YORKSHIRE'S ANSWER TO MARTINA COLE
Today, Gillian Godden, Yorkshire's answer to Martina Cole, tells me all about her writing career to date and the gangland crime fiction that made her a bestseller, her books standing beside authors such as: Jessie Keane, Kimberley Chambers, and Roberta Kray in the Amazon charts.
"I have always loved reading. On my weekly visit to my local library, where they hold a book club they were advertising a competition to write your own story. Any story, using any genre. The prize would be a weekend trip on the P&O ferry to Amsterdam or fifty pounds. Originally from London's East End I'd met a lot of colourful characters and had worked as a barmaid in the eighties and nineties at some of the East End pubs that had strippers in them to boost trade. Not the sleazy life people presume. The strippers were great fun and they all had a story to tell. One was working her way through university and the job fit in with the hours she studied. She is now a fully trained barrister, so no more information there.
"As the centre of London is close by and full of offices, a lot of the passing trade workers used to pass by and drop into the place where I worked for drink at lunch time or in between waiting for their trains home. Some of them used to buy the strippers perfume, others became friends. They even got the odd plumber to fit their dishwasher!
"Using my experiences and memory I wrote Francesca. Sitting with my friend Toni one night and drinking a cheap bottle of Lambrini wine I had my name for my character: Tony Lambrianu. What I had failed to remember was a man who worked for the Krays had a similar name. However, my character is nothing like him. I submitted my story to the competition- and did not win. However, a couple of my friends at the NHS, and my neighbours had read it and encouraged me to carry on and see were it led. I got involved with a vanity publisher and was taken for a ride! They hadn't edited it properly and my name was barely seen. To rectify it was going to cost me money I didn't have so I published bits of the book in book groups on social media and was amazed by the response. I'd thought the manuscript was going to sit on my computer forever and no one would read it, but the majority of people responded well and so I self-published.
"Readers were interested in my main character: Tony, the glamorous gangland boss. Some fell in love with him. But they wanted to know his background and how he had become the man he was. I had originally written another story Antonius, which was never going to see daylight. I split it in half as it was a long story and they became Francesca and Dangerous Games: the prequel depicting Tony's childhood up to when Tony meets Francesca one steamy night at a Christmas party, which became Nasty Business.
"I work as a doctors receptionist at the local health centre, close to where I live. I've experienced a lot of support in the writing community and have seen my titles flourish under the microscope that is Amazon. The only part of writing I find difficult is the promotion. Bloggers help authors to market, advertise, and publicise our wares, but I'd far rather be writing them.
"I live in Yorkshire with my dog Susie. Walking her around the park after ten-hour shifts clears my head and allows me to plot ideas. The best murderous plans come to me this way. My son, Robert, lives in London. I'd love to move back there someday.
"My books appear in Fantastic Fiction, London Crime, and during a recent visit to Streatham library I donated one copy of each of my books. People regularly send me photos of themselves reading them while on holiday. And I often receive messages from those who've enjoyed my works.
You can buy all of Gillian's books here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gillian-Y-Godden/e/B07QGCF3K3?r
And follow Gillian on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/francescaseries/
Or Twitter: https://twitter.com/GGodden