Today I am delighted to welcome Sheila Norton to Hayley Reviews. As you can see from my previous post I read and loved The Vets at Hope Green part one. Before part two becomes available I decided to ask Sheila some questions. Welcome Sheila and thank you so much for joining me….
1. Sheila as an extremely new fan of your writing tell me a bit about your background and your books? After I have read each part of vets at hope green I hope to read more from you.
Hayley, it’s so good to have you as a fan! I’ve been writing my entire life really, but it was just a hobby until I started having short stories published during the 1990s. Then my first novel was published in 2003 – followed by seven more with that first publisher and six that I self-published from scratch. The early novels were all in the ‘chick lit’ genre, but more recently I’ve written two novels set in the 1960s (my teenage era!) and one with grandparents as the heroines. You can probably tell my age from that! However, my newest books are with Ebury Publishing, who commissioned me specially to write ‘animal’ stories. The first two of these are ‘cat’ stories – narrated by the cats! These have been very popular and I loved writing them, but I’ve also really loved writing ‘The Vets at Hope Green’, which has both human and animal interest! I’m now retired from my day job, so writing is my main occupation, but I worked most of my life as a medical secretary in the NHS. I also brought up three daughters, who between them have now blessed my husband and me with six little grandchildren. So I’m used to being busy!
There’s a full list of my books on my website www.sheilanorton.com
2. Cathy Bramley has done extremely well from e-book 4 part stories. Whose decision was it to do The Vets at Hope Green in this way?
It was my publisher’s decision, partly because of the success of similar series. When my editor first suggested it, I found the idea quite strange, and it was tricky writing the book in four parts, with ‘cliff hangers’ at the end of each part to encourage readers on to the next one – but I soon got into it and enjoyed the process. It’s always good to try something different. And now I’m really excited about the next one, which will be another four part series. Watch this space!
3. Is Hope Green based on a real or fictional place?
It’s fictional. But we spend a lot of time in the west country so I enjoyed setting the story in a Dorset village. I could imagine it quite clearly in my mind! The next one will be set in Devon.
4. Without spoilers tell us a bit more about the characters?
Sam is a Norfolk girl originally, who’s moved to London to work in an upmarket city vet practice, but her real dream is to have more contact with animals, and ideally to live somewhere in the country where she can have dogs and children! Unfortunately her boyfriend Adam doesn’t share her dream at all, but she finds comfort and understanding in Hope Green with her Nana Peggy – a no-nonsense, tough lady who speaks her mind but adores her granddaughter. In Hope Green Sam meets some interesting characters including Joe, the new vet who seems to like animals a lot more than people, and David, who walks local people’s dogs for a living. And of course – there are some lovely animal characters too!
5. What is your ideal writing day? Explain.
Much as I love my family and friends, and prioritise them whenever possible, I also love having a day when I have nothing at all in my diary, no shopping or housework desperately needing to be done, and can write as much as I like! After breakfast I’ll check emails and social media first, responding to anything I need to, then start by reading through the last few pages of what I’ve written in the previous session. If I’m working from a synopsis, which is the case with my new books, I’ll re-read the part I’m working through, and then get stuck in. I’ll break for a cup of tea after an hour or so, and again either to go for a walk or a swim, following which I’ll have a sandwich for lunch. Then check the emails etc again before carrying on with some more work on the book. When I’ve reached a good place to stop – ideally at an exciting part, so I’m going to be fired up to get back to it the next day! – I’ll make a brief note of what I’m planning to put next. Then I’ll cook dinner, if it’s time, or else relax with the paper, a book, or a computer game. I don’t often work during the evening unless I’m running tight for a deadline. I had to do all my writing during the evenings when I was at my day job, so I enjoy having them free now. I’m happy to respond to emails and social media while watching TV though – and enjoy writing things like this!
6. What are your hopes for 2017?
Well, of course I’m hoping ‘The Vets At Hope Green’ will be a success! The most important thing for me is that people enjoy it – I’ve never expected to be a bestseller, not that it wouldn’t be nice if it happened! And
I’ve just had the synopsis for the next four-part series agreed by my editor, and have started writing the first part of it, so I’m obviously looking forward to completing that, too. Other than that, at my age my chief hopes are to be healthy enough to enjoy life, and for all my family to be happy and healthy.
I already adore Sam and I haven’t yet finished part one and I know that’s only the beginning of her story.
Thank you! So pleased you’re enjoying it. And thank you so much for inviting me to feature on your blog.
Thank you so much Sheila it was lovely to have you here.