Friday, 17 October 2014

Brook Cottage Brooks is so absolutely thrilled to have the very talented Josephine Cox on the blog! Massive thanks to her for answering my questions. As part of this fantastic interview, I have a paperback copy The Runaway Woman! Enter the rafflecopter competition at the end of the post to be in with a chance of winning it!


The Runaway Woman is your 50th Novel. Did you ever imagine that when you started writing you’d be celebrating 50 novels?

I can never recall when I first started telling stories. All I know, is that from the earliest age, I would tell stories to anyone who would listen; stories of a dog I got from the pound. Stories of little fairies and dark, scary stories of strange creatures who stalked the night.
When I was little, my Grandad was the one who began my fierce love for stories. He would enthral me for hours with his magical tales.
Of course I never imagined for one moment, that as an adult and a successful writer, that I would have written fifty full- length novels. Even now, I am in awe of that great achievement, and it goes without saying, that I am immensely grateful to whoever gave me the imagination for my stories, so I could reach out across the world and interact with a huge and ever increasing readership; with beautiful, real people, who constantly tell me they get lost in my stories, and can’t wait for the next one to be published. It truly is, most humbling, and hugely heart-warming.

What was it like to win the RNA Lifetime Achievement Award?

I am still blown away by having been given the RNA Lifetime Achievement Award. I would have loved for my Grandad to have seen the presentation, for it was he who gave me the love and great passion for telling stories. Looking back now, I know what a wonderful storyteller he was. I will never forget the joy he gave me through his real exciting tales.

At what age did you first start writing?

I told my very first short story at the age of five, the very day I started school. At playtime, in the yard, my classmates would always ask me to tell them a story. I loved telling stories, and if the teacher asked during class for someone to tell a story, I always had my hand up first. But, I mostly treasure the playground time, and the children all about me listening to my tales. Without a doubt, that was my most favourite time at school.

You are one of 10 children. What was it like growing up in such a big family and did it give you inspiration for your writing?

Life was hard, and we went without many times. We never had a Christmas – which is why these days, I love Christmas with a passion.

Growing up with nine noisy, wonderful siblings, gave me such great joy; although there were many bad times when we went without. Family though, is so very precious, and with seven brothers, I had great fun. I learned to fight, climb trees, play football, and be a winner at conkers. How’s that, eh?

Do you have any strange writing rituals?

When I’m in the heart of the story, I never leave a chapter unfinished before I have a break, or go to bed (often at Midnight!) Also, when starting a story, I always build the characters about me, so I live the story with them. I have a sketch of each and every character pinned all about me on my office wall. As the story progresses, I change the pictures as the characters change in the story – in other words, when the years pass in the story , the characters might change or grow in many ways… therefore I must keep changing the drawings.
For instance, the hair might go grey, or an accident could alter the physical appearance, and in women, it is possible they might get pregnant or have a ‘makeover’. Basically, my wall sketches must keep pace with the characters in the story.

Do you have a particular writing style? Do you plan or let the story carry you along?

My writing style is many things – I scribble into so many little books, which I try and always to carry about with me, If I’m in a cafĂ© without a little book, and an idea comes to mind, I’ll often scribble on the back of my hand, or on a receipt in my pocket. When I get home all these hurried little notes get transferred to the computer files. I have a main file for the story, and separate files for each character. If I work late – which is often, I fall into bed and fall asleep with the story buzzing in my head. Sometimes, when I wake up, I find a pile of scribbled notes on my bedside cabinet or littered on the carpet. All relevant to the story. All written when I am more asleep than awake.
I am with my characters the entire length of the story, whether awake or asleep. Every day, I start writing straight after breakfast and I am often so deeply absorbed in the story and living with the characters, that I have no idea of times passing, and often don’t fall into bed until well past Midnight.
The very moment I bring my characters to life and set them free, it is they who write the story. It is they who demand of me, and not the other way around. It is they who tell of their feelings, their fears and loves. They know their achievement, they suffer loves and fears, and live with whatever is in their deepest of hears. Sometimes though, if I suspect they have taken a wrong turn along the way, I bring them gently back. Whatever the characters feel, I feel also. In the end, I must be both excited and content that between us, the characters and I have somehow kept loyal and true, to the power of the story, which is first presented to me, and shared with the characters first, and then the readers, who after all,, will always have the final say.

You wrote your first novel whilst looking after your children and working as a teacher. What advice would you give anyone who says that they would love to write but don’t have the time due to family commitments?  

I would always say to would–be writers, that if you really do want to be a writer, you must first and always listen to your heart and instinct. Of course there will be some of you who find it difficult to set off on that particular path, because of other, practical things in life that might prove to be a barrier. But if the urge to write is so fierce that you feel in your heart it is your destiny, then try if you can, to test the water so to speak. By that, I mean send a short story to an agent (see in your local library – consult The Writers and Agents book) or join a writing calls, maybe in your local college; or write a short story and try it on your friends or family – take heed of their comments, but at the end of the day, only you can decided whether or not it is for you.
All I will say, is that after my family, my greatest joy in life, is the time I spend creating my stories, and after publication, reading the readers’ comments.

I do know, that for whatever reason, I have been very fortunate, somehow, someone gave me the gift of being a storyteller, and I will be forever grateful, because I truly believe I have found my true role in life. And I have also found a worldwide readership who I trust, and who have become my lifelong friends.

Thank you once again to the very lovely Josephine Cox for appearing on the blog. You can win a copy of the book right here on the blog! Keep reading for more details.

About the Author

Josephine Cox was born in Blackburn, one of ten children. At the age of sixteen, Josephine met and married her husband Ken, and had two sons. When the boys started school, she decided to go to college and eventually gained a place at Cambridge University. She was unable to take this up as it would have meant living away from home, but she went into teaching - and started to write her first full-length novel. She won the 'Superwoman of Great Britain' Award, for which her family had secretly entered her, at the same time as her novel was accepted for publication.

About the book:

Those looking in from the outside think Lucy Lovejoy’s life is like any other, but at the centre of her family there is a big empty hole where all the love and warmth should be. Over the years, her children have watched while their father chipped away at Lucy’s self-confidence. Now the children are following their own paths, and Lucy has never felt more alone.

When tragedy strikes at the heart of the family, it’s a wake-up call for Lucy. Everyone has taken a little piece of her, and she isn’t sure who she is anymore. So when Lucy faces a betrayal from those she loves deepest, she knows that it’s time to make a choice.

Is she brave enough to find herself again?       

a Rafflecopter giveaway

4 Responses so far.

  1. I know what you mean about the large family, Josephine: mayhem, but mostly in a good way. I know what you mean about those scribbled notes in the dead of night, too. Trouble is, I can't read half of them in the morning. #needatorch! Great interview, ladies. Thanks for sharing. :) xx

  2. It's a cover that draws you in.

  3. It is a beautiful cover and a book that I would like to read

  4. Love the colors! It's a great cover! Congrats

- Copyright © 2013-2014 Brook Cottage Books - Powered by Blogger - Graphics & Blog Customization by JellydogDesign