Mollie Blake's debut novel “The Secret At Arnford Hall” is due to be published by Black Opal Books in February 2017.
Hello. Tell us a little about you and your writing.
Hi. Firstly can I thank you all at “Words with Jam” for inviting me to do this sixty-second interview.
I used to be a Finance Director of a privately owned business in the UK with subsidiaries in France and South Africa. Having a child later in life (I was forty-two) was a huge shock. The joy of having a baby contrasted starkly with the fear of going back to work only three months later. I felt like a novice in the boardroom. It was as though a significant proportion of my brain cells fell out when the baby was pushed out! Nearly four years later I left the company, which had been such a huge part of my life, providing me with a career I loved, and gave my time to my child and husband.
But after a couple of years spent helping a little at school and Church, I needed something more challenging to occupy me. I have always loved reading from the romantic indulgence of Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre to the gripping tension of John Grisham, the laugh-out-loud humour of Jon Canter and the epics of Tolstoy. And of course the spicy tales of EL James, Sylvia Day and many more.
I decided I wanted to write a story about romance, laced with explicit sex scenes and more than a touch of danger. So I did. I have written five books so far under the brand of “Provocative romance, alluring suspense.”
What’s the best thing about being a writer?
For me the best thing about being a writer is that I can fit it in with my home life. When my son or husband needs me, I can be there for them. I love the flexibility; I never had that before in my career in finance. But it comes at a cost; you have to be disciplined. It’s not always easy to know when writing is the priority or keeping the peace with those around you is more important. And I don’t always get it right, especially if I’m in the middle of a hot scene. The plus side for my husband is that I’m always in a good mood after finishing those particular parts.
And the worst?
Huge swings in confidence levels. As an author you put yourself out there, be it on a bookshelf or in the “e” world. There is no right or wrong to writing fiction but if readers don’t want to read your stories then there’s no point in going through the pain of “exposing” yourself. I don’t mean that I star in any of my books. Far from it. But I love my good characters and hate my bad ones. I feel for them and it is my passion that I am exposing. I desperately want readers to share this passion with me. If they don’t then I have failed. And that scares me. Not least because I don’t want to stop writing.
Why did you choose your genre?
I chose to write provocative romance primarily because of my age. That may sound strange but I was an old mum on the school playground. I was approaching fifty and most of my friends there were very closely connected with either side of forty. Reading erotic romance gave me a lot of pleasure and reminded me what it was like when we were young. It rekindled my own desires which had perhaps been suppressed with motherhood. I wanted to write stories about passion which could excite other women and make them feel wonderful. But I wanted my stories to grip the reader, to compel them to turn the page to see what happens next. I write romance laced with suspense. The explicit scenes add spice to the stories. They do not control them.
I love what I am doing and I love my life. I hope at least some of that rubs off with people who come into contact with my writing and me. Fiction is escapism and should provide pleasure be it via murder, cruelty, love and romance, or humour. We each have our own preferences. I hope I reach people who love to escape to a world of characters battling with the challenges life has thrown at them as they strive for love.
Do you have a special writing place?
I write at the island in my kitchen mostly. But I can write almost anywhere, even in the car. I usually have a notebook with me and if we are going away I always take my MacBook. My husband seems to need more sleep than I do.
Jane Austen, Oscar Wilde, Lee Child, Nora Roberts.
If you could choose a different genre to write in for just one book – what would it be?
How are you feeling about the imminent launch of your debut novel?
Predominantly nervous. I have two fears. One that readers won’t be able to find my book. Two that they won’t like it.
I think the first worries me the most. If readers don’t like my stories then I want to know. I am always looking for ways to improve my writing and am grateful for constructive feedback. But there are millions of books out there and use of marketing techniques to get my book in front of readers is not something I have been very successful with. I have no way of knowing if my book doesn’t sell because readers don’t know it’s available. Or if it’s because readers are not interested in buying my book.
However, I have the American publisher with me now and I am learning all the time. The publisher has been very encouraging about my writing which has given me a lot of confidence and when I am feeling nervous I remind myself of that.
I am also very excited. The editor has helped improve my writing and I have faith in my book. I also love the cover. I can’t wait to hear what readers think of “The Secret At Arnford Hall.”
What is your proudest writing achievement to date?
Getting a publishing contract. I have found this a very lonely profession. Having been part of a very successful team when I was a finance Director, I was unprepared for working in a creative environment where there is no right or wrong, only a measure of appealing to an unknown audience or not. I didn’t know what I was doing in the early days. I just wrote what I thought was a lovely story, one which I hoped other women who loved romance and suspense would like. Being given a contract with an American publisher gave me a tick I wanted; official proof that a professional from the industry thought I had written a good book. I know there are a lot of great writers who have successfully self-published great books. This is just how I feel.
What are your future writing plans?
I will keep on writing my provocative romances filled with alluring suspense. I have five books with Black Opal Books. “The Secret at Arnford Hall” is out in February. “Keeping You” and “Guiltless” are due out in the summer. “An Unconventional Affair” Parts I and II are due out in spring next year. I am currently writing my sixth.
Connect with Molly:
At my website www.mollieblake.com
On Facebook www.facebook.com/mollie.blake.54
On Twitter @MollieBlake0
On Pinterest www.uk.pinterest.com/mollieblakeauth
And you can come for a listen at www.soundcloud.com/user-556019893/the-secret-at-arnford-hall-1-dec-2016-15_10_56