I first met Mandy on Twitter a few months ago and since then we’ve discovered that as well as being fellow Ether authors we actually live only a few miles apart. Maybe one of those days we’ll get together over a real cappuccino, but for the time being we’re making do with virtual refreshments and, we hope, a bit of an audience.
Hi Mandy, have you always lived in Bristol, or are you an incomer like me? More importantly, when did the writing take off?
We moved to Bristolin 1991 fromSheffield. We wanted to be in a city but close to the coast too. Bristol’s great and I have enjoyed living and teaching here, but hope to move to Cornwall in the next 18 months or so. Other interests include drinking red wine, singing, travelling and growing veggies. (Not normally all at the same time!)I started writing as a child, but took it up seriously five years ago. I’ve had five short stories published in various anthologies, and number six and seven came out in June 2011. One is part of the anthology Hipp-O-Dee-Doo-Dah for Children’s HospicesUK. The other is part of 100 Stories for Queensland. I’ve also had short stories published online and with Ether Books.
Is Righteous Exposure your first novel?
I have written three others, one of which is a romantic comedy, but with a twist.
How long did it take you to write Righteous Exposure?
I guess it took me about six months or so.
Wow – that is impressive. I’ve written two: I think they each took me at least a couple of years just for a first draft! I’m obviously a complete slow-coach.
Did you find any particular challenges in tackling a novel?
Yes, I think that sustaining the suspense/excitement over the length of the novel compared to a short story is quite tricky. A short story is the opposite, you know it is short and therefore you know you only have a limited time in which to create impact.
Any tips for getting that novel finished?
Yes. Keep away from social networking sites like Twitter. I am rarely on there and always meet my targets 😉 No, seriously, I think the main thing is to believe in yourself and want it enough. It is so easy to give up with all the day-to-day pressures, but don’t. You will get there if you are determined enough.
How did you find Crooked Cat Books – or did they find you?
I found them. They were a brand new publishing company and they followed me on Twitter back in December. I liked their friendly site and I loved the name! I just submitted and luckily I was accepted on Boxing Day. On launch day I was stunned to find that Righteous Exposure had reached #39 in the Women Authors and fiction section. It has also reached #79 today, World Book day!
Definitely something to celebrate! Was there a marketing plan?
Not really a plan as such. Crooked Cat publicised it well and so did I on Twitter and Facebook. I was overwhelmed by the support I got from friends and family, and writer friends such as yourself. It was really brilliant.
The big writing question – do you see your self as a plotter (plan everything out then start writing) or a pantser (just make a start and see how things develop)?
I am most definitely a panster, what a great word! I have the story outline in my head and the main characters and then write a planning paragraph or so, the bare bones really. I normally know the ending but not always, the characters normally do the rest and I just follow them.
Did you have any particular inspiration for Righteous Exposure (plot or characters)? Who are your favourite characters in the book? (Did I spy a soft spot for the policeman?!)
Yes, I went to Texas to visit relatives. While I was there I noticed that alongside the great wealth in the cities and sprawling acres of ranch land reminiscent of the old TV series Dallas, there was a downside. I noticed that the people working in the menial jobs tended to be Mexican, and the areas in which they lived were far from grand. Of course poverty and wealth live cheek by jowl in many large cities worldwide, but that’s where the idea for Righteous Exposure came from. And my favourite characters were all the goodies, including the policeman! I liked Jackson too, great spirit.
Yes, Jackson starts as a cowed and timid twelve year-old but goes on to find his inner Macaulay Culkin!
What do you feel you gained by going with Crooked Cat rather than self-publishing?
I think you have to be very lucky little fish to be noticed in the big self-publishing pool. Of course there are writers who have done really well by going it alone, but I didn’t feel too confident doing that. My technological skills are not brilliant either and sorting out a cover and actually doing all the other stuff: – I felt it was best left to the experts.
Sounds like a good decision. Any plans for hard-back, or has it always been a case of e-book only?
I would love to see Righteous Exposure in paperback/hardback one day. I’m not sure if Crooked Cat will go down that route, but it would be great if they did.
Are you hooked on novel writing, or will you continue in a variety of forms? Anything in particular in the pipeline?
A variety of forms I think. I won’t abandon short stories but I am hooked on novel writing for now. And yes, I have a YA in the pipeline. I have never written one before so I am finding it challenging but very interesting too. I like getting my teeth into new things.
I can relate to that – I always want to try something new.
Thanks for coming, Mandy. Good luck with book, the WIP and your Cornish plans.
Thanks very much for hosting me Ali! 🙂
P.S. Righteous Exposure available on Amazon at £3.15