.
What advice would you give to young writers?
Be in it for the long haul, nothing happens overnight. Believe in yourself and use any negative feedback you receive to help you become a better writer.
Are you available for events such as book signings and book clubs?
Sure! I love getting out there and meeting with new people and talking about my books. Unfortunately like everyone else I have been confined to my home but with the wonders of technology I use Skype, WhatsApp and Facebook to connect with my readers.