Welcome to another Friday Reads blog. My featured book this week is the thought-provoking family saga, Not My Brother’s Keeper by Colette McCormick. Let’s find out a bit more about the book and get chatting to Colette.
Robert and Tom are brothers. Similar in looks but totally different in character, Robert is confident and brash while Tom is shy and reserved.
When Robert’s girlfriend Michelle tells him that she is pregnant he is gone without a backward glance, leaving Tom to clear up the mess that he has left behind.
Sixteen years later, Robert is back.
Welcome Colette. Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I always wrote stories so I guess that I always wanted to be a writer. I say guess because when I was young I didn’t realise that it was something that people like me could do. I used to imagine what it would be like to write stories as a job but I grew up on a council estate in Sheffield and being a writer wasn’t something that I thought was possible for me. To me writers were rich and glamourous but as I grew older I realised that most of them are ordinary people just like me and I could do it too if I really wanted to. That said, I didn’t take up writing “seriously” until I was in my forties because making a living and raising a family sort of got in the way. I still need to make a living which is why I have a day job but the family are old enough to look after themselves now so I get to follow my dream too.
Has any author inspired you?
The author that has inspired me the most is Catrin Collier/Katherine John. The first story that I ever had published was in an anthology that was sold to raise funds for Cancer Research UK and she had one too under the name Catrin Collier. I had never written to an author before but I was so blown away by her story that I had to tell her. She encouraged me to send stories to an editor and that resulted in me getting at least half a dozen further stories published. She was and continues to be so generous with her time and opinions on what I have written and I think if it wasn’t for her encouragement and guidance I would have packed this writing lark in long ago.
What do you like writing most?
I love taking a spark of an idea and turning it firstly into a world in my head that I then commit to paper (or screen) so that everyone else can share it. Not My Brother’s Keeper came from a comment that my youngest son made when his brother left home. He made a throw away comment about how he would clean up the mess his brother had left behind in his bedroom (as long as he was provided with coveralls) and now that idea a book.
Do you have a special place for writing?
I’d have to say where I am sitting right now as I type this which is on the left hand side of the sofa in the living room. When I used to dream of being a writer I saw myself sitting at an oak desk writing stories with a fountain pen (I think I had illusions of grandeur) but that’s not how it turned out. I don’t know if the left hand side of the sofa can be described as “special” but it’s where I am comfortable and it’s where all of my books have been written though not all on the same sofa.
Are you a pantster or a plotter?
Definitely a pantser. I start off with the idea and then I create the first character. I plant them in my head and let them tell their story, creating their world as I go. In Not My Brother’s Keeper I started off with Robert and let him start telling his side of the story and the other characters came from there.
Is your writing ever inspired by your family or real life incidents?
No. My family life is reassuring dull and no-one would be the least bit interested.
What are you writing at the moment?
It’s a book about a woman who dies and has to face up to the decisions that she made during her lifetime. We all have moments when our life changes because of a decision that we make, a road that we take and The Fork In Our Road (working title) is about the road that Julia decides to take.
What inspired you to write this book?
I’ve explained above where the idea for Not My Brother’s Keeper came from and I kid you not when I say that the idea for The Fork In Our Road came to me when I was walking with my dog Rocko through the woods near where I live and I suddenly thought of a nun that taught me at school. If the book ever gets published you will understand the relevance.
What time of the day do you write best?
I would say that the afternoons of my days off are my most productive but purely because that’s when I have the time. Before my husband retired and he worked nights I used to get a lot done after 10pm.
What are your hobbies?
I love gardening and that, along with walking Rocko got me through the first lockdown. The weather during the other two wasn’t really conducive to out door work so baking was my saviour then. I love baking and during the second lockdown I started baking bread and we (yes I got Mr Mc doing it too) make almost all of our own bread. The only exceptions are pittas, naans and baguettes. I have an excellent cheat’s focaccia recipe as long as I remember to start it the day before.
What advice would you give to other writers?
Believe in yourself and never give up. What makes a good book is all a matter of opinion and all you have to do is find someone who loves your book as much as you do. My first book Things I Should Have Said and Done was turned down about ten times before Accent Press offered me a three book deal on the back of it.
Born and raised in Sheffield, Colette has lived in Co Durham for almost forty years. Surrounded by beautiful countryside, she is often found ankle deep in mud walking the dog through woods and fields. While writing is the job that she does for the love of it, to pay the bills Colette is a retail manager for one of the country’s leading charities. When not working, writing or walking the dog, Colette will probably be reading, gardening or baking bread.
Colette was my Indie Author of the Month for December. You can read her interview here.
Karen King – Writing about the light and dark of relationships.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Karen-King/e/B0034P6W7I