Today I am delighted to welcome Celia Micklefield on to the blog with a quick interview!
What is your favourite thing about writing books?
I’ve always loved reading. I was three years old when I read my first word. I distinctly remember the moment the penny dropped and I slid the sounds of three letters together: p . . .o . . .p. Pop! From that instant I was hooked. I always had my nose in a book. I still have the set of children’s encyclopaedia I received on my eighth birthday. Now I’m an author and that set of books lives on the bookshelf beside me as I sit at my desk creating characters and giving them problems to solve.
The best thing about writing fiction is I get to write the kinds of stories I love to read. I love multi-layered stories with several threads running alongside each other until they meet at the end. I’m intrigued by the suspense of wondering how it all fits together. I enjoy being creative with the narrative scheme, too and may take the reader back into the past so that they can be aware of something the character doesn’t know him/herself.
Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
I don’t have a particular favourite character but I have a soft spot for the ones who struggle either because of things other characters have done or mistakes they’ve made themselves. In Patterns of Our Lives, my World War Two family saga, Ronnie Logan’s guilty secret shapes the rest of his life. In Trobairitz the Storyteller, my modern day female troubadour (trobairitz) tells a story, just as the original, medieval trobairitz did, of love and sacrifice, current affairs and the role of women in society but these are the very subjects causing problems in her own life. In my latest novel, The Sandman and Mrs Carter, the secret Wendy Carter’s mother kept to herself all her life continues affecting the next generation even after her death.
Secrets, lies and family mysteries fascinate me, as do tales of revenge especially when it goes wrong. I often use these themes in my short stories.
What is your favourite drink to consume while writing?
I drink coffee or water when I’m writing but not at my desk. I make myself get up and move about. I have a condition called CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome) diagnosed four years ago after I was knocked down by a careless driver. Motion is lotion, as they say. I have to move or my muscles ache too much.
Do you have any bad habits while you’re writing?
Bad habits while I’m writing? I forget other things need doing. I don’t realise what time it is until my stomach rumbles and then it dawns on me I should have popped out to buy food.
How do you research your books?
I research thoroughly for all my work and I enjoy most of it. I have a large collection of non fiction books covering subjects useful to me. At other times I use Google to look up a particular date, for example. I keep my research notes in hard-backed lever arch files. Sometimes, research I’ve done for one book might come in useful for another. Some of the subjects I’ve researched have been a surprise to me. Who knew closed houses were really brothels in France to which the authorities turned a blind eye?
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Basically, I’m a plotter. I always begin with an outline and rough character sketches. I need to know my characters’ personalities before I can give them convincing dialogue. All my work is character-led. It’s they who set the pace unless outside events intervene. My settings are important to me, too. I prefer to use settings I know well so I can include those sensory details which can bring a narrative to life.
Once I’m well into the book I can let my characters have free rein. I often find that fresh plot ideas come to me as the characters develop and so my original outline may change. I think it’s best to be flexible like that as long as you’re not messing too much with the book’s theme or message.
If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose and why?
I used to love the fictional worlds of authors like Daphne du Maurier and Rosamunde Pilcher. I was much younger then and I don’t think I’d like that now. Right now I can’t think of any fictional world I would prefer to live in rather than the real one I’m in. It would be lovely to reach more readers with my work but, generally, I’m happy with my lot. Except for the CRPS. I could do without that.
If you could be friends with any fictional character, who would you choose and why?
Is there a fictional character I would like to befriend? Hmm. That’s a difficult one. I think it would have to be Jack Reacher. With him as a true friend wouldn’t you feel so safe? You could get into any amount of serious trouble and you’d know he’d answer your call and be right there on your doorstep to sort things out. Not that I want to get into serious trouble, you understand, but as I’ve said, I do enjoy those tales of revenge. You wouldn’t have to depend on Karma with Jack Reacher watching your back.
About the Author
I use my maiden name Celia Micklefield as my author name. I’m from West Yorkshire originally where they eat pies and drink proper ale. I lived in southern France for nine years where they eat pastries and drink red wine. Now I live in Norfolk. I haven’t worked out yet what the county’s favourites are but I think they eat and drink whatever’s on the table!
My CRPS is a chronic pain condition, highly misunderstood by many in the medical profession in the UK and I’m currently working with other sufferers to see what we can do to raise awareness. I have to pace myself because of the condition as my energies are limited but I’m used to living with it now. On bad days I don’t beat myself up if I can’t do as much as I would like.