Monday, 22 September 2014

Meet Angelica Ford

Holding Paradise is a split narrative story about a mother and daughter growing up in two very different parts of the world. They are very different in character but a lot of parallels can be drawn between certain events in their lives.
Today I'd like to interview Angelica Ford, the leading character of one of the narratives:

Many people might be impressed by the way you created a business from nothing while being a single mum. How did you manage?

AF: Well, don't forget I had a business partner. Jasmin, my best friend, was always there for me and when we had to, and very sadly, part ways, she made it very easy for me. It was strange how it all worked out. I had no real ambition to start a business, I just knew that I wanted to change my life and it isn't always easy to take a risk like that. I struggled for money at first and we ran the catering business from our little flat in West London to start. It was only through a series of taking risks and lucky breaks that we were able to open the cafe. From there it just went from strength to strength. I feel blessed that I could make a living out of something I loved to do.

It is also very difficult to raise a child alone but when you finally married, your teenage daughter became quite a handful. How did that affect your marriage and the business?

AF: Wow, that's a big question, you have no idea. As a family we went through some very big and dramatic changes and upheavals. I know I gave my daughter, Eva, a lot more flexibility in the way I raised her than my very strict upbringing. She went through her tantrums and tiara stages, and she won't mind me saying so, but, fundamentally she is a good girl. What happened was a young girl falling in love. It was misplaced and created an enormous rift in the family dynamic but I have to take some of the responsibility for that. I am her mother after all and, though she never blames me, I can't help blaming myself. As mother's we do our best. I look back at that summer and wonder what I could have done differently.

You had to travel half the world to try to put things right between your daughter and your husband. How traumatic was that?

AF: I look back on those few weeks as the worst moments of my life and I never want to go down that road again. Hearts were broken, things were said and done that can never be taken back. But what I learned from all of that experience was about the power of love and family. It was my mother, of all people, who showed me that there might be a way to put right all the catastrophes that were taking place over that time. It just seemed to go from bad to worse. I learned how to trust and to trust what your heart is telling you.

When all is said an done, there are still some secrets in your family.

AF: Yes, that's true and I don't know how I can live with them. My mother had to live with lies and it tore her heart apart. I just know that the secret I have to keep is just so big it would destroy more than just my immediate family if the truth were ever known.

How can anyone reading this interview get a close up view of what went wrong in your life, how you tried to fix it and the secret you have to keep?

AF: They can watch the following trailer and decide if they want to know more. The secret is a big burden to carry and not anyone can or will want to.

Thank you for sharing with us today, Angelica, it was great talking to you.

You can find out more about Angelica and her family by following this link if you are a UK Reader or this one is you are any where else in the world.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Meeting Those Deadlines

There's nothing like a nice break and my 'Big Fat Blogging Break' was nothing like a nice break!

I have been hard at it. I finally handed in my dissertation *big cheer* and I couldn't be more relieved. Problem is, I keep looking over my shoulder, thinking I've left something behind only to realise that what I'm searching for is the thing that has been keeping me up all night - the dreaded dissertation. It's over and done with and I will never use the word, dissertation, ever again amongst friends and family. They must also be sick of me ranting and raving about it. That ends here.

So, what next for me then? Is there life after the big D?

Fortunately, yes there is. I had to turn writing jobs away in the last few weeks but now I have three on the go. All of them ghost writing jobs of various descriptions and lengths and varying deadlines for completion.

Then there is the big deadline - finishing my own novel. When Skies Are Grey is still at first draft stage and I'm desperate to get it finished by January so I can start sending it off to various agents.

Plus I have another deadline that has been waiting in the wings. That is to have my collection of stories edited so that I can self-publish them. It might be adventurous of me but my deadline is Valentine's Day 2015. As the collection begins with a split narrative, love story that spans a period between 1896 and 1926, it would be nice to have it ready for then.

For those of you who don't know, these stories are a follow up to my debut novel, Holding Paradise, and if you haven't picked up a copy from here, here or here then you better get a move on so you can follow what happens with some of the Holding Paradise characters next. The collection of stories is called The Long Way Home and includes two novellas and three longish, short stories.

Now, because my mother-in-law tells me that I take on too much and that is why I'm a borderline insomniac, that has to be it for the big deadlines - for now!

I will spend time talking about the characters and themes of all of the above and would love to get your feedback if you have read Holding Paradise or are interested in any of the stories I have talked about.