Name Eileen Thornton
Let’s just say I am a lady of a certain age 😀
Where are you from
I was born on Tyneside – Low Fell, Gateshead to be exact and I went to Kells Lane School. When I was eleven years old the family moved to Whitley Bay on the north east coast, so I went to Park Secondary Modern School. It was demolished some years back. I have one sister and we had a great life with the most wonderful parents.
I wasn’t brilliant at school. For instance, I didn’t pass the 11 plus to go to Grammar School. But I never let that get me down and I never resented those that did.
When I left school, I worked as a shop assistant, before moving on to clerical work. I like to think I was conscientious about whatever I did. I was promoted to Higher Clerical Officer and ran a small office. In an effort to improve my stance further, I decided to do an Open University Course. It was hard work, but I finished the course and was awarded a Batchelor of Science (Hons) Degree.
I married my husband when I was eighteen and we moved to London shortly afterwards. We would have loved to have had children, but it wasn’t to be. Nevertheless we have had a good life together after …. years. No, I’m still not going to give my age away J
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My latest novel, Murder on Tyneside was published on 30th December 2016. I decided to write something based in my hometown and I have to say I am so delighted that it has done so well in the Amazon ratings. Obviously it wouldn’t stay at the top forever, but I was so happy that it reached #2 in its category on Amazon UK and #1 on Amazon Canada.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I decided to start writing in February 2001. It was intended to be a hobby, but I got so interested, I began a fully comprehensive course with The Writers’ Bureau. It was all done online. Though I really wanted to write stories, I decided to take their advice and start with writing articles and by June 2001 I had my first article published in The Lady Magazine. It was called, From Derelict Dock to Cultural Centre and told about the changing face of Tyneside. From there I went on to write other Articles about places in Northumberland. Most were published in The Lady, but some appeared in Scottish Life and Heritage magazines
When the course moved on to short stories, I wondered whether the editor of The Lady would be interested, but she was and they continued to publish my work regularly on a freelance basis. In fact, it only ended when a new editor was appointed to update the magazine and short stories were dropped altogether.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think I first thought of myself as a real writer when my application to join the Society of Authors was accepted. Until then I thought you had to be in the world of Jilly Cooper, Steven King and the like. But being accepted to join such an organization told me that I was a writer!
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I had made some internet friends through writing and we ‘chatted’ online about what we were doing. I recall a couple of them said they were working on novels and I thought it a good idea. Therefore I started writing The Trojan Project. I decided I needed to move away from the cosy short stories; therefore I made the novel a sort of edge of the seat spine chilling thriller.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I am not sure what you mean by that. If you mean do I have a plan before I sit down to write, then the answer is no. Like my short stories, I tend to make up my novels as I go along. Maybe this is not the best way to go about it, but it works for me. I have never been a person for writing notes/lists or whatever other writer’s do. Even when I was at work I didn’t make notes – I relied on my memory.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
If you are talking about my first book, I had problems thinking about a title. The others, including my latest, Murder on Tyneside, I had a title before I even started writing. It was the same with all my short stories; I had a title and I worked out a story to fit the title.
Anyone who remembers my stories from years ago will recall that the title of the story always appeared in the last paragraph of the story.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
No, I don’t think so. I would simply like the readers of my novels to be entertained. This is why I have switched from one genre to another. I want all readers to enjoy all my writing.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
All my books are fiction and not based on anyone. Some of the places in Murder on Tyneside are real. However the events are pure fiction. One character, mentioned very briefly, is named after someone I know. But that is because he wanted his name in a book. Now he says I will have to give him a bigger part in the next one… he will have to wait and see…
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? A mentor?
None. It’s as simple as that. I am the person I am because of my parents influence. Certainly not a book.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I think Steven King set me on the road to my novel, The Trojan Project. His books gripped you from the start and that’s what I tried to do.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Obviously it is a career for a few; those whose books are heralded by the media and sell millions of copies. But there are many good writers out there who have to rely on the day job to get by.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, I don’t think I would. I like it the way it is, so am quite happy to stick with it.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I think I answered this further up the page when I said.it began as a hobby
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I have started a sequel to Murder on Tyneside. Main characters will be the same, with a few fresh faces. This one is to be called, Murder in the Park. No prizes for guessing that there is to be another murder involved J However I have only started writing it, so don’t wait up… though I would like to have it ready for publication before the end of the year.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Getting ideas. As I said I make up the stories as I go along, so it takes me a while to get into the story.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No. In fact I don’t travel anywhere at all. My book signing days are over now. There was a time when I visited certain bookshops in the Tyneside area to sign books. I have even given a few talks in the past, but not anymore.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My publisher organizes the covers. Therefore, with the exception of one, I really don’t know where he gets them from; though I am sure the designer’s name will appear inside the books.
However, the current cover for The Trojan Project was designed by Dawne Dominique and it has been well admired. Her work is brilliant.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
All of it. I was going to say getting started. But then I thought even after I start, I am stuck as to where to go next; and this goes on throughout the whole book. Then there is the problem of how to end it.
I know I should have a plan. But I have never had a plan for anything, so I doubt I am going to start now.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
For me, the answer is: it never gets any easier!
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead
It’s funny that you should ask that. A reviewer of Murder on Tyneside said she thought it would make a great TV show/series. She even contacted me on Facebook to ask who I would choose in the part of Agnes Lockwood. I said I had no idea. But she quickly came back with the suggestion of Denise Welch. So Denise, keep your diary free.
As for Only Twelve Days, a story about Bill and Sally, two shy people who meet quite by chance and fall in love, I thought Hugh Grant would have been great as Bill. He has played those types of parts before..
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
All I can say is never give up. If a publisher sends your book back, then send it to another one. Somewhere out there, the right person is waiting to hear from you.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Please keep reading my books. If you enjoy them, tell the world. If you don’t, then tell me what you think is wrong. I have a blog, and a website. I am on Facebook and Twitter. All places I can be reached.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I have just started a cozy mystery, Murder Caribbean Style by Diane Rapp.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Enid Blyton’s Five go to Smugglers Top. I don’t think it was the first book I read, but it is the first one I remember.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Almost anything funny makes me laugh.
Animal cruelty/abuse makes me cry. I have always been opposed to animal cruelty.
As a child, the film Bambi really upset me at the end and I have never watched it since. There was also a film called Gypsy Colt about a horse, which had to be sold by a farmer trying to make ends meet because of a drought. I really sobbed so loudly in the cinema people turned around to see what the matter was. My poor Grandmother, who had taken me to the cinema, didn’t know what to do.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
I really want to be cremated, so I doubt there will be a headstone. However, just supposing there is, let it say: She had a good life, while it lasted.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
My only hobby now would be reading. At one time I used to do machine knitting. By that I mean pleated skirts and suits, as well as jumpers and cardigans
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I like action films: The Expendables and Rambo. My TV favourites include NCIS.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
I like ordinary food such as Fish & Chips, Sausage & Mash and Pie & Peas. I have never been one for the sort of things you see on the TV cookery shows. I like the colours Blue, Pink and Green.
Music, now I would need to think about that. I used to love all the pop music, after all I used to go to discos etc. But pop today just isn’t the same at all. Best leave it there.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I really don’t know the answer to that one. I have absolutely no idea.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
I have a blog: www.lifeshard-winehelps.blogspot.com
My Website is: www.eileenthornton.com
I also have a twitter account: www.twitter.com/eileenmaud2
My Facebook page is www.facebook.com/eileenthornton
Amazon Author’s Page – http://author.to/EileenThornton
The Trojan Project – http://mybook.to/TheTrojanProject
Divorcees.Biz – http://mybook.to/Divorcees
Only Twelve Days – http://mybook.to/OnlyTwelveDays
Latest novel Murder OnTyneside – http://mybook.to/MurderOnTynesideBook