🔻A day in S.D. Mayes life …
🔻I often get woken up at some point between 4 am and 6.30 am when our cat, Saphy, clambers onto the bed and starts meowing relentlessly into my ear. So I make my way downstairs to defrost her jumbo sized Canadian prawns out of the freezer. She’s very fussy and won’t eat tinned cat food.
Around 7 am I make sure my daughter is up in time for college and has had breakfast. And then I check the boring stuff – post, cleaning up the kitchen top from her breakfast, and that the dishwasher is on.
I’ve been writing full time for over twenty years, first as a journalist and now as an author. And when I’m writing or editing a novel, like my last one, Letters to the Pianist, I’m always itching to get started. So I have breakfast and start around 9 am. I work in different spaces around the house. Some days when the cat wakes me, I switch on my laptop from my bed and start checking on edits then.
Mostly I work from my office at the back of the house, where Saphy attempts to do the filing!
Often when writing, I do forget the time, until around 3 pm or 4 pm in the afternoon and I realise I’m starving and feeling lightheaded. So I do tend to live on vegetable stir fries, because they’re quick and easy. And of course a bar of chocolate for dessert and a cup of coffee.
When I’m really into my story I can write for hours without a break, until my daughter gets home around 6 pm. I then make dinner for us and chat to my daughter about her day, and then I can carry on until 10 at night, which is really antisocial I know, but I do get a bit addicted by writing and the story. I do love to unwind in front of the TV with a glass of wine at night, so I record programmes I want to watch. I love a suspense series like ‘The Missing’, but also love to catch up on ‘Loose Women’, and ‘Dragons Den’. I also try and catch up with friends at the weekends to have a break and when it’s warmer we sit out on the patio with a glass of wine and packets of sweets. I do have a real sweet tooth.
I often don’t’ get to bed until midnight, and that’s when I get really inspired, so I keep a notebook on my bedside table for plot ideas and character development. I can also be quite obsessive and my head gets so busy with ideas, I often get back up around 2 am or 3 am and start writing again. Because it beats lying there thinking about the plot.
We live in Caversham, a small village in Berkshire that is near the river Thames, and at the weekend I try and get out for walks with my daughter or with friends. Writing for long periods of time can make you quite stiff and it’s important to get out and walk and feel some fresh air, to get the creative juices flowing again.
It was so exciting when a box of my new books arrived a few months ago. It’s very exciting to see Letters to the Pianist, which took three years work, printed with a beautiful cover.
Prior to this I wrote a YA book, called Stop the World, based inspired by a real life story of a young girl who had a car accident and ended up paralysed.
Writing is hard work, but very enjoyable. You get to be play, to be in control of your own universe and that is immense fun. And when people tell you they love the story, it’s like getting a huge warm hug around your heart. And that makes it all worthwhile.
🔻About the Author
S.D. Mayes is the author of Letters to the Pianist, which is her first 1940s suspense novel, inspired by her mother’s childhood and Hitler’s fascination with the supernatural. Here’s a Book Trailer that will give more insight into the story:
She has also written a YA novel, Stop the World, which was published two years ago, based on a true story, and two self-help books. The first, Be Your Own Psychic, was published with Hodder & Stoughton in 2003, and was a mass market best-seller.
🔻You can find out more about the author and her newest novel, Letters to the Pianist on these links.
🔻About the book.
A FAMILY TORN APART … A PAST THEY CAN’T ESCAPE
In war torn London, 1941, fourteen-year-old Ruth Goldberg and her two younger siblings, Gabi and Hannah, survive the terrifying bombing of their family home. They believe their parents are dead, their bodies buried underneath the burnt remains – but unbeknownst to them, their father, Joe, survives and is taken to hospital with amnesia.
Four years on, Ruth stumbles across a newspaper photo of a celebrated pianist and is struck by the resemblance to her father. Desperate for evidence she sends him a letter, and as the pianist’s dormant memories emerge, his past unravels, revealing his true identity – as her beloved father, Joe. Ruth sets out to meet him, only to find herself plunged into an aristocratic world of sinister dark secrets.
Can she help him escape and find a way to stay alive?
LETTERS TO THE PIANIST is a compelling page turner packed with drama, intrigue and suspense. If you loved The Book Thief, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas or The Pianist, then you will love this exciting new novel.