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How did you get started as an author?

I've always been an avid reader, and I toyed with writing in my younger years but then life and career took over, and I put writing to one side. Then about seven years ago, out of the blue, a story came to me and wouldn't let go. So I sat down to write it. 120,000 words later, I wrote The End, but, honestly, it was terrible. I knew nothing about story structure or beats, or all the elements that make a great book. At the time, I followed an online blog written by an editor. I noticed she occasionally mentored new writers so I made contact. She agreed to take me on as a client. I worked with her for four years. And that first book I wrote? After a huge rewrite, it became my fifth released novel, My Gift To You.

What was your first book?

Winning Ace

How has your writing style changed?

I've learned huge amounts over the past few years. I definitely write faster than I used to, and my first drafts need a lot less work. 

What are you writing about in the anthology?

I'm writing about a guy who, through no fault of his own, contracts HIV. 

Why are you taking part in this anthology?

Eighteen months ago, I lost a friend through suicide. I spent weeks and months agonizing over why he hadn't felt able to talk to anyone. On the surface he seemed to have the perfect life, but underneath, he must have been truly tortured. Men's health issues have taken a backseat to women's health issues for many years, yet both are equally important. The Movember foundation, which this anthology is in aid of, is looking to change all that. And that's why I was so honored to be asked to take part, and why I jumped at the chance to lend my support through writing. 

Why do you think it's important to spread the message of this anthology?

Men's health needs more funding to be able to truly tackle the issues that mean we are seeing far too many men die young. I also love the title of the anthology "Because He's Perfect". It sends a wonderfully uplifting message.

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What is your favorite line from your manuscript?

This one from the heroine when she's telling him why she didn't fight for him all those years ago after he chose to marry someone else. (Mine is a second chance Contemporary Romance story). "I may be selfish and self-centered, but even I’m not so cruel as to blurt out how even thinking of you with someone else made it difficult to breathe. How, even all these years later, it’s still difficult to breathe.”

Did you research your story?

Yes. I had to research some elements relating to HIV and the medication and help available.

Is there any one thing you have to have when writing?

Coffee.... lots and lots of coffee.

What influences your work?

All sorts of things. Other books, people watching, passing comments from friends and family that I just think "Aha!" I carry a notebook everywhere just in case.

Who is your favourite author?

I don't have one. I have lots! I read very eclectically. My favorite genre's are Romance (specifically contemporary, suspense, and PNR) and crime thrillers - quite different I know. I adore J.R. Ward (particularly her early stuff), L.J. Shen, David Baldacci, Robert Bryndza to name but a few in a very long and ever-growing list. 

Any book that holds a special place in your heart.

Yes, a book I read as a child called Summer With Tommy. It was about a journalist who bought a scruffy little pony and trained him over one amazing summer so she could write an article. She ended up writing a book.That pony was such a character! I still have the original copy - it's about forty years old!