A warm welcome to Tanith Davenport, whose debut novel, "The Hand He Dealt", has been shortlisted for the Joan Hessayon New Writers' Award. Many congratulations on your short listing, Tanith, please tell us about your journey as a writer, how you started, and the excitement of getting that first call.
I had been working on my first novel for three years when it was accepted, including the rewrite suggested during the New Writers’ Scheme. Before then I had written various novel-length pieces but never with any intention of getting them published, which is just as well as they weren’t very good!
My husband and I were on our way out for dinner when the email from Total-e-Bound popped up on my phone. I had always thought I would run around screaming if I ever got published, but instead I spent the evening wearing a ludicrous grin and celebrating with champagne cocktails.
Where do you find inspiration for your ideas and characters?
All kinds of places, but I admit that dreams are responsible for a lot of them. I tend to dream very vividly, which gives me the advantage of having effectively lived through whole sections of storyline. Anything that makes a vague kind of sense gets written down and used later.
Do you have a yearning to write some other type of novel, and if so, what genre would it be?
The advantage of writing romance is that you can cover a lot of genres, so if I feel the urge to write paranormal fiction I can call it “paranormal romance” and it will still fit. However, I would love to try literary fiction one day.
If you were fortunate enough to win the Hessayon Award who would you wish to thank?
A lot of people! Most specifically, I would like to thank my NWS reader, whose guidance led to the rewrite which ultimately led to my contract (I know who it was, although I don’t know if I’m allowed to give her name). I would also thank my fiction writing tutor, Valerie Loh, who first directed me to the RNA; Debi Alper, who was my book doctor at a publishing workshop I attended before submitting my novel to publishers; and let’s not forget my husband Mark, who has had to put up with such inane queries as “What would happen if you squeezed a full can of beer?” and “How would a ghost come out of a bathroom mirror?”
Can you tell us about your work in progress and how you got the idea for it?
I have just had accepted a paranormal erotic romance which is the first in a series about a team of paranormal investigators. It began when, after watching shows such as Most Haunted and Ghost Hunters, I decided to go on a paranormal investigation myself to see how they worked. It wasn’t the most exciting experience of my life – we didn’t get much more than a few bumps and bangs – but it served as great writing material, and I am now working on the second story in the series.
If I’m having trouble with a scene, I’ll go and sit on the sofa and my cat Tigger will join me – it’s amazing how therapeutic petting a purring cat can be for a brain crash.
What was your most embarrassing moment at an RNA event?
I was so badly sunburned at the RNA conference in 2010 that I looked like a Belisha beacon.
Which is your all time favourite book?
It varies, but right now it’s “I Capture the Castle” by Dodie Smith.
What would represent a romantic gesture to you?
Offering a massage, or to buy me dinner. I’m not one for flowers and chocolates.
Do you have any little phobias, superstitions or habits connected with your writing?
I can’t write in a dressing gown, which means that even on weekends when I don’t have to leave the house I still have to get dressed before I can write.
Thank you for talking to us Tanith. We wish you continued success with your writing and good luck with the Joan Hessayon Award.
To find out more about Tanith and her work visit her website here: http://www.tanithdavenport.blogspot.com/