Bekki Pate lives in Wolverhampton with her partner and daughter. She is a horror writer and loves all things spooky or gory – Richard Laymon and Stephen King being her favourite authors. She draws her inspiration from other writers and her own imagination – the words also seem to flow better with a strong cup of coffee! Bekki was kind enough to answer a few questions for this interview. She is also one of the authors I am featuring in my Women in Horror page on The Scary Reviews. Thank you Bekki for being here and talking with me and sharing a bit about yourself with your readers.

The Scary Reviews:  Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, where are you from?

Bekki Pate:  I am from Nottingham, UK but I currently live in Wolverhampton with my partner and daughter, Ellie. I work for the NHS but my loves include reading and writing whenever I get the chance.

TSR:  What was it that started you on the path of writing and when did you start writing?

BP:  I wrote my first stories in primary school, and won a few small competitions during school which spurred me on. I’ve always enjoyed telling stories and I’ve always loved the rush of someone saying they enjoy my books.

TSR:  What are the themes you like to write about?

BP:  I like things that scare me, and so I write about things that scare me. The Fragment Trilogy is quite gory in places and very dark, and I’ve had a few comments from friends like “Bekki, I thought you were a nice girl! I’ll never look at you the same way again!” But I’m still the same person, my mind just goes to dark places when I write.

TSR:  What is the best piece of advice you ever received in regards to writing?

BP:  I can’t remember who said this but I read it once – read for yourself, no one else. I write about what I want to read about, and I think writers need to stay true to that. You won’t enjoy the journey of story-telling if you’re trying to be the next Stephen King or JK Rowling.

TSR:  How did you come up with the title of The Willow Tree?

BP:  I was going through a number of titles a few years ago and they all sounded a bit lame, but then I decided to choose The Willow Tree because the actual tree is such a small part of the actual story, but it encapsulates everyone’s stories – because there were multiple points of view going on, pinning down a clear title grew very difficult, so “The Willow Tree” helped me get out of that whilst still staying relevant to the story.

TSR:  Can you tell us about the tie between nature and Jenny?

BP:  I can to a certain point :) Jenny has an ability to manipulate the energy that’s in all things like trees, animals, humans etc – the energy that flows through everything. But this ability wasn’t initially hers, and the last person who possessed this ability didn’t have a very happy ending.

TSR:  Can you share with me how many books make up the series?

BP:  Currently it’s a trilogy – number two (The Shadow Beneath) out now currently, and number three (The Pale Man) to be finalised next month. However I am already drafting a sequel to the trilogy – which I wasn’t initially going to do, but the story wouldn’t go away so I’ve started to write that out too.

TSR:  What is the significance of the cover art and do you design your own book covers?

BP:  The Willow Tree’s cover was designed by my publisher – Britain’s Next Bestseller, and I wanted to keep to the same theme with the other books. I have a few cover designers from the website Fiverr who do a wonderful job at a very decent price.

TSR:  Can you tell me who your favorite authors are? Which author(s) had a significant impact on you growing up?

BP:  I love Stephen King and Richard Laymon, with the Goosebumps and Shivers series of children’s horror books influencing me when I grew up. But I also love The Night Watch series by Sergei Lukyanenko, and Elizabeth Kostova – she writes so beautifully. Sarah Waters is also another favourite.

TSR:  What book or books are you reading now?

BP:  I’m currently reading “Haunted” by Chuck Palahniuk, and “The Dark Half” by Stephen King – two different ends of the horror genre!

TSR:  What inspires you to write? Music? Other books? Real life events? Just an incredible imagination?

BP:  I’m actually finding this question quite difficult to answer :) I guess it’s a lot of things – even though my main genre is horror, I love anything about people and real characters and I try to portray that in my writing – some things I take from real life, some things just pop into my head. The Pale Man – the third book in the trilogy – deals with a few difficult, real world things which actually upset me as I wrote them, but I think the emotion of that makes for a better story.

TSR:  If you could write anywhere in the world – in a fictional or nonfiction place – where would you write?

BP:  In a quaint coffee shop somewhere in France, or in a little flat overlooking a village. Somewhere warm and quiet.