– The long awaited interview with award-winning author Sue Moorcroft
– Win a signed copy of her latest book, 'Dream a Little Dream'
– A funny moment from Bob Mackie show – 'stool' trouble!
– And 1930s dating – a photo guide!
Short but sweet
A shorter blog than usual this week, 'cos it's time for another author interview, and a competition to win a copy of their book! See the full chat with 2011 Best Romantic Read Award Winner Sue Moorcroft below, and find out about her other book, 'How to Make Money Writing Romantic or Erotic Fiction'.
Other highlights of the week:
Went to daughter Lauren's in Bath this week – so here's an update on my 'grand-pog' – her little cocker spaniel Baloo – she's much bigger now, and very funny – she's learned roll over and other little tricks. Such soft ears – they really should make a Charlie Bear after her!
Had my very first Christmas card this week! Yes really! Thanks to Margaret McKinley. Once again this year, any cards I receive sent to our London HQ in Chiswick Park, by December 21st, containing a full address, I will send one back to you! The first hundred to ask for one will also get a signed pic!
As you know, I'm nearly finished my first romance novel, 'Hawaiian Affair'. Well I'm also now researching my second – set partly in the 1930s. It's been great fun researching it – do take a look at the funny guide here – 'The proper etiquette of a woman dating in the 1930s'.
Can you imagine saying that now?! Anyone got any other great links or memories from way back when? Leave me a comment at bottom of blog!
Had a great show with Genevieve on the Bob Mackie TSV day - have you ever noticed how many of us don't sit on the stools, but 'perch'? This clip could explain why! Had a giggle, so thought you might like to share it!
WATCH – this week, it was 20 years since my lovely old dad died, bless him. As a fabulous memory, I thought I'd mark the occasion by remembering the fun time we had appearing on the 'Generation Game' when I was 19. Such fun! Had that cuddly rabbit for years – and it wasn't cuddly at all! Lol!
I'll have another great film review next week.
QVC highlights – so here, by request, is the stunning Tiana B dress which will be the Today's Special Value on Thursday 15th November. Join me at 7pm. And don't forget to tune in for another 'Saturday Night Gifts Show' with Dale at 8pm this week. He's also got the fab return of Apple gadgets in 'The Apple Store' on Sunday night at 10pm.
Have a great week – enjoy the interview below with lovely Sue Moorcroft, and don't forget to leave me a comment below to enter the competition!
Interview with award-winning author, Sue Moorcroft
Sue Moorcroft is an extraordinary writer – not only writing successful novels for publisher Choc Lit, but also short stories, serials, articles, columns (for 'Writers' Forum' and 'Girlracer'), courses and "how to" books.
One of her books, 'Love Writing – How to Make Money Writing Romantic or Erotic Fiction', is often recommended to students. And Sue's a regular on the writing workshop circuit, which is where we first met when I went to one of her workshops at the annual York Writing Festival.
Sue's fifth novel, 'Love & Freedom', won the Best Romantic Read Award 2011. And she's been nominated three times at this year's Festival of Romance: Best Romantic Read Award (for 'Dream a Little Dream'), Best e-book Read ('Darcie's Dilemma') and Innovation in Romantic Fiction (Author). She's kindly agreed to fit into her busy life a chat with us! If you'd like to stand a chance of winning a signed copy of the new book, see below!
Q. Sue – to start with – how on earth do you do it? You're the epitome of an author who lives, breathes, walks and talks writing – and Tweeting, and Facebooking! Does it take much discipline? And how did you get your first deal?
A. I work a lot of hours – about 50 or 60 a week – and I type rapidly. I also teach creative writing and I'm the head judge of Writers' Forum's fiction competition, so I tend to do those things in the morning and write in the afternoons. It's a productive routine. Writing, and teaching/judging writing, is how I earn my living, so I have to work hard at it. Or I might have to go and find a proper job! Yuck.
My first deal was for Uphill All the Way, published in 2005. I heard what the publisher, Transita, was looking for, and targeted the book carefully. My agent sold it to them.
Q. You must have been proud to win the Best Romantic Read Award last year? I heard your book also outsold others in the WHSmith's rail and airport outlets too. Does it take much outside promotion nowadays to help a book along?
A. Yes, I was deliriously proud to win the award. I was up against a bestselling author, so was certain she'd get it. I didn't get nervous or even plan a speech.
When the Awards organiser opened the envelope and read out 'It's Sue Moorcroft for Love & Freedom' I went completely numb. Someone had to shove me up to collect my award and I stuttered through my thank yous. Then I returned to my seat to eat dessert, which had been delivered in my absence.
It was my first Choc Lit book, 'Starting Over', which outsold all others in its genre in the travel stores, for a week or two. That was a huge thrill! My books are seen as good holiday reading. Yes, I need to promote as much as I can. Most writers do, I think.
Q. Your latest book has a lovely title – 'Dream a Little Dream' – and it's actually – unusually for books with the word 'dream' in the title, partly about sleep! Tell us more, give us a tantalising taster!
A. Readers may have already met Liza Reece as she's the sister of Cleo from 'All That Mullarkey'. She was such fun that I had to give her a book of her own. I left her all loved up with Adam, but she's managed to get herself single again – in piece of mischief that went badly wrong…
Dominic Christy used to be in his dream job as an air traffic controller but developed the rare sleeping disorder, narcolepsy, characterised by uncontrolled sleep and vivid dreams, and has had to accept the end of that career – along with his relationship with girlfriend Natalie.
Both Liza and Dominic identify new dreams – and go on unusual experiences like the fish pedicure pictured here! But if Dominic realises his dream then Liza can't, and if she does, he can't. And the fact that they have the extreme hots for one another is a complication.
Q. A lot of people like to read a series of books with characters that reappear – you've done that here as well, haven't you? Liza and also Middledip have appeared before elsewhere. What's the appeal in bringing characters back for you? And can we expect to see other reappearances?
A. 'Starting Over', 'All That Mullarkey' and 'Dream a Little Dream' have characters in common. They're linked rather than being a series, ie. each book stands alone, if you don't read the others. When Ratty, the hero of 'Starting Over', had a small role in 'All That Mullarkey', I got great feedback from readers who enjoyed seeing what happened to Ratty after 'his' book was over.
So when readers asked about Liza, I became curious about what happened to her, too. Giving her her own book also gave me the opportunity to see how Cleo and Justin were doing, because Liza and Cleo are the kind of sisters who are very much in each others' lives.
The book scheduled for 2013, 'Is This Love?', is set in the same village but only minor characters reappear such as Gwen at the shop and Tubb at the pub.
My ebook novella, 'Darcie's Dilemma', is set in the town of Bettsbrough, close to Middledip, too.
Q. Choc Lit seems to be an up and coming publishing house – many authors have won awards, haven't they? Like sweeping the Romantic Novelists' Associations Awards last year with two RONAs, the Joan Hessayon Award and the Romantic Novel of the Year. And I wondered, how are they coping with the current rise in ebooks and self-publishing?
A. Our own ebook sales are a positive rather than a negative – readers of romantic fiction have embraced e-readers. There are fewer difficult decisions about books going 'out of print', as long as ebook sales are contributing to the balance sheet. I don't know that Choc Lit's being affected by writers self-publishing. They have more submissions than they know what to do with, as most traditional publishers do.
Q. What's your view of the explosion of self-publishing nowadays? Any advice for would-be writers?
A. It's worked well for some people – but many who have been ultra-successful have accepted traditional contracts when opportunities arise. I've self-published some serials and a backlist novel, which began as a service to readers but now brings in income. Writers who are publishing themselves from scratch might be wise to pay for an editor and cover designer, to avoid quality issues.
Q. Finally – what are you working on next, and what workshops can readers go to if they'd like to hear you talk?
A. 'Is This Love?' is complete as a first draft and I'll be working on that further soon, and I'm playing with ideas for a 2014 book – set in my beloved Malta.
I'll be at the Festival of Romance from 16th-18th November; leading a one-day course for Writing East Midlands on 14th Feburary 2013; Chipping Norton Literary Festival 20th-21st April; RT Booklovers' Convention, Kansas 29th April-5th May and, for those serious about writing, a fabulous one-week course for Arte Umbria in Italy 3rd-10 Julyth (can't wait for that one!). Then 28th July-2nd August Writers’ Holiday, Caerleon. Keep your eye on the 'Events' panel on my blog for any additions.
Thanks Sue! Another author interview next month!
Closing date for leaving comments is 23rd November, and the winner will be announced on here around 30th November. Go here to read the Ts & Cs. Go here to Amazon to order the book yourself if you can't wait! And don't forget – leave a comment below, even if you've never done so before – someone's got to win!