Saturday, 5 January 2013


My guest today is a published writer, a genealogist, an editor and someone who has selflessly helped budding writers onto the right path when they most needed it and encouraged others by helping to promote their work.
She has published books, as well as numerous articles internationally and also collaborated on The Writer’s ABC Checklist with Lorraine Mace.
This multi-talented person to whom many authors owe a considerable debt of gratitude could only be Maureen Vincent-Northam, known to her many friends as Mo.

Mo, firstly many thanks for agreeing to be interviewed. Usually it’s you doing the interviewing, so how does it feel to be on the other side of the blog?
A little daunting but I’m very flattered to be asked.

How did you get into writing and what was your first book about (published, or not!)?
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t enjoy writing. Always an enthusiastic reader, I liked nothing better than to curl up with a Malcolm Saville. I wrote to him once and got a lovely reply (I still have his letter). Enid Blyton was another favourite so my first book was in similar vein – I hadn’t heard the expression ‘plagiarism’ back then. Can’t recall the title but it probably contained the word ‘Adventure’. And possibly ‘Seaside’. Maybe ‘Chocolate’.

How did you move into editing?
I started by helping writer friends. Authors know how vital it is to have things checked by a fresh pair of eyes – we all miss those pesky errors in our own writing. I helped on the charity anthology, 100 Stories for Haiti and later others and realised how much I enjoyed the work.

When you write does your role as “editor” help or hinder you?
It hinders. I know all the advice is to write, write, write – get the story down. But I do find that difficult to do and find myself re-writing / punctuating sentences until I’m happy to move on. Hence, I have a number of unfinished projects. Lorraine [Mace] could tell you about the two young boys I’ve left down a castle dungeon. They’ve been there for about four years now. Still, by the time they’re out, they’ll be old enough to go straight down the pub to recover.

You wrote The Writer’s ABC Checklist together with Lorraine Mace. How did you meet Lorraine and decide to jointly write the book?
Lorraine and I met on a writers’ site called Writelink. We got along from the start, sharing the same sense of humour. As regulars on the site, we found those newer to the game often queried us about writing and getting published and one day, Lo suggested we get together and write a book that answered all the questions.
We co-wrote ABC using email and msn and it was huge fun, but we met in the flesh for the first time when we had a meeting with our publisher.

You’ve written two books now on genealogy. What got you interested in tracing family trees?
History and the past fascinate me. I’ve done local history research for writers and for a local government department. I’d delved into my own background many moons ago, and was asked by an American acquaintance to trace his Herefordshire roots. It sort of grew until I had my own dedicated website and numerous clients. I loved it – nothing like mooching about in dusty documents and piecing bits of a family puzzle together.

You’ve worked with and helped many authors. What is your favourite book genre to actually read?
Cosy crime. I’m not into the violent stuff; it’s the puzzle-solving thing again. So an amateur sleuth, a clever plot and some humour thrown in is perfect.

Do you have a set routine as a writer and editor and a special place where you work?
Not a set routine as such but I generally work every day. It may be an editing day or I may have a commissioned article to get done. I’m lucky in that I have a room to myself – my office – where I don’t get disturbed.
Oddly though, if I’m writing fiction, I like to be away from the computer altogether and prefer to use an A4 writing pad and pen.

Do you have a project you’re working on right now?
You mean apart from the kids in the dungeon? I have a Young Adult psychological thriller that’s been hanging around a while too and a list of articles to complete for my local editor (a very patient man).
I’m now one of the editors with Crooked Cat Books and have a few freelance novels I’m copy editing. I also work closely with prolific author, David Robinson, which is good fun.

What is the most important piece of advice you could give a budding writer?
Believe in yourself and NEVER give up on your dream. I know this isn’t easy in the face of constant rejection (we’ve all been there) but as a wise person once said, “A successful author is just an unpublished author who didn’t give up.” Or something like that.

One last question, Mo. If you could achieve one important goal within the next 5 years, what would it be?
To have a fiction book published.

Mo, it’s been a pleasure talking to you, and my thanks for taking the time out from your busy schedule to be with us today.

My next blog interview will be posted at the same time next Saturday evening and I promise you it will be interesting to say the least!

Blog on, Dudes!


  1. Thanks Mo and Richard. I love the new blog format - and I enjoyed reading the interview. You are right, Mo, one should never give up! I really hope you do get a novel published soon!! Pleasure meeting you!

  2. Thank you, Carol.
    Getting published with mainstream publishing houses may be harder than ever now, but there are other avenues open to us all - indies and of course self-publishing, so the world is our oyster!
    Lovely meeting you too!

  3. Well done to you both! An interesting and informative interview, with a hint of fun thrown in (and don't think I didn't notice the word 'chocolate', Mo!). Great work!

    1. Thanks, Marit. You didn't really think I could get any further without mentioning the 'c' word, did you? ;-) xx

  4. Nice to find out a little bit more about you, Mo! And thanks once again for your fantastic editing skills which helped me along the road to being published. And get the kids out of the dungeon, its' just cruel if you ask me.x

  5. Get them out of the dungeon? A little hardship never hurt anyone - it's character building. They'll thank me for it one day.
    Loved working with you, Mandy, and all best wishes for the success of your upcoming novel. x

  6. Great interview. Love your sense of humour, Mo. May 2013 be the year you get your fiction published. x x

  7. Thanks, Chris! Here's hoping this will be THE year for all of us. x

  8. Excellent interview. Love the boys in the dungeon and sound advice too. Thank you.

  9. How kind - thank you, Cameron! :)