Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Interview with novelist Stevie Turner

I’m happy to introduce you to Stevie Turner today. She’s chatting with me about her new novel, a women’s fiction called, Repent at Leisure.

Stevie Turner grew up in the East End of London and was fortunate enough to attend an excellent primary school which encouraged creative writing. After winning a writing competition at her school, Stevie began to keep a diary and often added little stories and poems to it as the years went by.

By the time marriage and motherhood came along, Stevie and her husband Sam had decided that the country life was preferable to bringing their sons up in London. The company Sam worked for had re-located to Norfolk, and they felt the time was right to make the change. They moved to a quiet, picturesque village in Suffolk, East Anglia, where their boys could roam free as they grew. Stevie found work as an office clerk and still kept a diary, but did not take up writing seriously until 2013. By this time her two sons had left home and she had more time to herself.

Stevie’s debut novel The Porn Detective was self-published in October 2013 and took her 30 years to write. A London agency debated representation, but after a long, agonising week’s wait for Stevie she found out that unfortunately the agency had decided not to go ahead. However, she now had the writing bug big time! Stories started filling her head based on news items she had read and life experiences she had undergone, and she could not wait to get them down on paper.

Her second book The Pilates Class was a light-hearted, humorous read, giving way to the more serious suspense/ thriller A House Without Windows, which won a New Apple Book Award in 2014 and a Readers’ Favorite Gold Award in 2015. It is now being translated into German.

Stevie then tried her hand at historical fiction, penning a short story ‘Lily’, which was a joint winner of the Goodreads’ eBookMiner Book of the Month Contest in August 2015, and then came the suspense /thriller ‘For the Sake of a Child’, which had been runner-up in the same eBookMiner Book of the Month Contest in October 2014.

After November 2014 Stevie took early retirement from her 13-year position as a medical secretary in a busy NHS hospital, due to after-effects from treatment for thyroid cancer. The following year, 2015, was the most prolific year for Stevie. She began to write full time and penned another 6 novels and 2 short stories, by which time she was happily in remission from cancer for a second time. She even wrote a romance, A Most Unusual Romance, partly based on the treatment she had undergone back in 2005 when initially diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer.

By the time her latest novel Repent at Leisure was finished, Stevie had decided to approach the independent publishers Creativia, based on a recommendation from one of their current authors. She was impressed with their book marketing Street Team support, and at the quick response to emails and queries.

Creativia published Repent at Leisure in March 2016 complete with a beautiful book cover, and currently the company goes from strength to strength, taking on new authors daily. Stevie was pleased at recently being informed that ‘Repent at Leisure’ has been placed on the shortlist for The Escalator Writing Contest.
Stevie still lives in the same picturesque Suffolk village that she and Sam moved to in 1991 with their two boys. She is now working on a collection of short stories that she hopes will be published towards the end of the year. One of her short stories, ‘Lifting the Black Dog’, was recently published in ‘1000 Words or Less Flash Fiction Collection’ (2016). She has also written an article ‘Look on the Bright Side of Life’ which was included in the recently published book ‘They Say I’m Doing Well’ which are articles about mental illness, proceeds of which go to the charity MIND.

Stevie and Sam enjoy attending rock festivals and concerts in their spare time, and especially love visiting the Isle of Wight, their second home, and of course the Isle of Wight Festival, which to them is the best festival of all! They also enjoy family life with their grown up sons, daughters-in-law and four grandchildren, all of whom still live close by in Suffolk.

Welcome, Stevie. Please tell us about your current release.
Paul McAdam wakes up with a strange girl in his bed, but has no idea who she is or where she has come from.

Cat Taylor worms her way into Paul’s life, eventually moving into his flat. The arrangement suits Paul quite well until he meets Anita Fairfax, the love of his life and the girl he wishes to marry. Cat has to go, but Paul finds that she is not interested in moving out.

When Cat is found dead in Paul’s flat, he's the #1 suspect, even though there's not a shred of evidence. Anita and Paul are happily married, but she soon begins to wonder whether her new husband could have been Cat’s killer all along...

What inspired you to write this book?
I love to write about convoluted (sometimes dysfunctional) family relationships and human emotions and jealousies. Repent at Leisure was just waiting to be written!

Excerpt from the first chapter of Repent at Leisure:

Part 1 – Paul; Chapter 1; January 1, 2000
            Darren must have spiked my bloody drink again; I’ll kill the bastard.
            I sit up in bed, rub my eyes and give her the once over as I inch back the covers. She’s naked and reasonably good-looking, but the blonde hair doesn’t quite reach the roots and the face is caked in make-up. I’ve always liked the natural look, so God knows why I went and picked her. Perhaps I didn’t; probably Darren gave her a good time and then lumbered me with her after I’d passed out.
            My mouth’s as dry as a badger’s chuff, and my head is throbbing. I need some coffee. Whoever she is sleeps on as I climb out of bed and slide into some jeans. As I open the bedroom door I can see Darren, fully clothed and dead to the world on the settee. We must have had a fucking ace time of it last night; if only I could remember.
            The noise of the kettle brings Darren out of his stupor. As he comes into the kitchen his mullet’s awry like he’s got a surfboard on his head. Yawning, I reach for two mugs from the cupboard and heap a spoonful of coffee in each. I indicate with a thumb over in the direction of the bedroom.
            “Who’s the bird?”
            Darren hacks up enough tar to fill all the potholes along the M1.
            “You’re asking me? You’re the one who was with her all night.”
            “Yeah, but some bastard spiked my drinks.”
            My look of venom informs him in no uncertain terms whom I suspect of perpetrating the crime. Darren, innocence personified, shrugs his shoulders, picks up the kettle, and pours boiling water into the mugs.
            “Nothin’ to do with me, mate.”
            “Yeah, and my dick’s two foot long.”
            “You should be so lucky.” Darren adds coffee to an extra mug. “Here; give her one.”
            “I already did, didn’t I?” I sigh.
            “Possibly; you were going at it hammer and tongs in there last night.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am working on a collection of short stories, which is nearly finished. The stories are all based on significant life events.

When did you first consider yourself a writer? 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 only really began to write seriously 3 years ago, and now write full time, having taken early retirement last year.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A doctor, although I was hopeless at Maths, Chemistry and Physics, so it didn’t work out!


1 comment:

Stevie Turner said...

Thanks Lisa, for featuring me today.