What inspired you to start writing, and when?
I was scribbling and sketching as soon as I could write, I was just 5 years old. My first book was about the girl called Andeli who was some sort of girl based on family stories about plane crash, my reading of books about ancient Egypt and my paternal English heritage. I have never finished the story but I remember I forced all kids in the kindergarden and primary school to read it:]] There were funny moments when I got a typewriter and I wrote a screenplays for my puppet theatre and we did a school magazine. It was noisy on old typewritting machine, I typed really quickly:]] Better opportunity was at the college.I landed a job as a sport journalist in age of 18 for one local newspaper and it came from there but it is still a hobby. I am not an author by profession. I write scripts to documentaries and one feature movie now, there is always something to rewrite and it is time demanding with deadlines. I still do blogging and I am proud of my book of poems and lyrics to the songs. Some articles out but one of the best advices came to people I didn't know at the beginning of the career. USA people who were strict about whole package and forced me to stay my grounds but pay attention to glossy package and formatting for standing out from the crowd, couple of teachers, one from the university who was very good and asked us to think.
The trolls who try to mock or put you down or people who provide you with all sort of free advice how write and publish a book.. I also printed my poetry book on demands as self published writer and I sold out 500 pieces. The career of sport journalist in the print press and on radio was the best preparation regarding writing or preparing text. Good advice came also from my wish to contribute my historical articles based on biographies of famous women to fashion magazine. I tried and of course I didn't succeed as I wasn't a friend of the editorial team or known name but the editor in chief who later dated an actress replied back it was OK try for the article but I need to follow their rules for the series. It started with dramatical opening scene and the facts about the interesting woman followed.
I warmed to this idea when I typed my Queen Margot instead. It starts with the tournament scene where Margot's father Henry II dies. I have never met that editor but his advice was one of the best I got and funny enough I still stick with my idea to write series about interesting women from history, based on their real biographical facts.
What is your preferred genre?
Fiction and memories or historical novels.
How many books have you written? If more than one, are any a series…or trilogy?
Just this one, except my book of poems Intersections of life and couple of short stories, some scripts now for documentaries and a lot of articles.
Tell us a little about your book.
Margaret of Valois is forced into arranged marriage with Henry of Navarre, by her mother Catherine de Medici and cruel brothers who want to ceasefire between Catholics and Protestants during religious wars in France, but the wedding ends by St Bartholomew massacre and Margareth's life is from this time hanging up in the air, her destiny depends on decision of her brothers and a husband who doesn't love her. She survives by strong will, fierce intelligence where her lovers and friends are murdered, she is treated badly by her mother and brothers, later sent to exile by husband but she comes out as the winner, surviving all and dark age of intrigues, murders, passion, love in murky 16th century in France.
Do you have plans for a new book?
Yes, I do. It is again about very independent, strong female character from history but she was very modest in this case. One is about Countess Norbertine Kinsky who was a relative of Countess Kinsky linked with Nobel and other book is about Margaret of Tudor. Perhaps one of the most underestimated woman in British history and I think her beloved grandson Henry ordered to murder her.
Is there an Author that you would really like to meet?
Many of them, dead or living legends, I would need to book a banquet hall.
Was there an Author that inspired your writing?
No. I like to be myself.
Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants?
From the scratch or by the seat of my pants, with long preparation ahead, linked to collecting relevant historical facts.
Did you have an editor edit your books?
No. I use Scrivener which often annoys me and I need put certain notes on the paper, but this program is helpful for formatting. I have a couple of friends who read certain parts of the book and tell me if they like it, but none of them has all manuscript to themselves. I am my the biggest critic and I read many times my manuscript, it has a lot of makeovers, erase and delete, trust me. I rewrite if I am not happy. It is like Saville Row tailoring:]]
Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks or hardcover?
Where do you prefer to buy your books?
I love bookshops, love them. I will spend ages browsing shelves with books. Everywhere, small indie shops, vintage shops or huge book shops. I also like ebooks. Easy for travelling but a hardcover is a hardcover.
Are you a self- published (Indie) Author?
Yes, I am a self published author with some outsourced help regarding distribution.
What books would you like to read again?
I am lucky I still own my old library and I can get back to the books and read. It is true about my books from childhood, they are real gems and one of them was recently on my table by the bed. It is a story of little girl fighting cruel Winter and loving gardens and flowers. I wrote the script and it gets animation cover for short movie. I am excited about that. And I love cookbooks:]]
Is there a particular movie that you preferred over the book version?
I'd say a lot of books are difficult to convert into the films because they are about atmosphere but also a lot of quite boring books for children were used as adaptations for successful movies. I cannot say which movie I like over the book but I know I was scared more reading Nightmare on Elm Street book than watching the horror on TV screen because my imagination was wild, turning pages of the book late in night was creepy time for me. Also annoying movie was 50 shades of grey. It was a rom com to me, with added vitamin S and some techniques as dreamwork of middle aged writer. We know private life middle aged people and Middle Age which is time where my book is anchored in is real from that point. It is grey reality. I could choose basic plotline and many bed scenes as Margot was a lover than fighter, there is also an incest, but I am not that type of an author who will create new Game of Thrones series full of vitamin S and bloodbath even it was like that in history and intimate relationship between Margot and her bisex brother Henry III. It will be amazing for Hollywood production than simple plotline with 50 tunes of back vocals but I want to stick to history and Margot's brothers were weird enough and it is based on interesting history. I always think it is difficult to convert certain books into movies, even sci fi like Lord of Rings and it is film work I really like.
What book are you currently reading and in what format (ebook/paperback/hardcover)?
All of them, a lot of them but I prefer hardbooks.
Who designed the cover of your book?
I thought about the painting from 16th century and I picked up the portrait, pointing finger I want certainly this on my book cover but everything else is up to you. I am usually clear about my vision and requirements about website design, main colours and layout, but I let free reins in this case and the result by very talented web designer guy was smashing. My jaw dropped down how I was excited. I really love the golden element, it was his idea as well as frame and I really, really love it. I have also a cover for next book about Margaret of Beaufort called Chess Queen and I choose everything and also asked for many reviews of book cover design. I am happy with that now but it wasn't easy ride like with the cover of Queen Margot. Maybe I should stick with the same graphic designer but I wanted different perspective and fresh look. I daresay the designer of this book's cover is the best.
Do you find yourself intrigued by the cover of a book enough to buy it?
The package and design sells, nice cover book catches your eyes but content is a king. Empty box is still empty box wrapped in glossy paper with golden ribbon on and rag mag is still a rag mag with the sexiest woman on the cover page.
Do you have any advice for other writers starting out?
It will be a long list similar to roll of toilet paper what was is or is Jack Kerouac’s novel or typing by Jose Mourinho. I need to say Thank you to all pearls of wisdom as well as to my trolls and Arthur Landon calling me zero, which made me to push things to higher level of motivation. I am grateful for all sort of advice.
Do you write under a pen name?
No and I have never thought about that. I am very proud of my name and origin.
Do you ever write in your PJ’s?
Often. In chemises. I also sing on the loo and in the bathroom. When I was living in Chelsea, the sound of my singing reached apartments downstairs and they thought it was Catherine Jenkins. Actually no, I am not so plastic looking and they are perhaps happy the writing is quiet activity and the heydays of noisy typewrites are behind us:]]
What are your pet peeves?
I’d go for Keanu Reeves, he is rock and roll with deep knowledge of Shakespeare and he was really funny at the premiere of Anvil in London where he was sitting by the aisle but running back and forth at the stage and very chatty. Sarah Brown, the wife of British PM attended unexpected like princess Margaret of Valois was checked during the wedding night and it was Prince William who proposed his princess of his heart Kate Middleton exactly two years after Anvil premiere , in Africa, giving big tip to Margaret in Kenya and his marriage seems to be happy one compared to arranged marriage between Margaret of Valois and Henry of Navarre. I’d say regarding spitting on Keanu Reeves or anyone I dislike trolls with huge scale of own issues who need to bully, abuse, insult, put people down. Other pet pee for me is noise, I cannot name next one because I am quite laid back and tolerant person who loves to left in peace.
You are trapped on a tropical island - who would you like to be stranded with?
With myself and Alibaba or his helper to get me out. Certainly no with those exots from reality show I am apparently celebrity, get me out.
Pick one - Wine, Chocolate or shoes?
I'm very similar to the lady across the sea from Australia regarding her big closet of footwear. I am an expert on wine but I don't smoke and I don't drink.
Cats or dogs?
Dogs. Big barking dogs, no yappie ones. I sneeze from cats, my two cousins do as well. It is in the family. My aunt Marie Christine who also writes historical novels has trophy cats and she puts sign on the door Don't disturb at 7 or 8pm. It isn't mean she goes to the bed, it means it is her creative time. People are different, we are like cats and dogs.
Tell us about someone or something that just made your day -
Small things make my day. Partner makes my day…unexpected nice things...
What is your favorite food and beverage?
I have no favourite food but I prefer sweet and sour to sweet, but I love baking. I don't drink alcohol but every my friend will tell you I cannot live without a coffee. Every morning routine - strong espresso, roast five, usually After dinner. A lot of cups during writing.
How many hours per day do you try to devote to research and writing?
It depends on the type of writing. It varies with the book but scripts for documentaries are demanding and you really need to put effort and padlock to the laptop to type certain amount on daily basis. The research of the facts is very time consuming but if you have that I just sit and write and write.
What are 3 things you never leave home without (apart from keys, money and phone)?
My brain and good mood. It is just two things.
Sleep in or get up early?
Early bird except Sundays - long lay ins.
Laptop or desktop for writing?
A laptop or a tablet. Both, with handwritten notes on the side.
Your favorite gadget?
A phone and a laptop. Usually switched off over the nights and weekends. It's family and relax time.
Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
Anywhere and any time when I can and I have free time and place to do it.
Your thoughts on receiving book reviews - the good and the bad?
If it is critical review based on the book and logical reasons I get it, it is a part of book publishing and marketing process. I dislike those personal attacks because certain people have self issues that's why need to abuse you or attack you for something irrelevant to the book like I am a stupid blonde or crazy woman, I was mocked with nasty trio who has never published anything worthy except their Twitter abuse of my person I can't speak and write. I take book reviews in daily press or magazine with ease. They aren't ripping you off, the beauty and love for you book is in the eyes of the beholder. I stand by my book but I don't know if it will be loved by critics or it will be a flop or hit with the readers. I did my best.
Do you have a bucket list?
Yes I do but I don't follow the list like dog is chasing a bone.
One of your favorite quotes –
many of them, they are a pearls of wisdom. I will mention just one Live with no excuses and love with no regrets.
List 3 of your favorite movies?
I like to go to Cinema Renoir in London and couple of art theatres in NYC, I like indie movies and film noir than blockbusters. I cannot list just three favourite movies but if I can pick up a trio of film treasures for technique I'd highlight Rebecca which I like to watch over Halloween, Marketa Lazarova which is black and white movie known for lyrical expression and The Brief Encounter but there are many great movies. The list goes on...
What is a movie or TV show that you watched just recently and really enjoyed?
I don't watch TV at all and my last visit to cinema was I think the restored film Red Shoes by British Film Institution. I should start planning a visit soon I just see many animation movies now because I am writing a script to feature movie for children.
Where can your readers stalk you?
I'd rather to be left alone after my bad experiences with cyber stalking and stalking by one man which turned into really bad smear campaign and bullying where also people who have anything to do were involved. I like chatting with people but nice people who are interested in my work, in this case it is a book, and they know one or two things about me or the book than trying to belittle me because they have certain issues. I think if you are lucky or share similar interests with me, you can bump into me at events which are close to my heart and linked with my hobbies, at sports, in the library, in the theatre...I am quite active person.
Is your book in Print, ebook or both?
In ebook format, available in many book outlets over the world, also in Australian indie book stores.
Do you give free ebooks away in exchange for honest reviews?
About the book:
Gritty reality of the 16th century in France with love, passion, opulance sits side by side with dirty streets and intrigues is featured in the first historical novel Queen Margot by MBLW. The reader is instantly hooked by drama around Margaret of Valois, the daughter of famous Catherine de Medici, who survived all her three brothers kings and religious wars between Catholics and Hugenots. The book has good historical accuracy and smooth ride taking the reader into the world of intrigues similar to Game of Thrones. MBLW has good grip on the facts, writing skills and lightness to tell the story to everyone without knowing too much from history in similar way like David Attenborough. Perhaps Simon Sebag Montefiore has his successor waiting under the wings but young writer reminds more documentarist Attenborough who is able to make boring topic easy to digest and become popular. MBLW is big talent of historical fiction, filling knowledge about the period of the religious wars in France with vivid scenes than dry facts. The story pops up before our eyes and the characters are so raw, so strong that you cannot to help but feel as they do. MBLW weaves great storyline written by history and private life of Margot, she portraits her well, forcing the reader to be a bystander which was also a position of Margot in the turmoil of cruel years and the way which saved her life. Read more HERE...