Today we welcome Sue Moorcroft to Meeting the Authors as we travel to Kettering and learn how Malta, primary school, twitter, and writing retreats impact Sue’s writing life. Get ready, let’s board this helicopter …
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I live in Kettering, Northamptonshire, England but I was born in Germany because we were an army family and spent much of my childhood in Malta and Cyprus.
In which genre do you write?
Commercial fiction. A lot of readers call it chick lit or rom-com, although I think it’s more ‘the occasional witty line’ than ‘com’. Sometimes it’s called women’s commercial fiction but I hate to exclude men. Rude.
How many published books do you have?
A Summer to Remember is my fourteenth published full-length novel but it looks more as there are one novella and several stories that were magazine serials but are now novella-length ebooks. There’s also a writing guide.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?
In infant school, I realised that someone had to create the stories that I loved and vaguely wanted to be that person. When I was eight or nine I used to create my own ‘books’ – about five pages long, with a badly drawn cover. I was in the final year of primary school when my teacher told me one day there would be novels on the shelf with ‘Sue Moorcroft’ on the spine. I set out to prove him right.
Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?
A Summer to Remember came from a tweet. It was about a guy who shared an intimate meeting with a woman and forgot to switch off his conferencing software. The image with the tweet wasn’t explicit but it was pretty obvious what was going on! I admit that my first reaction was to laugh. But then I began to think about it. The man was in a suit so was he at work? Was the woman a colleague? Were they cheating on partners? Did his employer get to know? Did it embarrass them? Did it affect his/her career? Answering these questions but making the situation backfire on the wrong person gave me the opening of the book.
What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?
I read a lot! I love Formula 1 and watch its TV coverage. I like Zumba, Dancefit, FitStep and yoga, hanging out with family and friends. And then there’s all that cooking and shopping stuff to get through.
What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?
That I will keep going through rejections and disappointment. That writing isn’t a job or a hobby – it’s a compulsion.
What is the most enjoyable thing you’ve found through writing?
Writing retreats! I used to think they were an excuse for a jolly until I was invited to work on one. I could not believe how much work I got done with no gym and no social or domestic responsibility. Now I regularly head up writing retreats for Arte Umbria in Italy and love the mixture of intensive work and other creative people to chat with over meals and in the evenings. I’ve been lucky enough to join friends on a retreat at the home of one of them and even taken myself off alone to Malta to enrich next year’s summer book by being in the country of which I’m writing.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve done or experienced to help create a scene or plot?
Been in a pretend helicopter crash. In Just for the Holidays Ronan is a helicopter pilot recovering from a broken collar bone after a forced landing. It’s called ‘autorotation’ and something helicopter pilots practice routinely, pitching the rotor blades so that they can get the craft down more-or-less in one piece, a bit like the way sycamore seeds whirl to earth. A helicopter pilot took me up and demonstrated the art. You come down from two thousand feet pretty quickly and it’s awesome.
You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What song do you listen to before speaking? Or, what do you do to prepare yourself?
I read the relevant pages to myself over a cup of tea. I remind myself about not speaking too quickly and about trying to make eye contact with the audience at intervals.
What do you miss about being a kid?
Living in Malta.
At this stage in your life, what advice would your young self give to your more mature self?
When an agent reaches out to you, there’s a reason. Follow it up.
Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?
Stubbornness, because it took twenty years to be an overnight success but I didn’t give up. I wrote short stories, serials, columns and writing how-to alongside my novels. I taught creative writing, appraised manuscripts and judged fiction competitions. I did what it took to get where I wanted to be and I don’t regret it – but it was tough.
Tell us about your most recent book.
A Summer to Remember is set in a tiny seaside village with little access to the internet. Clancy escapes there when her life in London implodes without really considering what it will be like to live in a close community when her cousin Alice jilted one of its members six years ago. Lee is the brother of Aaron de Silva and the relationship of Aaron and Clancy consists of one hot kiss, one blazing row and six years of stilted emails. Lee’s just come back to the village in a fragile emotional and mental stage. Aaron’s feeling protective. The reunion of Clancy and Aaron doesn’t get off to a promising start.
Thank you Sue for joining us on MTA. It was incredibly interesting to learn more about your background and writer’s lifestyle. And, now I want to attend a writer’s retreat!! –Camilla
A Summer to Remember blurb:
COME AND SPEND SUMMER BY THE SEA!
WANTED! A caretaker for Roundhouse Row holiday cottages.
WHERE? Nelson’s Bar is the perfect little village. Nestled away on the Norfolk coast we can offer you no signal, no Wi-Fi and – most importantly – no problems!
WHO? The ideal candidate will be looking for an escape from their cheating scumbag ex-fiancé, a diversion from their entitled cousin, and a break from their traitorous friends.
WHAT YOU’LL GET! Accommodation in a chocolate-box cottage, plus a summer filled with blue skies and beachside walks. Oh, and a reunion with the man of your dreams.
PLEASE NOTE: We take no responsibility for any of the above scumbags, passengers and/or traitors walking back into your life…
GET IN TOUCH NOW TO MAKE THIS A SUMMER TO REMEMBER!
About Sue Moorcroft:
Sue Moorcroft is a Sunday Times and international bestselling author and has reached the coveted #1 spot on Amazon Kindle. She’s won the Readers’ Best Romantic Novel award and the Katie Fforde Bursary, and has been nominated for several other awards, including the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards.
Her short stories, serials, columns, writing ‘how to’ and courses have appeared all over the world.
Part of an army family, Sue was born in Germany and lived much of her childhood in Malta and Cyprus before setting in the UK.
Where to find the book:
Apple iBook: buy
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2lFEKEd
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2keeuQU
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And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …