Category Archives: Author Interview
Posted by Lizzie Lamb
New Romantics Press is thrilled to welcome successful author and fellow RNA member Sue Moorcroft to our blog. Lizzie has known Sue for quite a few years now (!) but thought some of our followers would like to learn more about Sue and her books.
Sue, tell us all about yourself –
I write women’s commercial fiction and my current contract is with Avon Books UK, part of HarperCollins. I also write short stories, columns, courses, serials and novellas, and I’m a creative writing tutor. I love being a full-time writer but in the past I worked for a bank, a digital prepress and Motor Cycle News.
What, for you would be a typical writing day? I start about 7.30am and finish around 6.00pm, generally Monday to Friday but sometimes weekends. I usually take a couple of hours off for Zumba, FitStep, Yoga or piano. If I can, I shoehorn in a cuppa with my gym buddies. I always have a clear idea of my day: planning, writing a first draft, editing, writing front or back matter, working on promo with my publisher’s PR agency, writing course material etc. When I’m writing a first draft I tend to edit the day before’s session before moving on. It gets me in the zone.
We all have to embrace it, so Social Networking – a help or a hindrance?
I lurve it, when I have time. Twitter and Facebook are part of my morning routine. I use social media for contact with readers and other writers, promo, research and fun. I’ve acquired useful research sources (such as a close protection officer) and workshops, interviews and blog posts and even my fantastic street team through social media. However, when I’m feeling the pressure of a deadline I reduce or remove social media from my day. You can read more about my views on social media on my blog
Sue, you must be thrilled to be have AVON BOOKS UK as your current publisher. We all know it takes years to be an overnight success –
do you have any advice for fledgling authors?
- Persist – I truly believe the name for an author who doesn’t give up is ‘published’.
- Expand your knowledge. Other creative careers demand years of training so why shouldn’t writing?
- Learn about publishing as well as writing so you can act professionally and in your own best interests.
- Don’t be afraid to try different writing techniques. You never know when you’re going to discover something that works for you.
- Balance a ‘can do’ attitude with healthy realism. You’re entering a competitive field that might involve sending work to someone you don’t know and hasn’t asked to see it, or presenting your writing to readers when there are a lot of other writers for them to read, so try hard to do the best job you can.
We’d love you to share your top five writing tips with us, Sue!
Learn about viewpoint (from whose perspective you’re writing) and what use of it is acceptable in your genre or desired by any editor or agent you’re approaching.
Understand how to show rather than tell. If this seems hard, think about running everything through your viewpoint character: see, hear, taste, feel, think and know what they see, hear, taste, feel, think and know. Give your characters actions that reflect what they’re experiencing, ie Melissa wiped the sweat from her eyes rather than Melissa felt too hot.
- Ultimately, you’re writing for readers. Do you know who they are and what they like? If you’re self-published this can be all you need to know … but it’s important that you do because you don’t have a publishing house to take care of such pesky details. If you’re seeking traditional publishing you need to understand what the editor/agent wants, too, as that person is the gatekeeper to your readers.
- Hone your dialogue. Conversation breathes life into characters and passes information to readers. It’s a boon to your character development as vocabulary, syntax and rhythms of speech can indicate region, religion, education, interests, social adeptness, career, experience, mood and a host of facets. It can indicate the dynamics of a relationship, too – characters don’t usually speak to their mother in the same way they speak to their lover, for example.
- Plunge into your story. View the first page/first chapter as an access corridor and don’t clutter it with too much description or backstory.
Tell us about your next book
My next book is The Christmas Promise and though scheduled for September/October publication it’s available for preorder now!
For Ava Bliss, it’s going to be a Christmas to remember … On a snowy December evening Sam Jermyn steps into the life of bespoke hat maker Ava Blissham. Sparks fly, and not necessarily the good ones…When PR guru Sam commissions Ava to make a hat for someone special to him she makes a promise that will change her life. She just doesn’t know it yet. Ava needs this job – she’s struggling to make ends meet, her ex-boyfriend is a bully and she’s desperate for distraction because no one dreads Christmas like Ava Blissham. Soon Ava finds herself reluctantly needing something from Sam. He’s quick to help, but Ava is in for a nasty shock… Can Ava keep a cool head and be true to herself? Will she be able to keep her promise? If she does, might this be the Christmas dreams come true?
Finally – what are you working on ATM?
Having just finished the copy edits for The Christmas Promise I’m catching up on blog posts and writing a short story for S Magazine. Then, bliss, I’ll be able to return to Just for the Holidays, which is due to be published in May/June 2017. It’s about Leah, who has actively avoided acquiring a husband and kids, being stuck in France … looking after her sister’s husband and kids. On the bright side, she begins a holiday romance with Ronan, a grounded helicopter pilot spending the summer in his holiday-home next door – until his ex-wife turns up to live with him.
Thank you so much for sharing your time and expertise with us Sue. Good luck with all your projects. If anyone would like to learn more about Sue, here are the links where you can find her.
Posted by newromantics4
My second novel Twins of a Gazelle is out, a mere six months later than my NR4 co-conspirators’ got out their seconds, the other fab three, Adrienne, June and Lizzie. My small band of readers are probably wondering, ‘So, what took you so long?’ Taking my cue from The Supremes’ “You Can’t Hurry Love”, I couldn’t hurry Twins of a Gazelle. No matter how hard I tried, I just had to take as long as it took. How(see below) will probably explain everything.
Way back in February, Sarah Houldcroft told us what every writer needs to know which is what readers want to know. I will do my best to answer her five questions.
What inspired you to write your novel?
Twins of a Gazelle began with a house nestling in the Leicestershire countryside. Over the years I have regularly driven past this house very much like the one in the picture. I thought, one day I shall write a story about the people who live there. Lonely, disillusioned, contrite Calista Blake and her charming, wealthy and manipulative husband Adam Burgess seemed ideal occupants. They began to haunt the house as they did my imagination. BUT, Calista needed to escape her comfortable prison and where better than to the enchanted Greek island of Ithaca where she becomes spellbound by PJ Wood.
How, why and where do you write?
Easiest one first, where, here in my small back room. Not in a café, a library or on the kitchen table, an attention-seeking cat is distraction enough, though interruptions from The Long-suffering One with coffee or tea are always welcome.
Easier second, why, because I must or I would go ever so slightly madder.
How, slowly and with difficulty. I start with a character, to-date, a woman, clever, successful at what she does. Her flaw, to begin with, she is emotionally naïve. In both Twins of a Gazelle and Last Bite of the Cherry, the main character’s story-thread is interwoven with that of a second female character who started out as my heroine. On reflection, theirs was, for me, too straightforward, not so Calista’s in Twins of a Gazelle, nor Monica’s in Last Bite of the Cherry. I like to probe their character, their motivation, their psyche, find just the right words to convey their state of mind, their emotions, and the undercurrents beneath an-on-the-surface ordinary situation. All this is equally relevant to the men they fall in love with, the two or three or more ‘heroes’ before they find ‘the one’. To me all my heroes are lovable in their own way, even Adam. As a reader, please feel free to take your pick. My novels are so not boy-meets-girl, jump through a few hoops and then live happily ever after. For me, there are no endings, just new beginnings. At the end, I would like my readers to think, ‘Knowing them both as well as I do now . . .’ Maybe some do.
Afterthought: One of my reviewers of Last Bite of the Cherry wondered if the ending would have been ‘happy’ – to my mind it was more like ‘satisfying’ – if the main protagonist had been ‘poverty struck’. If I were to write about people struggling to make a living, feed their children, becoming homeless, that would be something quite else, which brings me to question 3.
Have you experienced first-hand any of the aspects in your books?
Well, I have been known to fall in love with unsuitable men, not unsuitable in themselves, just not for me. That’s character-building and informative. Makes you think ‘What do I really, really want?’ Answer: ‘Not this’. Also, many moons ago, I took myself by surprise by becoming pregnant. Now there’s a surreal experience. Anyone agree?
Did you base your character on a real person?
My characters come from my imagination based on many years’ observation of the way people are and behave towards each other. At social gatherings, events, meetings, airports, in trains, part of the time, most of the time I love sitting back people watching. Fascinating.
If so, was it you?
I suspect I do what most writers do which is imagine myself as the person I’m writing about at any given time, what they’re thinking, feeling, seeing and hearing, smelling, doing. I try my best to make it ‘real’. Then it’s me in so far as it’s what I may have thought, felt etc. in similar situations.
‘Nuff said, I think. I shall now sail off into the sunset in PJ Wood’s sloop.
Mags, aka Margaret C.
Posted by Lizzie Lamb
We are delighted to welcome the lovely Jean Fullerton to our blog today. We put her on the spot and asked her a few questions about her life as a writer.
Tell us all about you
I was born and raised within the sound of Bow Bells in the East End of London and grew in the Jack the Ripper old stomping ground, Wapping and Whitechapel. I’m a District Nurse and have worked in East London for twenty-five years.
My first four novels No Cure for Love, A Glimpse at Happiness, Perhaps Tomorrow and Hold on to Hope were set in Victorian East London and were shortlisted and won various prizes.
Call Nurse Millie, was released in 2013, and All Change for Nurse Millie, a year later. There are also two seasonal novellas, Christmas with Nurse Millie and Easter with Nurse Millie. The third in the series, Fetch Nurse Connie has just been released.
I live with my very own Hero-at-Home, a massive Bernese Mountain Dog called Molly and two cats called Tilley and Fudge.
What is a typical writing day?
I wish I had one! Contrary to popular belief most of us still have day jobs. Mine is teaching nursing at a London University and I squeeze in at least four hours writing in the evening and am often am at my desk until 1 or 2 in the morning.
How does the writing process work for you?
As I weave at least six patients’ stories through Connie’s over-arching story so I plan extensively to help me evenly space Connie’s meeting with her patients, family and her ex-fiancé Charlie. Of course it changes as ideas come to me but it gives me a place to start.
I do the research as I go and I’m not a fast writer 1500 is a good day and that’s because I worry over every word and shift dialogue around as I go.
Social Networking – a help or a hindrance?
Both. It helps me keep in touch with writer friends and fans but can be very distracting especially when you’re in a knotty bit of the book. I make a rule that I allocate 2 hour block of writing time during which time I will not click onto the internet or emails.
Do you have some advice for fledgling authors?
Just write the story. That’s what keeps readers sitting up to the wee small hours not the writing techniques. That said, and although it might sound contradictory, you do have to perfect the craft and that is hard, very hard. If it weren’t everyone would do it but if you’re in love with storytelling, as I am, that will carry you through the pain.
What are your top five writing tips?
- Learn your craft-plot, pace, structure, characterisation, dialogue.
- Read your chosen genre as this will help with the above.
- Don’t force a character to act out of character.
- Everyone gets stuck on chapter 5 so just keep writing.
- Never, never, never give up.
Who or what has inspired you the most to become a writer?
Bestsellers that were rubbish- we’ve all read them and I’m absolutely not naming names. I thought ‘I must be able to do better than that.’ It’s for readers to decide if I have.
If not a writer – then what?
What I am a nurse and teacher. Despite all the back-breaking hard works, government-driven targets and out-of-touch management nursing is still the most rewarding job in the world.
Tell us a little bit about your love for the East end of London
It’s a bit difficult to explain the affinity I have with the place where I was born. I feel very privileged to have been born in a unique culture The Fullertons arrived in East London in the 1800s while the ‘O Rileys were later amongst the wave of Irish migration triggered by the potato famine. The area became legendary for its Blitz spirit and thanks to popularity of music malls, cinema, war-time radio and early TV the Cockney culture is an integral part of London’s identity.
Someone once said to me that I was lucky to be able to draw on such a rich heritage and they were right.
Tell us about your current book
Fetch Nurse Connie
Connie Byrne, a nurse in London’s East End working alongside Millie Sullivan from Call Nurse Millie, is planning her wedding to Charlie Ross, set to take place as soon as he returns from the war. But when she meets him off the train at London Bridge, she finds that his homecoming isn’t going to go according to plan.
Connie’s busy professional life, and the larger-than-life patients in the district, offer a welcome distraction, but for how long?
Available from Orion Fiction on kindle, paperback and hardback on 4th June 2015. Check it out on Amazon here
Some reviews of your work
‘A delightful, well researched story that depicts nursing and the living conditions in the East End at the end of the war’ (Lesley Pearce)
‘…The writing shines off the page and begs for a sequel’ (Historical Novel Society)
‘…you will ride emotional highs and lows with each new birth and death. Beautifully written with some sharp dialogue.’ (THE LADY) (59 words)
Finally – what are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on the second of Connie’s books, as yet untitled. She is still working in Spitalfields as the deputy Superintendent and has the usual collections of eclectic mix of patients to deal with. Now, I don’t what to give too much away but look out for the new GP, Dr Hari MacLauchlan, survivor of the infamous Burma Railway, who is six foot one and half-Scottish, half Indian. Need I say more?
Lizzie is so loving the sound of THAT one. Good luck with your writing Jean, and thanks for being a great guest on our blog.