Thursday, 24 March 2016

Debut Spotlight: Heidi Perks

Today is another busy day in the publication world, lots of fabulous books are being published including a selection of debuts such as Beneath the Surface by today's debut spotlight guest Heidi Perks.

Heidi Perks was born in 1973. She lives by the sea in Bournemouth with her husband and two children.

Heidi graduated from Bournemouth University in 1997 with a BA (Hons) in Retail Management, and then enjoyed a career in Marketing before leaving in 2012 to focus on both bringing up her family and writing.

Heidi successfully applied for a place on the inaugural Curtis Brown Creative online Novel Writing Course and after that dedicated her time to completing her first novel, Beneath The Surface.

She has a huge interest in what makes people tick and loves to write about family relationships, especially where some of the characters are slightly dysfunctional. 

Heidi is now writing her second novel. 

Twitter: @heidiperks1 

Can you tell us a little bit about your debut novel Beneath The Surface? 
Beneath The Surface is about three generations of women in one family who have been torn apart through lies and secrets. When Abi was 17 she came home to find her whole family had disappeared. The story picks up 14 years later when Abi knows she has to find out what happened to be able to move on with her own life. The stories of Abi, her mother and one of her younger sisters who is now 16 herself, are interwoven throughout the book.

Did you know you always wanted to be a writer? 
I always wanted to write a book. Whenever anyone asked what one thing I would like to do in my life this was always the first thing that came to mind. As a child I had a love of reading, and one of my first memories was being sent home from school ill and lying on the sofa reading Enid Blyton. I was so happy and knew there was something quite special about being able to transport readers into a different world. I am quite a big daydreamer and always find myself thinking up stories in my head and seeing where I can take them. It can start from something so simple, like a person I see on a train or something I hear on the news and eventually I will have played out a whole story in my head before I realise I am doing it.

Do you have designated writing hours or is it a case of fitting in writing around your home/work life? 
Three years ago when I started writing and my children were very young I would write whenever I could. This would be when they were sleeping or eventually at nursery and now school. I set myself strict deadlines to follow until I got into the flow of doing it naturally. At the beginning this would be something as simple as write 10,000 words by the end of January. Now I am into a good routine of making sure I write something every day, and most weekdays I will write for at least three hours. I tend to do the school run and then if I have any other jobs to do or I have an exercise class I will do this first, and then I go home and write until it’s time to pick the children up again. The days go so quickly; there are never enough hours in it. I often find myself leaving a sentence mid way through because I realise I need to rush out the door to get to school on time!

I also needed to make sure I had a good space to write in and so I set up a desk in a spare room with a window that looks out onto a glimpse of the sea. I can’t see much of it but what little I can I love!

What can we expect from you next?
I am now writing a psychological thriller about a young girl who goes missing. This was something I found difficult at the outset because of the subject matter but once I worked out the story and knew where I wanted it to go I was completely gripped by writing it.
What advice would you give to other aspiring writers?
Well everyone says don’t give up, and I think this is one very sound piece of advice because unless you are unbelievably lucky you will have set backs. I would also say that if you are truly determined you have to put the time and effort into making it work for you. Do your research as there are lots of options available to you. Find the agents you want to work with, or if you want to self publish look into all the great publishers and people who can help you. It can be a minefield, but the best starting place I found was the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook.

I donʼt know where you are… 
I donʼt know what Iʼve done… 

Teenager Abigail Ryder is devastated when she gets home from school to find her family gone. 

Nothing makes sense. Things are missing from the house and her stepsistersʼ room is completely empty. But the police think sheʼs trouble, and when grandmother Eleanor tells her to forget them all and move on, thereʼs no choice other than face the future – alone. 

Fourteen years on, Abi and Adam are a happy couple on the verge of parenthood. But when the past comes back to haunt Abi, the only way forward is to go back and uncover the truth – and reveal the dreadful secrets a mother has been hiding all these years.

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