[Author Interview] A Day to Remember By Katharine O’Neill

Months after ending a long-term relationship, Bryony Murphy still lets it control her. She’s scared to let anyone else in, just in case her ex, Tara, comes back to torment her again.

It isn’t easy to keep her heart to herself around beautiful journalist Georgia Bing, who works with Bryony on the TV show Crooked Cowboys. Georgia makes Bryony want to forget everything else and enjoy simply her.

After a one-night stand with Bryony, Georgia wants more with the lovely researcher. She knows Bryony’s hurting, but she also knows of Bryony’s past. Georgia is willing to go slow at first, but soon the sexual tension becomes too much to bear and she just has to make Bryony her own.

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Katharine has wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember. She wrote her first novel when she was 15. In her A-levels, she spent lessons preparing dialogue for scenes. Then she studied Creative Writing and Film and TV Studies at Derby University, graduating in 2010.

For a few years, Katharine worked in the community as a care support worker before becoming a stay-at-home parent. In 2015, she made the leap into becoming a freelance ghost writer of romantic fiction. Since then, Katharine has written over 300 short stories, novellas and novels for various clients.

In June 2018, her first novella, A Day to Remember, was published. Katharine lives in Derby with her fiance, a mental health nurse, and their two children.

Find Katharine online

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What inspired you to write your first book?

The plot outline for the book I had already written to fit a series I had in mind which had the theme of weddings, where going to a wedding or working in the wedding industry. It was inspired by an episode of Rogue Traders on BBC’s Watchdog, when they investigated two wedding dresses shops that delivered sub-standard dresses. The series never materialized, and I left the plot hanging around on my laptop. Then I came across a submission call from JMS Books, which was called ‘What’s Your Star Sign’. I decided to give it a go, and the plot I had written was the first I selected to recycle and redefine to fit the theme.

How did it feel to finish your first book to a publisher? What was the most terrifying thing about submitting your first book?

It felt amazing to finally finish it. Then the doubts started setting in. Was it going to be accepted? Was it going to do go anywhere? Would anyone like it at all if/when it got published? Sending the book off was a big thing for me, as I had to take a deep breath and take the plunge. Even though I only waited four days (the turnover time with JMS Books is quick, which I did like), I kept going back to my emails, expecting to see a rejection email from them. As time went on, the doubts that I was being rejected kept coming back.

When the contract email came through, on April Fool’s Day, I had to read it three times before I believed it! And I actually squealed for the first time in my life, so much so that my daughter thought I had seen another rat.

Was it easy to tell your friends and family that you were writing romance? What was their reaction?

It wasn’t that difficult, and they did find it interesting. I do have a supportive family and I’ve been able to utilize my writing. Only the other day, I was asked if I could write the match reports for my hockey team as I was the writer of the squad. More than happy to!

I found it more amusing that I was a ghost-writer (my main job) and whenever I said that to people, they got really excited, only to find out that ghost-writer didn’t mean a writer of ghost stories.

If you were going to prepare a meal for the man / woman of your dreams, what would it be?

A roast dinner with homemade mini toad in the holes, homemade Yorkshire puddings and homemade roast potatoes.

What is your least favourite part of the whole process of writing, editing, publishing and promoting a book? Why is that and how do you deal with it?

It’s more the editing that I find difficult. I don’t like having to go through my story again, because I’m worried it will look awful and I will push it away. Then it will never get published as I had got too scared to send it off. I’m very critical if I read things over again, so that always makes me nervous.

What advice would you give an aspiring writer?

Keep going. Rejections are going to happen, even when you’re published. It’s never easy, but you don’t give up. And do you research. Don’t blag it and hope nobody will notice. I’ve written Regency romances for a client, and I need to write things in a certain way etc, or the readers aren’t going to be impressed.

If you weren’t a writer, what other artistic outlet do you think you’d have?

I would have concentrated more on my music. At school, I played the violin. Back then, I thought I was okay. My self-esteem with anything that wasn’t my writing was just awful. I just haven’t played it in nearly ten years as my mum, who’s a music teacher, had put a new string on and won’t tune it as that’s meant to be my job. I can’t tune a violin to save my life, so until she tunes it, it’s staying in its case at her house, I’m afraid.

Do you have a secret skill that you can share with us?

I wish! I’d love to have a secret skill. If I’ve got one, I had no clue what it is!

What has been your highest point since being published?

Going onto Amazon and seeing that I have all five-star reviews. That makes me feel good about myself, and that I am actually any good.

What has been the strangest place that inspiration has struck and how did you deal with it?

When I’m listening to music while driving. As long as it’s got a beat, I’ll listen to it. Often, I’ll end up playing a scene in my head, not often about the book I’m currently on. Sometimes they often being fight scenes or something dramatic. But it does give me ideas about what I plan to do for future projects, even though there are far too many for me to keep up with.

Note: may contain sexually explicit scenes of a homoerotic nature.

“Oh, hello, Georgia. Fancy meeting you here.”

“How much have you had to drink?”

“I don’t know. I’ve lost count.” Bryony downed the rest of her glass, slamming the glass down on the countertop. “But I’m going to keep drinking until I don’t remember my own name.”

Georgia was not having that. She caught the barman’s eye and signalled him over.

“Get me a strong coffee. And don’t serve anymore alcohol for this one.” She indicated Bryony. “She’s had enough.”

The barman nodded and moved away. Bryony scowled.

“Why are you spoiling my fun?” She grumbled.

“This is hardly fun.” Grabbing the woman’s arm, Georgia helped her off the stool and led her towards the booth. “You and I are going to sit down and talk.”

Bryony tried to pull away but Georgia wouldn’t let go. She wasn’t about to let Bryony bolt. Nudging Bryony into the booth, Georgia sat beside her, effectively crowding Bryony against the wall. Bryony grumbled and glared at her but Georgia didn’t react. They sat in silence until the barman brought the coffee, giving them both curious looks before leaving. Georgia nudged the coffee cup towards Bryony.

“I thought you could handle this assignment, Bryony.”

“I can.” Bryony protested. “This has nothing to do with it.”

“I think it does. We had cameras watching you, remember? Joyce also told me about your reaction. Now tell me drinking yourself into a stupor when you’re supposed to be in the office is nothing to do with your breakdown earlier.”

Bryony glared at her. Her pupils were wide, almost swallowing the color of her eyes.

“Save your journalism for your job, Georgia, not for analysing me.”

Georgia pushed the coffee towards her and leant forward, placing her hand on the back of Bryony’s neck. Bryony didn’t shake her off. If anything, her breathing seemed to get faster.

“Bryony, we’re all worried about you. I’m worried about you.” That much was true. “Please, just talk to me.”

It was all she could do not to pull Bryony into her arms. Georgia wasn’t one to do public displays of affection but she was tempted with this woman.

Bryony looked like she wanted to run. But she slumped, leaning into Georgia until her head rested on Georgia’s shoulder. Georgia didn’t say anything, simply leaning back to settle against the booth, her arm going around Bryony’s shoulders. Bryony let out a shuddering sigh.

“Tara and I were together since I was eighteen and she was twenty. We would’ve been together fifteen years this week. And for the first twelve years, it was amazing. Tara was amazing. But then she changed. She got into a car accident and was diagnosed with bipolar. Tara had to go on pain medication and meds to control her bipolar. Her mother, Krista, found out and accused me of making Tara into an addict.” Bryony sniffed and reached for her coffee. She lifted her head enough to take a sip and placed the cup back down, snuggling against Georgia again. “She’s always hate me, Krista has. She decided to mess about with the meds and eventually stole them, telling Tara she didn’t need to take them. Tara didn’t do anything; she had started developing psychotic delusions and believe Krista that I was the one at fault. So she started lashing out at me.”

Georgia had suspected something like that. She had been there at Tara’s trial and sentencing while Bryony had been in hospital but because Tara had pleaded guilty early on, she hadn’t heard everything. Just hearing all this made the anger bubble up.

“Did you call the police?”

“You know I did.” Bryony sniffed. “And you know what happened at Thanksgiving.”

Georgia did know. She had come into the office early and had found Bryony unconscious. She looked as though she had been hit by a car and was bleeding from the neck. Georgia had called for an ambulance and got the whole story. Tara had tried to come to the hospital but Georgia and a few of their co-workers had blocked her way. Tara had screamed at them and tried to attack Georgia but security had dragged her out.

Georgia wasn’t about to forget that day in a hurry.

Fiona

I am Fee, a 30 -something SAHM bookworm! I love to read, and will read almost anything and everything. I am not afraid to try new genres of books and my main genre is horror, thriller.

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