DEB: Freya, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
FREYA:I am 43 - but frequently I catch my children (Felix 10, Georgia 8) giving me a look that says "Oh Mummy, do grow up!". I am a single mother and I live on a small farm with the children and our dog, Twig (an English Pointer) in a county just outside London. We have fields and woods and a stream and 15 horses graze the land (just the one is mine - Nathan!). I've ridden horses since I was a child and am passionate about Parelli Natural Horsemanship. I am 5'2" - and a chatterbox... I make a knock-em-dead lemon drizzle cake.
DEB: Tell us a little about your latest book, Pillow Talk?
FREYA: Pillow Talk won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award in 2007. It's about giving first love a second chance - and the hero and heroine, who loved each other from afar when they were school kids, come across each other by chance years later. The novel is set partly in the jewellery quarter in London (Petra is a jeweller) and partly in a boys boarding school in the North Yorkshire countryside (Arlo is the music teacher). I read a tiny news piece in the paper about a teenager waking up in her nightgown along the arm of a crane having sleepwalked there - thus began by fascination with sleepwalking which became one of the themes for PILLOW TALK. Similarly, after a robbery at my home, in which I lost all my jewellery (I didn't have much - but what I did have was of great emotional value) when I started to replace items with the insurance money, I found a pair of earrings with tanzanite - and started to read up on this beautiful gemstone, which is almost a character in itself in Pillow Talk.
DEB: What type of research did you do for your book?
FREYA: All the sleepwalking episodes in the book are verbatim from sleepwalkers I met during my research. I also spoke to sleep specialists. I spent a lot of time with the Tanzanite Foundation who ethically source the gemstone - and they leant me a number of items to wear for the launch party and for TV... It was thrilling!
DEB: What is your normal writing day like? Do you have things that have to be in place to write comfortably?
FREYA: My days are jam-packed - there are kids to take to and from school, the dog to be walked, the horse to be ridden, my website and facebook pages to be attended to (wwwfreyanorth.com and www.facebook.com/freya.north) but I try and discipline myself to 4-5 hours straight writing each day. I write from a converted stable away from my house, no broadband, no fridge, no TV... Unfortunately, I suffer badly from tendonitis in my arms so often I use frozen peas as a wrist-support. I also have Alexander Technique classes and remedial massage (ouch)... an occupational hazard
DEB: What was it like when you got the word that your first novel would be published?
FREYA: After four years of rejections, it was - literally - unbelievable. So much so, I continued to work as a temp (a receptionist) for a further three months!
DEB: Do have any advice for new writers?
FREYA: Write because you have a tale you NEED to tell, not because you fancy 'being a writer'. It can be a lonely, frustrating and isolating job. Don't give up - it can be very demoralizing when the rejections come in. Have a look on my website - there's a whole section on advice - practical steps to have your work notices as well as hints for writing too
DEB: When your not writing, what kinds of books do you like to read? Do you have a favorite author?
FREYA: I love John Irving, Maggie O'Farrell and Laurie Graham.
DEB: What are you working on right now?
FREYA: Currently, I am writing my 12th novel Rumours - set in a small village in the county in which I live. It centres around the sale of a wonderful mansion - and how this affects so many people in the village. So I've been nosing around some magnificent country houses all in the name of research. On the whole, though, my work is driven by the characters themselves. I believe you can have the most intimate plot - but if the characters aren't fleshed out, then the reader won't really care what happens!
DEB: Tell us one thing that people may not know about you?
FREYA: I do pottery classes each week - and would love to study
Sourcebooks is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Freya North's book, Pillow Talk to one lucky winner from Debbie's Book Bag!
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~ US and Canadian addresses only (Publisher Request)
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST July 28th.
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