Heidi Perks, tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am a mum of two small children and I live by the sea in Bournemouth. I spend many of the hours my children are at school writing, something I have always loved doing. Until four years ago when my youngest was born I worked in marketing. I left my job as a marketing director to spend more time with my family, and this was a perfect opportunity to start writing seriously.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I did always want to write a book, but as a child I don’t think I actually said I’d like to be an author. As with most children I flitted through a number of ideas. I wanted to be an air hostess (even though I hate flying now), and also a nurse (I would make a dreadful nurse, I am far too squeamish.) And for quite a long time I wanted to work in fashion as I loved textiles at school.
What books have had a lasting impact on you?
From an early age anything by Enid Blyton. I fell in love with the Famous Five and Adventure series books. Also as a child I really loved Last of the Really Great Wangdoodles, which I still have for when my daughter is a little older. As an adult the first book I remember being totally impressed by was Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper. Whilst I always loved reading this was the first one I couldn’t put down and it was a bit of a turning point for me reading the amount I now do.
Why do you write?
Whenever I can. This is mostly when the children are at school now. My youngest started last September so now I come back after the school run and on most days will write until I need to pick them up. This can mean I often scrabble to finish the sentence I am on as I am practically running out of the door!
Your advice to new writers just starting out?
Be resilient and don’t give up. If it something you really want to do you are going to have to face some knockbacks along the way, but you need to believe that you will get there.
Also do your research. Know who else is writing in your genre and how they are finding success, know what agents you would like to work with and why, and read anything there is about writing. Stephen King’s On Writing is an excellent book.
As an author, what are you most proud (or embarrassed) of writing?
Completing the first book I ever wrote, and seeing Beneath The Surface in print. I set myself targets along the way and reaching any of them is a proud moment but these are so far the ones I am proudest of.
Your views on success?
Success is different for everyone. I found it helpful to work out what success meant to me when writing and for me it is being able to make it into a career. I love writing so the thought that I can continue to do this for a long while yet is what drives me to be successful.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am writing a psychological thriller about a young girl who goes missing.
Your views on book publishing?
I think it is a tough, competitive environment. There are so many talented writers who are struggling to get represented or get book deals, and a huge amount of debut authors with exciting books coming out all the time. I think the surge of self publishing has enabled lots more writers to get their books out there, but there are still many doors closed to them. I understand the reasons for this but it doesn’t make it any easier. That’s why new set ups like Red Door are a great way of getting a foot in the door.
Your views on how new technology has (or has not) changed your writing life?
It hasn’t really changed it in that I only started writing properly four years ago but I can see that it has made a number of things so much easier for writers, such as research, approaching agents and marketing yourself.
Your views on social media?
I left my role in marketing before social media really took off so this has been a big learning curve for me, but I can appreciate how useful it is for getting yourself and your book out there. There are so many ways you can promote yourself now, I just need to make sure I don’t spend much time on it every day!
Do you enjoy reading ebooks?
I still read paperbacks. I can’t imagine not. I love the feel of a book and to me it’s the best way to read! The only time I’d read an ebook is on holiday but even then I’m known to still pack a handful of paperbacks too.
If you could go anywhere in time for one day, where would you go and why?
I would go back to the 1950s to when my mum was at school. I have just finished watching Back in Time for the Weekend on BBC2 and I absolutely loved it. I would want to go back and see what my family was up to and how different things were then for them.
Your idea of happiness?
Being with my family.
Your bedside reading?
I have just finished B. A. Paris’ Behind Closed Doors and I couldn’t put it down. It was amazing. I have a whole pile of books stacked up beside my bed to read and so now I get the excitement of going and choosing the next one!
Your greatest achievement?
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