1) What is the earliest memory you have of writing? What did you write about?
Unfortunately, my earliest memories of writing weren’t good ones. I remember getting very excited about writing a short story in primary school and then getting it back covered in red pen corrections. I was eventually diagnosed with mild dyslexia. It took me a long time to start writing again, but with my husband’s encouragement, a computer that spellchecks and a great editor, I’m once again enjoying writing. I’m still a little bitter about the lack of encouragement by my teachers who must have spotted that I enjoyed reading and writing.
2) When did you decide to become a professional writer? Why did you take this step?
I’m not a professional writer. I would like to be, but at the moment I have to work to pay the bills.
3) What would you consider to be your greatest strength as a writer? What about your greatest weakness? How do you overcome this weakness?
I think I’m a strong story teller with a dark sense of humour. I can see the ridiculousness in all situations and I don’t take life or myself too seriously. I think that not taking myself seriously is also my greatest weakness. I feel uncomfortable about self-promotion. Taking part in Vampire Month is a nice bit of therapy; I’m here promoting my books! I’ve had some great reviews so I know my books are worth reading, so expect to see more of me.
4) Tell us about the place where you live. Have you ever derived any inspiration from your home or from anywhere you have visited?
I’m very lucky to live in the south of France, but unlike a lot of ex-pats I’m not of retirement age. Work is seasonal and in the winter of 2013 I found myself unemployed and very frustrated by an unusually wet January. To stop me from climbing the walls, my husband suggested I write him a horror story. The tale got rather out of hand and grew into a two-book series – Language in the Blood. It’s a comedy about a young Scotsman, Cameron Blair, who goes off to fight in the First World War. Lying wounded on the battlefield, he is discovered by a vampire… with inevitable consequences. The story follows Cameron as he comes to terms with his new ‘life’, from his first days as a hapless vampire in war-torn France to the glamorous modern day setting of the Côte d’Azur. Along the way, he develops a distinctive taste for the finer things in life: jewels, yachts, small dogs and champagne-infused human. I’m Dutch, but lived most of my adult live in Scotland. These places and my current abode are huge inspirations.
5) Which book, if any, would you consider to be your greatest influence and inspiration?
It wasn’t a particular book, but I’m a big admirer of PG Wodehouse and his irreverent humour. I hope I created in Cameron Blair a vampire that in some small way captures some of his British wit and eccentricity.
6) What drove you to write about Vampires?
It all started with a friend telling me about the theft of a mirror from the lift in her building. My first thoughts were: it’s obviously a vampire setting a trap for his victim; he removes the mirror to avoid early detection. I used it as the scene that forms the turning point in the first book. Also my husband wanted me to write a zombie story, but we all know that vampires are way more interesting.
7) What do you think is the attraction for Vampire fiction? Why is it such a popular topic?
For a writer, it is a great genre as it gives you an enormous freedom to take the character anywhere you want. Readers enjoy being taken to a different world which can be dangerous, sexy, frightening or in my case amusing. The genre takes us away from our everyday lives and personalities. I think vampires appeal to our darker side.
8) In a fight between all the greatest Vampires of fiction, who do you think would come out on top?
I think Dracula. Bram Stoker’s masterpiece has been reworked so often for good reasons. Dracula is the daddy of them all.
9) What about in some other contest such as sexiness or dress sense? Who would win that one?
If I say anything other than Cameron here, he will come and bite me. He prides himself on his dress sense and sexual attractiveness. But I must say I’ve had a bit of a soft spot for Aidan Turner who played the vampire in Being Human.
10) How well do you think one of your characters would fare against the winner(s) of the above?
Again I have to declare Cameron the winner otherwise I’ll be in trouble. He and Aidan do share their dark, Celtic good looks.
11) Tell us the basic premise behind your latest novel.
Not about a vampire I’m afraid. My cat, Clicquot, is my main inspiration at the moment, but to be honest he is as much a hindrance as a muse. Despite his best efforts, I’m putting the final touches to my third book, a romantic novel for cat lovers called Conversations with Tom.
You can learn more about Angela on the links below. Next up is her guest post…