My Monday guest – Tina K Burton

Today, I’d like to welcome Tina K. Burton back to my blog.


Tina writes short stories, articles, novels, and even the occasional haiku. She’s also a quilling artist. Both her novels, Chapters of Life, and The Love Shack, are signed with Crooked Cat Publishing. Her articles are on the OapsChat website and many of her short stories can be found at Alfie Dog Fiction. Tina is currently working on her third novel, in between doing her quilling projects, and when she’s not writing, Tina spends her time relaxing with friends, and taking her rescued greyhound for walks across the beautiful moorland in Devon, where she lives with her husband.

Walking Cherry

Welcome, Tina. How would you describe yourself as a colour? Think personality here. Are you a light and airy pastel person, or more of a deep, dark, sultry and mysterious colour?

Light and airy pastels because they are softer and more gentle. But, my favourite colour is blue and I do like that rich royal blue colour, so maybe a mix of both.

I love blue too. Tell me, if you could morph into any creature what would it be?

A bird.

If you don’t mind me asking, why a bird?

I’d love to be able to fly – I have lots of flying dreams and it’s such a wonderful feeling. I envy them the freedom to just be able to fly wherever they like, and the feeling of being in the open air is wonderful. The closest I’ve ever got was when I went parasailing. Hanging 400ft up in the air from a parachute was just amazing. It was so quiet and still and the view was wonderful.

Rather you than me, Tina. Laughs. At bedtime, do you like relaxing-so-you-can-sleep sounds? Or is your preference white noise, TV, soft music, ocean waves, forest or meadow sounds, babbling brook, or something else? 

I don’t really like any sounds at bedtime. All I have is the ticking of my bedside clock, which reminds me of when I used to stay with my maternal grandmother when I was a little girl.

Absolutely! What kind of music do you listen to? Do you have an all-time favourite song?

I don’t like modern music, but I do have quite a mixed range of music that I like, from rock – stuff like Queen and American rock bands such as Foreigner, Reo Speedwagon, Aerosmith – to folk music, seventies, and country. My favourite band ever though is Fleetwood Mac.

Yeah, they sure rock. If your life were a movie, Tina, would it be considered an action film, comedy, drama, romance, fantasy or a combination?

Probably fantasy because I’m often daydreaming and off in my own little world, or ‘away with the fairies’ as my husband puts it!

How do you handle a writer’s block?

I’m a quilling artist – which, for anyone who doesn’t know, is rolling up narrow strips of coloured paper into coils, which you then shape and use to make pictures and decorate items. It’s a very old artform – so I sit and do a quilling project when I can’t write. That helps clear my mind and I can get back to the writing.

Do you write long hand first, or does it go straight into the computer?

Straight onto a Word doc. I couldn’t be bothered with the hassle of writing it out by hand then transferring it onto the computer. Why make more work for yourself?

I agree. Do you always know how a story will end when you begin writing it?

Yes I do. I could never write a story – short or novel length – without knowing the ending. I have the whole thing planned out in my head before I start to write it down. I may add or change bits in the middle as I’m going along, but the ending always stays as it is.

The same with me. Do you like to read the genre that you write?

Yes, definitely. I read mostly women’s fiction, romance – not slushy Mills & Boon type stuff, but books by authors such as Erica James – and stories that are character driven rather than plot driven. I think it’s good to write about what you know. I don’t read a lot of crime, so couldn’t write a crime novel.

What are you working on now, Tina? Would you like to share anything about it?

My third novel is a story about a girl who suffers with Sudden Death Transisition. She’s killed while crossing the road and texting on her mobile, and finds herself back in 1932, where she’s looked after by her great aunt Clarissa. It’s a fun read, but with an underlying sadness. It’s great fun to research that era.

Do you have a new book coming out soon or recently released? Do tell us about it!

The Love Shack was released three weeks ago. It’s a fun read, set around a dating agency, and stars the hapless Daisy Dorson who stomps in to complain and ends up with an unexpected offer. There’s plenty of laughs, quirky characters and romance.

The Love Shack

I’m reading The Love Shack now – a light, fun read – and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. Please let my readers know how they can find you, Tina. Do you have a web page, Facebook page or any buy links?

You can buy The Love Shack on Amazon for Kindle and it’s being released in paperback soon too.

My author page

My Facebook quilling page – in case people want to learn more –

Tina with Cherry

It’s been a joy interviewing you, Tina. And I’m sure my readers will love reading about you and admiring Cherry, your gorgeous greyhound. All the best with your writing, my lovely. As I said, I’m loving Daisy and her exploits in The Love Shack and your next book sounds intriguing. 

Monday Interview with Tina K Burton

I’m starting a new venture in my blog, where I’ll invite a fellow writer for an aperitivo and a chat. My first guest is the lovely and talented Tina K Burton. She’s a short story, article, and novel writer, and a quilling artist, which is the technique of making designs and pictures from rolled up strips of paper.

Tina’s first novel, Chapters of Life, is available in paperback and e-book, and has received a wealth of rave reviews on Amazon. When she’s not writing or quilling, Tina likes reading, running, cooking, and going for walks across the beautiful moorland where she lives in Devon, UK.


Welcome, Tina, and what can I offer you? A glass of prosecco? A spritzer? A bellini? Or perhaps some Pinot Grigio or Valpolicalla (as we’re in Italy)?

Ooh, I’d love a spritzer, please 🙂

I’ll have one too. Nice and refreshing on a warm summer’s day.


Okay, make yourself comfortable, Tina. We’ve known each other just over a year now since we met on Twitter. Thanks for agreeing to the interview. I’d like to start by asking, ‘What made you decide to become a writer?’

Well, I’ve always had a good imagination – I was constantly berated at school for staring out of the window rather than concentrating on my lessons – but the stories I made up in my head were infinitely more interesting than real life. Then, when I had my daughter, I made up stories for her. Once she was older and I went back to work, I had lots of ideas for articles and short stories, and started writing more seriously.

So you started making up stories when you were a child. Which authors inspired you at that time?

This is going to sound so twee, but my favourite author then was Enid Blyton. I couldn’t get enough of her books, and read almost every one. I still have some of my originals.


We studied various authors at school and, apart from the obvious, one of my other favourites was Thomas Hardy.

I, too, loved Enid Blyton and Thomas Hardy when I was younger. What books do you enjoy reading today?

I read a variety of genres. I can’t be doing with books that are too descriptive, though. I don’t care what the surroundings are like. I want to get on with the story. I read books by Erica James, Debbie Macomber, Simon Kernick – a brilliant London-based author, his books are edge of your seat stuff – John Connolly, Daphne Du Maurier, M C Beaton. I’ll read anything that looks interesting.

You’re like me then. We both have eclectic tastes. What was the inspiration behind your debut novel, Chapters of Life?


We lived in Sussex. I was in our local bookshop, wishing they had a cafe so I could sit with a cup of tea and a book. Suddenly this whole bookshop appeared in my mind, and the characters started to evolve around it. In a matter of days, I had the whole story in my head and just had to write it down.

Sounds wonderful. I’ve downloaded it onto my Kindle and will read it as soon as possible. You’ve just completed a second novel, The Love Shack. Please tell us about it!

Ah, it’s a humorous contemporary romance, set around a dating agency. The main character is Daisy Dorson, a rather sweet, but naive girl who’s only aim in life is to be happy and find a man she adores. We meet a selection of quirky characters who sign on looking for love, and there’s plenty of emotion and drama.

Sounds just my cuppa. What genre of romance would you say you write in, and have you thought about trying any other genres, either of romance or something else?

For my novels, I mainly write women’s fiction, but my short stories are a variety of genres, from tales with a twist to horror, crime, romance, flash fiction and adult fairy-tales. I’m always open to trying different genres, both in reading and in writing. I think it’s good to stretch yourself and try new things – it helps us become better writers.

Indeed, Tina. I know you are signed by a publisher for Chapters of Life, but would you ever consider self-publishing?

Yes, I would. There are pros and cons to both in my opinion. Whilst I feel there’s some kudos to having a publisher, I like the idea of being in control of my own book – and getting the majority of the profit. But, you have to know what you’re doing, or pay someone else who knows what to do.

Being in control and getting the majority of the profit is certainly a plus, I agree. What has been your greatest writing challenge and how have you overcome it, if you have?

I’m not a disciplined writer and I still haven’t overcome this problem. How I envy those writers who can sit at their desk at 9 am and work until 5 pm every day. I have to be in the right frame of mind to write, so I make the most of it when I am as I know it may be short lived. When I’m “in the zone”, I’ll start writing at 8 am, and still be there at 6 pm, having skipped lunch. I need to get the words down whilst they are flowing. I’ll work like this for a week or two, but then I can go for a month without writing another word. It’s very frustrating.

Well, we all have different ways of “getting the words down”. You’ve got two novels under your belt, and have had several short stories published, so obviously your method works for you. What are your plans, hopes, dreams and aspirations for the next state in your writing career?

I’d love to see my novels in bookshops, that would be wonderful, and after that, I’d really like to write for television. Gritty serial dramas, that sort of thing. But that’s a whole new ball game!

I wish you every success, Tina. It’s been great chatting with you. Thanks for dropping by! Before you go, please can you leave readers with three facts that may surprise them about you?

Hmm, okay. I smacked a camel on the nose because it spat on me. I married my next door neighbour, and, once, I spent my lunchtime watching a cremation.


Ha, ha, ha! I’m dying to know more. Good thing I’m following your blog. Readers, if you’d like to know more about Tina, you can find her on Facebook, where she also has her own quilling page – Quillina – Twitter, and Pinterest. Details are on her website here.


Meet My Main Character Blog Tour

I love writing this blog, especially when visitors leave comments. A regular commentator is Teagan Geneviene and I really enjoy visiting her blog. When I read her post Meet My Main Character Blog Tour, and saw that she hadn’t found anyone to tag, I tagged myself. If you’ve visited her blog, you’ll know what fun it is – please drop by and read about the main character in her WIP, the sequel to Atonement, Tennessee. Teagan says, “You’ll meet many familiar characters in book 2, Atonement in Bloom. Once again, Ralda Lawton is the main character and primary narrator. Lilith the calico is back too, and the parts of the story Ralda can’t see are told through the cat’s eyes. The story is an urban fantasy, inspired by ancient Celtic mythology.” atonement_in_bloom_1_03-24-2014

Now it’s my turn in the “Meet My Main Character Blog Tour.”

For this virtual tour, we have to answer a series of questions about the main character in a work-in-progress (WIP). Here are my answers to the questions about the principal heroine of The Orchid Tree.

1. What is the name of your character? Is she fictional?

Kate Wolseley is a fictional character, although I’ve given her the physical characteristics of my mother at her age.

Ronnie in swimsuit

2. When and where is the story set?

Colonial Hong Kong between 1941-1945 and from 1948-1949. My grandparents were interned by the Japanese during WWII, and I’ve used their memoirs of life behind barbed wire in the Stanley Civilian Internment Camp. My father joined the Chinese Maritime Customs after his demob from the Royal Navy, and his experiences chasing smugglers up and down the South China Coast inspired the character of the Englishman, James, in my novel. I wanted to bring alive a time and place that no longer exist, and I hope my knowledge of the era lends an authenticity to my writing that readers will enjoy. You can see some of the locations of The Orchid Tree here.




4. What should we know about Kate?

I don’t want to give away the story, so I’ll keep this brief. Kate has lived a pampered existence, in a house full of servants, at the pinnacle of pre-war Hong Kong society. Spoiled by her father, but lacking the attention of her mother, she finds comfort in the love of her Chinese amah (nanny). Her background is typical “stiff upper lip” British, except Kate is more open than her parents. As a result of her over-protected upbringing, she’s young for her age, which is fifteen at the start of the novel.


4. What is the main conflict?

Initially, WWII. Kate is interned with her parents in a squalid camp and has to endure cramped conditions, humiliation, disease, and starvation. She befriends 17 year-old Charles – who’s half Chinese – and they give their hearts to each other under the orchid tree. Kate’s father doesn’t approve of their relationship. At the end of the war, Kate and Charles are separated. She believes him to be dead when the ship he’s on is sunk, and her emotions have been frozen ever since.


5. What is the personal goal of the character?

Kate’s goal is to make a new life for herself in a society on the brink of change. She wants to become independent, overcome prejudice, and become a part of the new Hong Kong. All the while, Kate clings to her memories of Charles. Will she ever be able to love again?


6. Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?

After several working titles, I’ve finally settled on The Orchid Tree, the Bauhinia Blakeana, and I would like one of these trees on my book cover. A recurrent location in the novel, the orchid tree flower has become the emblem of Hong Kong. You can read the first eight chapters of my novel here.


7. When can we expect the book to be published?

I can’t make any promises or predictions at the stage. It’s in the lap of the gods, as they say. However, I would very much like to publish it before the calendar year is over. That’s my aim and I hope to achieve it.

And now, it’s my pleasure to pass the baton on to two wonderful authors. The first, Celia Micklefield, is a talented writer who I met through the YouWriteOn peer review site. The second, Tina Burton, is also an extremely gifted author, and I met her via Twitter. Please visit their websites and check them out! Both are highly creative. Tina loves quilling as well as writing, and Celia blogs about writing, reading and living in France. Thank you, dear friends, for agreeing to participate in the Meet My Main Character Blog Tour. I’m looking forward to reading about your main characters.

Celia Micklefield – Writer in Languedoc – Blogger, Trucklover, Trobairitz, Winelover.

Tina Burton’s Blog – A blog about writing and quilling – making designs and pictures from paper.