TRANSFORMING PANDORA – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What was the inspiration behind Transforming Pandora?
When I left teaching, I thought I’d try my hand at something other than material for language learners. My first efforts were a bit off-beam – some dodgy poetry and a self-help manual. It wasn’t till the autumn of 2010 that I had an overwhelming urge to write a novel, so I joined a writing class to get my work critiqued by strangers – friends and family are often too kind to be objective critics. There was some resistance from a few members of the class to the spiritual element, but for me this underlying theme was essential because I wanted the book to be more than just a story. I wanted it to appeal to the reader’s heart and soul.
Is there anything biographical about Pandora?
I’ve certainly drawn on familiar locations and scenarios. I was a convent schoolgirl with an Irish background, I worked in a nightclub in Estartit, on the Costa Brava, and have attended a number of Mind, Body and Spirit events and workshops in my time. But she isn’t based on the eighteen-year-old me: she’s much more reflective about religion than I was at that age.
Do you think of the 1970s with affection?
Yes. I got married in the 1970s. One of our wedding presents was an old black Austin A30 which kept breaking down. We rented a small flat with an orange ceiling and purple walls, mercifully not in the same room. Both of my sons were born in this decade, and we moved house three times, so it was full of new life experiences.
Have you ever communicated with a supernatural being from ‘the other side’?
I communicate with ‘the other side’ in the way that any other writer or meditator does. With writing it’s the state of being in the flow – contacting the muse, if you like – when the words come easily and it feels as if a truth is being communicated through the speech and actions of the characters.
Meditation can put the meditator in touch with his or her higher self. The practice opens the third eye and increases our powers of intuition, so we instinctively make better choices, know when to follow a hunch, become tuned in to the process of creativity. But, no, I don’t see angels or ascended masters – or even fairies. It would be nice, though.
How long did it take to write Transforming Pandora?
About a year, but after that, six months of tweaking! Working with two time frames did cause complications. I sent the manuscript to a literary consultancy to see if the structure worked and they advised me to review the chapter sequence. So I rejigged some of the chapters, clustering them together, and added a new one at the beginning, to set the scene a bit more.
Pandora takes centre stage again in my second novel Squaring Circles, This one’s set in 2008, so there’s only four years of her life to catch up on. Like the first, it starts with a recent death, but this time there’s a mystery surrounding the burial which a large Poitou donkey helps her solve. I plan to write one more Pandora book after that. Then I’ll see what life and inspiration brings.