One of the great joys of being an author is that you get to meet some fabulous creative people. Sue is an author who’s had stacks of books published. We met at an event organised by Magic Oxygen who published my latest book and hers. My table had two books on it, hers was full of different books! In the past her work has often been for children but her latest release is a novel for adults. Welcome Sue.
I’m an ex-teacher and I lost my hair in 81. I’m now Ambassador for Alopecia UK and love that role, especially when I go to a school to support a child with hair loss in addition to leading writing workshops. I’m the Bald Green Author but I keep forgetting to use that hashtag.
Tell me about your journey as a writer – how you started and how you have developed?
As a teenager I wanted to be the twenty-first century George Eliot but once I became a primary school teacher I witnessed the joy and power of Story Time and started to think about writing for a younger audience. The first story I wrote for publication one summer was about a character with alopecia, and that was the beginning of dramatic changes in my life.
Michael Morpurgo read the manuscript of THE WATERHOUSE GIRL and rang to tell me it was “beautifully written”, “insightful” and “poignant” and that he loved it! It still took a long time to find a publisher, though. Now I have five of them! Having written for children and teenagers across many genres for about five years, I began to write for adults. With 23 titles, I hope I’ve learned a lot through practice.
How would you describe your work – its themes and the important things about it?
I like to read novels that are literary, deep and emotional, with timeless themes like love, courage and freedom – and that’s the kind of writing I try to do, even for young children. I’m always aware of the pleasure they take in language so I play with it and test it out as much as possible. My work is always led by character but my passions and convictions underpin everything.
Why did you decide to write a book for adults and what differences did you find between writing for adults and children?
I’m inspired by the greats – Virginia Woolf, Dickens and Tolstoy as well as my heroine George Eliot – but also modern writers like Carol Shields and Anne Tyler. Novels for adults take longer, not just because there are more words but because the style is more sophisticated. There’s less action but more of the characters’ interior lives.
It’s about time! There’s a clock that links all the characters but time ticks all through it, even though it only covers Oct-Christmas 2013 and is a (still fairly current) snapshot of lives and attitudes in this country. Every moment we experience time’s layers, connecting us with the past through memory and the future through imagination, so I’ve tried to replicate that, with the past butting in and impacting on the present in the characters’ heads.
There’s plenty of drama as lives change over a short period but the action is really emotional. I wanted it to feel very real. The story is about love, change and connections, and is dedicated to Greenpeace.
Tell me about your journey to publication and about your current publisher?
I began paying towards publication with a contributory contract with Pegasus in 06 but Michael Morpurgo’s review of my first book, SPIRIT AND FIRE, got me into schools – where the book sold, so I haven’t had to ‘contribute’ since. I now have four more publishers if you include Create, responsible for ARIA, an e-book and audio-book only (for adults).
Magic Oxygen is a perfect fit for me: Green, ethical and warmly human!
Where can I buy a copy of your book?
any online bookseller like Amazon or Waterstones.com.
Where can we find out more about you?
On Twitter: @SueAuthor