Book Nerd Interview
What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?
I love horror movies but I’m not keen on gore. I have a bad habit of checking the gore rating in the parental advisory section on IMDB before agreeing to watch a film. It really annoys my husband.
What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
When I was about seven years old, a writer visited my class and spoke about what she did. Before then, it never occurred to me that being a writer was an actual job. That day I knew that when I grew up I wanted to be an author.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
I thoroughly recommend all writers read Stephen King’s book ‘On Writing’. I might not agree with everything he says, but there is a lot of sage advice in there.
For those who are unfamiliar with your novel; Dark is the Sea, how would you introduce it?
Dark is the Sea is about a young woman named Rowan, who returns to the village from where her mother disappeared years before. She learns from her aunt that witchcraft runs through the family, and she starts to develop powers - which comes in handy as her nightmares are actually premonitions, and there really is someone/something trying to eliminate her bloodline.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating Rowan?
I was surprised by her inner strength. I envisioned this very vulnerable, neurotic girl, plagued by nightmares and deep-rooted anxieties; but really, Rowan copes very well given her circumstances. She’s very much an introvert, and a worrier - but she’s also a fighter.
Why do you feel you had to tell this story?
I grew up in Scotland and I knew that I wanted to tell a story set in that amazing, dramatic landscape. Scotland is rich in ghost stories and folklore so I also wanted that to be a part of the story, but there is also a tradition of witchcraft and superstition which I was very interested in, and wanted to explore. I have also suffered from frequent nightmares and sleep paralysis since childhood. Sleep paralysis is genuinely terrifying, and can bring very vivid hallucinations. Most of my notepads are filled with descriptions of nightmares I’ve had, so I suppose it was inevitable that my story would be about someone who suffers from them.
Do you have a favorite quote that you keep visible in your work environment to help inspire you?
“If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word” Margaret Atwood.
If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I’ve always been enamoured with Lestat from Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. I’ve loved vampires from a young age and Lestat is so charismatic and seductive. I’d love to see what Rowan would make of him.
Where is the best place in the world you’ve been?
Apart from Scotland, where my heart will forever be anchored, I adore Maui. I got married there. It’s very peaceful, and I like being close to the ocean. The warm days smelled of honeyed plumeria.
What book are you reading now?
I’m currently studying for a Masters so I have a huge reading list of classic Gothic novels and textbooks. I’m re-reading Frankenstein and some of Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories. Over the holidays I’ll probably read some ghost stories. It’s a bit of a Christmas tradition of mine.
Who was your first boyfriend?
I was extremely self-conscious as a teenager, and my first boyfriend was a year younger than me and about a foot shorter. I was embarrassed. I dumped him when I discovered he had stolen flowers from a neighbour’s garden to give to me.
Tell me about your first kiss
On the first day of school I kissed a boy named Christopher under a table. He promptly burst into tears and ruined any prowess with the opposite sex for many years.
What's the memorable summer job you've ever had?
I worked in a video rental shop for a while. It was never very busy, so I spent most of my time watching old movies and getting paid for the privilege. I loved that job.
When was the last time you cried?
I probably cried with laughter. I like seeing live comedy and laughing so much that my face aches afterwards.
Where can readers stalk you?
I would love to hear from readers. I’m on twitter as @Bonjourcupcake and also @Darkisthesea. There is also a Facebook page facebook.com/darkisthesea, and I’m on Instagram as Bonjour_Cupcake and on Pinterest as @bonjourhb.