Donna Hole has tagged me - my first tag ever, as far as I'm aware - so here are my answers to her questions!
Who is your favorite fictional character, and why?
Scarlett O'Hara. She's intelligent, hilarious, terrible, maddening, obstinate, selfish, charming, compassionate, strong, feisty, manipulative... She's never boring! Like Gone With The Wind, she's full of faults but fascinating. She drives the narrative and never loses her ability to surprise - she's remarkably complex but has an inner core of traits and values that remain constant. Despite being an extreme, melodramatic character in many ways, she's also realistic and never loses her humanity.
How do you come up with the names for your own characters?
I use names I've come across in life/media. I also have a baby name book I bought for £1, which helps me if I ever run out of ideas. I just pick a name that seems to fit the character - their personality, class, ethnic background, age, etc.
What book would you pass up, even if it was offered for free?
Anything 'written by' Katie Price. If you're wondering 'who?' you're lucky - don't google her, cos it will make you hate the world!
Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what is on your playlist?
Occasionally. I usually have TV on in the background (The Wright Stuff and This Morning) or, in the afternoon, silence. I might put on Classic FM or one of my CDs though. I love The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, Blondie, Amy Winehouse, Bob Dylan, Snow Patrol, Dolly Parton, The Kinks, various rock n roll songs from the 50s and 60s...
Do you have to make time to write, or have a set schedule; and do you have any writing quirks?
I can never stick to a schedule; I just plonk myself in front of the computer all day and try to write, but end up wasting time playing games and looking up random stuff on the internet... This is partly due to my mental health problems: I have Borderline Personality Disorder with Depression and Anxiety. It means that my mood varies greatly and I have little control over whether I'm in the right state of mind to write. It also affects my concentration.
I have to grab my opportunity when it comes, so write pretty much any time of the day (or night). I often am most productive from 11pm to 2am, which is annoying because it exacerbates my insomnia: I sleep best when I stick to a routine and am in bed by 11pm, even if I lie awake for hours most nights. Sticking to deadlines can be tricky, but I usually know about deadlines for my MA course and writing competitions far in advance, so work around how I'm feeling.
Who is your dream agent/publisher?
I would love to be published by Virago. I have such respect and admiration for their ethos and authors/titles.
Do you prefer printed books or ebooks?
Printed! Part of the pleasure of reading, for me anyway, is the texture and smell of paper. I love the 'aura' of books, whether they're old or new. I wouldn't rule out reading e-books, but the majority of my reading material will always be printed. For this reason, my bedroom resembles a library with a bed and a wardrobe shoved into it!
What is the weirdest dare you ever accepted?
I've no idea... My two best friends and I dared ourselves to go to a nightclub called Kools in the town one of them has moved to, which was kinda dodgy. We're in our late 20s and the rest of the clientele were either teenagers or 40+... We had fun, but that was down to each other and the alcohol!