I haven't been to a bonfire party for years, so thought I'd have my own virtual party and invite author Patsy Collins over to tell us all about her new book, Firestarter which launches today. I hope you'll join us too.
No bonfire party would be complete without food, and drink, and I've made plenty of tasty treats, so wrap up warm and come on over. Pick up a mug of pumpkin soup, and join Patsy and I around the fire. What better way to begin the long cold November evenings than with a roaring bonfire. There is just something about staring into those glowing embers that evoke childhood memories.
Q. So Patsy, before we talk about Firestarter, your latest book, perhaps you can tell us a little about yourself and your background?
A. Thanks for inviting me, Maria. I do like a nice bonfire and yes, they do bring back memories.
Q. What were you like at school?
A. At junior school I was an odd, slightly wild tomboy. At secondary school I was a bit moody and angsty, but reasonably happy most of the time. I never tried to burn the building down or anything like that. Probably fairly typical in lots of ways, except I was never bothered much by fashion or what anyone other than my friends thought about me.
btw, if you've seen that photo of me with 80's hair, shoulder pads and bright blue eyeshadow, it's a fake.
A. History, English language, design, sociology and cooking.
Q. What are your memories of bonfire night?
A. My dad used to have a huge bonfire (still does some years) He's a farmer so there's often rubbish to get rid of. He'd save it up for months beforehand. Then it had to be relocated - to avoid frazzling hedgehogs, and so it was downwind of hay barns and neighbours we didn't want to annoy.
Some years we had fireworks. He wisely gave up on that after the giant Catherine wheel disaster though. Those things are fast when they fall off the post and come flying down the track and they can smell fear.
Whether we'd had our own fireworks or not, my best friend Nicola and I went to more formal firework displays. We were great at the oohing and aaahing and eating half cooked burgers and too much fudge. We've not been together for a while - I should do something about that.
Funny you mentioning pumpkin soup, as Nicola and I once made a pot of the stuff for the rest of our girl guide pack. I'd forgotten about that. Our patrol made stuff almost every week and the other girls had to buy and eat it. We were very enterprising and possibly slightly alarming.
Q. Which writers inspire you?
A. All sorts. Naturally if I read an excellent book or short story I wish I could write something as good. If a story makes me laugh or cry or surprises me with a clever twist, I want to create the same kind of reaction myself. Those writers motivate me to learn and improve and always write as well as I can.
I'm inspired too by the thought of all the authors who produced a huge body of brilliant work, by candlelight, using a pen or even quill. We have it so easy now, with computers which will record our thoughts, check our spelling and instantly deliver our work anywhere in the world.
Q. So what have you written?
A. Hundreds of short stories (I don't think it's reached thousands yet, but I don't want to alarm myself with a count) Lots of these stories have been published in women's magazines. I've also written a few very dodgy poems, some articles for Writing Magazine and four novels.
Q. Tell us about your new book?
A. Firestarter is a romance, and a comedy with a bit of crime thrown in. It's about relationships; romantic, family, work. And hopes, fantasies, expectations and facing up to reality. There's a fireman, food, flames, friendship and fun.
Q. What was the hardest thing about writing Firestarter?
A. Um ... nothing. Sorry I know we're supposed to suffer for our art, but I'm rubbish at that bit. Of course it took a lot of time to write and edit it, and I had research to do, but I enjoyed the whole process a great deal and can't honestly say any of it was especially hard.
Oh well there is chapter fifteen. You'll have to try to overlook any mental double entendres, but I found the sex scenes hardest to write. There isn't loads of sex in the story and I feel what's there is needed for the story (I'd happily have left it out otherwise). It's difficult to know how detailed and explicit to be, but I found I was more comfortable just showing what happened than using euphemisms and metaphors.
Q. How can readers discover more about you and your work?
A. Read all my books! (Good try, eh?) Okay, I know what you mean. My website is the best place for more information. patsycollins.uk
Thank you Patsy, it's been great catching up, shall we light the bonfire?
|Image Credit - Pixabay|