Friday, 19 May 2017

Blog Tour: Just For The Holidays | Sue Moorcroft

Well folks, I could not be more excited to be part of today's blog tour. Sue Moorcroft is someone who I have long admired and respected, and I am thrilled to have her on my blog today for a fabulous Q&A. So as I usually say, grab a brew, get comfy and enjoy yourself.
Hello Sue, thank you so much for agreeing to an interview ad part of your blog tour, I am pleased to welcome you to my website. How are you?
Hello Daniel. Thanks for being part of my blog tour for Just for the Holidays and for the welcome. I’m pleased to be here and doing well, thank you.
So to break the ice a little with my readers, what can you tell us about your latest release ‘Just for the Holidays’?
Just for the Holidays takes us to Alsace where Leah, who has opted not to have a husband or children, ends up looking after her sister’s estranged husband and children. Her sister, Michele, is in the middle of a life crisis, including being pregnant just when she’s decided to end her marriage. Leah begins to rely on the grounded helicopter pilot living next door with his teenage Goth son - until the arrival of a very uninvited guest. I’ve shared more of my own traits with Leah than I usually do: she loves cars and thinks the only way to watch Formula 1 is in total silence. (So it’s a good job that the holiday falls in August when F1 is on its summer break or I’m not sure she could stand the stress.)
What can you tell me about your typical writing day if you have one, and what your process is?
I get up at 06.30 so I’m at my desk before 7.30am and I have my morning cuppa and my porridge while dealing with email, social media and newsletters. Then I get on with that day’s task, which could be planning, writing, researching, promoting, or attending to ‘business’ such as reading contracts or dealing with accounts. Most days, I take a couple of hours off for Zumba, FitStep, yoga or piano class. I finish around 6.00pm. Sometimes I have an event but often all I do after that is social media or emails from the comfort of my armchair. I generally work 50 or 60 hours a week.
When I’m writing a novel (which is most of the time, but I also write short stories and serials), I like to begin with character biographies and working on conflicts and goals. I often have a huge pile of hand-written stuff before I actually begin to type onto my computer. However, the book I’ve just begun (working title The Summer of Finding Out, due out for summer 2018) is breaking out of that mould and I keep writing scenes even while I’m planning. I’ve written two scenes and the prologue. They’re not even sequential but I’ve gone with my gut feeling. Who said a book has to be written in the order in which it’s read?

Do you have a special writing space/room, you like to retreat to?
My study’s my favourite place. It’s at the back of the house and I face the wall so I don’t just stare at the garden all day. The study’s quite overcrowded and messy and it’s the only place where I don’t seem to see dust. I have a big handmade desk that’s getting a bit battered and bears an ink blot in the shape of a palm tree. A garden office is in the planning stage but probably won’t materialise for a couple of years.
For me, when I’m writing I need plenty of snacks. Do you have any necessary supplies when you’re writing? Wine? Chocolate? Music?
I try not to snack between meals but sometimes I need a few crackers or a cuppa soup in the afternoon. I need a good supply of hot liquid, though - tea being the top of the preference list. If I end the day feeling really thirsty I know I’ve been working well because I haven’t been downstairs to put the kettle on.
You’ve been with Choc Lit and now you are with Avon/Harper Collins. Can you tell me about your journey to publication? How did that all happen?
It’s over 21 years since I sold my first story to a magazine, The People’s Friend, so you can see it wasn’t exactly overnight success. I wrote two novels that were destined for the bin then I read that if I had 20 short stories on my CV publishers of novels might look on me more kindly. As I’d worked out for myself that writing better books would also be helpful, I took a course. I began to sell short stories regularly and when I’d sold 87 and a serial my then-agent sold my first novel, Uphill All the Way, to Transita. Although I call that ‘my first novel’ it was actually the eighth I wrote and some of the earlier ones have since been published. To be honest, the journey was simple - I just wrote and wrote and wrote, sent stuff out, educated myself on publishing as well as writing, learned to accept rejection, attended a lot of conferences and never stopped writing, learning or trying. Luck also played a part. I was lucky that Avon was looking for a Christmas novel just when my agent sent mine. This luck was replicated in Germany where the same book was bought by Fischer Verlag and did very nicely thank you, but I do find that the harder I work the luckier I get.
You have quite the backlist of books now as well as contributions to many anthologies and magazines. What do your family and loved ones think of your success?
My family is great. If you look at how many of my books are dedicated to its various members you can see how highly I regard them. Nineteen of us are going on holiday together in October! They are supportive in the extreme, even if it’s hidden in friendly jokes and mickey-taking. I have, sadly, now lost my number 1 fan - my mum.
We all have our favourites but what other writers do you love or have influenced you in some way?
I love stories of love that conquers all. It’s a fantastic feeling to fall in love and as I can’t do that two or three times a week in reality I do it via my reading matter. Nevil Shute was a great influence in the way he makes an epic love affair part of stories that take place on a big stage. Suzanne Brockmann, an American writer of romantic suspense does this even better. I have a long list of favourite authors but those two do hop straight into my mind every time.
I also like reading non-fiction about Formula 1 and its personalities.
Are there any particular highlights in your writing career so far?
Getting to #1 on Amazon for five days with The Christmas Promise. It was a good way to start with Avon! They’re a great team.
I have a copy of your amazing non-fiction book ‘Love Writing: How to Make Money Writing Romantic or Erotic Fiction’ and I love it so much. What inspired you to write a book like this?
Thank you very much! I was teaching creative writing quite a bit in those days and, as spin offs, writing ‘how to’ in the writing magazines. I had dinner with Hazel Cushion of Accent Press and put it to her that she needed a ‘how to’ book about writing romantic fiction and I was just the person to write it. Luckily, she agreed. I’d just had a bereavement and didn’t feel like writing a novel.
If you ever get a spare moment, what do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Watch Formula 1, read, hang out with friends (preferably with food and drink involved), walk, dance and play the piano.
So what’s next for Sue Moorcroft, what are you working on right now if you can tell us?
I’ve begun The Summer of Finding Out, as mentioned; the promo for Just for the Holidays is in full flight; and I’m expecting edits for this year’s Christmas book, Give Me Till Christmas, in the next couple of weeks. At the end of June I’m running a one-week residential course in Italy for Arte Umbria and I’ll be at Swanwick in August. Readers can discover more about my appearances by going to and clicking on ‘events’.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions Sue, I am very grateful and I wish you every success with your latest release.
Thank you for making me welcome, Daniel, and for your good wishes.

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Best-selling author Sue Moorcroft writes contemporary fiction with occasionally unexpected themes. The Christmas Promise rose to #1 in the Amazon Kindle chart; The Wedding Proposal, Dream a Little Dream and Is this Love? were all nominated for Readers’ Best Romantic Read Awards and Darcie’s Dilemma for Readers’ Best Short Romance. Love& Freedom won the Best Romantic Read Award 2011 and Dream a Little Dream was nominated for a RoNA in 2013. Sue’s a Katie Fforde Bursary Award winner, a past vice chair of the RNA and editor of its two anthologies.

Sue also writes short stories, serials, articles and writing ‘how to’.

Sue’s next book: Just for the Holidays

Twitter @suemoorcroft
Instagram: suemoorcroftauthor

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