Ask the writer. My Goodreads questionnaire on how to get creative, and keep writing!

A handful of wise people kicked me into action with getting a Goodreads profile set up. I did it. Well, I started it, and I got myself logged as the author of Emmeline, as some of my internet savvy readers had already logged Emmeline onto Goodreads (you guys are legends, seriously!) Anyway, on an interesting note, the Goodreads team give each new author a selection of questions to answer, and I thought they were actually really good questions so I copied my answers and decided to blog about it too. If you are an author or a blogger, these are a selection of things your readers are bound to want to know about you!

And don’t forget, you can check out my actual Goodreads profile here….! (Wait…how do they even know I was born in New Zealand…..!!!?)

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And, a little bit of exciting news, Emmeline is now globally available in paperback through Amazon!!!! (How cool is that paperback button??? Don’t worry, my excellent advice and answers from Goodreads are coming after this…!)

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Goodreads Author Questions

Where did you get the idea for your most recent book?

Emmeline was born out of a writing challenge similar to NaNoWriMo, where I was challenged to write about a different topic every day for 31 days. I asked my readers to give me topics to write about, but to make it even more of a challenge I then decided to see where the topics took me, and if I could tell a story from the trail of topics I was given.

I also love London, and I love graveyards, mythology and fantasy, which made it easy to set the scene for Emmeline’s story.

How do you get inspired to write?

Little things inspire me to write. The name of a girl on a gravestone, the haircut of a boy passing me as he walks down the street, the smile of the barista steaming the soya milk for my morning coffee, the cheeky techniques of a young man selling lamps in a Moroccan market, a boy fumbling over tying a ribbon at the counter in Fortnum and Mason. These moments inspire characters in my mind who become real people in my stories.

Environments are even easier. I’m fascinated by the way fantasy bleeds through the cracks of reality. The mist that never lifted off the city that morning, the alley that appeared in the corner of my eye, wending away into the darkness as I rushed down the road to an appointment, the tiny boxes of ash stacked like skyscrapers in little avenues beneath the feet of worshipers in All Hallows by the Tower, spools of wool trailing over ancient mud brick walls in Casablanca, mud boiling like dragons breath in the geothermal pools of my hometown.

It’s all there, ready to open up into new worlds, new places, new pictures of things I’ve yet to see and places I cannot wait to explore.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently weaving so many threads that I often don’t know where to start when explaining what I do.

Most immediately at the moment, I’m promoting Emmeline, and talking options for Loretta of the Lamp after the manuscript placed as a finalist in the Launchpad competition last November.

I’m also editing Loretta, and looking at planning for the next book in Emmeline’s story.

I’m also starting work on two very exciting projects that involve travel writing – watch this space!

And my blog, this side of darkness (, thrives from my need to brain dump gothic short stories and my thoughts on life every now and then.

…I think that’s all!

What’s your advice for aspiring writers?

Keep writing, or start writing, and don’t stop. You are never too young or too old to start. Don’t keep your heart set on big financial success, instead write for satisfaction, or write for change.

I write because it satisfies me to create, and to bring people into those worlds I create. I also write because I’m passionate about setting a catalyst for change in the way our world pigeon-holes beautiful young people who find expression through alternative subcultures. Through my novel, Emmeline, I’m proud to support the Sophie Lancaster Foundation (, who’s aims are to Stamp Out Prejudice, Hatred, and Intolerance Everywhere.

What’s the best thing about being a writer?

Writing! I love writing. I love telling a story. I love weaving words together to creative something on a page that a reader addictively wants to consume. I love absorbing myself with the dialogue of my characters to the point where they are so believable that their conversations continue in my mind and the worlds and scenes they live in become so real that I am no longer the creator, I am the storyteller recounting the events as they happen.

#Geek #100%

How do you deal with writer’s block?

Writer’s block is cruel. Even when you are not a professional writer, and you are writing for university, school, or for your day job. I’ve had moments where I’ve stared at a screen for hours and written 100% nothing. There are so many droplets of advice or steps I could suggest for getting over it that I’ve learned over the years. The main one is DON’T STOP. So many people give up, but writing is about discipline as much as inspiration. If you set yourself time aside every day to write, and you fill that time with writing, even if its absolute crap and you delete it all at the end, keep doing it. Practise makes perfect.

And eventually, when you are in a routine, it will come naturally, and regularly, like clockwork. Imagination is a muscle that responds well to regular exercise.

My own quick tips for instant fixes include;
• Go for a walk or do some exercise and then come back to it.
• Delete it, and start again.
• Ask someone for a topic, and write about it in your own style.
• Stop it for now, and pick up a different piece of writing to continue in that moment.
• Read in between times, because learning is just as important as teaching.

If you want to provoke me into answering any other questions, head over to and ask me ^_-
With love from this side of darkness x

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