Today I have not one but two Authors in the Spotlight. Two authors because these two ladies write collaboratively and the third book in their Friends trilogy, A Forgiven Friend, has just been released.
Thanks for joining me. First of all, would you tell my blog readers a little about yourselves?
Sue’s a Midlander, who moved to Yorkshire, aged nine, while Susan spent her early years in Hong Kong, later moving to Yorkshire.
We’re both former journalists, teamed up when we job-shared as employee communications manager at Yorkshire Water.
After five years together, we decided to seek new challenges – both of us completed degrees in English Literature and worked as freelance journalists and PR consultants before becoming journalism lecturers. Sue at Sheffield Hallam University and Susan at Leeds Trinity.
After writing two journalism textbooks together – Newspaper Journalism: A Practical Introduction; and Feature Writing: A Practical Introduction, both published by leading academic publisher, Sage – we decided we really wanted to write novels and A Falling Friend, the first book in our Friends trilogy was conceived.
What inspired you to start writing?
Neither of us can remember a time when we weren’t scribbling stories. Making up stories was as natural as breathing. Becoming journalists – telling true stories – was an extension of that creative urge. It was inevitable that one day we’d want to go back to making up our own stories.
Tell me about your journey to publication
We pitched the idea for our first textbook to four publishers and within a couple of hours had had positive responses from three of them. We’re still waiting to hear from the fourth…
Writing the textbooks was very empowering and, for us, the next step was to move into writing fiction. However, it took us eight years to finish the first draft of A Falling Friend – full-time jobs, family and life kept getting in the way.
We were very lucky to receive offers from two publishers and signed with Lakewater Press, an independent publishing company based in Australia.
We followed A Falling Friend with book two in the Friends trilogy, A Forsaken Friend, and the story of heroines Teri and Lee wraps up in A Forgiven Friend, which will be published on November 19.
In a nutshell, what is your latest book about?
A Forgiven Friend, like books one and two in the trilogy, explores the question of what makes a good friend? Thirty-something best friends Teri Meyer and Lee Harper don’t always see eye-to-eye, but they’ve always had each other’s backs. But what happens when Teri, who’s had more hot dates than most people have had hot dinners, finally finds real love – and doesn’t know how to handle it? As always, she turns to Lee for help and advice – but Lee’s got problems of her own and really doesn’t have time for Teri’s histrionics. In fact, she could do with some help and support herself. The question is: will Teri be there when Lee needs her most?
How did you come up with the title for your book?
Lots and lots of [painful] brainstorming…
How do you plan to celebrate/did you celebrate publication day?
We’ll have lunch at Rinaldi’s, an independent Italian restaurant, near Sue’s home in Wakefield. We came up with the idea for our first text book over lunch at Rinaldi’s and A Falling Friend was conceived there too. So, that’s where we’ll be heading for a celebratory pizza and vino.
Do you have a work in progress just now?
Yes – heaven help us, we’re working on two new fiction ideas. The first, provisionally called The Friday Night Knitting Club, is about friendship and fresh starts and grabbing second chances – wherever you might find them. In this case, a failing wool shop in a small North Yorkshire market town. It features a disparate group of friends, who find that in saving the wool shop, they also save themselves.
The other book is a bit darker and follows sisters Izzy and Mirrie, who try to unravel the mystery of what has happened to their missing parents. In doing so, they discover extra-ordinary things about themselves…
What’s your favourite book you’ve read in the past few months? Or favourite three if you really can’t choose!
Sue: I’ve recently discovered Milly Johnson (who only lives down the road in Barnsley) and thoroughly enjoyed Afternoon Tea at the Sunflower Café.
Susan: The Idea of Perfection by Australian novelist, Kate Grenfell.
What are you reading just now?
Sue: I’m just about to start Oranges are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson, which I first read two decades ago. Annoyingly, I had a book cull a couple of months ago – too many books and not enough shelves – and thinking I’d never read it again, Oranges are Not the Only Fruit was one of the books that found a new home in the Heart Foundation’s local charity shop. And then, it was chosen as book of the month at my book club…
Susan: The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton. It took me a while to get into this book as there are different time zones and several diverse characters, but gradually I saw how all the stories link and I’m finding it intriguing.
If you were on Desert Island Discs, what one book would you take with you?
Sue: I’d cheat and take my kindle…
Susan: How to Build a Boat.
Is there a book you’d like to see made into a film? Who would be in your dream cast?
A Falling Friend, our first book baby. We’ve already had extensive discussions about casting. So far the dream team includes Richard Armitage, Greg McHugh (he’s already asked to see a script), Teri Hatcher and Renee Zellweger.
How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?
We blog about books and writing at https://bookloversbooklist.com and we’re on Twitter @SueF_Writer and @wordfocus.
And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?
Sue: In my dreams, I’m Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Katniss is brave, resourceful and physically strong. And gets to kiss Gale…
Susan: Arwen Undomiel in JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. She’s a fascinatingly mysterious half-elven character who, although not having a major role in the books, serves as an inspiration for Aragorn who is to become king. I love the idea of becoming someone other-worldly.
Thank you both ladies, a really interesting read. I love Milly Johnson’s books too and recently listened to that Kate Morton book on Audible. It was narrated by Joanne Froggatt and she was brilliant!
A Forgiven Friend is available now as an ebook and you can order a copy online here. Thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be part of the tour.
From the back of the book
Friendship will always come first.
There’s only one way out from rock bottom and that’s up, and Teri Meyer is finally crawling out from the worst time of her life – no thanks to her best friend Lee. But no matter, she’s finally found love – real love with a real man, a successful man, a man who accepts all her flaws. Teri’s never felt like this before, and yet it’s changing her in ways she doesn’t understand.
And there’s only one person who can help, one person who truly understands Teri.
It seems that no matter how hard Lee Harper tries, there’s a battle awaiting her at every turn these days, and she’s tired. And as if she needs the extra stress, Teri continues to create constant and unnecessary drama. But Lee’s the only one who really knows what’s going on under Teri’s hard, convoluted exterior, and that’s why she’s always been there for her.
But the question is: will Teri be there when Lee needs her most?
The brilliant and entertaining final book in the unique FRIENDS trilogy dishes out another dose of rib-tickling mayhem for our favourite thirty-something professional women.