Today I welcome to my sofa for coffee, cake, chocolates and wine (yes, we like them all!) one of my oldest Twitter buddies and a very supportive reader of my books, Donna Trinder. I've been secretly jealous of Donna for a LONG time - she has her own reading and writing shed - she is one lucky lady!
So Donna, as an avid reader and reviewer, I know you are currently working on your first novel. Can you tell us a bit about it and how it's going?
I love writing - I love it so much I have two different manuscripts on the go. One I have changed so much it is on its third incarnation, that started out as a YA, now I’m not sure it needs a label (because I’m not sure what that label would be any longer!) but it’s about a group of people, ‘watchers’, protectors of an old sector of witches. That WIP is my baby, my true love, but I’ve complicated it so much I’ve basically written everyone into tight corners and I think another overhaul is needed. That’s when I get bogged down and pick up my chick-lit WIP. All about a posh ex-boarding school girl out for revenge on the tormentors that made her life miserable and learns a lot about her life on the way. I feel that one will be finished way before the first!
I have to say, as the creator of Mummy Misfit, I love the sound of the posh girl chicklit! Can you tell us how you sweeten the pill if you hate a book that you are reviewing?
Gah - that’s the worst! I give it as long as I possibly can, sometimes that will mean finishing it (to see if it gets better, and sometimes it can pay off!) and sometimes it means the second or third chapter and I can realise it really is not for me.
If I have to admit defeat I would always contact the author/PR and just explain that I can’t go any further, but be polite and just explain *kindly* why. It normally falls down to either far too much bad language/content or the genre.
How do you think you'll cope IF you get a bad review for your debut novel - sulker or shrugger?
I’m very conscious that some reviewers on Amazon clearly don’t know what they’re doing! I’ve read awful 1* reviews that stated delivery was slow, or the book wasn’t their genre (why buy it???), so those kind of reviews would undoubtedly irk me but it would be water off a duck’s back - but real readers that disliked it, well, I think I would be devastated! I don’t think I’d sulk but I’m sure I would feel quite crestfallen! As long as there was enough good to outweigh the bad I’m sure I’d cope!
Dream time. Ultimate dinner party? You can have anyone dead or alive there - who would you have and why?
This is a subject my husband and I often talk about, mainly on long journeys - it passes the time!
Right, firstly it would have to be David Beckham. As well as being incomprehensibly gorgeous, I think he would just be a kind and interesting person to talk to. I’d have to make sure there were adequate napkins to contain the drool. There would be no plus one extended there...
Sarah Millican would be a definite! She makes me laugh like no other and I also think she’s a really lovely person. We could watch cute cat videos on YouTube and probably talk about cake.
JK Rowling. I need to interrogate her on why, oh why, did she have to kill Sirius Black. Also, Remus and Tonks ... they didn’t need to die. That was a travesty.
My old English teacher and Senior Girls Mistress back in the days of my grammar school life, Mrs Valerie Dobbs. The woman was a legend in the true sense of the word, anyone who went to my school throughout The Dobbs Years has some kind of story to tell about her, not all of them positive, but still ... I read that she had passed away last year and I felt so upset. She helped me through an extremely difficult time when I lost my father at thirteen and she really was the most inspirational and knowledgeable woman I could imagine. I’d love to see her now and have to opportunity for her to look over my work!
I think lastly I would have to invite The Great British Bake Off team of Hollywood and Berry (under no circumstances must Mel and Sue tag along - they annoy me immensely). My husband, who of course needs no invitation, would love to chat to Paul Hollywood - also Mary Berry I would imagine - and I think myself and Millican would also be keen to talk cake and baked goods with them.
Killing two birds with one stone it would also be pudding sorted!
Big Brother have invited you on their new show (humour me, it involves books, readers, writers etc) Would you accept?
My gut instinct was unequivocally NO. But thinking about it, if it was just sitting round reading and writing with my favourite authors and other readers it might not be so terrible. If all the tasks were writing and book related and there was unlimited food. And cake, lots and lots of cake. Also probably family visits and wi-fi. Although I think I might be mistaking the Big Brother house for a writing retreat?
You almost made Big Brother sound like somewhere I'd like to go! OK, if someone offered you big money to write their plot for them, could you do it?
Integrity aside, I honestly don’t know. My purse is feeling abused and delicate today as after the very expensive school uniform shop was completed (or so I thought) Junior decided to ambush me for more football boots, shin pads and all manner of different sports accessories. So on days like today, and if the price was right, I might possibly just say yes. After all, principles don’t keep the roof over your head and your children in school!
No, Donna they don't - and don't I know it?!
QUICK FIRE ROUND
Planner or Winger?
Without doubt, Winger.
Night or Morning?
Doer or procrastinator?
Procrastinator. I’m world class.
Writing/first draft or editing?
Editing. Love it.
Tea or coffee?
Thanks for joining me, Donna. It's been great to chat ... and eat ... and drink. So glad that your husband made all those yummy cakes for us.
* * * NEWSFLASH * * *
My latest full length novel 'TABBY & KAT' is doing well sales-wise and I'd like to thank you all for your support. Please don't forget to leave reviews on Amazon if you've enjoyed it. Tonight I'll be wetting my new baby's head. I raise my glass to you all - I couldn't do it without you.
Last week I had a sexy footballer on my sofa - check out the interview with Shane Henderson from Jamie Dougan's 'Offside!' here.
My FIRST EVER Twitter/Indie buddy celebrated joining Harper Impulse and I am SO proud of her. You can buy her Christmas novella here.
I hope to write a Christmas blog post before the big day but time is running away with me. In case I don't have a chance, I wish you all a peaceful and happy festive break and hope the fat guy brings you all you wish for.