Tori Turnbull - Author Interview
Updated: Oct 9, 2018
1. How would you describe yourself?
Young-ish, I’m clinging onto my thirties like a limpet on a life raft. Fun, I hope, and an introvert with social-extrovert-tendencies! Whilst I can happily go for days without talking to people and love being home with just my crazy dog and ponies for company, when I go out with friends I’m bubbly and outgoing.
2. What is the first book that made you cry?
The Horse Whisperer. I read this on a plane when it was first released and had to get a tissue of the airhostess. I really related to the story and how quickly life can change. My sister and I had horses and rode all over the countryside together. I could picture the accident scene at the beginning exactly and put us in the place of the characters.
3. Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Writing energises me. I love to write. I can lose hours to writing. I enjoy finding out what will happen to my characters and how they will get out of the scrapes they seem to get themselves into. I also love the fact that they can do and say things that in real life we are inhibited (by morals and laws) from doing.
4. Have you ever gotten reader’s block
Yes! Although I didn’t realise it was actually a thing.
I am an avid reader and read a few books a week. I like romance and crime or suspense novels. However, sometimes I open my Kindle and think I can’t read this, then flick through other books and just can’t settle on anything. It doesn’t last, but has even happened where I end up loving the book.
There has only ever been one book that I didn’t finish in my life… Middlemarch by George Eliot. I have tried three times, but there are just too many characters and I can’t get into it.
5. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
6. Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
My preference as a reader, and a writer, is for standalone books, although I am happy for a series of standalone books where different characters get their own stories. I hate hanging around for another book to be written before I find out what happens… I usually forget what happened in the first book or am disappointed because in the gap I have had my own ideas.
My first three books (released from June 2018 into spring 2019) are fully stand alone, however they are linked by their location, Pimlico London.
7. What does literary success look like to you?
Success to me would be people reading my books, seeking out my author pages and social media wanting to talk about my books and characters. I love the idea of entertaining people, of having them enjoy my stories and look forward to new releases, just like I do for some of my favourite authors. Of course, the ultimate dream would also be to be able to write full time and make a living.
8. What’s the best way to market your books?
I am happy to take tips from readers on this!
I have been trying to reach out to bloggers and readers on Twitter and at Goodreads, but only two weeks in, I won’t pretend I know how successful this approach will be.
9. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I tend to write about places I know and let the story flow organically so I don’t do a lot of research in advance. As a scene comes together, if something happens and I don’t know what the repercussions would be then I research them then. This means that I find out the outcome at the same time as the character and I think gives a more realistic response as I deal with the event at the same time they do.
10. How long were you a part-time writer before you became a full-time one?
Kissing Frogs is my first published novel and was only published two weeks ago, so I am still a part time writer! I have been writing for years as a hobby, in fact my brother still teases me about a story I wrote when I was about twelve “I nearly Deid” and the fact I spelt the title incorrectly… I was out dog walking with my brother a few weeks ago and tripped and he said, “be careful, you nearly Deid there!”
I always have a story in my mind and scenes and conversations jotted down on my mobile, random scraps of paper etc. I have a lot of unfinished manuscripts and story ideas. In 2018 I made my New Years resolution to edit and publish one of my books in the hope people would enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them. Please, let me know if you do!
11. How many hours a day do you write?
As many as I can. I tend to binge write whenever I have time and even write in bed at times until I fall asleep.
12. How do you select the names of your characters?
I find characters names hard. I actually struggle with names in my real life too, I worked with ‘David’ for a year, although he sat in a different office. When I moved to a new role I introduced him to my successor at which point he said “my name is actually John.” For a year, I had called him David. When I called his office I ask for David and they always put him on the phone… He said he’d tried to correct me once, then just decided to go with it. Everyone in his office knew if I called and asked for David I wanted John, so they just put the call through to him! So, clearly names don’t come easily for me.
When I am writing, I usually pick names of people I know, or names that I like as I start writing. However, sometimes as the book progresses I realise that the person is actually called something else and change it. In The Meri Scott Show (to be released late 2018) Meredith was originally called Grace, but one day I was writing and she let me know her name wasn’t Grace, so I had to change it.
13. Do you Google yourself?
I haven’t yet. But I am going to now!
14. What is your favourite childhood book?
I loved Enid Blyton, especially the Far Away Tree stories. As soon as my Nephew and Niece are old enough I am going to start reading them to them.
15. Does your family support your career as a writer?
I am lucky enough to have a very supportive family, my sister Beta read the first few chapters of Kissing Frogs before I sent it out to ‘professional’ Betas. My mother helped me choose my cover designs and my x-sport loving brother happily shares my Romance Novel posts on his social media.