Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!
After tweeting about how much I’d thoroughly enjoyed listening to the audiobook version of ‘The Christmas Promise’ by Sue Moorcroft, Sue was kind enough to reply . . . this led to a conversation and I asked Sue if she’d answer a few other questions then permit me to post them on my blog. I’m highly delighted to say, she agreed – and here it is!
Hi Sue, I found your story ‘The Christmas Promise’ dealt with such traumatic issues yet still remains a cosy festive read. What inspired you?
Sue: Although I write popular fiction, I do like to give my characters meaty conflicts. It’s possible to put some really serious messages across. I needed a greater conflict for Ava than her not liking Christmas and her business not going well. I looked around news features for ideas. When I began reading about revenge porn I became angry on behalf of the victims and decided to shine a light on the subject. One of the things I like about Ava is that although she has this awful thing going on in the background, she has a big enough heart to want to help Sam’s mum, Wendy, in her hour of need. That’s what gives her the incentive to make the promise that she ultimately finds so hard to keep, of course.
Elaine: I also learnt so much about hat making! There’s some great advice there, too 🙂 Do you actually ever make hats of any kind?
Sue: Not me. I was a radio guest with a milliner, Abigail Crampton, and thought hers would make a great job for a character. Abigail was kind enough to help me with research and read the manuscript twice. She also made me a cocktail hat for the book launch.
Elaine: What is your writing process? Do you plot and plan in depth? Do you use pen and paper or on a computer?
Sue: I plan with pen and paper. I like to be free to scribble anywhere on paper with arrows and balloons and thoughts that I might cross out or might keep. I like mind maps, too. I work particularly hard on character bios, looking at each major character from the perspective of other characters to make them multi-faceted. I find backstory important, so I like to know it. I also like to know the conflicts and/or goals for major characters and how one will impact upon another.
Elaine: Who is your favourite character out of your stories and why?
Sue: Phew, that’s an almost impossible question to answer because if I didn’t love each hero and want to hang out with every heroine then I’d feel I’d failed. As you’ve asked me to make a choice I’ll go for Ronan Shea from my forthcoming book, Just for the Holidays (Avon Books UK, 18 May 2017), because he flies helicopters. I like helicopters. During the research for this book a pilot took me up in a helicopter and pretended to crash it. It was awesome.
Elaine: If you were a character in your story, which would you like to be?
Sue: In The Christmas Promise I’d want to be Ava and be the focus of Sam’s interest.
Elaine: How and why did you choose the names for your main characters?
Sue: I have a couple of books of babies’ names and a dictionary of first names. I sit down with them and pick names I like, which I feel suit the character in question. I try and avoid names that are too similar to those I’ve used in other books. Then I start casting around for surnames to go with the first names.
Occasionally I hear a name and like the sound of it and store it up in my memory for the future. I saw the names Alexier Kennedy and Ben Hardaker on gravestones and decided to use them in the book I’m currently writing (which has the working title of Makeover at the Angel Café). But ‘Alexier’, which I really liked, didn’t look right to me on the page, so I went for the more usual spelling and she’s Alexia Kennedy. I’d assumed Ben would be Benjamin but then I met a Ben whose full name was Benedict, and I absolutely fell in love with that, so he’s Benedict Hardaker when people are being formal with him.
Thanks for inviting me onto your lovely blog!
The pleasure has definitely been all mine, thank you for agreeing!
Here’s some more information about Sue Moorcroft:
Best-selling author Sue Moorcroft writes contemporary women’s fiction with occasionally unexpected themes. A past vice chair of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and editor of its two anthologies, Sue also writes short stories, serials, articles, writing ‘how to’ and is a creative writing tutor. She’s won a Readers’ Best Romantic Read Award and the Katie Fforde Bursary.
Sue’s most recent book, The Christmas Promise (Avon Books UK, HarperCollins), went to #1 on Kindle.
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/SueMoorcroftAuthor
Amazon author page: Author.to/SueMoorcroft
You can read my review of the audiobook version of
‘The Christmas Promise’
by following this link.
I loved it and highly recommend you checking it out! Many thanks to Sue for answering my questions and providing images and additional information for this post!