I’m pleased to be joined by author Susan Buchanan as part of the booktour for her latest book, Sign of the Times. Make sure you read right to the end of this post to find out about your chance to win signed copies of Susan’s books.
Welcome Susan. First of all, would you tell my blog readers a little about yourself?
Sure. Well, I write contemporary romantic fiction, rom coms and Christmas fiction. My first book was published 10 years ago and I am currently writing my seventh book, which is the second in a series.
What inspired you to start writing?
I’ve always loved reading and writing. When I was at primary school, I was involved in the school magazine, and at high school I wrote short stories and started my first book, which clearly never went anywhere! But I didn’t start writing properly until I took a year off work to write and Sign of the Times was born. I wanted to write books with characters in them whom I could relate to, who I’d like to hang out with and
Tell me about your journey to publication
I published my first book in ebook in 2012, and earlier in March, for its 10-year anniversary, it was the final book I brought out in paperback. Now all of my backlist is available in ebook and paperback. I’d sent my first book to 5 or 6 agents and it had been rejected, so I’d just put it in a virtual drawer and forgotten about it. When I was made redundant a few years later, my husband urged me to put it on Kindle, and I did. I was such a novice! But that first book didn’t do too badly, and I learned all about setting up a platform (I had no idea what that was previously) on social media, and wrote my second book The Dating Game that year too. By then I was heavily invested in social media and I loved the whole writing community, how helpful everyone was. I had a lot of support from other authors and had a huge online launch with I think about 50 authors taking part.
Then I got pregnant and had 2 children in quick succession, so I brought out Christmas books, The Christmas Spirit and Return of the Christmas Spirit, in 2013 and 2015, the years they were born. And then all went quiet on the publishing front. Young children will do that to you!
But over the past 3 years or so, I’ve been beavering away in the background, and foreground sometimes, doing courses, writing, submitting to agents and publishers for certain books, going self-published with others, and in 2021 I released my first book in 6 years, Just One Day – Winter, the first in a new 4-book series. The other three books, Spring, Summer and Autumn are planned for release in May, July and October 2022.
In a nutshell, what is your book about?
Sign of the Times is the story of 12 people, each representing a sign of the zodiac (job, characteristics, traits, interests) and how they all link together. It’s set in Italy, Scotland and Switzerland and the first character we meet, Holly, a travel writer, is the key connection. It’s a story of family, friendship and community, with themes of love, grief, infidelity and immigration to name a few.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
Funnily enough, it was originally named Zodiac, but Kate Mosse then brought out a book called Zodiac not long before I published mine, so I changed it to Sign of the Times at the last minute! And I think this title fits better, in retrospect. The ‘sign’ signifies the star sign.
How did you celebrate publication day?
Well, I had great plans to kick back, work on the spin-off books that are planned for 2023 and relax, but unfortunately I came down with Covid, so it was rather more understated than I had hoped.
Do you have a work in progress just now?
Yep, I am working on the edits for Just One Day – Spring, which releases on 17 May. It’s the second in the Just One Day series, where frazzled mum Louisa wants nothing more than to get to the end of her to-do list. In the second book, she has more than just her never-ending to-do list to worry about. A whole new set of problems.
What one book would you recommend to a friend and why?
Ooh, difficult, but I did recommend Memoirs of A Geisha to someone the other day. When I read it about twenty years ago, I think, it was so different to anything I had ever read. I do like reading books about other cultures and I hadn’t been to Japan at that point, and had always wanted to go. I’ve since been twice, but not to Kyoto, so would love to return. I found the whole cultural aspect absolutely fascinating.
What are you reading just now?
I usually have a couple of books on the go at any one time. I’m reading Love Heart Lane by Christie Barlow on my phone, Should I Tell You by Jill Mansell in paperback and Christmas Surprises at Mermaids Point by Sarah Bennett on my Kindle. I realise it’s almost April, but a Christmas book doesn’t actually need to be read at Christmas, and it’s part of a series, so I can’t skip to the next one. I’m also always reading various textbooks on writing.
If you were on Desert Island Discs, what one book would you take with you?
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. I studied Hispanic Studies (Spanish and Portuguese) at university, among other things, so the Spanish history elements in this book intrigued me. And a book about a library…c’mon, I’m already sold! Plus, it’s set in Barcelona, where I lived for a while, and which I adore. I can’t praise this book, or the follow-ups in the series highly enough. The characterisation is superb. And I met Carlos Ruiz Zafón once at the Edinburgh Book Festival. Lovely chap and a great loss when he passed.
Is there a book you’d love to see made into a film?
Honestly? I’d love to see my own The Christmas Spirit made into a film, but there are loads of books that I could see working as films. I think Clare Swatman’s love story Before We Grow Old, which I read earlier this year, would make a fantastic movie.
How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?
Instagram – AuthorSusanBuchanan
Twitter – @susan_buchanan
Tik Tok – susanbuchananauthor
And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?
To be fair, I am often likened to Bridget Jones from Bridget Jones’ Diary. Some people think I look like her (I don’t), except on a remarkably good day and if she gained 4 stone! Maybe I did when the book first came out. I am good at making blue soup, just as she is. I’m clumsy, get harassed sometimes and always seem to be the one that things happen to. Although I wouldn’t mind them happening to me if Patrick Dempsey was there to help me out (when she falls over at the festival), or Colin Firth (saying the wrong thing at exactly the wrong time, or to find the person is behind me!!)
But Bridge has a vulnerability to her, and I think the nation took her into their hearts, and I’d like to think people feel that way about me too.
Purchase Link – https://books2read.com/u/baGXYP
Giveaway to Win Signed copies of Just One Day – Winter and Sign of the Times (UK Only)
*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter link below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.