20 Questions with... N S Ford
Updated: Jan 21
N S Ford is a book fanatic, blogger and cat lover who lives in the UK with her family. She has a First Class degree in English. When not reading or blogging, she juggles her writing time with parenting, working in heritage and playing the piano. She is the author of two thrillers, We Watch You and They Lie Here. She is also the editor of The Indie Books & Authors Newsletter. Discover all of her social platforms at https://bio.link/nsfordwriter
Please introduce yourself. Where are you from? What was your life like growing up?
Hello, I’m N S Ford – writer, reader, blogger. I’m in the UK and have mostly lived in the Midlands. Growing up, my life revolved around my imagination. I spent a lot of time making up stories and illustrating them. I would say I had a good childhood. I never liked school, though. I found it hard to make connections and understand what people really meant – it turns out that I’m autistic, although I wasn’t diagnosed until my thirties.
Did you always want to be a writer? If you also work, what do you do / did you do?
Yes, I always wanted to write, but I never seriously thought I could do it until a few years ago. My confidence had been knocked after getting poor marks in a creative writing course at university as part of my English Literature degree. After that, I worked full time and didn’t have the energy to have another try. It was when I was on maternity leave that I decided to write what became my debut novel. I currently work part time in arts and heritage.
Tell us about your most recently published work in a sentence.
A gripping mystery thriller with a science fiction twist, about a missing pop star and a dark past…
What are you working on right now?
I’m planning a possible series of books in a different genre, but it’s very early days so needs a lot of work.
Do you have a writing routine, and if so what is it?
I don’t have a routine. I write when I feel like it!
Where do you write – always in the same space, or different places? Can you write ‘on the move’?
Always on the sofa with some music on. I don’t want to be distracted by different backgrounds.
What advice do you have for other authors who are starting out? What is the best advice you’ve heard?
Write what you’d personally love to read. That enthusiasm will show.
Do you enjoy doing live readings or are they a necessary evil – or somewhere in between?
I’ve never done that and probably wouldn’t!
Are there recurring themes in your work? Where do you feel these emanate from if so?
Mysteries and secrets seem to be significant in my work, which I suppose makes sense as I’m quite a private person and people can find it difficult to know what’s going through my mind.
Should writers have a moral purpose? What is the purpose of a writer in today’s society?
I don’t think writing should have a moral purpose. It’s OK if done subtly and seems authentic, but I really don’t like being preached at, especially in fiction. Entertainment is probably the main purpose of a fiction writer. If they can add in some education too without spoiling the story, that’s great.
Do you write between genres or not?
I’m a cross-genre writer, mixing thrillers, science fiction, horror, dystopian, contemporary and humour.
Which living writers do you most admire?
Philip Pullman, Maggie O’Farrell, Stephen King and Kazuo Ishiguro, among others.
Which dead writers do you most admire?
Arthur C Clarke, Ray Bradbury, Thomas Hardy and Daphne du Maurier.
What’s the book you wish you’d written?
That’s very tough. To Kill A Mockingbird, perhaps.
What other external influences do you have: nature/place, music etc?
I suppose that architecture has quite an influence, now that I think about it. Films are very influential because it helps to think of a plot as if it was a screenplay and fill in the other details later.
Do you suffer from ‘writer’s block’ and how do you overcome it if so?
I find that a walk outdoors helps to clear writer’s block, the key thing is to get away from the screen. It might sound weird but it works for me.
What’s been your favourite reaction to your writing?
With my first novel, We Watch You, some readers were absolutely shocked by the twist ending. That was what I was going for, a book which will make you think ‘what did I just read?!’ because you won’t be able to get it out of your head.
How do your family and friends feel about your writing?
They are very supportive and proud.
Do you have a favourite bookshop?
I rarely visit bookshops. I tend to use the library, or download on Kindle Unlimited, or buy from charity shops. There is only one bookshop where I live anyway.
How do you see the future of writing? Will we become more or less dependent on Amazon?
I think that writing in book format could evolve to more episodic kind of texts to match society’s shortening attention span. I know people who don’t read books any more, they just can’t focus since (coincidentally or not) they got smartphones and became used to media being bite-size. As for Amazon, it’s very convenient to have so many books available. As Amazon enables me to publish my books, I’m not going to criticise them. If indie publishing continues to increase, and if authors still use Amazon for their publishing, then yes, Amazon will grow further and we’ll be even more dependent on it.