It’s my pleasure to welcome award-winning romance author Sue Moorcroft here today to talk about her writing and her latest release, LOVE & FREEDOM.
Here’s a brief description of LOVE & FREEDOM: New start, new love.
That's what Honor Sontag needs after her life falls apart, leaving her reputation in tatters and her head all over the place. So she flees her native America and heads for Brighton, England.
Honor is hoping for a much-deserved break and the chance to find the mother who abandoned her as a baby. What she gets is an entanglement with a mysterious male whose family seems to have a finger in every pot in town.
Martyn Mayfair has sworn off women with strings attached, but is irresistibly drawn to Honor, the American who keeps popping up in his life. All he wants is an uncomplicated relationship built on honesty, but Honor's past threatens to undermine everything. Then secrets about her mother start to spill out ...
Honor has to make an agonizing choice. Will she live up to her dutiful name and please others? Or will she choose freedom?
Sue has graciously answered some questions for me.
Mason - Have you always wanted to write or was there an event that led you to writing?
SUE - If there ever was a time I didn’t want to write, I don’t remember it. When I was asked to write stories at school I thought it was a bit of a cheat that I received good marks. After all, all I was doing was making things up! Easy.
I had a horrible teacher when I was ten, the kind who makes you scared to go to school. But he told me that I could write and that one day there would be books on the shelf with ‘Sue Moorcroft’ on the spine. It was quite a long time before I made that come true. For many years, I wrote for myself and made up stories in my head or for my children … then one day I found I wanted to write a novel and had a story inside me that was trying to get out. I had a few hours each week when the children were at school or preschool and looked forward to that time as an oasis of indulgence – writing my story.
I wrote two novels in that period. Publishers returned them to me so promptly that I decided I needed to do a course. Around the same time, I read that it was possible to get interest in a novel if you had about twenty short stories published in national newsstand magazines, so I took that route, selling three stories while on the course.
I had eighty-seven short stories, a serial and some articles to my credit before I got the call, ‘I have an offer for you’. But, loosely, the strategy worked.
Mason - What advice have you received that you pass on to aspiring writers?
SUE - Don’t make enemies. I have a tendency to react/speak impulsively, but remembering this advice from fellow Choc Lit author, Margaret James, has probably kept me out of awkward situations.
Also, from a poster, ‘The editor may not always be right, but s/he’s always the editor.’ Very useful, that one!
Mason - How do you go about doing research for your writing? Is it a process you enjoy or just find it necessary?
SUE - It depends on the research but, generally, I love it. For LOVE & FREEDOM, I had to research the area around Brighton on the south coast of England, and west Connecticut. Also, cakes. (It’s a hard life …)
Researching Connecticut was great because my brother lives there and he and his lovely wife drove me around the state while I took photos and asked brainless questions.
Happily, I don’t at all mind hitting on people … erm, I mean, asking people politely if they’ll help me. I’m always open about my project and what I need. Usually, I get it, sooner or later. I’m keen that my research should be correct, so that people won’t read my books and tell me that I don’t know what I’m talking about.
Also, I harness the power of Twitter and Facebook and ask followers and friends to help me out. For LOVE & FREEDOM, that got me help from an attorney on identity theft and from all kinds of people on hacking. It was scary how many people knew how to cause havoc on the Internet, actually.
Mason - Of all the authors (past and present) you enjoy reading, has any one (or more) been an influence in your writing?
SUE - Influence … does that suggest that I wish to emulate them? My aim is to write like Sue Moorcroft rather than like someone else, however fabulous they might be.
I’ve had a lifelong affair with the works of Nevil Shute and Georgette Heyer and still reread their stuff frequently. I have a huge admiration for writers such as Suzanne Brockmann and Linda Howard who write really hot romantic relationships on brave bold canvases. But I don’t feel my talents lie in the same area.
Mason - What is next on the agenda for you?
SUE - DREAM A LITTLE DREAM. I’ve just received the cover (it’s scrumptious) but I haven’t yet completed my edits. It’s a book about realizing dreams. Just to make it interesting, I made Liza’s dream conflict directly with Dominic’s dream. And, as Dominic has a rare sleep disorder, he has his own take on dreams ...
I REALLY enjoyed the research for this book. I think I officially joined the Research Junkie Club. Apart from meeting a really nice guy who gave me endless help with the sleep disorder, narcolepsy, I had to have a whole load of reflexology treatments, a fish pedicure, learn to drive (sail?) a 28 foot river cruiser and spend an afternoon in an air traffic control tower.
(I’m thinking that, in my next book, my heroine will get a facelift and a toy boy. The research would be amazing.)
Sue, thanks so much for sharing these answers with us. I so enjoy your take on doing research.
Now for a bit of background on Sue. She writes romantic novels of dauntless heroines and irresistible heroes for Choc Lit. Her latest book, LOVE & FREEDOM, won the Best Romantic Read Award 2011 at the Festival of Romance.
Combining writing 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 a regular Formula 1 column for www.girlracer.co.uk, short stories, serials, articles and courses and is the head judge for Writers’ Forum. She's a Katie Fforde Bursary Award winner.
For more on Sue and her writing, check out her website www.suemoorcroft.com and her blog at http://suemoorcroft.wordpress.com/ for news and writing tips. You can also befriend Sue on Facebook or Follow Sue on Twitter.
Do you think research is a big factor in writing? Thanks so much for stopping by. Remember, LOVE & FREEDOM and Sue’s other novels can be purchased at book stores and online retailers.