Welcome to Sincerely Book Angels blog.
What was the inspiration behind this novel?
One of my parents died a few years ago and it felt like the ground was taken from under my feet, I found it really hard to cope. Just at that time, when I was at my lowest ebb, suddenly two new friends appeared in my life -- like me, they both had daughters at the local school (one even lived in my road), but somehow our paths just hadn't crossed until then. It was as if we were meant to meet exactly when we most needed one another. We all had our own problems and heartache but, with this new-found friendship, we had strength and support that none of us had ever had before. It made me start thinking that maybe things do happen for a reason: perhaps fate leads us to meet the people we need exactly when we need them most. That is really the premise of the novel.
The other main theme is that of the possibility of life after death. It's something I've always been intrigued by, especially as my mother used to read Tarot cards and have what she'd call 'feelings' (sometimes a premonition that something would happen; sometimes that a place was haunted). This was something I wanted to find out more about after my loss -- and fortunately, my two new friends were quite open-minded about the subject, too. So the three of us began visiting local mediums and demonstrations of clairvoyance. We had some, shall we say, less successful experiences (which I used for inspiration for one particular scene in the novel involving an old man attempting to make contact with 'the other side'), but I did also receive some incredibly accurate messages, too. And it was after one of those evenings, as the three of us walked home, that I looked up at the clear, winter sky, and decided that there was a story here that had to be written.That was my inspiration and motivation. To write a story of friendship and of hope.
Did you always want to be a writer?
I always knew I wanted to write -- that's all I wanted to do -- and in fact got my first job on a monthly national magazine when I was just 18. As a journalist I have written everything from celebrity interviews to women's interest features; and I have also worked as a teacher which has been incredibly rewarding. Even then, I would write song lyrics, as I used to sing with a local band in my spare time, which was fun!
How did it feel when your first novel was published?
After deciding to self-publish Out of the Darkness, it was fantastic to actually get the first proof copy of the completed book in my hands; to see it in print for the very first time: a REAL book! I did open a bottle of champagne and one of my daughters baked a cake decorated to look like the book's cover! And I must admit I shed a little tear of happiness.
What motivates you to keep writing?
I found writing Out of the Darkness extremely cathartic -- it is a very personal story (the lead character, Jessica, is grieving the sudden loss of her mother, who was her best friend), and during the period of time that I was writing it, one of my grandparents, to whom I was especially close, also passed away. So the feelings expressed in the novel really do come from the heart.
Do your characters moods ever affect your mood and vice versa?
Not sure that my characters' moods have affected me as such, but there were a few times when even I was actually moved to tears on re-reading as they have all become my 'friends', strange though that may sound. I can picture each of them clearly in my head - they are real people to me.
If your book was made into a film what song would you choose for the opening credits?
Whenever I hear the song 'Get Here' by Oleta Adams I always think it would make a great soundtrack to Out of the Darkness The Movie...it's incredibly soulful and moving, and talks about distance between loved ones which, in my mind, works in the context of bereavement and possible contact with those in spirit, just as well as the romantic meaning which I imagine is intended. I think it perfectly sums up the emotion of the novel. Makes me teary-eyed and goose pimply every time!
Click here for the song.
Also, for later on in the film, 'To Where You Are' is a real tear-jerker as the lyrics are so apt. It is beautifully sung by Rhydian Roberts, but I think a female performer such as Adele would be perfect for the soundtrack. Click here for the song.
I have started working on ideas for a second novel. Continuing with the supernatural theme, I am looking in to the idea of past lives, and the theory that our previous incarnations influence the people we are today. I am very curious about past life regression -- who knows, maybe I was once an Egyptian princess or one of the Salem witches...I'll keep you posted!
Thank you so much for joining us on our blog today and good luck with the book.
Thank you so much for your support and for your amazing review -- makes all the hard work worthwhile!
Click here to read our review of Out of the Darkness.