Please welcome back Mandy James, one of the lovely contributors for the website.
Good morning Mandy and great to chat to you once again!
Let’s have a cup of tea and look - I even have some scones with raspberry jam and a pot of Cornish cream! Do help yourself to one and I will join you.
It has been a while since your last article on OAPSchat back in January 2016. I would like to start by congratulating you on the publication of your latest novel Behind The Lie.
Can you tell us a bit about the new novel please?
Thanks for inviting me, Jan and wow those scones are delicious! Okay, Behind the Lie is about a young woman, Holly who’s had a difficult few years. She left a small Cornish village for the bright lights of London to be a model. Unfortunately, she got caught up with the kind of lifestyle that sometimes surrounds a career like that. Then she met handsome and wealthy doctor Simon West. Holly soon fell for him; they married and she hopes to live happily ever after. When she falls pregnant with twins she is over the moon, but then tragedy strikes. Only one of her babies survives. She’s so distraught that she refuses to believe that her son is dead and friends and family begin to fear for her sanity. But Holly is determined to find her son and the story is about her quest to do so.
How was the path from research through to publication?
It all happened very fast really. I researched medical aspects of the story and also the grief of losing a child. People I know have sadly been in that position. Then I wrote the book in about 6 months. Three months after that, it is set to be released into the world!
You live in Cornwall by the sea which must be a wonderful backdrop for your inspiration. Do you find time to walk along the shore most days and think up your next plots?
I go to the local beaches whenever I can and weather permitting. Yes, plots come to me when I’m there walking. They are brought to me by the wind, waves and spectacular coastline all around this area. It’s how Behind the Lie popped up. One day I was walking on Crantock beach and looked up at one of the gorgeous houses on the side of the hill overlooking the sea. I wondered who might live in a house like that. The answer came back in the shape of Holly West.
When did you become a published author?
I have always written since I was a child. Sometimes it would be poems, songs and often short stories. I never thought that one day I’d be published though. But about fifteen years ago I started writing seriously – novels mostly. They got nowhere because I didn’t really know how to write! I had great ideas and plots, but the telling left much to the imagination. I read about writing, read lots of novels and practiced, and I eventually got a short story published in 2010. That was for Gentle Footprints, an anthology to raise awareness for Born Free. Because of this I found myself on stage at the hay Festival next to Virginia McKenna. I read an extract of the story to a thousand people and decided I quite liked this writing malarkey! Then in 2011 I had my first novel published and Behind the Lie will be my seventh. I have other unpublished ones (some are a bit quirky!) - So altogether I have written a total of twelve so far.
What was your first job on leaving school?
I left school at 16 with very few qualifications ( hated school) and got a job as a hairdresser. It was all I ever wanted to do, apart from be an author, but that could never be a possibility, or so I thought at the time. I ended up in a really posh salon and I was the junior. I was treated like rubbish and decided after about 18 months I couldn’t hack it, so I never qualified. Then I ended up in a factory packing drill bits. Marriage at 18, baby at 19 then back into education aged 24. Seven years later and with considerably more qualifications than I had originally, I began teaching in a secondary school. Odd, given that I originally hated school!
Can you describe a typical day’s writing please?
I don’t have a typical day really. I binge write mostly. So I might write everyday for a few weeks, then have a break for a few more. I do get itchy fingers if I leave it too long between novels though.
Do you have time for hobbies?
I don’t really have hobbies as such. But I love walking by the sea, and gardening.
If your book was turned into a film, who would play the lead role and why?
Blimey that is a difficult one. She’d have to be twenty-five, tall and blond. Can you think of an actress, because I can’t!
What was the last book you bought?
Those Who Lie, by fellow HQ author, Diane Jeffrey. I haven’t started it yet, but it looks gripping.
FIVE QUICK ANSWERS PLEASE!
Pop or Classical?
Depends on my mood, but normally pop.
T V or radio?
TV when I am at home – radio when driving!
Walking or gym?
Overseas holiday destination?
Loads to choose from but I do love the deserts of Arizona and the Californian coast.
Spring, as everything is bursting into life and new days seem full of hope.
Many thanks Mandy, it has been great talking to you and I wish you every success with your new novel.
Thanks, Jan! I have really enjoyed chatting…and can I have the last scone? ☺
Here is a synopsis of Behind the Lie
Holly West has turned her life around. She’s found a successful and loving husband in Simon and is expecting twins. She is definitely a woman who has taken back control of her future.
Until she gives birth, only for one twin to survive. Holly can’t let it go.
Holly’s world is in a tailspin and suddenly she can’t trust herself or anyone else. No one believes her, not her husband or her best friend. Because she thinks she knows the truth…her son is still alive and she won’t stop until she finds him.
Available to buy from Amazon.
N.B Mandy is in the middle of a big blog tour. You can see her at various places from the poster below.