Dani Atkins writes about having the courage to love.
1. Can you tell us more about This Love?
This Love is an emotional drama, but – as its title would suggest – at its core it’s very much a love story. It’s a book about falling in love with possibly the one person you should never become involved with. But it’s also a story about the heart ruling the head. Although This Love is about being rescued, it’s also about finding the courage to rescue yourself.
2. Where did you get the inspiration for the character of Sophie Winter?
It would be easy to see Sophie as a victim. She has, in a way, retreated from the world to live in a safe cocoon which she can control. Sophie was inspired by every person I know who has faced adversity or the loss of a loved one and eventually found the courage to claw their way back up again. Sophie could be any one of us.
3. Is the book in any way based on your own experiences or is it all fiction?
Sophie’s experiences and tragedies were not mine, they were all hers. But by the end of the book I was living them with her and they didn’t feel like fiction to me at all.
4. What was the hardest part of This Love to write?
The latter part of the book was the most difficult to write, because I knew the road I was travelling on and where we were heading. Ben’s story was difficult to write, because by then I was more than a little bit in love with him myself.
5. What message do you want readers to take away from your novels?
That whatever life tries to take from you, hope will always remain. It might take time to rediscover it, but the human spirit is strong and buried beneath every tragedy, hope’s heart beats on.
6. What does your average writing day look like?
I begin each day by walking my dog which gives me an opportunity to think about what I want to write that day (which is about as much forward planning as I ever manage to accomplish). I set myself a daily target of between 1000 and 1500 words a day, which is sometimes (but not always) achieved.
I begin each writing session by reading back everything I wrote the day before, so that I have a feeling of continuity and rhythm to my work. I always have music playing quietly in the background when I write, but it has to be something I have listened to many times before, rather than something new.
For some reason I seem to be much more productive during the afternoon and early evening. This means my poor long-suffering husband is normally on dinner cooking duties each night. Thankfully he doesn’t seem to mind, and this has saved us from a life of takeaways.
7. If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
The most important advice is to just write. Don’t tell yourself that “one day I am going to write a book”. Do it. Do it now. It’s all too easy to think that you don’t have time to write, but you just need to be disciplined and determined. I know of authors who write on the commute to work, or during their one-hour lunch break at their desk. Don’t set yourself impossible goals, start with just 1000 words a day (it takes a surprisingly short amount of time to achieve that). If you do that for just one hundred days, that’s only three months, you’ll have a novel.
8. What is a great book you’ve read recently that you would recommend to others?
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon. My daughter recommended this book to me recently and I really loved it. Technically it is categorised as a YA book, but I don’t believe books should be pigeon-holed. When the story is strong, it should be read by as many people as possible.
9. What is one thing about you your readers would be surprised to know?
I am a total Disneyworld fanatic. We went for the first time when my children were much younger – and I was hooked for life!
10. Can you tell us a bit about your plans for the future?
I love writing, and I love a good story. To me the greatest joy in being an author is when you have a story that you just have to share, be it a romance, a thriller, or a young adult novel. I very much hope that in the years to come I will continue writing the kind of contemporary emotional romance novels for which I am presently known, but also journey into other genres as well.
When life has you trapped, sometimes you need to let yourself be saved…
Sophie Winter lives in a self-imposed cocoon – she’s a single, thirty-one year old translator who works from home in her one bedroom flat. This isn’t the life she dreamed of, but then Sophie stopped believing in happy endings a very long time ago, when she was fifteen and tragedy struck her family. Her grief has left her scared of commitment and completely risk averse, so she plays it safe and keeps everyone at arm’s length. Sophie understands she has a problem, but recognising it and knowing how to fix it are two entirely different things.
One night a serious fire breaks out in the flat below hers and Sophie is trapped in the burning building. But a random passer-by, Ben, spots her and manages to rescue her. Suddenly her cocoon is shattered, but what will be the consequences of this second life-changing event?
Dani Atkins was born in London and moved to rural Hertfordshire in 1985 where she has lived in a small village ever since with her family. Although Dani has been writing for fun all her life, Fractured was her first novel. She has since written The Story of Us, Our Song and This Love.