Welcome to the fifty-third of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, directors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. Today’s is with novelist, writer of short stories, serials, articles and how to, Writers’ Forum columnist / competition judge and Formula 1 columnist(!) Sue Moorcroft. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate the author further. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here.
Morgen: Hi Sue. Please tell us something about yourself and how you came to be a writer.
Sue: It’s a compulsion. I think there are many storytellers in my family but most of them reserve it for anecdotes around the dinner table. I loved books so much, in primary school, that I found creating books of my own natural. When I actually got good marks for doing so, I was in heaven. I didn’t try and get published until the 90s. After having two novels returned to me with frigidly polite notes, I did a course – much like the distance learning course I now teach on. And I read that getting about twenty short stories published would open the door for novels … Broadly, this worked. But the figure was eighty-seven.
Morgen: Wow. What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
Sue: Taking into account everything I write, I write about relationships. But if we’re just talking about my novels, I write love stories. My first book was more of a family drama with a love story in it, but my last few novels have been contemporary romantic fiction. I don’t really consider other genres, although I do some non-fiction and writing ‘how to’.
Morgen: Which I have (and your other books – Sue’s a former tutor of mine and lives locally). 🙂 Including the books I have, what have you had published to-date? And how much of the marketing do you do?
Sue: Five novels; over 130 short stories; 4 serials; one writing ‘how to’ book; monthly columns for Writers’ Forum and a column after every Formula 1 race for www.girlracer.co.uk. I do a lot of marketing. Signings, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, literary festivals, workshops and radio are the main focus. I enjoy it, but it’s time-consuming.
Morgen: Do you have an agent? And do you think they’re vital to an author’s success?
Sue: I used to have an agent and I left her when I thought that I wasn’t going to be able to write novels any more. It turns out that I was wrong about not being able to write novels – whether I was wrong to leave her is yet to be seen. I’m happy being in control of my own career, right now, but I feel the door may be open for us to get back together. Whether a writer needs an agent is a difficult question because some writers do and some don’t.
Morgen: That’s the sort of picture I’m getting from people I speak to. Are your books available as eBooks? If so what was your experience of that process? And do you read eBooks?
Sue: Yes, they are, and they’re selling better than the paperbacks.
Morgen: That’s encouraging for new authors, including me, who are planning on going the ‘e’ route. 🙂
Sue: The sales in different formats are all down to my publisher, not me – I write it, they publish it. I bought a Kindle in March and I adore it. It’s fabulous for travelling and for getting books from US and Australian authors. I read print books more often than e, though.
Morgen: Me too, but then I travel less than you do. What are you working on at the moment / next?
Sue: I’m working on a book called Dream a Little Dream. The heroine is Liza, who is the sister of Cleo from All That Mullarkey. It’s set in Middledip village, like Starting Over and All That Mullarkey. I’m having to do loads of research because one of the characters has narcolepsy and there’s a lot to learn about that.
Morgen: Ah yes, I remember Middledip (I’ve read Starting Over). Do you manage to write every day? What’s the most you’ve written in a day?
Sue: I write most days but I teach and judge, too.
Morgen: That’s how we met (as a teacher not judge); at the University of Leicester’s Certificate of Creative Writing with Judith Allnatt (http://www.judithallnatt.co.uk).
Sue: The most I’ve ever written (that I remember) is 5000 words.
Morgen: That’s great going.
Sue: I did that on Monday. By Friday I had edited the life out of them and only had 2000 words left.
Morgen: Ouch. 🙂
Sue: So I changed my working method!
Morgen: Me too, I can tell now when I’m starting to waffle. What is your opinion of writer’s block? Do you ever suffer from it? If so, how do you ‘cure’ it?
Sue: Empty bank account needs money. Writing is how I make my living. If a project isn’t going well, I turn to something else for a day or so.
Morgen: Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Sue: A mixture of the two. I like to know big things such as the hero/heroine’s quest, their conflicts, history, characteristics etc. What’s going to get them together. What’s going to keep them apart.
Morgen: Do you have pieces of work that you think will never see light of day?
Sue: Yes! In spades.
Morgen: What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life?
Sue: Doing my accounts is my least favourite. There are too many favourites to enumerate – I just like what I do.
Morgen: Me too, although the sheer not knowing where plot comes from it fantastic. 🙂 What do you like to read?
Sue: Romantic fiction and romantic suspense, mainly, although I do read some crime, biography, fantasy (but only a very little of the latter). And non-fiction, of course, often for research. And I read a couple of writing magazines each month.
Morgen: I subscribe to them all and am SO behind with reading them. Are there any writing-related websites and/or books that you find useful and would recommend?
Sue: Yes. I never hesitate to recommend ‘Love Writing – How to Make Money Writing Romantic or Erotic Fiction’ by Sue Moorcroft. (Accent Press)
Morgen: In which country are you based and do you find this a help or hindrance with letting people know about your work?
Sue: I’m in England. I’m fine with that. My books have gone into Australia and I’m hoping they’ll go into America. Doing the promo for another country is a challenge.
Morgen: Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how invaluable do you find them?
Sue: Lots, but mainly closed – apart from Twitter (@suemoorcroft, if anyone wants to follow me) and Facebook. I love forums and social networking. They’re incredibly valuable to gain information and hit on people to help with research.
Morgen: Where can we find out about you and your work?
Morgen: Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
Sue: My latest book, Love & Freedom, was published on 1 June and has just gone into the airports and stations. It’s getting great reviews, which is wonderful. Whoop!
Morgen: I have it and look forward to reading it (albeit probably later rather than sooner – see earlier reference to being behind with writing magazines). Thanks Sue. 🙂
Sue Moorcroft writes romantic novels of dauntless heroines and irresistible heroes for Choc Lit. Combining that success with her experience as a creative writing tutor, she’s written a ‘how to’ book, Love Writing – How to Make Money From Writing Romantic and Erotic Fiction (Accent Press). Sue also writes short stories, serials, articles and courses and is the head judge for Writers’ Forum. She’s a Katie Fforde Bursary Award winner.
Check out her website www.suemoorcroft.com and her blog at http://suemoorcroft.wordpress.com/ for news and writing tips. You’re welcome to befriend Sue on Facebook or Follow Sue on Twitter. All of Sue’s Choc Lit novels and Love Writing are available as ebooks.
UPDATE JUNE 2012: Since we last spoke, Sue’s put her out of print novel and four novellas, formerly magazine serials, up for sale as self-published e-books. She did it, initially, she says, in response to readers who asked where they could read them. To her delight, they’ve sold well, and continue to do so. They can be seen on her Amazon Author Page, along with her other books.
Her new book, Dream a Little Dream, will be published on 1 November 2012.
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me and I’ll send you the information. They do now (January 2013) carry a fee (£10 / €12.50 / $15) for the new interviews on this blog but everything else (see Opportunities on this blog) is free.
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