Mandy is a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association and the Society of Authors and lives near Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK with her husband, two daughters and cats, Kravitz and Springsteen.
Hello and welcome to Booky Ramblings of a Neurotic Mom
What inspired you to write your first book?
Having my first baby! I didn’t take to motherhood very well so I got back into writing to escape the general drudgery of sterilising bottles and changing nappies! I’d escape every nap time to gorgeous Corfu and a hot Hollywood hunk. Writing that first book saved me in so many ways!
Do you have a specific writing style?
Yeah, mine! Whether that’s the right thing or not I own it LOL. Most of the time I write in the third person. I find this easier when switching points of view between the hero and heroine. I have written some short stories in the first person and this is something I’m toying with for a future book.
How did you come up with the title of your current/recent book?
I’m taking ALL the credit for Truly Madly Greekly! Although it was my lovely agent, Kate Nash, who got me thinking along those lines. I have a short story in the Romantic Novelists’ Association anthology, Truly Madly Deeply and I was looking at that title, thinking of the famous film too and thought ‘ah ha!’ People seem to love it.
Is there a message in your novel(s) that you want readers to grasp?
Ooo that’s deep! I don’t think there’s a particular message. All I want to give my readers is some escapism. Although I’d like to think my characters are very real, with every day issues going on in their lives, it is fiction and it is romance so there’s always going to be a sexy guy and a happy ever after. I want to give my readers the feel-good factor when they come to the end of one of my books.
Are your novels based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
There really aren’t any characters in my book that are real people, although I do use traits of people I know sometimes! A few people commented that my character of Eddie in Taking Charge was a little bit like my dad! Of course it wasn’t like him at all *laughs*. I do use some of my real life experiences in the books. Holidays I’ve been on, activities I’ve taken part in, perhaps dilemmas I’ve had myself. Mr Big thinks all the heroes are based on him. Let’s not burst his bubble!
What book are you reading now?
I’ve just started reading Sophie Kinsella’s Wedding Night and he’s hilarious! It’s very much in the style of the Shopaholic series and I loved that.
What are your current projects?
I’m currently just finishing the editing process for my second book with Bookouture which will be out in the autumn. It’s a Christmas book set in New York and I can’t tell you any more than that!
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No! It’s perfect LOL! I don’t think there’s any point looking back on things like that. I have re-read my very first book and cringed a little because my writing has changed in ten years. But that book still sells well and still gets lovely reviews so I can’t complain. I chose to do my growing up and learning in the marketplace rather than in a locked drawer at home and I wouldn’t change that!
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Fitting in time to write when there is work to be done on Twitter and Facebook! Edits are also challenging, but once you have got your head around them it does make for a better, more rounded and complete read.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I wish I had to travel more. As I write about locations – Corfu, New York, Spain, Michigan - you would think I spend half my life on a plane, but unfortunately most of the travel is actually done on You Tube! I do think I need to plan a few more research trips though.
Other than that it’s mainly England. London for publisher meetings and the Romantic Novelists’ Association parties and all over the UK depending on where the RNA conference and Festival of Romantic Fiction are.
Who designs your covers?
My self-published covers were designed by Jane Dixon-Smith who is a really wonderful designer and helped me create that first brand. For Truly Madly Greekly and my next book with Bookouture, Emma Rogers is the designer. She has had a hand in some amazing covers and I can’t wait to see what she has next for me! http://emma-rogers.com/new-work/4589722985
What was the hardest part of writing your most recent book?
The upcoming Christmas book was quite hard to write. I’ve not written a Christmas book before and I’ve never been to New York and I was writing this in a very hot Spring/Summer trying to get my mind around snow and cold and tinsel and candy canes. It was a challenge!
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Love what you’re doing because it will take over your life. It’s the best job in the world but it isn’t sitting still and tapping out a few hundred words a day. If you want to be successful it’s hard graft all day every day - at weekends and on holidays. I’ve already got a literary afternoon set up for my next holiday in Corfu.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I want to thank all the readers who have read my books. I feel so grateful you’ve chosen to spend some of your down time with my characters! And I love hearing from you on Twitter and Facebook or by email. I do read every review on Amazon (even the not so good ones) and I value every single one so please keep telling me what you think!
Thank you Mandy for taking the time out of your busy schedule to join us today.
Buy Truly, Madly, Greekly today