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Posts Tagged ‘AHomeInTheSun’

Welcome, Sue Moorcroft…

Thank you for taking the time to talk to me today, despite recovering from Covid. (Dear Readers, please note that Sue and I did not meet up for this interview.)

Can I offer you a drink? Tea? Wine?

I’m right off tea at the moment! I love it, usually, but Covid seems to have changed it. I’ll have a nice glass of chilled white wine, please.

*Hands Sue chilled wine*

Congratulations in having a book out this Thursday. I just love this cover. In fact, I like all your covers. I hope you’ll be well enough to celebrate on the day of publication. How many books is this now?

It’s a tricky question. Nineteen novels and a writing guide is the cautious answer but A Home in the Sun is a relaunch of my very first novel, Uphill All the Way; Family Matters was a hardback that was rewritten as Want to Know a Secret? in paperback and ebooks and I have a few short ebooks that began life as serials and then went on to large print. I don’t count the serials in the nineteen, nor count a book again when it comes out in a different guise, even though there are actually two editions on my shelf.

Many readers say that they’d like to write a book but don’t where to start. I say that their first book doesn’t need to be a full novel. It can be an article for a magazine, a novella or of course, if they want to write a full novel then go ahead. Not everyone plans at the beginning of their work and here Sue will tell us how she gets an idea to a finished full novel.

I agree with you. After two awful novels that publishers couldn’t return to me fast enough, I aimed at short stories for magazines. I sold the first in 1996 and had placed eighty-seven before I sold a novel – what is now A Home in the Sun. I’d also sold a serial and some writing ‘how-to’. My rule was that if it earned money and was connected with writing, I’d do it. It’s actually been a great pleasure to rework my first published novel. The story is the same as it was and I still like it but I had the opportunity to make a structural change to the beginning and edit it in line with my current writing capabilities.

Where did the idea for this book come from?

I was on holiday in Malta when I saw a guy leaving for work by climbing down the balconies of his apartment block to the street and decided he had to go in a book. I was also reflecting on how much I’d hated leaving Malta as a child and how it would be as an adult. I then read an article in the Times of Malta about there being no divorce in Malta (then) and how it left people in separation limbo. I put those things together. Divorce in Malta is now legal but as the book is set 2000-2005, that doesn’t matter.

One of the army quarters in Malta Sue lived in as a child.

How did you know that this idea would have potential for a full novel?

It was actually the eighth novel I’d written so I was getting the hang of it! Later, I was able to go back and sell three of the earlier ones, after further work. Another became a serial. Publishing can be a funny game but it pays not to throw anything away.

Do you write to a specific wordcount? If you do, how do you know you will able to write to that whilst keeping to the story?

I think there’s a lot of myths surrounding word count. Coming from a background of short stories for magazines, where you’re given a word count and expected to make it work, it’s not that hard. I have a feel for how much conflict and how many goals I need for the two main characters and if I’m falling short I can explore one a little more deeply and if I’m coming up long I can edit down. The latter is my norm. I’m contracted for 95,000-100,000 and my first draft is generally around 110,000. I rip it down in my next draft, the one I send my editor. Then she does the structural edit, which invariably calls for additions rather than subtractions, so I have to tighten again. I always get anxious at the end of the rough draft and think I’m going to mess it up but it’s like a lump of clay. All the material is there. I just have to mould it into the shape I want.

Do you write profiles for all your characters or just the main ones?

Main. I like to know a lot about their conflicts and goals and their lives till now. I don’t feel characters are born on page 1 and when I know who they are already, I know how they’ll react to what I throw at them. I also like to know what other characters think of them. In real life, my husband, son and brothers will each know different versions of me and the Sue my mum knew was different again. I reflect this in my writing.

Do you make up images of your characters or get photographs from the net?

Some of each. I don’t normally resort to photos unless the mental image is hard to keep still in my imagination. I like to know hair and eye colour, general stature, whether hair is curly or straight or if someone has a particularly attractive feature, like a smile.

Do all of your characters have goals to achieve?

Yes, I think so, even if the goal is known to me but not to them. In A Home in the Sun, for example, Judith returns to the UK because she feels there’s nothing left for her in Malta after Giorgio’s accident. However, she immediately begins putting her life in order and adapting to being back in the UK. She worries about her family and wants to help. She also wants her house back, which is tricky because her old school crush is her tenant and doesn’t feel like giving the house up till he has to. Sub-consciously, Judith’s seeking a new status quo but consciously she thinks she’s drifting. If I can give characters goals that conflict with the aims of a different character, so much the better, so at the end Judith can move back to Malta … but not with Adam. What’s she going to do?

At what point do you visit the place in the book?

In normal times, I visit Malta several times a year. It has always been ‘home’ to me.

Sue and her brothers in a different army quarter in Malta.

If the setting is Italy or France, for example, I’ll try and visit early in the process and maybe later, too. All very tricky in Covid times, which is why my earlier book this year was set where I’d set a book before, Umbria in Italy, and next summer’s book be set in France, as Just for the Holidays was. I already have loads of research pix, as well as my memory bank.

How do you build a plot?

I rely on what I call ‘my plotty head’. I give it material in the form of conflicts and goals that interest me and let it begin to weave. I’ve learned to rely on it quite a lot. It likes help from a notebook and pen where I ‘think aloud’ onto the page. Logic plays a big part, too, because I believe everything’s included for a reason, in fiction. If something is part of the story then it has to earn its place. It took me a while to learn that.

Do you use a white board, post it notes, planning apps e.g. Scrivener?

It varies book to book but I’ve never used Scrivener or similar. I get bored by the idea of learning to use software and when I’m planning I do like good old paper and pen, whether that’s on cards or stickies, a notebook or just a big sheet of paper. Maybe I’m missing something good but paper works for me.

At what point do you know when its time to start writing the book?

When Chapter One wants to be written and I don’t want it to escape. I love beginning a book. It’s like being on the starting grid of a Formula One race – everything is possible and you haven’t gone off at the first corner.

Do you write the first chapter then the next and the next or write the beginning and the end and fill in the middle?

Mostly, I write in order, but if a scene or chapter is pulling at me I write it in note form. I find the disadvantage of that is that by the time it falls into place it’s probably wrong. I often put thoughts at the foot of my manuscript and review them periodically to see whether it’s time to pull them in or time to delete them.

My last question: where can readers find you on social media?

Website [www.suemoorcroft.com]

Blog [http://suemoorcroft.wordpress.com]

Facebook profile [Sue.Moorcroft.3]

Facebook author page [https://www.facebook.com/SueMoorcroftAuthor

Twitter  [@suemoorcroft]

Instagram [https://www.instagram.com/suemoorcroftauthor/] @SueMoorcroftAuthor

LinkedIn [https://www.linkedin.com/in/suemoorcroft]

or you can just use my Link Tree linktr.ee/SueMoorcroft

Thank you, Sue. I’m now off to pre order my copy.

Thank you very much! It’s been a pleasure to chat to you, Suzan. Thanks for inviting me.

This title will be released this Thursday, 19th August and available in #paperback #ebook #audio.

Pre order now:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Home-Sun-Sue-Moorcroft-ebook/dp/B08TG2171R/ref=sr_1_1?crid=10EG856Z82ROJ&dchild=1&keywords=sue+moorcroft&qid=1628774209&s=books&sprefix=sue+moor%2Cstripbooks%2C158&sr=1-1


If you would like to have a look at and/or purchase any of Sue’s books please click on this link https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=sue+moorcroft&i=stripbooks&crid=10EG856Z82ROJ&sprefix=sue+moor%2Cstripbooks%2C158&ref=nb_sb_ss_ts-doa-p_1_8

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