Why do you write fiction?
I am obsessed by stories in any form. Films, novels, poems, songs, pictures or just listening to people interests me. I find myself totally absorbed and can’t wait to find out how everything ends. I wanted to create that myself so I started as a little girl. My mother bought me an A4 notepad and I started to create a story involving my two pet cats going on lots of adventures. Soon the pad was full and I had to have another. I was hooked.
Please tell us about your book. What ideas or images inspired this novel?
My first novel, Between Heaven and Earth, is loosely based on Dante’s Purgatorio, a text that fascinated me when I was studying literature at university. I like the idea that love can conquer all. Tabitha and Oliver are evidence of this.
Do you have an ideal reader in mind when you write? If so, please describe that reader.
I like the idea of women of any age picking up my novel and finding something in it that will never leave them. As a teenager, I read Pride and Prejudice and found the concept of so many female readers actually having feelings for the fictional character of Darcy baffling. I liked him for all his faults but it was only when I re-read the novel as a young adult that I understood his pull. I love the idea of Oliver having that effect on female readers and the notion that they may wish to be Tabitha after reading! Aside from that, my ideal reader is a person who enjoys the novel, finding it thought-provoking and satisfying.
Please describe your writing routine.
While I aim to write a certain amount of words per day, I am inconsistent. I tend to write more in summer when it is pleasant to sit at my writing spot, which is by a window looking out onto our garden. Sometimes I will start a novel and find myself compelled to write more, with sub-plots coming to me while I’m asleep or in the shower! Other times, I find my job as a teacher too consuming and write little for periods of time. I am weary of forcing myself to write as I want to enjoy the experience. My second novel, Disturbance, which is self-published via Kindle, took me a long time to write as it came out of several bad experiences from my past and was not enjoyable to write. Between Heaven and Earth became an obsession as I developed the characters and grew to care for them.
What advice do you give new writers just starting out?
For new writers, I would simply say it takes perseverance. It also takes acceptance of criticism. It’s really hard when someone tells you that the creation you’ve put your heart and soul into isn’t good enough but it doesn’t mean it never will be. Redrafting and editing is so important. I make a point of not re-reading my writing straight afterwards. Instead, I will wait until the next day when I can put a bit of distance between myself and the words.
More about Between Heaven and Earth:
Life can be very lonely when you have secrets. Oliver knows that better than most. Being over one hundred years old and still looking the same as he did back in 1834, most of his existence is spent moving from one place to the next in hope of hiding his immortality. Carrying the guilt of his father’s death is exhausting and Oliver wishes for death to release him.
Then, the wayward Tabitha enters his life, wanting him to take her on a journey through his history. In return, she’ll teach him that love can conquer anything in its path.
How to connect with Kay:
Twitter: Kay Brooks@Kaybeeboo
Publisher link: http://tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Brooks_Kay/index.htm