Wednesday, 27 March 2013


For the second time in my series of guest interviews we’re going to Devon, one of the most beautiful parts of the country and where I had my first job. It’s good to be back in such lovely surrounding with my guest tonight!

Tina published her first collection of short stories called Eclectic Dreams, most of which have been sold to women's magazines.  
She is currently writing a thriller called Born to Love Me.
On top of that, she’s writing short stories and articles, helps to run a writing groups and doing the odd bit of proof reading and editing for a small company. Then there's her crafting, running on her treadmill, cooking, reading, walking, eating chocolate, drinking wine and playing on her Wii or DSi.
Blimey, no wonder she’s often still up at 1.00am!

Tina, firstly many thanks for agreeing to be interviewed. It’s great to talk to another person from Devon. I had my first job there and often went riding on Dartmoor. I’ve always felt it’s one of the most beautiful parts of the country. Have you lived there all your life?


Well I was born in Plymouth and lived there on and off until my mid thirties when I moved away. But we’ve been back in Devon for the last four years and it’ll always be home to me.

The moors can be very desolate, or they can be a place to lose yourself in and be by yourself. Do you have a favourite spot near you where you like to be alone?

Yes, Burrator Reservoir. There’s a part about halfway around that you can walk up through the rough moor, then climb an outcrop of rocks – a tor - and sit on top of them looking out over the reservoir, moorland and forest. It’s my favourite place.

Dartmoor is famous for many things, but probably for two especially, the Hound of the Baskervilles and for its ponies. Are you a horse lover?

Oh my word yes. I learned to ride in my twenties, and rode across Dartmoor every week. There’s nothing quite like galloping across the moor on a clear day, at one with nature and beast, fantastic!

I totally agree! I believe you worked with the homeless and as a counsellor to young people in your area. How did you become involved?
I wanted something to do whilst I was bringing up my daughter, and saw an advert for people to train as counsellors for a new proposed youth centre in Plymouth.  I was accepted onto the training scheme, completed the course and helped set up the centre, which is still going over twenty years later. I left once it had been set up because we moved out of the area, but I then got a job working with homeless people in a day centre.

Good for you. Looking at what you’ve done and what you do now you certainly have a busy life. Tell me, Tina, at what point did you start to write and what was the first work you finished?
I started making up stories from a very young age, and when I was at senior school, my school reports were terrible because I spent most of the time gazing out of the window daydreaming. The stories I made up were so much more interesting than our lessons, but I didn’t write them down at that point.  Then, when I had my daughter, I wrote children’s stories on an electric typewriter and read them to her at bedtime. I sadly don’t have them anymore they were lost in various house moves. I can still remember some of them though. But I really started off as a short story and article writer and sold stories and articles to various publications in the UK and overseas, as well as through Alfiedog, Ether Books and A Quick Read. I also had my own regular column of anecdotal articles on the website Age-net before I started writing novels.   

Product DetailsEclectic Dreams is a collection of your short stories. I haven’t read them yet I’m afraid, but did you write them over a number of years, or as an intended collection for a book with a common theme?

They are stories written over a few years and sold to various magazines, and then put into the collection. Many of them came about through dreams, hence the title of the book.

You started one writer group and help to run another. How did you get involved with them?
I had the idea to start a writing group locally, for people who wanted to write and be paid for it, so I got local shops to put up posters and the local paper did an ad for me. Several people responded and it grew from there.  However I left when it was fully functioning because there was so much else I wanted to do.
The other group is on Facebook, and came about because other FB writing groups were a tad too serious. I wanted a group that was fun to be in with a more relaxed atmosphere, so started up Really Relaxed Writers. It’s a great group with lovely members and I'm still very much involved with it.

I know you’re working on a book about your time in the funeral profession, which you’re calling Lifting the Lid. Is it a fiction novel using your experiences, or a docu-book?
Funeral : White coffin and several sympathy floral arrangement on a grave sideIt’s going to be a factual book, which will start off by dispelling the myths and fears people have, and will be an account of my time spent working in the business. I’m writing it under a pseudonym because it will be very honest, and will talk about sensitive issues and the tactics some companies use to gain business.

You’re also working on a thriller called Born to Love Me. Can you tell me about it without giving away too much of the plot?
Born to Love Me is about cloning, but with a surprise dark twist. It shows how love can sometimes be so strong it destroys people. It’s quite sinister at times and doesn’t have a happy ending. I can’t give too much away, but it’s a real shocker.
. I think my previous jobs have taught me a great deal about people and their emotions, and I’m able to draw on that and use it to make my characters very real.

When you write do you have your book plotted out chapter by chapter, or are you like me and let the words flow, allowing your characters determine their own destinies?
Oh I definitely let the characters write themselves. I have a basic outline and usually have all my characters in place – I can actually picture them as real people - but what happens to them just comes as I write. Sometimes I’m surprised at the way things turn out.

Many writers have to have a perfect environment, with the right cup of tea, or coffee and everything in its place before they can start. How about you? Do you have a writing ritual?
I wish I did! I wish I could be disciplined and write every day, but I don’t work like that. One day I might sit at the laptop at 8am and still be going at 7pm, having not stopped to eat or anything, but then I could go for three weeks and not write another word.
The only thing I need to write is peace and quiet, and I’m quite lucky because we live in the country with fields beside and behind us, so I get that peace.

What books do you read and who has influenced you most? Please don’t say Shakespeare! Though I’d guess at Thomas Hardy and R D Blackmore from your Devon background.

I read various books and don’t stick to a particular genre. I like character driven stories by authors such as Debbie Macomber and Erica James, but I also like Thrillers by Simon Kernick and Alex Kava. I love M C Beaton’s Agatha Raisin series, they are so witty and comical. Yes I do like Thomas Hardy; Far From the Madding Crowd is probably my favourite. Our English teacher took us to watch it at the cinema and I’ve loved his works ever since.  It’s hard to choose just one author as an influence, but if I had to really say just one, it would have to be Enid Blyton. I know people scoff at her nowadays, but she got me – and a lot of other children of the time – reading, and because of her, I wanted to create stories too. I guess I’m still a big kid at heart!

What is the most important piece of advice you could give a budding writer?

Be versatile. Don’t just stick to one thing, write as much as you can. The more you can write, the better you’ll become. Try short stories, letters and articles on a variety of subjects.

One last question, Tina. If you could achieve one important goal within the next 5 years, what would it be?
To finish all my novels, and see at least one of them in a bookshop. That would make me a very happy lady J

Tina, it’s been a pleasure talking to you, and good luck on getting your next books finished and published!

Tina’s collection of short stories Eclectic Dreams is also on Amazon at


  1. What an interesting person, good job she is my sister in law :-)
    Actually also a very good writer.

  2. Ha! Sympathy, Steve!
    Thanks for the comment.

  3. Lovely interview, well done on doing all those things.

    1. Hi Anon (Tina's friend I understand!)
      Many thanks for the comment.

  4. Thank you for interviewing me Richard, it was lovely talking to you.

  5. Really interesting read Richard and Tina. Tina, you have often inspired me and its lovely to know more about you. I had no idea you worked with the homeless (I also want to train as a counsellor)

    Thank you for sharing x

    1. Hi Eve,
      Many thanks for the lovely comment. A fascinating woman is our Tina, as well as a gret writer.
      All the best

  6. Nice interview Richard. You've have definitely caught the essence of Tina. Well done darling!

  7. Hi Eve, that's a lovely comment, thank you. Richard is a great interviewer because he asks questions which show us details about the person. It's nice to know a little more about people we interact with isn't it :)

  8. An excellent interview, thank you. I 'met' Tina on Facebook and am always amazed at how much she can fit into a day. This interview has filled in many gaps and boy am I looking forward to those two books.

  9. Good interview Richard & Tina.
    I learned a lot more about you Tina that I didn't know despite knowing you for many years.
    Keep on writing I can't wait to read the latest novels and the book about the funeral trade should be hilarious if the stories you told us are going to be in it. Good luck with the publications love to see you in print.

  10. Great interview! Nice to learn more about Tina, i loved Chapters of Life and can't wait for the next book from her :)

  11. Great interview Richard & Tina. I learned a lot I didn't know about you Tina despite knowing you for many years.
    Can't wait for the new books to be published looking forward to Lifting the Lid should be hilarious if you include some of the stories you have told us.
    Very good luck with the writing, as always, I'm sure you will be published & famous one day, (will you still speak too me?)

  12. I'll have to buy your books and have a read. I'm currently reading Enid Blyton's Famous Five series to my 6 year old and he loves them, so another generation is being influenced.

  13. Hello Liz, Stella and Fran thanks for your comments, but it's down to Richard, he can make anyone sound fascinating! Hope you enjoyed getting to know a bit more about me x

  14. Lovely interview and well done Richard for uncovering so many things we didn't know about Tina! Good luck with Chapters of Life, Tina!! xx

  15. Another great interview, Richard, and your replies are enlightening, Tina! A busy person and prolific writer, to boot. It's all fascinating, and it's good to get to know a little about you like this. Well done, both!

  16. Thanks Rita :)

  17. What an interesting interview, Tina - and i am sure you are right, being versatile is the key to a writer doing well.

    You've been a great writing friend to me - very generous with your advice.

    sam x

  18. Hello Richard, Hello Tina,

    I've enjoyed this interview. I've already got to know Tina on FB and it's great to get to know you better Tina through reading this. I love your style of writing and your stories and I would like to see your work being widely read and appreciated. Your novel CHAPTERS OF LIFE is a perfect read and I enjoyed every word. It was so human, warm and down to earth with some unforgettable character.

    Thanks Richard, for hosting Tina. See you both again....

  19. Great interview Richard. Tina, you've done a lot of interesting things! Well done :-)

  20. Great interview Richard, it's lovely to learn more about Tina.

    Lorraine x

  21. Hi Sarah, Marit, Sam, Maria and Lorraine, thanks for reading and leaving a comment, glad you enjoyed the interview :)

  22. Hi Tina, we met at the Crooked Cat party on Fri. Lovely interview and good to find out a bit more about you.

  23. Hi Tina, great interview. I am currently reading Chapters of Life and I love it. I will be reading Eclectic Dreams next and I can't wait to read your other books. I wish you great success.

  24. Hi Carol and Rosie, thanks for the lovely comments, I'm glad you're enjoying the book Rosie :)

  25. A fabulous interview Tina, great questions Richard. I learned so much about you, it was so interesting. And all the stories that you have written too. Well done both of you. Love Maggie xx

  26. Brilliant interview, -Tina is a very talented lady and a lovely lady to be with and to talk to. Her ideas are brilliant and putting them all together in words the way she does is an inspiration to all of us. We are proud to know and love her not just for her books and stories but for who she is. Happy special Birthday too!! love Us two xxx

  27. Brilliant interview, -Tina is a very talented lady and a lovely lady to be with and to talk to. Her ideas are brilliant and putting them all together in words the way she does is an inspiration to all of us. We are proud to know and love her not just for her books and stories but for who she is. Happy special Birthday too!! love Us two xxx

  28. Brilliant interview, I almost feel we know you so well, Ha Ha. Tony
    Tina is a lovely person to know, she writes with passion and she is an inspiration to us all. We are very proud of her proud to know and love her. Well done! a brilliant interview Richard

  29. Interesting article about an interesting lady - thanks again Richard!

  30. Great to learn more about you, Tina! And I so agree about Enid Blyton - I have a friend who wasn't allowed to read any of her books and I think she missed out x

  31. Thank you Maggie, Tony, Shanistruthers and Teresa. Oh she definitely missed out, fancy not being allowed to read Enid Blyton! I loved her :)

  32. Hello,
    This was a really nice interveiw and I actually found out a lot about you, despite being your neice haha!
    Hmm, perhaps I should be more attentive. I also read Chapters of Life and I loved it, I can't wait until the sequel is written!
    Shanice x

  33. Hello, thanks honey, lovely of you to say :)xx