I am honoured to have Stevie Turner as a guest on my blog today. As you may already know, Stevie is a much acclaimed writer who has won a string of awards. You may not know that an excerpt from her latest book ‘Repent at Leisure’ has been shortlisted for the Escalator Writing Competition, with the winner to be announced on the 20th of April. Good luck with that, Stevie.
- You have written since an early age. Do you know why?
Not really, it was just something I wanted to do. I kept diaries from about the age of 6 or 7 in which I wrote little stories, and when I won an inter-schools’ writing competition at age 11 it spurred me on further. Mum always encouraged me to read and write, and I inherited her love of words and books.
- Does your environment influence what you write?
I live in lovely countryside where I can disappear down footpaths with not another soul about. I often think up plots while I’m walking, so I can say that Suffolk scenery is good for the soul and excellent for thinking!
- Please tell us about the type of books you write?
Although I’m a daydreamer, I’m also a realist. My plots must be based on reality, because unfortunately fantasy doesn’t interest me at all. I like to make my characters and plots believable, and then add in a bit of psychology and humour.
- Does your reading influence your writing?
Yes, because the kind of books I like to read are women’s fiction, chick-lit, and especially books about relationships with alternating POV’s. I also like psychological thrillers and suspense novels. Books I’ve enjoyed recently are ‘Girl on a Train’ by Paula Harding, ‘Gone Girl’ by Gillian Flynn, ‘The Magpies’ by Mark Edwards, and ‘A Mersey Killing’ by Creativia’s Brian L. Porter.
- It is possible that some people reading this may not have read your work. Could you describe your latest book, please?
‘Repent at Leisure’ is written in alternating POV’s, and has just been published. Paul McAdam’s drink was spiked at a nightclub, and he wakes up to find a strange woman in his bed, Cat Taylor, who gradually worms her way into his life. However, Paul then meets the woman he wants to marry, Anita Fairfax, and he tells Cat that their relationship is over. When Cat is found dead Paul is suspected of the murder, but there is no evidence at all to suggest he was the killer. Anita falls in love with Paul and they marry, but finds that she cannot stop thinking about Cat…..
- And what spurred you to write this?
Nothing in particular. The plot just formed in my head, probably while I was climbing over a stile.
- 7. Many of your books focus on the darker side of relationships. Is there anything from your own life that influences this interest?
I married a lovely man, but we both had no idea that he was born with an addictive personality. This unfortunate trait came to light some years ago and we had a terrible time as he came to terms with this fact and admitted he had problems which were ruining our marriage. Happily now our lives are back on an even keel.
- Is there are particular branch of relationships that you would avoid writing about?
Ha ha, I think I’ve covered it all in my books – child abuse, mid-life crises, mother-in-law problems, addictions, controlling partners. It’s all there written as tastefully as I could make it, but tempered with a little bit of humour here and there and my own insight into these conditions.
- Do you think that dynamics of relationships have altered in your lifetime?
Just a little bit!! I have the epitome of a Fifties’ housewife in my mind, tied to the kitchen sink, with one or two babies tugging at her apron, and dependent on her husband’s wages, little more than a servant. Then came along the contraceptive pill in the Sixties. Women suddenly had freedom from unwanted pregnancies, they could go out to work, and could act like men. The ladette culture grew to the point it is today. This may be good for the woman, but it’s not good for family life. However, each woman now has the freedom to choose to be a Fifties’ housewife, a ladette, or hopefully something in between, and that ’s good.
- Do any of your family feature in your books, either openly or covertly?
Some of the troubles I went through with my husband are featured in The Porn Detective, but quite a lot of it is made up. Readers would have to work out truth from fiction for themselves! Also I’ve suffered from the daughter-in-law syndrome for years, which gives one good ammunition for a story and an abiding urge never to inflict said syndrome on my own two daughters-in-law.
- You have written an impressive number of books and have won a number of awards: do you think that such rewards encourage writers in general?
Yes, I think it’s a good idea to enter competitions. Any award won can be added to your book cover, and this means potentially more sales. It certainly happened to me as far as ‘A House Without Windows’ is concerned.
- What type of research do you do before you write? Or do you research as the book progresses?
I research as I go along, if there’s something I’m not sure about. A lot of my work is based on personal experience or stories I’ve heard from others, and so for some books I didn’t need to do any research at all.
- 13. How do you find inspiration for your writing?
As I said before, some of it I’ve lived through. However, for my book ‘A House Without Windows’ I found inspiration through a news item on TV. Walks in the countryside are good for thinking up plots.
- What are your thoughts on literary agents?
Ha ha! That’s a good one! They have this ‘list’ which nobody’s book ever seems to fit. However, funnily enough they do seem to make exceptions for celebrities. When I first started out writing I thought it was absolutely imperative to acquire an agent. I don’t think that way anymore.
- You write for Creativia publishing: why did you choose to go with that company?
Sahara Foley recommended them to me. I looked them up on Google and was impressed by their marketing Street Team. Also Miika always answers emails very quickly, which is good, and books don’t take months and months to be published.
- Do you have plans to alter your style or the type of writing? Or are you fixed in what you do?
I think I may write another suspense story, as ‘A House Without Windows’ turned out to be my best seller. I also like writing humorous, light-hearted fiction
- Tell me about your article writing? [that is a sneaky one!]
Ooh, you naughty boy (wags a finger)! I don’t write many articles, but one I did write for a national newspaper was considered too controversial to print. It was written back in the 1990’s and was based on two disturbing facts: (a) some of the questions my son was asked in his GCSE Science exam, and (b) some exam questions for 16 – 19 year olds that I read with my own eyes when I worked as an exams clerk in a college. One particular question still shocks me today.
- Did motherhood change your outlook to writing?
Yes, it stopped me writing altogether. I only took it up again when the boys had flown the nest. What with working and looking after them, my life was full enough.
- Marketing is the bane of a writer’s life: how do you market your work?
I set up automatic tweets on Tweet Jukebox, enter my writing into competitions, promote my books and writing on WordPress: https://steviet3.wordpress.com/ , on my own website: http://www.stevie-turner-author.co.uk/ , and on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Stevie-Turner-432183066899400/ , and for the first time am attending a signing event in Manchester this year. Read about the event on my Amazon author page and see if you want to come along: http://bookShow.me/B00AV7YOTU
- What are you writing at the moment?
I’ve just finished a book of 17 short stories ‘Life’, which deals with significant life events. Now it’s time to read through them and find any glaring errors
To see more about Stevie, have a look at this site: