I have always loved writing. I can be creative, but I also get very easily bored. I couldn’t write all day or write full time, and I can’t be creative under pressure, but relaxed and at my own pace, I really enjoy it.
From the back of the book
I’d done a few creative writing courses, but couldn’t really come up with a story – I was writing a lot of single episodes or small scenes, and they were good and I enjoyed that, then life presented a story to me and I made the most of the opportunity.
f only he’d told her is the story of Emma, who at the age of 32, loses her boyfriend to cancer. Their relationship before his death, though, was difficult, and Emma is left with one important unanswered question – did he really love her?
Do you have a work in progress just now?
Beginning at the funeral, the story moves forwards in time as she comes to terms with her loss, and backwards in time as Emma untangles a complex relationship overshadowed by a terminal illness. Tested to breaking point, she and Mark demonstrate the courage and kindness they have for each other, but also the courage and kindness that they both need, and only by understanding the love that they shared, will Emma be able to move forward. From the loss and emptiness surrounding death, the injustice of illness and failed treatment, to the hope and strength provided by love, this is an emotional, but ultimately uplifting account, with elements that will speak to us all.
Tell me about your journey to publication
I’m joined by Katherine Markland today who is sharing her answers to my Author in the Spotlight questions. Thanks to Grace Pilkington for inviting me to be part of the blogtour. If Only He’d Told Her is available now in ebook and paperback. You can order a copy here: If Only He’d Told Her
The current title wasn’t the first title. Originally, I wanted to give the book a title that reflected the two main characters, but the story isn’t just about the characters, it’s about their reactions to their life events, so the title needed to reflect this too.
And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?
www.ifonlyhedtoldher.com, with a place for contacts and reviews, and there are regular updates on here. I probably shouldn’t admit it, but I’m not a big social media fan.
This journey has been very long. It took me four years to write the first draft on my novel, and I enjoyed this, I did a little every so often – it gave me something to do at weekends. Then once it was finished I spent four years trying to find an agent to then find a publisher. This was soul-destroying. You are asked not to send your work out before it’s finished, or to more than one agent at once. You are then faced with a lot of delays and rejections, and if an agent doesn’t even reply – how long do you wait? While also not sending it somewhere else? There were only a few who never replied, but it’s annoying. At the start I was very thorough – I researched the agents, sent the book out to only those who seemed appropriate, but towards the end, I was sending it to any I hadn’t contacted already. Although I only received rejections, most of the early ones were more ‘it’s not for us’ than anything else and ’good luck’, which gave me hope, so I continued. By the end of the fourth year, self-publishing was more common. I researched this, found a company I thought I could work with, and they took me and my book on. Since then it has taken a further four years of redrafting and finessing. The story hasn’t changed much in this time, but the book is shorter and more focussed, and there were a few aspects that needed clarifying. It hasn’t really taken that long, but other aspects of my life have been busier, so it’s been harder to fit in.
The book will launch on 27th August, and on this day I have planned celebratory drinks in the garden of my local 5* hotel. It’ll be quiet, but classy, and hopefully sunny!
How did you celebrate publication day?
What made you decide to write a novel?
How did you come up with the title for your book?
One of the Jane Austin girls – a real heroine who realises her weaknesses and is rewarded with a handsome, rich and loving husband – Emma Woodhouse or Elizabeth Bennett!
What inspired you to start writing?
In a nutshell, what is your book about?
If only he’d told her is essentially my story. It’s the story of a girl who falls in love with a man who is dying and while they both try and deny it to start with, they have to face it, it tears them apart, but in the end, they come back together. It’s a romance, but not a standard boy-girl romance – it’s clear from the start that they get together, it’s more about relationships, the good and the bad, and what these tell us about ourselves.