Sue Perkins, welcome to Reviews and Interviews! I’m happy to be hosting you as you travel through cyberspace on a Goddess Fish book tour this week for your newest book, Blitz, which just released yesterday through Desert Breeze Publishing.
Let’s have a little fun and get to know you.
Please describe yourself in six words or less.
Persistent, enthusiastic, creative, loyal, honest and a big softie.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I went to creative writing classes in 1990. I had characters and a plot and intended to write a short story. My creative writing teacher had other ideas and convinced me to write a romance novel. At the end of the final draft I printed and posted the manuscript, then carried on with the next idea. This is when I considered myself a writer. The novel didn’t get published and in hindsight I can see why, I was a very immature writer at that stage. The fact I had finished the manuscript made me feel I had found my niche and could call myself a writer.
Please tell us about Blitz.
This is my first attempt at historical romance. The idea for the book came from my parents own romance and the horrors they went through during World War II. Blitz is fictional, but draws a lot on Mum and Dad’s experiences. They lived in Plymouth, Devon and the city was hit quite badly by German bombers during March and April 1941. My story tells of Velma and Jack and how their lives were changed by the war. Instead of a peaceful courtship followed by a white wedding, they were rushed along into an unknown future. Their white wedding had to be cancelled at the last moment. Velma then had to decide if she would let Jack go off to war a single man, or would she marry in a registry office without family or friends to support her?
It is the 70th Anniversary of the blitz this year. The people of Plymouth are holding exhibitions and remembrance services for those who died and those who survived this horrible time.
Which character was the most challenging to write and why?
Both Jack and Velma were challenging. Mainly because they reminded me of my parents. I think Velma was a slightly more complex character. Her story is mainly set in Plymouth which made it difficult to separate truth from fiction. I wanted to make Velma a carefree young woman who fell in love and then had to fight her family to be recognised as an adult. It’s a very thin line between angry young woman and a deterimined adult. I believe Velma’s character changed the most as the book progressed. She had so much to prove to both family and Jack.
Your two previous books Three Hearts and Broken Heart are contemporary romances. What inspired you to write historical romance? Do you prefer one genre over the other?
I like writing romance, but Blitz kept nudging to be told. I first suggested it to my sister who showed a great enthusiasm for telling our parents story. I had to caution that this would be a fictional account, but she still thought it a good idea. I hadn’t had to do so much research before when writing a novel, but somehow it came naturally. Probably because I researched my home town and things I’d learned as I grew up.
There are so many pitfalls in a historical. Not only the obvious of when something took place. There’s also the “did they have this in 1940” and “were those words in use then” questions. On the whole I think I prefer contemporary romance.
If you could trade places with one of your characters, who would it be and why?
Velma. Despite the chaos and upheaval she suffered, she remained a loving woman who would do anything to help anybody. She thought of others before herself and this made her an endearing character.
How do you deal with writer’s block?
I don’t think of it as writer’s block. A lapse of story is my description. If I don’t know what happens next, I usually know what happens in the following chapters. I hop ahead to this part of the story and write from there. Usually by the end of the book I know what fills in the gap so there isn’t really a block. As for new books I have far too many ideas in my head to suffer from lack of plot.
What was the last amazing book that you read?
In the Manor of the Ghost by Tina Pinson. I’ve only recently finished it. A truly stunning story. I love a book that holds my attention so I need to keep going back to it to find out what happens next. Also a book which doesn’t give all the answers until the last page.
Ms Pinson’s book meets all this criteria. The story concerns a young woman who enters a marriage of convenience to give a young child love and stability and to help him learn to talk again. Her love for the child grows to encompass love for the father, but the Manor they live in has many secrets. The story twists and turns but at no time do you lose sight of the main plot. A truly wonderful book.
Other than writing, what are some of your passions in life?
Most of my passions in life I have to struggle to find time for. Genealogy, or family history, is one passion. I got hooked on it years ago, but it’s taken a back step since my first book was published as I have so much to do re writing and promoting. I love computer graphics and also do Zumba to keep myself fit.
What can readers expect next from you?
The next two books to be released will be Middle Grade fantasy books. The first, Spirit Stealer, is due out in October. It concerns a young boy shut in a library after dark. He finds things he didn’t expect and to save himself he must escape before midnight.
The second one, Reva’s Quest. is due out in January 2012. Reva arrives in a strange, magical land. To return home she must help the people of the land to rid themselves of evil.
Thank you Lisa for this interview. I enjoyed finding out more about myself as I answered your questions.