Today I’m delighted to welcome Louise West to Me, My Books and I:
Louise West is currently teaching and surviving in rural Lincolnshire, famed for its beautiful open sky and not much else. She dreams of rainy days and cups of tea. She and her faithful terriers love long walks on the beach, where they can bounce in the surf and she can paddle with her shoes on. She will only eat trifle if her Nan made it.
Sometimes she has Strange Ideas.
Sometimes she writes them down.
To find out more:
Where did the idea for Strange Ideas: Death, Destiny and Decisions come from?
The school I worked in at the time had a dodgy catch on the main door. I became paranoid about checking that it was closed, especially when I was the only one there. It’s been fixed now, but I began playing with the idea of my worst fears being realised- that someone else was in the building with me. It was only a short step to make that someone a spirit. That was the beginning for Late: a ghostly tale and I enjoyed writing it so much, I carried on with a new story. The other stories in Strange Ideas came from random observations and conversations, and my own experiences.
How did you come up with the title?
I played with a lot of ideas but nothing was perfect until Strange Ideas popped into my head. It sums up how all the stories were created, and that they’re not “horror”, yet are still disturbing. We all have strange ideas- I just followed them through and wrote them down.
Who designed the cover and why did you go for that particular design?
I designed the cover myself after the lady I’d initially approached was finally, for very good reasons, unable to commit. I started doodling ideas and, almost immediately, came up with a cover I loved. I love that the face is blank; it’s like the reader can project their imagination on her features in much the same way as they can project themselves onto the characters in the stories.
Which of your characters would you like to meet in person and why?
Maverick Hart, without question. It would be awesome to be able to ask him, in a way that Mia is too frightened to, questions about his life and his observations of society as it grew from tribes to global networks.
Do you follow a plan when you are writing or do you let the story guide you?
I usually have the vaguest of outlines, in that I know where I’m going with a story and how it will end, but I’ve found that’s enough for short stories. My office wall is covered in bits of paper for my novel, though!
Do you have any writing quirks?
I can’t listen to music when I write, as I tend to sing along and forget what I’m writing! I listen to music constantly at all other times though, and my taste is… um… “eclectic”. Also, I write best sat in my recliner chair, with my laptop balanced on my lap and my dogs curled up beside me.
If you could collaborate with any author who would it be?
It would be fun to work on something with Victoria Pearson, as we’re both a bit strange, or go on a ghost-hunt with L.K. Jay. If reality were no barrier, then Terry Pratchett- I love his sense of humour and world view.
What is the one thing you couldn’t live without?
Laughter. The only way to keep sane in this world is to laugh! Even if I’m having a really bad day, I can still find something that makes me giggle, and then I feel better again. I have a very visual memory so if I see something I find funny, just recalling the memory will have me in fits of laughter again.
Great answer – I agree! Who is the most interesting person you’ve ever met?
I had a random conversation with a man when I was in India, who told me that life wasn’t hard if you look for the right way to live it. He meant that we shouldn’t fight fate, or force things before they are ready- that everything will fall into place if we wait for the right time and opportunity. This made so much sense to me, and changed the way I thought about my life. I’m not passive- I’m always looking for an opportunity- but I don’t force something if it doesn’t feel right, and I don’t get frustrated- I just bide my time. People think I’m “lucky” but it’s more a case of knowing what I want and being receptive and ready for the opportunity to get it.
Paperback or eBook?
I resisted Kindle for a long time, as I thought I’d hate it, but caved last summer and have found that I don’t notice it at all now. I like that I can find new writers and read samples before I buy, and I’ve definitely taken a chance on indies because their ebooks were free or cheap. What convinced me was the thought that it was the same as listening to music on an mp3 player rather than a CD- the magic is still there, it’s just more portable. Ultimately though, I prefer “real books”. They smell good.
Dogs or cats?
Dogs. I have two terriers who fill my days with love and joy. I don’t dislike cats, but I prefer a wagging tail when I get home from work! Harvey is a ten year old Cairn who talks to fire engines and likes to crawl under the covers when it’s cold. He also will not go to bed until I do- no matter how late I am! Alfie is a three year old Border who thinks he’s a baby. He’s always sneaking onto my lap for cuddles and is often looking over my shoulder as I type. He loves to be close to me and sleeps with his tongue hanging out. They’re awesome and complement my personality- loyal, feisty and always up for an adventure!
Tea or coffee?
Tea! I’m an absolute junkie for builders’ tea, and get quite grumpy when my caffeine levels run low. It keeps me mobile when I’m writing too, otherwise I’d sit for too long. Making tea (and disposing of it- ahem) on a regular basis means I have to leave the computer at least twice every hour.
Pen or pencil?
Pen, just because I can see it better on the page. I don’t have a special pen for writing, although I do for signing.
Breakfast, lunch or dinner?
Breakfast! I could eat breakfast all day- and sometimes do! I love hot, buttered toast, crunchy cereal with ice-cold milk, crumpets, fruit- my mouth is watering! I’m quite lazy, so probably I love breakfast because it’s the fastest meal to make and eat… I’m not one for spending two hours preparing a meal. I can get quite creative with puddings, though, as I have a sweet tooth!
Any last words for your readers?
Just that I hope they enjoy my Strange Ideas and look out for the next book in the series- it should be ready around October 2013.
Thank you so much for being here today Louise, it was a pleasure to have you on my blog. I particularly enjoyed reading about your random conversation in India!
Now check out the book:
“Strange Ideas: Death, Destiny and Decisions– four brand new tales to creep you out and mess with your head, plus another chance to read the popular short story, Late: a ghostly tale. Do you dare explore these Strange Ideas?
A Flip of the Coin: Do you believe in Heaven and Hell? Jimmy didn’t, until a stranger appeared at his death-bed with a shocking proposal…
Stamp: Ben awakes from a one-night-stand with a hangover and an unusual souvenir. What does it mean? And what happened to the girl who gave it to him?
Rock God: Adored, idolised, worshipped. In our celebrity-obsessed culture, pop stars are treated like gods. But how far do their powers actually go?
Superstition: Laura knocks on wood, avoids black cats and never walks under ladders. Her husband calls her a freak. Maybe he’ll wish he had believed her…
Late: a ghostly tale: Long after the children have escaped for home, a lone schoolteacher is working late. But is she really alone? Is someone there that she can’t see? And, if so, what do they want?”