Welcome to week seven of the Process Project!! If you don’t know about us already, please visit The Process Project page to find out more about this project, and read interviews with other authors.
Today’s interview is going to be broken into two segments, you can read the continuation of our interview tomorrow!
Louise grew up in the North-East of England. In 2004 she moved to Canada with her husband, for what was supposed to be one year. Ten years, two children, two cats and a dog later, she appears to be staying. She worked as a registered nurse until giving up her career to raise her family. When she was diagnosed with a chronic disease, she turned to writing, combining her knowledge of the medical world with personal life experiences. She currently lives in Vancouver with her husband and two boys. Bruises is her debut novel.
And now, for the questions...!!
JB: What is/are your main genre/field of writing?
LL: Romantic fiction, my first novel has been classified as “erotica,” but honestly, despite its steaminess, is very tasteful.
JB: Do you think your genre of writing informs your process?
LL: I don’t think so. I imagine I would use the same process if I wrote a different genre. I consider myself a bit of an amateur, so I’m not sure what other process I would use to be honest. I just do what comes naturally.
JB: Who/what inspires you?
LL: Writers: JK Rowling, she taught me to believe in myself.
Personal friends/relatives: My mother-in-law for her courage & my best friend for her loyalty and selfless support.
I am inspired by the fact my life often feels like a test I didn’t study for, but somehow manage to pass and move forward.
JB: And most importantly: why do you write?
LL: Where do I begin?! First you should know that since 2010 I have suffered from a chronic arthritis called ankylosing spondylitis. Essentially my spine is slowly fusing. It is normal for people like me to suffer chronic pain, but look completely normal. I self-inject two mls of very expensive fluid, known as a biologic, every three weeks, as well as a whole host of other medications I take orally for the other parts of me the disease affects. You may find it interesting and amusing to know that I take Viagra for very poor circulation! Since before my definitive diagnosis I have attended physiotherapy 1-2 times a week. I usually have IMS treatment – fine needles inserted into my muscles to stimulate then relax them. This is often very intense, and causes a lot of discomfort/pain. It is an essential part of my quality of life, and why I look so ‘normal’. This disease rules many aspects of my life: what I eat (I can’t eat starchy foods), what activities I can do, where I sit, how long I sit for, if I can put my own socks on, how I play with my kids, if I can play with my kids, if I sleep, etc., etc.. I could go on and on. It has taken many things away from me; things that I never thought it could possibly get its evil claws into. It has forced me to retired from nursing due to ill health.
When I turned forty, which in itself didn’t bother me, I began to notice that as my boys were becoming more independent, I was becoming more brain dead. I had lost my identity, a common problem when you stay at home with your kids apparently. Whenever I met people who hadn’t seen me for a while I would either be asked about the boys, or if the inquirer knew about my physical condition, I would hear a very patronizing ‘and how are you?’ Honestly, I felt like a walking disease, but I didn’t have anything else to steer the conversation away from these two subjects.
This was all around the time that Fifty Shades was gaining momentum. I read it, of course, and a whole host of others popular at that time, and began to get bored and frustrated with the same format that was being used for all of these stories. I didn’t get why we had to be so crude and raw about this subject, why couldn’t we have all the steam but be more tasteful about it. As I mentioned earlier, English was not my strongest subject, but I was always told at school that I had a good imagination. And so it began, my mind turned everything on its head and created a story that gives the reader characters they can relate to, with more realistic jobs and life issues, with tasteful, but smouldering bits in between, and most importantly, no obvious ‘happy ever after’.
Suddenly, I became more interesting, enthusiastic, and animated about ‘what I do’. Nobody ever expects you to reply ‘oh yeah, I’m a fictional novelist’ let alone an erotic one at that. I had an identity again; my brain had been resuscitated, and I had found the perfect escapism from the cruel realities of chronic disease. Most importantly a published novel is something my disease can never take away from me… that is why I write!
Check back in tomorrow when we delve a little deeper into how Louise writes.
In the meantime, you can follow her on the web here!
And you can get your copy of her debut novel, Bruises!