I am delighted to welcome best selling author Angela Britnell to answer some questions for us.
Welcome to OAPSchat Towers Angela, it is lovely to meet you. Please help yourself to a cup cake and I will pour a cup of tea for us both.
Can you begin by telling us a little bit about where you grew up and what you enjoyed most about your childhood?
First, thank you so much Jan for the tea and cup cake – as my hips will attest I’ve never been known to turn down a good cake! I had what would now be considered a very old fashioned childhood and grew up in a small Cornish village called St.Stephen in the middle of china clay country. My father was the village postmaster and my best friends’ fathers were the local vicar and policeman. The consequence was that everyone knew me and there was very little I could get away with – if I’d been that way inclined! I still value my village connections and return as often as I can.
I have been looking at your author biography and wondered why you chose the Royal Navy as a career?
It was more a question of not being able to decide what to do on leaving school! At the time I had no desire to go on to university, couldn’t see myself as a teacher, and would make a terrible nurse. I wanted to get out of Cornwall and see more of the world so when we had a careers talk by someone from the RAF that stirred my imagination. After doing some checking I decided the Royal Navy appealed more and applied to be a Writer which was interestingly what secretaries were called. Thankfully at the time women didn’t go to sea because I’m prone to seasickness! It was a good life and opened my eyes in many ways. If I hadn’t joined it’s doubtful I would have met my American husband, turning my life in a completely different direction than I could ever have imagined.
Travel has featured extensively in your life, has this played any part in the way you research your books?
It’s definitely an influence because a lot of my stories are transatlantic romances and/or feature places I’ve either lived or visited. It means I have a built in picture in my mind and know more about the people and culture than it’s ever possible to acquire from researching an unknown place – Google Earth can only tell you so much!
Please tell us about your journey from writing through to publication.
Although I’ve always been a voracious reader it never occurred to me that ‘ordinary’ people wrote books! It was only after we moved just outside of Nashville, Tennessee when my husband retired from the US Navy and got a job here that I wrote for the first time since school. I saw a creative writing class advertised locally, one evening a week for six week and thought it would be a nice break from my three active young sons! The teacher was very inspiring and I immediately became hooked. I started to write short stories and then made one of them longer – a story that will never see the light of day I’m sure. When a local publisher was looking for romance manuscripts my teacher suggested I sent the second book I’d written to them even though I didn’t realise I was writing romances at that point! Amazingly they bought and published ‘Truth and Consequence’. It was 3 years before I sold anything else but I kept on writing. Since then I’ve sold short stories to UK magazines, written multiple pocket novels for DC Thomson and four novels with Desert Breeze Publishing. In 2013 I won Choc Lit’s ‘Search for an American Star’ competition with ‘Sugar and Spice’ and they’ve subsequently published a further 2 novels and 2 novellas, with two more in the pipeline.
Who or what inspires you?
My amazing mother-in-law! She’s well into her eighties and has significant health problems that restrict her everyday routine but she retains a zest and interest in life that puts many younger people to shame.
Which authors influence you?
I’m a huge fan of Joanna Trollope and aspire to write something even half as good as ‘The Rector’s Wife’ – still one of my favourite books. I believe that everything you read influences you in some way and can’t imagine being a writer without reading as much as possible – usually at least one book a week. I rely on my wonderful local library to feed my reading habit!
Can you describe a typical writing day?
During the week I do non-writing tasks in the morning including unavoidable household chores, my water aerobics classes and the business side of my writing (marketing/social media etc). After lunch I normally settle down to write until it’s time to cook dinner – if my sweet husband isn’t doing the honours! My writing routine varies according to what stage I’m at in a book. If it’s a first draft then I concentrate on getting the words down without too much self-editing but when I get to second and subsequent drafts it’s more a question of making changes, expanding/cutting back sections and doing extra research. All this flies out of the window when it’s publisher edits time when I solely focus on that until it’s done!
I see you live in Nashville now, do you take holidays in the U.S or do you prefer to come back to the UK?
A bit of each really! My elderly mother still lives in Cornwall and I go as often as I can to visit her, usually at least 3 times a year – sometimes on my own and on other occasions my husband gets to come too. We have one son who lives nearby and the other two are in Knoxville, about 3 hours away so we often visit them. We would like to travel more and have a long wish list of places we haven’t made it to yet!
Do you have time for any hobbies?
Does reading count? I’m no good at crafts and am not particularly sporty so that wipes out a lot of options! I do enjoy my water aerobics classes and am an active member of the Music City Romance Writers chapter of the RWA. I also have a *mild* Poldark obsession and spend far too much time on Poldark/Aidan Turner related Facebook groups and Twitter sighing over how long we have to wait for the second series!
What does the rest of 2016 hold in store for you?
Apart from topping the New York Times Bestseller list? Coming down to earth I simply hope to continue to tell stories, travel more and spend time with our adorable new grandson!
FIVE QUICK ONE WORD ANSWERS PLEASE!
TV or Radio? TV
Hot or cold climate? Cold
Are you a lark or an owl? Lark
Carnivore or vegetarian? Carnivore
Favourite film actor/actress? Aidan Turner
Many thanks for your time Angela, it has been a pleasure to interview you. I have read the first five chapters of your latest book via Amazon called Love me for a Reason, published by ChocLit. I am eager to find out what happens in chapter six and beyond! Please see Angela's synopsis here and the book can be ordered via OAPSchat website advert on left hand side of the page, or directly from Amazon.