Liv Thomas lives not five minutes down the road from me (by car!) – I met her through the local RNA branch and was amazed to discover she does the remarkable thing of writing her books in tandem with a buddy, Val. I’m delighted she agreed to be my guest today, as I do like her approach to time juggling. A girl after my own heart.
So, Liv, what inspired you to start writing?
Reading. From a young age – books, comics. And especially Enid Blyton – I was always writing stories about children having adventures. And probably plagiarising.
Do you have another job (paid or otherwise) apart from being an author? If so, how do you juggle your time?
I work for the NHS three days a week. Something has to go, invariably the ironing. And the dusting.
What did it feel like watching your first book fledge and leave the nest?
Surreal. It still feels surreal, two and a half years on and with a second book out. When I talk to other writers, notably more established ones, I don’t really recognise myself as being one of them.
Are you character or plot driven? What do you do if one of your characters starts developing at a tangent?
My first thought was character, then I decided it was the plot. Then the character again! I can’t separate them. ‘Beneath an Irish Sky’ came about because the character presented himself, closely followed by the plot. For ‘An Irish Promise’, the plot came first, but the character of Finn developed at a rate of knots after that. I tend to let characters lead me wherever they want to go. They generally know best.
If you were in a tight corner and had to rely on one of your characters to save you, which would it be and why?
Are we talking wits or brawn here? For wits, possibly Emer in ‘Beneath an Irish Sky’ – calm, and thinks on her feet. If it’s brawn, then Finn from ‘An Irish Promise’ would be fit the bill – he’s an athletic lad.
If you had no constraints of time and a guarantee of publication, what book would you write?
Maybe something in the fantasy genre – a cross between ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Game of Thrones’, with a touch of Discworld humour. Combining something like ‘Game of Thrones’ with any kind of humour would be a challenge.
Is there a classic book you started and simply couldn’t finish?
No. I’m ashamed to say I never started one. I’ve read childhood classics, like ‘Little Women’, ‘What Katy Did’. Gulliver’s Travels’ but Dickens, Hardy, the Brontes etc. leave me cold. I’ve never attempted Jane Austen either. I have the feeling that if I started any of those, I’d not be able to finish. I’d love to see some of the classics rewritten in a more modern style as I know there are some great stories. I guess I’m just lazy.
What’s your favourite romance book? And why?
I don’t know if I have a favourite ‘romance’ book as such, though ‘Mirror Mirror’ and ‘Promises Promises’ introduced me to Patricia Scanlan, whose books I’ve enjoyed. I generally like books that have a bit more to them than romance. I can tell you the ones whose hero got to me the most if that counts, and that was Karen Moning’s ‘Fever’ series, with the extremely alpha male hero, Jericho Barrons. I don’t normally like the alpha males to be honest, but he insisted. It’s a fantasy series with demons and faeries…faeries who are not exactly like Tinkerbelle. Pure escapism and I couldn’t put them down. Two other books which stand out in my memory, are ‘Pillars of the Earth’ (Ken Follett) and ‘Strangers’ (Dean Koontz). I’m planning to re-read ‘Strangers’ to see if it has the same uplifting feeling at the end, as it gave me twenty years ago. I recently read ‘Gone Girl’ (in awe of Gillian Flynn’s plotting – she surely has a criminal mind!) and ‘The Good Girl’ by Mary Kubica. The ending of ‘The Good Girl’ left me bereft, though I like it when a book has such a strong effect. The ending of ‘Gone Girl’ was a bit unsatisfying to say the least…I’ve heard it actually works better in the movie.
What’s your next project?
Book 3 in our Emerald Isle Romance series for Choc Lit. Like our previous novels, it will mix romance with a bit of mystery, and there will be a few surprises. Quite a few people have asked for a sequel to Beneath an Irish Sky, which may happen, but a prequel is also a possibility.