Today I warmly welcome UK multi-genre author, P.J. Roscoe, to Behind the Pen. Over to you Paula…
How many novels have you written and published?
I have written five novels. ‘Echoes’, ‘Freya’s Child’, ‘Between Worlds’, ‘Diary of Margery Blake’ are all available now. ‘Where Rivers Meet’ is in the queue at the publishers and I hope it will be out very soon. I have also written three books for children. ‘Adventures of Faerie Folk’ books, one and two are out now; the third is due out May/June this year.
I am working on my sixth novel titled, ‘Realms’ and at least three more faerie books are scheduled for the coming year.
My novels are paranormal, historical fiction, except Diary of Margery Blake which is purely historical. The faerie series teaches morals and how to live in harmony with nature to young children.
I have also had a couple of short stories accepted within Anthologies – ‘Crimson Timeline’s, ‘Love Alters’ and ‘Steps in Time’. All available on Amazon and Crimson Cloak Publishing.
What is your favourite character from one of your novels and why?
Very difficult to answer as I love all of my characters. Each book has a strong woman character but if push comes to shove, it must be, Bronwen Mortimer, my very first character I wrote in Echoes.
Bronwen has lived within me for the last twenty-one years, since I first conjured her. She is a young fighter, a warrior woman who has survived years of abuse and still fights to be her true self even in extremely difficult circumstances. She will not give up living the life she knows she deserves and nobody can tell her she isn’t worth it – and they have tried to break her spirit but thankfully, they did not succeed. Bronwen knows her own mind and will not steer away from that. She is feisty, even though everything terrifies her, she will face her fear and do it anyway. Gotta’ love her!
Do you have any particular qualifications that relate to the subject matter covered in this novel?
Echoes began following the death of my son. There are many strands that finally come together, but one is following the grief and devastation of a mother whose children continue to die at birth and how it finally affects her – I wrote this to help me with my own grief as I could relate to her pain. Thankfully, I do not go as far as Lady Anne does!
Echoes is about past lives and what we do in one life echoes down through time which can affect this lifetime. It’s also about what we do in life ripples outwards and influences all those around us. I remember some of my past lives.
Echoes has a supernatural, ghostly element to it – I have seen spirit and ghosts from a very early age and continue to help them now, working with angels and spirit guides to counsel those in need and move on if necessary. I also offer medium ship readings, connecting with loved ones – so this is also a huge part of my life.
I am a qualified counsellor, holistic therapist, drumming therapist, chakra dance facilitator and Angelic voice healing facilitator, trainer and supervisor for Cruse Bereavement Care for eight years, training people to become counsellors and workshop facilitator. Mum, wife, author, survivor of abuse – not necessarily in that order, but I use my skills and experiences to enhance my novels.
How far has your writing career evolved from when you first began to write to what it is today? Is this in line with your initial expectations?
When I first began twenty-one years ago, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, who to talk to, or how to get anything published – it was a complete minefield. Back then, it was all about ‘traditionally published’ and finding agents to represent you and if you weren’t ‘Jackie Collins’ forget it!! The chances of being accepted were minimal.
I took a two year writing course after my second child was born and did this at home as and when I could. It gave me opportunities to try my hand at different writing, but it became clear that short historical stories and my novel, were my strengths. I wrote freelance for a Welsh magazine and was pushed to continue when every article was published – and I got paid!
My tutor asked to see Echoes which was all typed out (No computers back then!) He encouraged me to keep going and eventually I sent chapters to the ‘big publishing houses’ – nothing. I left it for years in a cupboard as my daughter needed my full attention. She has autism and dyspraxia and life revolved around hospitals and therapies, until by 2008 LULU appeared and self publishing became accepted – so I self published and held a book launch – without any books – too embarrassed!! Fifteen people bought a book online – I redid it on Create space in 2012 and Echoes began winning awards and getting through to semi-finals.
I have made many many mistakes due to lack of patience and believing the wrong people. Echoes was taken on by a con artist for two years and I lost money, before it was accepted by Doce Blant publishing and relaunched in 2017. The rest of my books are with Crimson Cloak Publishing. My books are slowly becoming audio books and I have just signed my faerie books and Diary of Margery Blake with ‘Storymore’ a company who makes films for your years – enhancing audio books to the next level – exciting times ahead me thinks!
I had no expectations. I merely wanted to write, but now I want to make enough money to live on and be a best-seller and at least one of my books made into a film – preferably, Echoes, so I’m hoping my career evolves into such a wonderful life.
How much research do you do? How do you balance the demands of getting the facts right and telling a good story?
I do lots of research. As my novels are historical, it is imperative the facts are correct. I tend to use actual people within my novels. Echoes moves between present day and 15th century England, when Henry Tudor claimed the throne, so I had to learn a lot about the battle of Bosworth as it has a bearing on the story. I had to delve into meanings of 15th century names so it worked with the storyline, how they dressed, places, everything – I have to immerse myself in their world, so my readers can. Nothing worse than enjoying a story to find something that doesn’t ring true.
I find balancing facts and creating a good story very easy. Facts are helpful, interesting and finding a small snippet of something that can be added to a story, makes it feel so much more real to the readers as they can check out the facts – education!!
Some things have to be my imagination because we just don’t know, but I make it plausible. Such as, Between Worlds is set during the dark ages – we don’t know much about this period so I have a lot of scope to provide my own interpretation but keeping it as real as I possibly can. One of the characters is Artorius who historians believe may have been ‘King Arthur’ – again, nobody really knows about him except small pieces of information written years after his death, so I have scope to portray him how I wish.
I also need to make sure facts in the present day are correct – at least have enough background information to work with. For Between Worlds I worked with a hypnotist who answered my many questions – even daft ones – to make sure I had a good understanding. Same for psychology and how psychiatric hospitals work. I’ve interviewed police, doctors, nurses, therapists, archaeologists. I try to visit the area the book is set in too and gain familiarity – all to make sure I have a good knowledge for my books.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I write every day my daughter is out of the house – she is now in college so for about four days a week I get time to write, but sometimes emails, interviews!!!!!! Networking can take up so much time.
When not writing I walk in nature every day – usually before I begin my day with my dog, Sidney. I love watching a good film. Recently watched, Thor, Ragnorok – not bad – good fun! I appreciate fine real ale and thankfully we have a brilliant, tiny pub a mile away who really knows his ale. I love a glass or bottle of red wine and dance whenever I can and I love music. I read, though I am slow as most of the time I am exhausted by bedtime and might manage half an hour. My favourite thing to relax is jigsaws – they have to have a spiritual element or pre-Raphaelite and I glue them and have them framed when I can afford it. I lose myself within the picture, music on, large coffee – a peaceful hour. We go to festivals and gigs around the country and just enjoy life as best we can.
What attributes do you think you need to remain sane as a writer? Are there any particular things you routinely do for yourself to maintain your own headspace?
An author must be able to motivate themselves and be resilient. To sit at home and make yourself write can be difficult – for some – not me, I can’t write fast enough! I have so many stories buzzing around my head!!
Resilience helps when we come across, trolls – people who will be mean about you and your work, regardless of whether they have actually read it – just to be mean and spiteful – it can knock a lot of writers. I’ve had a couple who have given my books one star and NOT even read it – purely for spite. Being able to take feedback is crucial and can be hard. There are always people out there who have an opinion and feel the need to share theirs with you and they have never even attempted to write anything! People seem to think it is ‘easy’, an easy life, doing nothing except putting words on a screen – you do it then!!
I believe in meditation and looking after myself using therapy to relax, keeping in contact with nature every day to ground myself and surrounding myself with loving people. I do lots of healing and working with angels, so I feel much loved all the time. Keeping happy and well is crucial. The day I stop enjoying this, I’ll find something else to do.
If you could trade places for a week with any other person, living or dead, real or fiction, who would it be and why?
I LOVE my husband of 25 years – let’s just get that out in the open – however!!!! IF I did not have him and I could trade places with a fictional character, it would have to be Clare from the ‘Outlander’ series. It is my favourite book as it has Scotland (Favourite place) men in kilts (Favourite type of men!!) Standing stone circle (I love archaeology and travel around the country finding and connecting with the energy) Time travel (A big believer in this phenomenon) and James Fraser (Favourite fictional man) To have this man fighting for me, yearning for me and well, let’s stop there, getting too hot under the collar in here!!!
If you could sit down for an afternoon with an iconic person from history, who would you choose to spend that time with?
Probably Anne Boleyn. I was fascinated from a young age regarding her ghost that is seen wandering all over Britain and I’d love to talk with her, preferably before her evil husband cut off her head because his eye wandered towards a younger model.
I’d like to drink tea, eat fresh cream cakes, and have a giggle and a walk around one of her lovely gardens and talk to her, woman to woman. If I could turn back time, I’d warn her to stay away from that evil tyrant, Henry!
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For further info on P.J. Roscoe:
Adventures of Faerie Folk:
‘This world would be a happier place, if we could only remember our childhood wonder.’ P.J. Roscoe.