I have read both Roz's Sisterhood books and book three is nearly ready to be published...
I was interested in Roz's journey as an author and in life.
Click the book cover to go straight through to order, I have reviewed this book under Women's Fiction Reviews.
Where did you get the inspiration for your latest story?
Ah, well there's a story! I'd had a vague idea of some interwoven stories around the idea of a group of girls for some time, but I couldn't tease it out into a usable form for ages. Then I went visiting, and for something to read I picked up “It's Raining Men” by Millie Johnson. That book showed me how to do it – it was a revelation! I came home, and having a day off work I sat down and bashed out seven thousand words without even trying!
As for the inspiration behind the plots and characters, a lot of it is culled from people I know, along with an idea of the sorts of issues I wanted to address – and there was clearly too much for any single character, so the idea of The Sisterhood was born.
How much involvement do you have in the cover design, and how important do you think book covers are?
Since I was self-publishing on a budget of precisely zero, I did the cover myself – those are all my own shoes! I think covers are hugely important, and it baffles me why so many seem to be so similar these days. I wanted mine to say something about the content – my original idea was a group of portraits of my girls, but I'm not that good an artist – and so the idea of juxtaposing the male and female elements seemed like a good one to me.
If you were not an author, what would your chosen career be?
I'm not a full-time author anyway – I have to pay the bills in other ways! I'm an electronics engineer by training and 25 years experience; my current post mixes electronics, low-voltage electrical installation, along with engine maintenance, digital communications and all sorts of other stuff besides! Every day is different...
Do you read other novels while you're working? If so, what is your preferred genre?
I don't read as much as I think I should – I don't have time, it's often a case of read or write! I did my Degree some years (OK, decades) back and that largely knocked the ability to read fiction out of me. Since being invited into The Book Club, I'm glad to say I am reading fiction again, though not enough to have a “preferred genre”! I'm taking it book by book at the moment.
What advice would you give someone who was just starting their writing career?
Don't give up the day job! Seriously... I'm getting around £10 a quarter in royalties, I'm married with a mortgage and children. Don't give up the day job! Write for fun, write as a hobby... self-publishing is easy and free, it's no trouble at all to get your work out there, and fairly easy to publicise it to a low level. Then every royalty payment is a lovely surprise and can be spent on treats that will mean something to you, rather than being buried in the stress of paying the bills every month.
Do you read your own book reviews - what has been your favourite and the worst?
Oh I do – I'm such a narcissist in that regard! I want to see what people thought of the book, what they liked, what didn't work for them... I've been very fortunate so far, I've had all four or five star reviews, and I love them all. I think the loveliest individual comment was that one reviewer wished she was in The Sisterhood and felt as if she was. How priceless is that!!
Roz, how has writing about the Sisterhood helped you?
It helped me accept that I had something worth saying, and that it was worth the effort of actually saying it. My life is moving on – Sisterhood is now about three years old – and I'm following Cathy's path more and more into transition. I think having had such positive reactions to the book, both in and out of the trans “community”, has subliminally encouraged me that I can do this – it's not such a big thing in society as a whole these days, visibility is higher – and though I wasn't consciously jumping on that bandwagon when I wrote it, I felt that the time was right, both for it and for me.
Thank you, some great answers Roz.