Talking to Tina

This week, meet fellow Crooked Cat writer Tina Burton, author of the delightful Chapters of Life.

Hi, Tina. Welcome to the blog.

I'm guessing you're still celebrating the launch of your book, Chapters of Life. How did it come about?
I'd been in a bookshop, and thought how nice it would be if they had a cafe so people could sit with a coffee whilst reading, and suddenly had this vision of a bookshop with a cafe on the first floor. Then everything else came to me, the characters and setting etc.

Are the quirky characters in Chapters of Life drawn from actual people, or are they, perhaps, composites – or complete fiction?
Well, there's bits of me in Jo who manages the bookshop, and Graham has some of my husband's traits, but all the rest are complete fiction.

Your own life story is quite something. Can you tell us what decided you to swap careers?
I'd been working in the funeral business for several years, and whilst I loved it, it was very stressful emotionally. I'd get home and either sit sobbing my heart out or grab a bottle of wine! I'd also been very poorly in hospital with kidney problems and had a big operation - requiring a month off work. I'd had some success with articles I'd written so decided the time was right to give up the funeral job and write full time.

You write in so many genres. What do you enjoy most and why?
Ooh, that's difficult to answer because it depends what mood or frame of mind I'm in! I like the challenge of short stories, telling a tale in a limited number of words, but I enjoyed the novel because it gave me more scope to develop my characters and make them real people. If I had to choose one, I'd say short stories. I'm impatient and short stories are good because I get to the end quicker!

And what do you like to read?
I love M.C.Beaton's books. I think she's a brilliant, versatile writer. I've read almost all of her Agatha Raisin series, as well as her Regency and Edwardian novels. I love the witty humour in her stories.

Was there any particular book that persuaded you to try your hand at writing for yourself?
Not a particular book, but a particular author. This is going to sound sad, but I adored Enid Blyton when I was a child. Because of her books, I became an avid reader, and wanted to create stories myself.

How important is your environment for your writing?
Very. Unfortunately I need complete peace and quiet. Luckily we live out in the country - on the edge of Dartmoor - so it's lovely and quiet most of the time.

You have another persona as an avid arts and crafter. (I love the photos you post!) Does this type of alternative creativity keep you sane – or do you wish you had a clone to develop both aspects?

I love crafting, but it does distract me from the writing at times. I have to be in the right mood to write, so when it's not working for me, I go and do some crafting, but if I start a big project- like my quilling canvases - I then have to finish it! So having a clone to finish what I've started so I can go back to the writing would be good. Funnily enough, the thriller I'm writing involves cloning, but it has a very dark twist.

I have to ask. Why cake?
Ha ha, well I love eating cake, but often wish I could keep it because they look so nice. I then saw pictures of felt cakes, and that was perfect for me. I can make a cake to eat, and make a felt one to keep!

So, what did you do when you got the Crooked Cat contract?
Shout YES very loudly, then run down and tell my husband. Then I phoned my friend - another Crooked Cat author - as we'd promised we'd tell each other if we'd been accepted.

Thanks, Tina. All the best for this new book – and all the others to come.

Thanks Pamela for such interesting questions.

Find Chapters of Life on the Crooked Cat website.

Follow Tina here:

Interview by Pamela Kelt


  1. I'm totally blown away by those cakes!!!!!

  2. Great interview. I loved the 'Artic roll' cake that was posted on FB.


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