Today on Take Five Authors I’m seizing the chance to interview one of our own members, Sue Moorcroft. Such a treat!
Tell us about The Wedding Proposal, Sue.
It’s set on Malta. I’d always wanted to write a reunion book, as I love reading them. Had I realised how much plotting of the backstory I’d have to carry out in order to make the front story work, I might have thought twice! I was brought up for several years in Malta and a part of my heart will always be there so, periodically, I send characters out to the island. I put Elle and Lucas on a small boat together in a yacht marina we used to be able to see from our balcony, when I was a child. Then I sat back and waited for fireworks … because Lucas hates secrets, and Elle has a lot.
Now we’re seeing a bit of a shift, aren’t we? What are you working on now?
Yes – I have another book out in the autumn! It’s called The Christmas Promise. I’ve been excited about this book for ages. It’s about Ava, who hates Christmas, has to admit that her couture millinery business has run into trouble, and is being threatened with revenge porn; and what happens to Sam who’s giving his mum Christmas because she’s between surgery and chemotherapy. The cover will be revealed soon – and I can’t wait to share it!
I’m curious, Sue – do you have writing buddies, or use beta readers?
I have two kinds of beta readers. The kind who read the book at second or third draft stage and tell me where the plot isn’t working or when characters have been off-stage too long. They’re both men, so they comment heavily on the segments of my novels that are written through the hero’s eyes, heavy on the humour and sarcasm. The second category of beta readers change book to book. They are people who have been so kind as to help me with research and I ask them to read the manuscript to tell me where I’ve gone wrong. Both kinds of beta readers are invaluable. (Thank you, guys!)
Can you work with the tv on? Or music? Or do you like to squirrel yourself away?
I like to write in my study at home, where everything is to hand. That’s not to say that I don’t write in trains, planes, coffee shops, hotels etc, when necessary! I do often have music on but I choose carefully. If I’m writing a first draft (the difficult bit, for me) then I’ll often play orchestral stuff so I don’t get distracted by lyrics (which always seem better than what I’m writing …). I prefer not to have people around me when I write.
I know you’re a busy lady – you don’t just write novels, you also write short stories and teach creative writing. I’m guessing you don’t have much time for anything else?
Well … I’m learning the piano (slowly), I do yoga, Zumba and FitStep, I like to hang out with friends. I’m a Formula 1 obsessive. I actually gave up a Formula 1 column because writing it was spoiling my enjoyment of the races. As soon as the year’s calendar is available I put race weekends in my diary and try to be home for every race and as many practice and qualifying sessions as I can. I like to watch Formula 1 in silence. Alone.
Gosh. I’m feeling weak at the thought of all of that! One final question – what are your top writing tips?
Educate yourself, learn about publishing as well as writing, and persist.
Thanks for taking time to talk to me, Sue! You’ll find all Sue’s contact details on her page on this blog (see top).