Some Questions & Answers from readers:
How are your story ideas born?
My story ideas are born from all sorts of sources. Usually when I’m doing something mundane, like
ironing or washing the floor, etc, and ideas will come into my head then. Sometimes they might come from
researching. I might be flipping through my research books and I’ll read something interesting that leads
to ideas for a story.
What is your writing process?
I simply open a blank page and allow the story idea to flow. I like to write when it is quiet, the house is
peaceful. I prefer writing in the morning, and can count on one hand how many times I’ve written at night. But I do need coffee to keep me going and if
How do you come up with the names for your characters?
I love names, and the old names of history can be so elegant. In The House of Women I had fun naming
the seven daughters. Grace has always been a favourite, and my daughter is called Eleanor Grace. I do
spend time on choosing the names, making sure they fit the character. I don’t like modern names being
used in historical. I use my family tree information as an excellent source of period names.
What’s your favorite part of the writing process?
The beginning. I love writing the first three chapters, weaving everyone in and getting to know them.
What’s your least favorite part of the writing process?
The least part I like is editing when the book is finished and I have ideas for a new story that are begging
to get out. Once a book is written I'm eager to start something new, but I know editing is important!
How long does it take to write your novels?
My novels, especially my historical novels usually take about 6 months to write. Sometimes it depends on
what is happening in my life at the time. I try to make 6 months as my goal. But it doesn’t always happen.
Which book that you’ve read has made a lasting impression on you? And why?
Most of Audrey Howard’s books leave a lasting impression on me. I love her books. The heroine usually
goes through hell before the happy ever after ending. Catherine Cookson’s Tilly Trotter series and also,
The Dwelling Place are firm favourites, too. Of course, modern readers now feel those authors have an outdated way of writing, but to me, they are classics, and those authors know how to tell a story with depth and feeling.
Do you have any advice/handy tips/craft skills you’d like to share with unpublished
Advice can be tricky, because so much depends on the writer and what they write, but first I would say,
never give up! This is a hard and at times very frustrating business, be prepared to wait for results.
Learn everything you can about it.
Talk to other writers, join writing groups and especially try and find a good critique group, who will help
you polish your manuscript before you send it out. Research agents. Research publishers.
Some of My favourite authors are;
and a host of others...
Some of My Favourite movies:
North and South (UK BBC)
North and South (American civil war)
Pride & Predjudice. (BBC, Adaptation)
Anne Of Green Gables.
ANZACS (Australian War Series)
Sense & Sensibility (Emma Thompson)
Sweet Home Alabama
I was born a small town in N.S.W. Australia, to English parents from Yorkshire. I am the youngest of five children.
As a child I loved reading and listening to music, my favourite being ABBA, though I grew up liking a great variety of music. My love of reading fiction started at an early age with Enid Blyton’s novels, before moving on into more adult stories such as Catherine Cookson’s novels as a teenager.
Living in England, during the 1980s I discovered a love of history by visiting the many and varied places of historical interest.
The road to publication was long and winding with a few false starts, but I finally became published in 2006. Since that time, many novels and several short stories published. My contemporary romance, Hooked on You, written under the pen name, Anne Whitfield, was a 2011 finalist for the international EPIC award.
However, currently, I'm writing only historical novels, mainly set in Yorkshire and/or Australia in the eras covering from Victorian to WWII. My books are available in ebook and paperback from bookstores, especially online bookstores such as Amazon.
Watching movies is a favourite past time and I enjoy reading and gardening. Spending time visiting old country estates and castles is something I enjoy doing, too, and it helps me to gain ideas for my books. I am interested in genealogy and researched my family trees.
I love chocolate (who doesn't?) and I enjoy travelling, cooking and surfing the web (research purposes, obviously, not wasting time on Facebook!)
Mostly, I prefer spending time with my husband and being with family and friends.
Currently, I'm living in North Lincolnshire with my husband and visiting Australia as much as I can.
Me (in black) with a reader at a library talk