I'm really emotional about the author I'm interviewing as she is VERY special to me. I'm going to interview my very own step-sister, Sue Searles. She's going to talk about her book, Lucia's Web. We spent many of our growing up years together and strangely ended up being passionate about the same thing - writing.
Sue Searles has written some amazing books, and I've helped put them on Amazon for her. She's had some real success with some of them. Anyway, she finally sent off her latest book to Clean Reads (formerly Astraea Press) and got her first contract! Well overdue! She really is a talented writer! Her book is in the editing stage and will be released in a couple of months. There isn't a cover to boast about yet, and when it comes, we'll be doing a cover reveal.
Some of my favourite types of books to read besides romance are cozy mysteries or women's fiction. And Sue has written one containing both elements. Wow, this book kept me so gripped. I can't wait for it to come out.
Creepy characters and shadowy scenes are woven through this suspense-filled story, steeped in mystery with splashes of humor. When Ali Duncan advertises for two tenants to share an upmarket apartment with her, she has no way of knowing the series of cryptic events that is about to unravel. When one housemate turns out to be a quirky nonconformist, the other a Gothic misfit, she has to rely on her own defective judgment to find her way. With circumstances stacked against her, whom can she trust when she finds herself alone in her quest for normality when nothing in the house is as it seems?
Sue Searles has written several books, ranging from women's fiction and short stories, to poetry and children's books. Having worked on various forms of storytelling since her childhood, writing has been a lifelong passion. Now somewhat older and wiser, she is passionate about thinking outside the conventional box, and conveys messages that are thought-provoking and life-changing. Her inspiration comes mainly from studying people, reading, and daily life. Sue is happily married and living in sunny South Africa with her husband and son.
What is the best thing for you about being a writer?
For me, writing is a deeply fulfilling creative outlet; it's what I was born to do. Anybody who's written a book knows what a challenging journey it can be with its various elements (building interesting characters, believable plot with twists and turns, numerous rounds of edits, etc), but there's little else that's more fulfilling than reaching the end, and the contentment of having done a great job.
What is the hardest thing for you about being a writer?
Marketing. Definitely marketing.
Mention something unique about your genre and writing style:
In a nutshell, I write various forms of women's fiction. My first attempt was a story about human trafficking; my second attempt was a trilogy about three generations of women whose lives were turned upside down by the family patriarch. I've always felt strongly about writing stories that are different in some way, and that if I'm going to go to the trouble of writing a book, it must be memorable and life-changing to the reader. There's still a touch of romance in the sub-plot (what girl doesn't like a bit of romance?), but that isn't the focus of my stories. Having said that... While I loved working on these earlier books, I kind of came alive as a writer when I started Lucia's Web.
What essential things have you learned about writing in the last year?
After several earlier attempts, I believe I've found my niche this past year, with the writing of Lucia's Web. I'm so excited about this story and can hardly wait to start getting reviews. I can't say what triggered the concept; it literally popped into my head one day while I was staring blankly out the window, and I thought, "What a great idea for a story!" Where the writing of my other books required a great deal of effort, Lucia's Web flowed onto the page like a fresh water stream. Even the title gelled with me after one day of writing (previously the title took months to form). I didn't think it was possible to have so much fun writing a book. Hopefully that carries through to my readers.
Tell us a few quirky things about yourself.
In my new book, Lucia's Web, I'm a good blend of Ali and Sam. While I can be a bit pedantic in some ways, and I'm told I can come across stiff - ugh! (I'm not really like that), in reality, I'm fairly free-spirited and love to have fun. I often tell my husband, "I might be 44 but still feel 18!"
What rituals do you use to help you focus or get the words down on the page, e.g. music or a snack?
I need dead silence in order to write. I must also be in the right frame of mind - if there's anything bothering me, I won't even attempt to put a word on the page because I know I won't be able to concentrate. (And a good cup of coffee always helps.)
What book would you like to work on next?
I'm mulling over a light-hearted whodunit.
Here is a pic of Sue in her more serious, pedantic mode :) She is a grammar nerd after all and a great beta reader of my books!
You can find some of Sue's other books here: Finding Freedom and Encounters