Today I’m pleased to welcome author Marie Campbell to the blog. Marie’s novel, Baby, was published on 14 July 2016 by The Conrad Press.
Marie kindly answered a few of my questions.
1. Tell us a little about Baby.
Baby is a psychological thriller, based in Edinburgh, where I live. In it, Michael Stanton, goes to work one day and doesn’t come back. Everyone thinks his pregnant girlfriend, Jill, should accept that he has left her. But she just won’t believe that Michael would walk away from her and their unborn child. Increasingly desperate and alone, she is determined to find him.
What Jill doesn’t know is that Michael’s beautiful ex, Anna, wants him back, and won’t take no for an answer. And it isn’t just him she wants…
2. What inspired the story?
Before I wrote Baby, I wrote many short stories, and they all tended to have a dark side. Baby is no different, and in it I considered what would happen if someone believed they had an absolute right to have something, and what they would do to get it.
3. What have you learnt about the publishing process that surprised you? Is there anything you would have done differently?
I think the biggest shock was the length of the road to publication. I started writing Baby on a writing course, when I was at home with my baby son. In March 2014, when he was three, I thought my book was complete. I knew finding an agent, and then a publisher, was not a task for the faint-hearted, but I hadn’t realized quite how difficult it would be. I armed myself with a copy of the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook and worked through the list of agents. After six long months, I was thrilled when James Essinger of Canterbury Literary Agency agreed to represent me. And then we began the process of tweaking, deleting and adding new chapters. Honing the book until it was as good as it could be, and then looking for a publisher…
Marketing has also been a huge learning curve for me, and it’s only by chance that I came across the fabulous blogging community via a Facebook group called Book Connectors. Some days I feel as I spend far too many hours on social media, or updating my website, when I could be spending the time, well, writing. There’s nothing I would have done differently though – every step has been a thrill in its own way. Receiving an email from a reader telling me they’d stayed up all night to finish my book was the best reward ever.
4. Are you a plan, plan, plan writer or do you sit down and see where the words take you? How long does the process take you from first line to completed novel?
Well, so far, I’ve only written the one novel, and it took me around a year to have a completed, very rough, first draft. As I said in my previous answer, getting from there to publication has taken a long time, but I really wanted the book to be as good as I could make it, so the time taken wasn’t a huge issue for me.
As for planning or just going for it – I do a bit of both. I always carry a notebook, and jot down random thought and ideas all of the time. I like to get the story down without much planning (although I do keep detailed notes about each character) and then go back and work through that first rough draft in detail, making sure the story flows and recording what should happen in each chapter.
5. What do you do when you aren’t writing? What do you do to relax and get away from it all?
I run a freelance proofreading business from home, and that, together with taking care of my five-year-old son, takes up most of my time. My son is particularly fond of the parks, castles and beaches in Edinburgh and the surrounding area (as am I), so we spend many hours exploring and generally running wild (that’s mainly him – I’m the red-faced one in pursuit). I love to eat out, or stay home and binge-watch boxsets (I particularly like a prison-based drama) with a large G&T. I also love to read, and do so whenever and wherever I can. And my partner and I have just given in to the relentless requests for a pet, so I’m guessing our new puppy will also be keeping me pretty busy!
6. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life which book would it be?
This is a very difficult question, and in all honesty, I can’t bear the thought of it – please don’t make me answer…
7. I like to end my Q&A’s with the same question so here we go. What question have you not been asked that you wish had been asked – and what’s the answer?
Ooh this is a tricky one. I’m so grateful to all of the bloggers and reviewers who have kindly given me space on their blogs, and I’m always happy to answer whatever questions they like to ask. I suppose one question that people often ask me, particularly because my stories are quite dark, is where my ideas some from. I’d just like to reiterate that everything I write is made up and I’ve neither instigated nor experienced any of the significant things that happen to my characters. Yet.
Thanks for answering my questions and appearing on the blog.
An absolute pleasure. Thanks for having me.
About the author:
I was born in Hetton-le-Hole, in the north-east of England, in 1972. Growing up, I spent many hours reading and writing stories and can still recall the pride when, aged eight, my story was chosen by the primary school teacher to be backed in cardboard and put on display.
Fast-forward several years, via an abandoned teaching degree, many years as a civil servant and a new baby; driven by a lifelong passion for words, I embarked on an online writing course. I wrote many, many short stories, and then I decided to write a book.
Over the years, I’ve written everything from reports to magazine articles, blogs to short stories. I write mostly at the kitchen table, picking up a pen, thinking, ‘What if…’ and seeing where the story takes me. When I’m not writing or looking after my son, I run a freelance proofreading business Marie Campbell – Proofreading. I also love to read and do so wherever and whenever I can.
About the book:
“When Michael Stanton goes to work one day and doesn’t come back, everyone – friends, family and the police – thinks his pregnant girlfriend Jill should accept he’s left her. After all, he’s done it before.
But Jill just won’t believe that Michael would walk away from her and their unborn child. Increasingly desperate and alone, she’s determined to find him.
Just where is Michael?
What Jill doesn’t know is that his beautiful ex, Anna, wants him back, and won’t take no for an answer. And it isn’t just him she wants…
In a maze of captivity, sexual tension and dark desire, Michael battles with his feelings. Does he really want his normal life back, or could there be a future with the woman who terrifies, controls and fascinates him?
Baby is a compelling, sexy, disturbing and unforgettable thriller.”