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
We are happy to ask you to join us in celebrating an exciting and successful year for the New Romantics Press.
When you think about it, our story might not be amazing, show-stopping or world-breaking …but it is interesting. What started as June’s original concept: “Let’s hold a showcase for our work.” Quickly followed by Amanda Grange’s advice: “Publish independently and then you’ll have something to show.” Add Lizzie’s gritty determination to keep us all on track; my PR background and Mag’s literary connections and I must admit, as my third novel sits patiently in the wings (ready to be launched at the end of this month), I feel a tiny smidgen of pride for what we have achieved. Nine novels, each individually penned, and one anthology of short stories, to which Lizzie and I have contributed … in just two years, is not bad going.
Add, excellent reviews, not-to-be-sniffed at sales and some fabulous author-events, topped off with our ‘packed-house’ showcase at Waterstones, Kensington earlier this month and well, it could all be deemed rather dazzling, and perhaps one could take just a second or two to rest on one’s laurels. Ah, what a team!
Not flippin’ likely. Bag about to be packed for the ‘World Premiere’ of Secrets of the Heart, to take place where the story opens, Neary’s Cocktail Bar, Chatham Street, Dublin 2 on Wednesday, December 3rd, 7.30pm – 9pm. See you there? Did I ever tell you, “Don’t Stop Me Now,” by Queen, is my anthem?
Too far out? Too close to the City.
Pub, Club? Bar or Bookshop.
When son Patrick and his partner Tom suggested hosting a launch for us in London, it set them off searching the streets for weeks – (a bit like trying to find a house, but cheaper.)
Tricky stairs, dicky lift. Too blow-all-of-the-budget? Ooh, no buzz. A little bit Rovers Return?
Then Adrienne wrapped it all up with her cracking connection – Waterstones!
And, it was wonderful – a real winner,(see pictures!)
Wine flowed, books were sold, lots of lovely people came to support us,(thank you, all of you!!) and, as you can see from those pics – apart from missing Mags and her fab new book – we all had A Jolly Good Time.
At a Romantic Novelists Association conference I remember a talk by a Literary Agent with a fearsome reputation saying she expected her writers to be healthy, and had no time for sickly ones. How ruthless, how unfeeling, I thought, but as an Indie author-cum-agent-publisher I now understand her. I was gutted not to be able to join my three New Romantics mates, Adrienne, June and Lizzie at our Author Showcase at Waterstones Kensington just 4 weeks after I had a much-needed, total right-knee replacement. Although in my head I believed I could be there, it finally dawned – duhh, no way. To compound my disappointment, my second novel Twins of a Gazelle was ready to be uploaded as a paperback on Create Space, and as an eBook ready for the event. I believed as soon as I was home from hospital I would steam ahead with this. Well, what did I know about how I’d actually feel in the aftermath of surgery?
I published my debut novel Last Bite of the Cherry) in 2012, and my second, Twins of a Gazelle will be available, I hope, in a couple of weeks. I can’t claim either novel is ‘romantic’, though both have a similar theme – clever woman, emotionally naïve, initially makes disastrous choice of man (men) before meeting ‘The One’. Not the conventional Girl-Meets-Boy love stories, but about love in its many guises nevertheless. To quote the latest reviewer of Last Bite of the Cherry, “This wasn’t going to be a straightforward romance. There were darker layers to this story. I was intrigued.” (Sharon Booth, Amazon and Goodreads). I hope readers will be equally intrigued by Twins of a Gazelle.
We little thought when we published Tall, Dark and Kilted, The Hollow Heart, An Englishwoman’s Guide to the Cowboy and Last Bite of the Cherry two years ago that we would go on to write second and third novels. Nor did we imagine, even in our wildest dreams, that we would hold an Author Event in a top London Bookshop – yet that’s exactly what we’ve accomplished. How? Through team work, keeping our eye on the ever changing publishing world and having determination by the shedload. For me, the Waterstones evening was a personal and professional milestone. When I set out to become a published author I thought I’d be happy with a few paperbacks to give to friends and rellies at Christmas, and to have the satisfaction of seeing my work in print. Yet, here I am – with readers emailing how much they loved both books; and with an accountant who, when asked what I could do to make his life better, said: “Get another book out there.” No pressure then.
Writing is a bit like trying to climb K9 – just when you think you’ve reached the summit, there’s another hill to climb to break through the clouds and into the sunshine. I couldn’t have got this far without the help of my husband Bongo Man, my many friends and fellow writers. So . . . Thanks to everyone who came to our Waterstones gig, even the Russian gentleman in tracksuit and combat jacket who drank a bottle and a half of red wine, ate all of M&S canapés and then scarpered when asked to buy one of our books. I only hope he wasn’t a famous editor/agent in disguise – or one of Vladimir Putin’s henchmen.
Thank you for helping us have such a terrific year and here’s to a wonderful 2015 for everyone!
(All photographs are the copyright of The New Romantics Press/Carole Matthews)
Tags: Adrienne Vaughan, authors, book launch, book signing, books, Carole Matthews, Eileen Ramsay, Hollow Heart, Janet Brigden, June Kearns, Lizzie Lamb, Lynda Dunwell, Margaret Cullingford, Mary de Lazslo, networking, novels, romance, Romantics Novelists' Association, Sue Moorcroft, Talli Roland, waterstones