Q&A with Marie Anne Cope

Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for BONDS. I’m sharing my Q&A with the author with thanks to Zoe O’Farrell for inviting me on the blog tour and to Marie Anne Cope for answering my questions!

Have you always wanted to write?

I don’t remember ever having a burning desire to write, but I have always enjoyed being lost in stories. I DID write a short story as a child, though, but it didn’t quite have the response I was hoping for.

Towards the end of my time at primary school, the teacher asked us to write a short story. I wrote my version of a well-known marine tale, one that my innocent mind probably shouldn’t have sneakily watched. To say that my teacher wasn’t amused was a bit of an understatement. She rapped me on the knuckles with a metal ruler and told me never to write anything so horrible again. I like to think it was my graphic illustration of a severed arm on the beach that drew her fury, rather than my creative penmanship; she is one of my biggest fans now, after all!

Her reaction to my creativity, though, halted my writing altogether. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-twenties that the voices in my head won out and the stories poured forth.

What were your previous jobs? Have they helped you with your writing process?

After my A’ Levels, I went straight in to working at a high street bank. It’s a job I’d been adamant I wanted to do (can’t for the life of me remember why), but after six weeks of cleaning vomit off the cash machine on a Monday morning, I decided it wasn’t for me. I stuck it out for six years, though.

After finishing my degree (mainly done at night school) I secured a training contact with one of the big five accounting firms, where I qualified as a Chartered Accountant, before going back out into industry.

I served in senior finance positions in a cake factory, two pharmaceutical companies, and a telecoms company, before starting my own business as a VAT accountant.

As to whether any of them helped with my writing process, I’d err towards no… not yet anyway 😉

What was your inspiration for BONDS?

It was my attendance at a wedding that changed my path from short stories to novels.

Now, I’m not a fan of weddings; they bore me. This one was being held in an old village church and during the service I was paying attention to everything else except the service. My interest was soon drawn to the back of the church, where there stood an ancient stone coffin covered in engravings.

My hand soon reached into my bag for my ever-present notebook and, as I sketched the engravings, a storyline formed in my head. Needless to say, I missed the photos and was late for the reception but, if it wasn’t for that wedding, Bonds would never have been born!

How do you construct your characters? Do they have traits of people you know?

Firstly, I come up with the names of my characters. They usually jump into my head, but if I need inspiration, I toddle off down to my favourite cemetery and have a browse through the gravestones until inspiration strikes. Always remember, though, only take a forename or a surname from a headstone, never both.

Next, I call in each character for an interview, auditioning them for a place in my novel. I ask them lots of questions covering their background, experience, likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, aim in life, mannerisms, etc. It’s as if I am sitting across from someone and trying to get to know them.

This helps ensure my characters are real people. Most of the information I gather I may never use, but it’s there, directing how they respond to and act in any given situation.

What does your writing process look like? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Definitely a plotter. I have a pretty specific process whilst writing a novel, which is why I only produce a book every few years! Plus, I write longhand which slows everything down. I am trying to embrace technology more, but I struggle to create through a keyboard; I find my Mont Blanc fountain pen and notebook much more conducive.

How did you research BONDS? Did you enjoy it?

To date, I haven’t done any specific research for my books. I have gleaned everything I know from years of reading and watching movies.

Who are your favourite writers? Are you influenced by them?

So many to choose from!

As a child, Enid Blyton was my go to author, with the Ring O’Bells Mystery being my favourite story. I recently talked about this on a panel at a literary event. The panel discussed books we’d read as children, which influenced us as writers. I didn’t think I’d been influenced by any specific book, but as I re-read the Ring O’Bells Mystery, I think that subconsciously it has, as it is a tale of mystery, adventure, ghosts and other spooky goings on!

Stephen King influenced me through his novel On Writing to get off the fence and get stuck in.

Other than that, I can’t say any author has directly influenced me. I think every book I’ve read has contributed in some way to my own creativity.

Some of my favourite authors are Jeffrey Archer, Bram Stoker, Patricia Cornwell, James Patterson, Kate Morton, Ian Rankin, John Grisham, Veronica Henry, Nora Roberts… I could go on.

If you could invite three people, living or dead, to dinner, who would they be and why?

Jack the Ripper – to find out what drove him to eviscerate those women, and to discover whether he acted alone or whether the killings were indeed committed by more than one person, as has been intimated.

Marilyn Monroe – to find out why she couldn’t see herself as everyone else did, and to find out what really happened that night.

Bram Stoker – well, because Dracula is my favourite novel, and I’m interested to know if he’d agree with my view that it is the greatest love story ever told.

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with and why?

Michael Myers (character from Halloween) because he doesn’t listen to reason.

Who would play the main character/s in a film version of BONDS?

I cast Bonds a long time ago, but I have updated it recently. I’ll give you both versions of the characters I’ve changed, just to see what the readers think 😉:

ANTONY CARDOVER – originally Gerard Butler, now Dominic Rains
BECCA MARTIN – Ashley Greene (as Alice from Twilight)
FRANK JAKES – Ray Winstone
ANNA MARTINDALE – Dame Judi Dench
ISABELLA CARDOVER – Daniella Ruah
CARLA ADAMS – Isabelle Allen (as a child)
VIRGINIA “GINNIE” MARTIN – originally Alex Kingston, now Teri Hatcher
EBENEZER LIGHTWOLLER – Robert Carlyle (as per Once Upon a Time)

I have more for the other books, but this will do for now.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Spare time? What’s that?

When I do allow myself some down time, unsurprisingly, I read… a lot, but real books, not eBooks. The only time I read on my kindle is on holiday. I love the touch and smell of a real book.

I love the theatre, cinema, and going to concerts. I keep myself fit through yoga (I am a qualified teacher), dancing, circuit training, and Nordic walking. I also like to spend time over dinner with friends.

What is next for you?

During lockdown, I wrote a novel called Chasing Rainbows, which I have just finished polishing and reviewing. This is my first foray into the contemporary romance genre, and it is the first of a series. I’d never thought I’d be able to write in this genre, but it’s the most excited I’ve ever been with any of my writing. I’m taking this as a good omen!

I’m not leaving the darkness behind, though. I’m also writing a spinoff from the Bonds series, called The Headhunter, which centres on the character of Ellie Lawrence and her life after, and before, she met Antony Cardover and Becca Martin.

I’ve also written a script for Bonds, which I want to bring to fruition, as it’s always been a dream to see Bonds on the silver screen.

Favourites:

Book – Dracula by Bram Stoker and Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer
Film – Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Band/Singer – Bryan Adams, Meat Loaf, Bon Jovi
TV show – Grey’s Anatomy
Colour – blue
Place – Yosemite National Park in California
Biscuit – not a biscuit eater, but if pushed, I would say cookies

***

BONDS is available from Amazon.

You can follow the rest of the blog tour here:

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