Writer Wednesday takeover - Angela Wren interviews me
It's all about fantasy today. So wishes can come true and authors can be anything they want to be! And I am Angela Wren and I am temporarily taking charge of Stephanie's blog so that I can interview her about her writing and her wonderful book 'Djinn and Tonic'.
AW What is your current release?
SC Djinn and Tonic is a fun, fairy-tale inspired romance novella involving a photographer and a genie. Sal is determined to win a photography award for an atmospheric photoshoot, but her wish for the perfect model is more effective than she expects – she inadvertently conjures up Ashtad, who’s not only tall, dark and handsome, but also a genie. Sal can have everything she’s ever dreamed of but, as in all the best fairy tales, she soon learns to be careful what she wishes for…
AW What first got you into writing and why?
SC I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write. My first love was poetry, but as a child I also used to make up long, rambling tales starring me and my friends, and loosely inspired by the adventures of the Famous Five. I loved (and still love) writing because of how the imagination can take us to all kinds of places that we’d never go in reality, and open up the most amazing adventures. It’s like having the opportunity to live dozens of different lives, instead of being limited to one.
AW You write Romance novels. Is it all imagination or do you also undertake research?
SC I like to write about settings and situations that feel a little familiar in some way, as it makes them easier to imagine. For example, at university I was a keen ballroom dancer, and I was fascinated by the romantic and dramatic potential of the competitive dancing world, so I used it as the setting for my first full-length book, Perfect Partners. My starting point may be real, but then I’ll add large doses of imagination – such as the Strictly Come Dancing meets Blind Date TV show which brings Redmond and Lisa back together in Perfect Partners – and I’ll also research specific details to add depth to the story.
I had to do some interesting research for ‘Music to Her Ears’, my contribution to the Modern Magic anthology – my story was a quirky take on Goldilocks, with Goldie gatecrashing the mansion of three famous musician brothers, so I had to read up about the lifestyles of the rich and famous, including comparing journey times between London and New York by commercial and private jet.
AW Have you ever had to write a scene that was especially difficult and how did you do it?
SC I can’t think of a specific one, perhaps because every scene has its own challenges. In general, I think I struggle more with overall structure than with individual scenes. I was going to say, the hardest thing is often knowing where to start a story, but then I remembered that I also often find it hard to wrap the plot up neatly. Oh, and saggy middles are always a struggle. So no, I wouldn’t say there was one particular scene.
AW Famous authors, such as Roald Dahl and Dylan Thomas, had a special space for writing. Do you have a writing ‘shed’?
SC No. I mostly write on a mini laptop so my writing is very portable. I sometimes write at home, either at the dining table or on the sofa, but in the summer I also enjoy taking my writing outdoors, and I quite enjoy writing in coffee shops, although I can be distracted by people-watching. Just now I’m writing on a train, but my dream writing spot would be curled up on a sofa in a conservatory overlooking the sea.
AW Finally, if you had a whole afternoon to yourself and could choose to spend it with anyone, living or dead or a character from a book. Who would it be, and what would you want to discuss?
SC That’s a tricky one! There are a lot of people I’d like to meet, but at the moment, with all the publicity surrounding the anniversary of Shakespeare’s death and the discovery of another first folio, I’d go for the Bard of Stratford-upon-Avon. I’d like to settle once and for all the question of whether he wrote all the plays attributed to him, or whether Bacon or someone else was involved… although I don’t suppose Shakespeare would want to give up the credit for his famous plays, and you can never quite trust a fiction writer to give you true answers, so maybe we’d still never know.
Thanks, Angela, for visiting today and for some fascinating questions. Thanks also for having me to visit on your blog, James and Me.