What did being listed for the Exeter Novel Prize mean to you?
I think it was a really significant moment in developing my self-confidence as an author. I had received really positive and constructive feedback from my fellow students on the Creative Writing MA at St. Mary’s University, but I had just started to submit to agents, and as any writer will know, those first few replies saying ‘this isn’t quite our thing’ can give you a knock. And of course, it’s rare to get any feedback from an agent. So a little piece of you is still wondering, ‘is this a question of commercial fit or is it that my writing isn’t quite there yet?’ So being listed for the prize and the feedback which showed that the judges ‘got’ my writing and liked it was really affirming - at a point in the process when I most needed it.
How much did you bring your own work experience into Melting in the Middle?
I’ve experienced many different forms of corporate culture, from working in one big multinational company to observing others from the agency side. So yes, I’ve drawn from experience of situations and characters in office life and judging from the reviews that has resonated with other people who have worked in business. It’s often felt to me that some people seem to become defined by that culture, at the expense of their personal and inner contentment. I’m interested in what happens when they open up to the ‘still, small voices’ in their lives. In the case of my lead character, Stephen, this involves confronting his guilt and searching for a form of redemption amid the often-absurd world of corporate politics.
What made you decide to take the Indie road to publishing?
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