As an aspiring author I was always fascinated by other writers, particularly those who had ‘made it’. They were the ones sprinkled with fairy dust, the ones with ‘the knowledge’, keepers of secrets I desperately longed to share. Many years on nothing much has changed, except that I too have ‘made it’ into that rarefied world. However, I find myself as fascinated as ever by the lives of my fellow authors and feel honoured and grateful to those who have indulged my curiosity by agreeing to be featured in this blog. The first of these is the fascinating Sheila Quigley, mistress of the crime novel. Read and enjoy!
Tara Moore – http://www.taramoore.com
A little bit of bio – who are you, where do you come from and where are you based?
My name is Sheila Quigley I write crime and thriller novels most of them set around the beautiful north east of England. I live in the ancient town of Houghton le spring in the middle of a triangle with Sunderland Durham and Newcastle as the tips.
Who is your favourite author of all time and which book do you wish you had written?
Have you a writing routine? Do you write a la Cartland, dictating to a minion whilst lying on a chaise longe sipping champagne? Or, is the reality a garden shed or a corner of the living room?
A corner of my kitchen, don’t like champagne!
When were you first gripped by the writing bug – was it a gradual realisation or always a burning ambition? Which authors, if any, were influential in fuelling this desire?
As soon as I learned to read I was writing stories could not stop it was essential as breathing. Can’t really say that any one influenced me as such, it was just something I had to do.
When did you make your first serious foray into writing? What did you write? Has your style of writing changed significantly since then? If you could go back, would you do anything differently?
I was sending stuff off for years, it kept coming back, I just didn’t give up. In hind sight I guess there are a few things, maybes a lot of things but who knows. I guess we all have to find our feet whatever job we do.
We all know the world of traditional publishing can be brutal in its rejection and fragile egos are routinely shattered. Have you ever experienced this? How did it make you feel? How did you cope with it?
As I said I was sending work off for 30 years before I got published. It was heartbreaking when some months later it dropped back on the mat. It’s a different world now though no one has to wait that long anymore.
Ebook platforms such as Kindle and Smashwords are playing a major role in changing the face of publishing. Is this a good thing and do you feel that traditional publishers and agents have had it their own way for far too long?
They have had their own way for far to long, God only knows what gems have been lost forever because the author could not take the thought of any more rejection. Now at least people can get a shot and if it doesn’t work out!
Do you feel ebooks will continue to escalate in popularity?
Yes, I also think that printed books will be around for a long long time yet
What books have you written? Have you a particular favourite? What/who inspired it?
The Seahills series set in Houghton le Spring.
Every Breath You Take
The Road To Hell
The Holy Island trilogy set on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne.
Thorn In My Side
Do you feel the best is yet to come? What inspires your writing in general?
I think most authors get better with each book, they say practice makes perfect.
What are you working on right now?
The Final Countdown. The third in the trilogy, then I will be on with Stand By Me, no 6 in the Seahills series
What do you like/dislike most about writing?
Cant do it quick enough.
Anything you would like to crow about?
Just that I did achieve my dream!
When I was an aspiring author, I longed to know ‘the secrets’ of other authors. What advice would you give to an aspiring author? Did anyone ever share a particularly valuable insight or piece of advice with you and, if so, can you share it with us?
When you have finished something put it away for two weeks, when you take it back out the mistakes will hit you in the face. But also the really good bits will hit you just as hard.
Sheila Quigley, thank you!
Read more about Sheila on http://theseahills.moonfruit.com/