Wednesday 14 May 2014

Getting to know ... Sue Barnard

What genre would you say your novels fall into, or do they defy classification?
Difficult to say.  The Ghostly Father is probably cross-genre; it started out as partly historical, partly “what if?” 

When it was published, Amazon classified it as “Alternative History,” whilst Waterstones listed it in their catalogue under “Science Fiction” (which it most definitely is not!). 

Nice Girls Don’t, which is due out in July 2014, is probably best described as “romantic mystery.”

What made you choose that genre? 
I don’t think I can answer this one!

How long does it take you to write a book?
The first draft usually takes about six months, but the editing and rewriting is open-ended. 

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
Pretty chaotic, to be honest.  I’d like to be able to say that I can sit and write for hours on end, but that wouldn’t be true.  If I get stuck (which happens alarmingly often!) I find it helps to take a break and do something else for a little while.  The answer then comes to me at the oddest moment.  I’ve had some of my best ideas whilst I’ve been mowing the lawn – and on one occasion a stanza of a poem arrived, fully-formed, when I was waiting in a traffic jam!

Where do you get your ideas for your books?
They’re usually inspired by something I’ve read.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I wrote my first full-length novel when I was in my fifties.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Reading, walking, gardening, travelling. 

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
That sometimes the characters can take over, and send the story heading in a totally different direction.  One of the characters in Nice Girls Don’t took me completely by surprise, by saying something which went on to change the entire course of the sub-plot!

How many books have you written?
Two full-length novels and a few short stories.

Which is your favourite and why?
I think it would have to be The Ghostly Father, because I started out by writing it just for myself; it was the story I’ve always wanted to read.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I can’t remember that far back!

What are you working on now?
I’ve got a couple of different projects on the go, but they’re still very much at the first draft stage – so don’t stay in specially waiting for them!

Author biography:
Sue was born in North Wales but has spent most of her life in and around Manchester. After graduating from Durham University, where she studied French and Italian, Sue got married then had a variety of office jobs before becoming a full-time parent. If she had her way, the phrase "non-working mother" would be banned from the English language.

Since then she has had a series of part-time jobs, including some work as a freelance copywriter. In parallel with this she took several courses in Creative Writing. Her writing achievements include winning the Writing Magazine New Subscribers Poetry Competition for 2013. She is also very interested in Family History. Her own background is stranger than fiction; she'd write a book about it if she thought anybody would believe her.

Sue has a mind which is sufficiently warped as to be capable of compiling questions for BBC Radio 4's fiendishly difficult Round Britain Quiz. This once caused one of her sons to describe her as "professionally weird." The label has stuck.

Sue joined the editorial team Crooked Cat Publishing in 2013. Her first novel, The Ghostly Father (a new take on the traditional story of Romeo & Juliet) was officially released on St Valentine's Day 2014.  Her second novel, a romantic mystery entitled Nice Girls Don’t, is due for release in July 2014.

Twitter: @SusanB2011

Published works:
The Ghostly Father (Crooked Cat, February 2014)
Nice Girls Don’t (to be published by Crooked Cat in July 2014)
Plus entries in the following anthologies:
Crooked Cats’ Tales (Crooked Cat, April 2014)
Best of Manchester Poets Vol 2 (Puppywolf, December 2011)
Best of Manchester Poets Vol 3 (Puppywolf, March 2013)

Critique Service for Writers

Flash 500 Home Page: Flash Fiction, Humour Verse
and Novel Opening Chapter and Synopsis Competitions

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