Hi Kirsty, Welcome to Café Cala.
Thank you so much for having me, Maggie!
It’s great to have you visit Café Cala. I’ve been making some chocolate brownies this morning. Would you like tea or coffee with yours?
Chocolate brownies – my favourite! I’ll take coffee with mine please.
1 Where did you get the idea for Harriet Greer Grows Up?
I’ve actually known the title of my book for nearly ten years. The story itself, however, has been a bit of a fluid concept throughout that time. The main characters and the story’s bones were all there. I knew that something was going to cause Harriet to make changes in her life and ‘grow up’. I just couldn’t decide on what that would be. It was like the final puzzle piece that just wouldn’t fall into place for me.
In 2010, I received a psychic reading from a friend of mine. Among other things, she told me that we have spirit guides, who try to help steer us in the right direction. I guess you could say the reading happened at a time of my life when I’d started to question my own purpose, and as someone who has always felt the ‘urge’ to write a book, I couldn’t help wondering if perhaps my own spirit guide had been trying to get that message through to me all along!
That’s when Harriet’s story really started to come alive and resonate with me on a very personal level. I could just imagine Harriet’s (my) very frustrated spirit guide wanting to shout out, jump up and down in protest and fix Harriet’s (my) aimless life! You’d probably be correct in deducing that Harriet’s emotional journey somewhat mirrored my own during the process of writing the book, although I’d like to add that all other aspects of the novel are fictional.
2 What have you found most rewarding about your writing?
I find the writing process extremely rewarding. I love it when, after a bit of a warm up, my characters come to life and take over the scene. My fingers have to fly across the keyboard just to keep up with them, and sometimes they take me in a completely unexpected direction. That doesn’t make me sound schizophrenic, does it? Haha.
Post publication, it is very rewarding when someone tells you that they have enjoyed your book! One reader from the UK described it as a real stress buster, and it was a fantastic feeling for me to know that I had been able to entertain her and lighten her load for the length of time it took her to read my book. After all, that is the goal of my writing; to entertain.
3 How did you start writing?
I wrote my first real story in grade 4. The teacher showed to the whole class for two reasons. The first reason was that it was a very creative story (yay!). The second reason was because of the lack of punctuation (oops!). In my defence, I had just changed schools and there was a rather significant gap in where I had left off in grade 3 at one school to where I picked up again in grade 4 at my new school.
Anyway, I guess you could say I was hooked on writing from that moment on. Over the years I have dabbled with short stories, romance novels and finally found my feet with my preferred genre, chick lit novels.
4 What would you say has helped you most?
Put simply, having a support group!
5 What are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently writing the sequel to Harriet Greer Grows Up. The title is still a work in progress.
6 What advice would you offer aspiring writers?
Write the type of book that you love to read.
Write the story that really resonates with you on an emotional level. I believe that’s where the magic is. That’s when the story really comes alive for the writer as well as the reader.
And don’t give up!
7 Which authors do you enjoy reading?
My favourite authors (and a sample from my bookshelves) are Marian Keyes, Cecelia Ahern, Helen Fielding, Catherine Alliott, Dianne Blacklock, Jennifer Weiner, Maggie Alderson, Louise Bagshawe, Monica McInerney, Lisa Lutz, Jodi Picoult and Carmen Reid (there are more, but I’ve got to stop somewhere!)
“Get ready for your crash course in growing up and P.S. don’t forget your helmet. Oh, and Harriet, when you get home, start a BLOG about your journey. You need to commit to something for once in your life.”
Harriet’s world is shaken up when she meets her spirit guide, Heather, in the mirror. Even if you believe you have a spirit guide, you don’t expect to come face to face with her in the mirror on a Saturday evening. It’s pretty surprising, right?
But Harriet quickly discovers that it’s not a social visit. Heather’s here to tell her that she’s flunking out of the school of life. And when faced with her report card, can she honestly disagree? She’s 29 years old, has two low paying part time jobs (and a bank balance to prove it), a nearly broken down car and an ex-boyfriend who never quite exits her life. Harriet has taken the easy option at every turn and has the D+ to show for it.
Well, apparently Heather has had enough. Too long she’s had to watch over Harriet frittering her life away. Now she’s stepping in to take over the class and she wastes no time setting Harriet’s first assignment; a BLOG.
Join Harriet as she struggles to keep up with Heather’s heavy course load. Her work life, her personal life, her secret ambition; nothing’s off limits as Heather tweaks Harriet’s life back to where it should be.
Harriet Greer Grows Up is available to buy in kindle ebook and paperback editions from Amazon