Can you firstly tell us about your childhood, and when was the first time that you knew that writing was for you?
I was born into a football family, literally. My father, Dave Watson was an England player and Captain in the 70’s-80’s. So looking back I had a very privileged childhood, I met many famous people of the era from football to music to actors to comedians etc. At school I always had a high reading age and when I was only 8 I read Lord of the Rings after my father suggested I might like it. I used to write short stories and take them over to my Aunty Hilda when we lived in Manchester but my first love was the performing arts and when I was 16 I went to Clarendon College in Nottingham to study drama and theatre studies. After that my love of writing took a back seat and I never thought about it again until just over 3 years ago when I started to write Bluebell Cottage.
You have written a couple of books but which for you is the best one you have ever written and why? Also do you think you will write a better one than that?
I would say that so far my best one is Thistle Lodge, the second book in The Legendary Sidhe Saga. I feel my writing has grown and whereas Bluebell Cottage is an introduction to the characters and the Sidhe, Thistle Lodge takes the saga to a whole new level. I hope that I will continue to develop and grow as a writer so I would like to think that my next book will be even better.
What do you think makes a good novel and why did you choose this particular genre to go into?
I like novels that are fast paced and leave some elements to the readers’ imagination. I have always liked sci-fiction and fantasy. I like to be taken to another world and away from real life trials and tribulations, for me it is escapism. So it seemed natural for me to write in this genre and I hope that I can give others the same light relief that I find.
How would you answer the question…. Who is Heather M.J.L Watson?
I’m a single Mum in Nottinghamshire, UK who, besides having 2 day jobs, likes to write books in my spare time. I basically have a hobby that I get paid for.
How does it feel having Bluebell Cottage made into a screenplay and how do you think it will differ to the book? I’m excited obviously but I know it can take years to actually get to screen, if at all. However I have every faith in my screenwriter, who has also become a close friend, Pamala L. Hall and she is working hard over in the US introducing the screenplay in to the industry. We also have one of the lead roles cast and I’m really excited about the actor who’s come on board. I can say he’s Irish and he is one of the cast in BBC1’s Merlin series but that’s all at this stage. And we have various other actors and a director who are also hoping to be involved. I know that Pamala is currently re-writing the screenplay as we have decided to combine Bluebell and Thistle Lodge into one slightly longer movie. The great thing about working with Pamala is that she involves me with things every step of the way so I hope that the screenplay is as close to the books as is viable. At the moment we are struggling to get it under 3 hours though! You can join Bluebell Cottage the movie page on facebook to keep updates on what’s happening with it all.
Which writers would you say are your inspirations and if you could have written any book which one would it have been and why?
I love C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Terry Prachett, James Herbert and Shakespeare. I would have loved to have written The Ghosts of Sleath by Herbert, I couldn’t put it down and although it frightened me I still went back for more. I am a huge horror & ghost story fan but I don’t like unnecessary blood and gore, I prefer stories that leave things to your own imagination and suspense horror is more my thing. This book ticks all the boxes.
Can you tell me about any books you have planned for the future and if so what can we look forward to?
I have already started the third book in The Legendary Sidhe Saga, Buttercup Place and I was thinking about writing a prequel series but just based in the Sidhe world. I also have a few other ideas floating around in my head which I hope to get started on as soon as The Legendary Sidhe Saga is completed.
Do you have special routines or processes you go through to create your story and if so what are they?
The basic story for the Legendary Sidhe Saga has always been in my head. Originally it was only supposed to be one book but it has grown and grown and is now at least 3 books but it could become more, time will tell. Although the books are fiction I do like to base some elements of truth in them and so research has become one of the most important processes before writing certain chapters.
What things do you do when you are away from writing and what TV music etc are you into at the moment? I have 2 jobs which take up most of my week and some Saturdays which can make book signings difficult sometimes. In my spare time I support my daughter in her performing arts and run her around to various rehearsals and performances. I also like to spend time at home with my daughter and my pets, we try to take walks in country parks if we can but it’s becoming more and more difficult due to time restraints. I like swimming and snorkelling and every year I visit the South of France so I can relax and enjoy the sea and sun but never without my pen and notepad. My favourite tv shows at the moment are Alphas, Game of Thrones, Merlin, Vampire Diaries, Once Upon a Time, Glee, Camelot, Grimm and I love watching movies such as Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Snow White & the Huntsman, The Avengers and I’m looking forward to seeing The Hobbit later this year. My favourite band is Thirty Seconds to Mars but I like all music genres.
What things make you happy and what things annoy you? Spending time with my family and seeing children laughing and happy makes me happy. I am an avid supporter of Unicef and all the work they are doing across the world makes me happy. War, and the innocent casualties created by conflict, Poverty, when it can be avoided with help from those that are wealthy and unnecessary waste of food and energy annoys me.
Can you tell me one thing about yourself that people might not already know?
I used to be lead singer in a band with Pete Wilkinson who is now Amy MacDonalds Manager.
What are you up to at the moment and what’s next for you?
I’m busy promoting Thistle Lodge, attending book signings and various magazine, newspaper and radio interviews. I’m hoping to also start writing freelance movie and book reviews for online magazines or have a permanent column in one of them.