Who or what inspired Forget Me Not?
My Grandfather, John Charles Monaghan. I cared for him during his final years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I didn’t think I would ever write a book so close to home, or containing so much of me, but I began, and it flowed. I cried, laughed, got real angry with the world (once again) but when it was over, and I’d finished, I felt a closure I didn’t know I’d needed. Giving people an insight into myexperience with Alzheimer’s was cathartic for me and if my story helps in the tiniest way, or impacts someone else’s life who is experiencing Alzheimer’s, I can consider it a job well done.
I think choosing my hometown, Liverpool, helped in a big way, too. It’s such a beautiful city, and one that I’m more than familiar with, so I felt right at home during this writing process. I’m so used to writing American grammar, slang, and locations that I didn’t know how much I’d enjoy the change. I can safely say that I’ll be writing about Liverpool more often.
Who or what inspired you to start writing?
Again, my grandfather. Or his death, rather. He died in April 2016 and I suddenly became obsessed with curling up on the couch and reading fanfiction. One day, I decided to give it a go, starting a fic of my own and wow…it took off. It became all consuming. My readers started to ask me when I was going to publish something, and naturally, I laughed. I’ve always had a terrible time with my inner critic but I’m learning how to silence her. I never in a million years imagined I would have a book out there with my name on it, or that people would pick it up and read it, but they did. Do I count my blessings? Every. Single. Day.
My girlfriend has been a huge support for me. She has always backed me one hundred percent in anything I’ve done, including singing and photography, but even she knew writing was where I was supposed to be. It was her who told me that writing was the only job I’ve taken seriously. When I have doubts, or I’m questioning whether I’m doing the right thing, my girlfriend gives me that push I know I need. My next book, an age gap romance, will draw on some of my experiences within my relationship. Yes, there is a significant gap, but love is love, right?
I also can’t forget the superb Jessica Capshaw. Without her character on Grey’s Anatomy, I never would have written my first fanfiction or gone on to release four books. Her character, over the years, gave me and so many other people a world of joy and it was through that character that I made some of the greatest friends that I have. I’ll be forever thankful to her for bringing us all together, and for showing me that the only thing I really want to do in life… is write.
Who is your favorite character from your books and why?
That would have to be Riley Allen from More Than A Feeling. Anyone who knows me knows that I love writing angst. I enjoyed writing Riley more than any other character for that reason alone. She was broken, hurt, consumed by insecurity… but she had that tough exterior. Deep down she was a beautiful soul who just needed someone to tell her it wouldn’t all be bad.
How do you approach writing a new storyline?
Well, it usually begins with me suddenly having an idea…followed by staring at the ceiling, and awake for the entire night thinking about it. I’ll build up a basic plot and then sit down, allowing the rest to just come to me when it chooses to. I don’t often suffer from writer’s block, but I do struggle with burn out, so I’ve come to realise that writing continuously day after day doesn’t work for me. Sometimes I’ll write every day for two weeks, other times I won’t write for a month. When I do approach burn out, I step away and read a few books. That allows me to come away from my own thoughts and submerse myself in another world.
Where do your inspirations for characters and their lives come from?
At times, I’ll use the personality of someone I know or that I’m familiar with. I find that once my characters develop, they are so far from what I imagined them to be and they’ve completely taken on a life of their own. That’s the beauty of writing, though. You never know where the next chapter will lead. I believe that even those who plot right down to the last paragraph of a book have a turn of events they didn’t expect or plan for.
Where is your favorite place to write?
My office at home. Having said that, I have a terrible habit of commandeering the dining table and leaving my things strewn all over it. My partner considers it my ‘man cave’. That is also why my desk is so clean and tidy…
What is your writing process?
Sit down and write. Of course, the first draft is a very loose idea of what I want my book to look like, then I go back, fleshing it out repeatedly until it comes together as one. I’m still very new to writing and I know I still have a lot to learn, but I’m finding new things every time I sit down to write my next book.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
I can’t say that it did, but I’m growing every day as a writer and I’m loving the learning process. Being an indie author gives me the freedom to play around with different elements of the writing/publishing process and I believe that is the key to enjoying it. At least, for me. There are certainly things I do now that I didn’t do during my first book and even those small accomplishments mean a lot to me. I’ve come to understand that patience is important, too. Oh, and I feel like I can relax more than I used to.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
That would have to be hiring a professional cover designer. I’ve loved every cover that has been wrapped around my books, but when I received the cover art for Forget Me Not, I may have shed a tear. Perhaps it was because the story meant so much to me, I don’t know, but that has to be the best decision I’ve made so far. That guy could have asked for the world as payment and I would have given it to him.
What is something memorable you have heard from your readers/fans?
My readers, they’re wonderful. I guess the ones that stand out the most are those who have contacted me, whether through my website or via social media, to explain the difference I’ve made to their lives. I’ve had readers that have come out to their families after reading my books, and to this day, I still struggle to comprehend how I inspired someone to be so brave in what can sometimes be a cruel world.
What book that you have read has most influenced your life?
I can’t say one particular book has influenced my life, but Jourdyn Kelly’s work has really taken over my life. How she writes her characters, bringing them all into her books and crossing them over is fantastic. That, to me, takes commitment and a 100% knowledge of each character. I know us writers do have a good knowledge of our characters, being the ones who wrote them, but how she does it is effortless. With Jourdyn Kelly, nothing is missed.
Do you have any new books coming out? If so, what are they about?
I’m currently in the process of writing my next book. At the moment, I have a very thin outline, but what I will say… is that it includes a very lonely woman and an escort. I need something a little more upbeat from Forget Me Not so my readers should expect the return of smut.
How do you take your coffee?
Too often would be the answer to that. I’m trying to cut down, though. In general, one sugar and a little milk.