Welcome, Damaris. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born and brought up in Cambridge, UK, and became a modern linguist, librarian, nursery teacher and finally Director of a UK-wide employment agency for professionals. I currently live with my husband and 3 dogs in a rebuilt farmhouse in Umbria, Italy. I write a daily blog about my life here - http://italyhouse.wordpress.com.
My hobbies include playing the violin, gardening, photography, and reading.
Please tell us about your current release, Skolthan.
It's the story of a very private woman with a secret that she tries fiercely to protect. From her lonely house on the edge of a salt marsh, Hilda can reach an island which is the portal to a paradise world. This world is the object of the machinations of witches and a warlock, who will stop at nothing to gain access. Hilda needs to outwit them and kill the invasion.
What inspired you to write this book?
Probably a feeling for the real-life island, which is quite beautiful, and also a sense of what it would be like to live on the edge of the marsh, isolated, with life revolving around the weather and the tides. It was a short step from there to imagine hostile forces trying to break through to a world beyond.
And then I saw Joshua reappear. I knew it was him because of his stature and the authority in his gait. He seemed to be surrounded by a thick mist which moved with him, and the contours of his features and of his limbs blurred and shifted from one form to another. It was Joshua, and yet one moment there was a man dressed in neutral-coloured clothes, grey-bearded and powerful, and the next there was an animal with a hair-covered chest, horns and the pointed beard of a goat.
The half-human figure seemed as tall as a tree in comparison with the girl huddled at his feet, and the women drew back so that she gradually became aware of his presence. As soon as she saw him she shrank away, but he reached down and picked her up with one arm under her shoulders and the other under her legs. Then he straightened and held her carelessly so that her head lolled back and her dark hair streamed down like a waterfall. After a few moments, in which she never struggled, he raised her, so that I wondered if he was going to kiss her. But instead, with one massively energetic gesture, he flung her with both arms like he might have hurled a pile of bedding, and she sailed through the air, over the margin of shore and into the opaque water of the mudflats, without even uttering a single cry.
Her body disappeared, sucked down into the glutinous silt which in places has the properties of quickmud. In my dream I moved towards her and saw her head reappear: damp hair clung to her cheeks, rivulets of mud ran down over her forehead and her eyes were wide and black with emotion. The emotion didn’t seem to be fear any more, or even desperation; it looked more like bewilderment, and with that expression on her face, staring straight at me, she sank back under the brown water.
What exciting story are you working on next?
I've nearly finished a story about wolves as a force for good and against child abuse. It's set here in Umbria.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think when I wrote my first poem about a wild goose migrating. I was 8 or 9, and I showed it through the fire escape door at school to some older girls who gave me the thumbs up. After that a group of friends and I started writing a sort of chain novel, with each of us writing a chapter and passing it on. The result was quite comical.
Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I run a publishing company with my husband Clive, but he's very good to me and allows me more than my fair share of time to write. My main distractions are to do with living here: seasonal jobs in the garden, house maintenance, or things regarding the dogs. I don't have a daily programme and I basically write when there's nothing else pressing.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I make only a vague plan and then allow the book to suggest its own development. Also whenever possible I write about the current season in order to get the atmosphere.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A lady of leisure with a big house and garden and lots of animals - then a psychiatrist.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
If you've got the talent, have written something worth reading and don't want the hassle of self-publishing, please submit your book or outline plus sample to us so we can consider it! The URL is http://www.anysubject.com/writers-wanted.
Ways to connect with me:
Thank you, Damaris!