Hi and welcome to my stop on Joanne Worgan’s Picking Up The Pieces blog tour!
Many thanks to Joanne Worgan and to Kelly @ Love Books Group Tours
Interview with Joanne Worgan…..
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
Hello, and thank you for inviting me on your wonderful blog.
You’re very welcome, Joanne 🙂
Where to start? I’ve been married to Andrew for 20 years, we met at school, and we have two boys. I studied English Literature and Drama at University, but later went on to train and then work as a renal nurse. Today I work as a freelance copywriter when I’m not busy writing stories.
My book is called Picking Up The Pieces and it’s about the importance of family, of friendship and protecting your child at any cost. The novel revolves around Kate, who is a single mum to Sam, her six-year-old autistic son. She believes that her past is now far behind her, as is her abusive ex-partner, but she soon learns that she is not safe, and her life as she knows it will be turned upside down.
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
The story that became Picking Up The Pieces had been brewing inside ne for many years. My youngest son is autistic, and when he was diagnosed at age 3 with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) I wanted to help other parents who were in a similar situation, and so I sat and wrote a kind of self-help book, of all the things I had learned about parenting an autistic child. It was during this time that my mum told me I should write fiction, but I just shrugged this idea off. But, the seed had been planted and I started to write little notes and ideas about a young boy, who eventually became Sam. The rest of the story grew around him.
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
No, not really. I suppose Sam is an amalgamation of my youngest son, and of other autistic children that I’ve had the pleasure to meet over the years. Kate and Matt do have some characteristics of people I know, but I shan’t name them.
How do you pick your characters’ names?
Oh, that’s a great question. Sam became Sam as he was originally Joe, but after watching The A Word on TV I decided to change his name. I’ve always liked the name Sam. I chose the name Kate because it is a lovely and popular name and when I pictured this character in my head it was the first name that instantly cane to mind. Now, Matt for some reason became Matt as I started to write about him. It’s a solid name, a no-nonsense name, and I think that this really did reflect Matt’s personality, as the reliable and trustworthy guy next door.
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
In a nutshell? OK. Well, I try and find time to write every day. This may be for half an hour, for most of the day, or just a few minutes. It depends on other work commitments, if it’s the school holidays, and how far I am into the story. I joined Jenn Ashworth (a fantastic northern author) on her 100 days of writing journey on Twitter and I found it so incredibly useful for just getting all those ideas down. As the saying goes, you can’t edit a blank page.
Who are your top 5 favourite authors?
Only 5? Oh my word! That’s so incredibly difficult as there are so many authors that I love and admire greatly. So, five from this huge collection would have to be Jo Nesbo, Joanna Cannon, Amanda Prowse, Jo Spain and Audrey Niffenegger (as The Time Traveler’s Wife is my favourite book of all time). Oh, and Matt Haig, I know that’s six, but I adore How To Stop Time.
If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?
Oh that’s a difficult one. Let me think. Just one author? I’d have to choose George Orwell. I’d ask him, ‘so what do you think about our world now?’ that would make for an interesting conversation.
Were you a big reader as a child?
Oh my goodness, yes I was. Our house was always full of books, and my parents were avid readers. I also adored the local library. My dad took me every Saturday. I loved my library card. I think I read every book in the children’s section. I also have my mum to thank for my love of Daphne Du Maurrier, as she lent me her copy of Jamaica Inn. My favourite book as a little girl was Little Women, as I wanted to be Jo.
When did you start to write?
I’ve always loved to write stories. Aa a little girl I had a notebook and would write short stories. Then, when I went to university I wrote on and off, it’s always been a part of my life. It wasn’t really though until my son was diagnosed that I believed that I could write. From there I wrote my nonfiction books about raising an autistic child, which then led to me writing a blog for the Huffington Post and my local paper, the Lancaster Guardian. I then joined Wattpad and dabbled in romantic fiction and to be honest I haven’t looked back.
If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?
Oh, that’s another difficult question. You know, to be honest, a book ends how it ends. It’s what the author intended. Now, if I don’t like that I can always change the ending in my head. One book instantly pops to mind, but I feel it would be unfair to say what book, or even to give the ending away.
Is there a book you wish you had written?
Oh, so many books I really wish I had written The Time Traveler’s Wife. That and Pride and Prejudice.
If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?
Love this question. ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.’ I am an eternal optimist.
If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?
Oh, there are so many characters to choose from. But, if I had to choose, it would be Mr Darcey. I’d take him to the Shore Cafe down the road and ask him when was the moment that he fell in love with Elizabeth Bennett.
What are you working on right now?
I am about 60,000 words into a novel that revolves around a young woman who is losing her sight and that sometimes we all need to take a leap of faith, and a bucketful of courage to simply live life. It’s a lot of fun to write
Do you have a new release due?
Picking Up The Pieces is published by Urbane on November 8th.
What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?
I’ll probably wave the boys off to school and then pop into town for a coffee. I may even bake a cake.
How can readers keep in touch with you?
I am on twitter @JoanneWorgan, so feel free to tweet me at any time. I’m on there quite a lot. You can also reach me via my book review site at Brew and Books Review. I’ve also got an author page over on the Urbane website.
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
Just that I feel incredibly lucky to be a published author. I’d like to thank Matthew Smith over at Urbane for believing in me, and to family and friends who always said I could do it. I suppose my final message is to never give up on your dreams, and to not let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Because, you can.
Thank you so much Kerry for inviting me on your blog and being part of the Picking Up The Pieces blog tour.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Joanne 🙂
A compelling and emotive fiction debut about a mother’s unbreakable love for her autistic son.
Kate has a six-year-old autistic son, Sam. She has started a new life to escape her controlling and abusive boyfriend Jake. She believes that the past is behind her and that she and Sam are safe. But after spotting Jake through a misted-up cafe window, Kate knows that Jake has found her.
Kate confides in her neighbour Matt, a man running from his own past. He seems to offer a genuine chance at happiness for her and son Sam, but Jake is determined to get them back at all costs….
Picking Up The Pieces is an original, moving and gripping page-turner about a woman’s search for happiness as she fights to protect her autistic son’s future.
Happy reading 🙂