Today I’m taking part in the blog tour Spring Breeze. I’m sharing my Q&A with the author with thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on the blog tour and to Angela Barton for answering my questions!
Have you always wanted to write?
I’ve always loved reading but had honestly never thought of writing until I woke up one morning in 2012 with a storyline on my mind. I started writing there and then sitting up in bed, and have loved writing since that day.
What were your previous jobs? Have they helped you with your writing process?
I’ve worked in a hospital in Saudi Arabia, a doctors’ surgery in the UK and I’m still working in a hospital three days a week. The jobs themselves haven’t helped with the writing process, but certainly meeting so many people over the years have helped to add colour to fictional characters for my stories.
What was your inspiration for Spring Breeze?
Travelling and learning about historical events is my inspiration. As my writing has evolved over the years, I now love to introduce real people and moments from history into my books. I hope that in some small way I can help keep momentous dates in people’s minds. With Arlette’s Story it was the martyred village of Oradour-sur-Glane, but with Spring Breeze it was the rounding up of the Jews in the Vélodrome d’Hiver in Paris.
How do you construct your characters? Do they have traits of people you know?
I don’t intentionally use traits from people I know, but I’d be surprised if some of my fictional characters don’t share some similarities with my friends.
What does your writing process look like? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m a plotster! I know what major story arc is going to take place and I know the ending. I’m never sure where to start so throughout the writing process, the beginning of the story is likely to change several times. As for the rest of the book, my characters seem to show me lots of mini story arcs as I’m writing. So I suppose it’s a sort of a collaboration between me, my protagonist, hero, and antagonist!
How did you research? Did you enjoy it?
I love researching. I find little nuggets of information that can turn into a whole chapter. For Spring Breeze I was living in south-west France at the time of writing it, so I travelled north to Paris. I went deep below the city into the catacombs as I knew they were going to play an important part in my book. It helped enormously to see, smell, hear and touch the miles of tunnels and the macabre displays of skeletons down there.
Who are your favourite writers? Are you influenced by them?
I think Irène Némirovsky was a remarkable writer. I feel like I’m present in her scenes when I read her books. Her WW2 stories are all the more remarkable because she wrote them during the actual period itself, despite the terror and brutal anti-Semitism surrounding her. I’m influenced by her work in that I feel compelled to write after I’ve read a few chapters of her writing.
I love novels by Joanne Harris. She tackles challenging issues with ease and writes hugely diverse themes: magic, mythology, suspense, modern folk tales, romance, historical fiction and even cook books. My favourite books are Five Quarters Of An Orange and The Lollipop Shoes. Joanne Harris influences me by making me want to become a better author.
I adore Pam Jenoff’s books. The Kommandant’s Girl is my favourite, but she writes them all with incredible realism. I’m transported to another time and place when I read her books and like Joanne Harris, Pam Jenoff makes me want to grow as a writer.
If you could invite three people, living or dead, to dinner, who would they be and why?
David Attenborough because he has a wonderful voice, is so full of knowledge and stories from his travels. Alan Rickman because he was my favourite actor and also had an incredible voice. Finally, Marian Keyes. She’s a great writer, very witty, approachable and I love listening to her fabulous accent.
(I’ve just realised I have a ‘thing’ about voices!)
Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with and why?
Donald Trump. Do I need to elaborate?
Who would play the main character/s in a film version of Spring Breeze?
Carey Mulligan would play Matilde Pascale and Alexander Ludwig would play Hans Engel. If Alan Rickman were still alive, he’d make a great Kommandant Beitel.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love spending time with family, meeting friends, reading, creating landscapes using wet felting, free motion embroidery, making jewellery and mosaics, walking in the countryside and of course, writing. I also volunteer at the City Hub in Nottingham, packing boxes to be transported to Ukraine.
What is next for you?
I’m currently writing book five, this time set in the far south of France in a small fictional town at the foot of the Pyrenees bordering Spain. It’s also set during WW2.
All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
It has to be The Grinch. It reminds me of family and Christmas. We watch it every year without fail.
Harlyn Bay in Cornwall
Plain chocolate digestive
Spring Breeze is available from Amazon.
You can follow the rest of the blog tour here: