I’m sure most people reading this will have heard of novelist and short story writer Patsy Collins or already be following her friendly blog where she generously shares links to lots of writing competitions. If you check out her latest post, it’s a step by step guide to publishing on Kindle.
Patsy’s latest novel, Paint Me a Picture, is available as an ebook here and Patsy has kindly agreed to be grilled – er I mean answer some questions.
Who could you see playing Mavis in a film version of your book?
Emma Thompson. She'd have to keep her lovely smile under control during the opening scenes though.
Great choice - brilliant actress! So what came first, Mavis or the Round Tower? I think I mean did you have the character, the setting or the plot first?
Ha ha! I didn't think you really suspected I was as old as the Tudor dynasty.
Usually I create characters and plot first and the location sort of builds up around them, but in this case when I first thought of Mavis she was already walking up the Round Tower. It was good to have a real location to work from as I didn't have a plot at the start and I had to form Mavis's character as I went along. I think it worked as Mavis actually starts out without much personality and her character develops throughout the book, but I wouldn't recommend this approach for 'normal' characters.
Often I completely make up locations, but because of the way Mavis is, and because the locations are so important to the story, I used real places. I did have to make a few adjustments though. I moved the chip shop to where I wanted it and had my own home built decades before it actually was and let Mavis live there. Luckily Mavis and I have the same taste in gardens (about all we do have in common!) so I didn't need to alter that.
Do you have a writing room?
I do. It's very tidy - but not in my half (Gary and I share.) It's all pale wood, white walls and books. There's a window looking out onto the park opposite. Altogether it's a perfect writing space and I know how lucky I am to have it.
It sounds perfect. Do you find you’re more creative in the morning or afternoon – or doesn’t it matter?
Mornings I think, but it doesn't seem to make much difference. I write whenever I'm in the mood - but never ever after drinking wine.
Very wise! I’m always interested to know what other writers have on their desks. Do you have any non-stationery items on yours?
Er yes. Did I mention I'm the untidy one? I'll just mention the stuff that's supposed to be there ... A glass goat that my dad had made for me, a Napoleonic era musket shot, my watch (I can't write with it on) a cookie model of our house, purple nail varnish (actually that shouldn't be there) and a scented candle. Often there are flowers but not today.
I love the sound of the goat and the musket shot – and knowing you, I’m not surprised about the purple nail varnish!
What do you like to watch on TV?
Quiz shows, Dr Who, Coast, wildlife and history programmes. I don't watch much TV and never worry if I miss something which I often do as I'm easily distracted by writing or gardening.
Thanks, Patsy. I enjoyed that insight into your writing life. And thank you for the lovely pictures of Mavis’s garden!
A little bit about Paint Me a Picture:
After Mavis Forthright decides to delay her suicide, strange things begin to happen. First of all people that Mavis dislikes start dying, then people who have been kind to her are killed or injured. Is Mavis to blame? She has to find out and somehow stop the deaths before she can enjoy the new life she’s making for herself.
You can find Paint Me A Picture on Amazon.