Today I have the pleasure of welcoming the prolific and multi-talented Sue Moorcroft onto my blog. Sue's kindly taken time out of her demanding schedule to tell us about her latest book, The Wedding Proposal, and share a little about writing life.
I noticed this excellent post on your http://suemoorcroft.wordpress.com site, giving some quite simple but very valuable tips on presentation. So often finding information on the simple things, such as indentation on a manuscript, is difficult. Thanks for that. In regard to ‘help’ books/sites in general, is there one you would specifically recommend to writers?
Sue: It’s more about publishing than writing: Carole Blake’s From Pitch to Publication. It has sold and sold because of its hard-fact approach to the publishing world and the sort of thing a writer can expect from it. I know that it’s been updated to take account of the ever-changing face of publishing, too. I do feel that writers need to learn about publishing, as well as writing technique. I try and include both when I’m working as a tutor.
I have this one on my bookshelf, Sue.
For info, Sue has an excellent book published through Accent Press: Love Writing - How to make money writing romantic or erotic fiction.
Umbria, Italy. Can you tell us a little about this and how you think it benefits writers of romantic fiction?
Sue: I’ve taken two courses for Arte Umbria, now – 2013 and 2014. It’s a fantastic place, a private estate halfway up a mountain.
The accommodation is gorgeous and the hospitality fabulous. For a writer, it’s somewhere to go to abdicate all work/home responsibility in order to concentrate on learning and practising craft, getting peer review and tutor review. The course is tailored around its participants and there are workshops, one-to-ones, private writing time, everything. There are also a couple of excursions for ‘down time’ or you can just pause and take a dip in the pool. At Arte Umbria I’ve worked with writers writing their first novels, second novels,
autobiography, moving from short story to novel, taking up writing again after a break – it’s a versatile way of working.
One satisfied writer recently on the course says: “High up in the Umbrian hills lies Montegabbione which is where you find a private villa run by Sara and David Moody. Arte Umbria caters for art, sculpture and writing courses. This writing course was run by Sue Moorcroft. Sue covered, in a mixture of lessons, writing and feedback, Opening a Novel, Dialogue, Viewpoint, Self-editing, Short Story. The teaching was excellent, boosting your confidence and putting many aspects of the writing process into place. I benefitted enormously from the week. I can highly recommend a writing course with Sue.”
Thank you, Les Moriarty.
Find out more about Sue’s course at Arte Umbria here
Now for the serious bit: how do you do it? I have to say, I’m in awe of how you juggle your time. Writers are often asked how they plan their writing day, but there is so much more to being an author nowadays
than simply writing. My actual question therefore is: do you allow yourself down time, time to recharge the batteries, touch base with family? And are you as rigid about allocating that time as you would have to be about your ‘writing time’?
Sue: I work a lot of hours – probably fifty or sixty a week. I sometimes work evenings and weekends, especially as they’re the most popular time for workshops. If I’m working at home then I’m normally at my
machine at about 7.30am and stop about 6.00pm. I often work with students in the mornings and write in the afternoon, which prevents me from getting fed up of either activity. However, I have a couple of hours off somewhere in the middle of each day. I have piano lessons or go to the gym for Zumba, FitStep or yoga. That almost always involves a cup of tea with my gym buddies and that’s what helps refill my energy well. I love my family and also make time for them, frequently sharing outings to coffee shops or restaurants or just going out for a walk. Technology allows me to be in touch with my more scattered family members via text, email, Facebook etc, too. My downtime is sometimes short and sweet but it definitely exists.
I fit things in around one another. If I’m going to work fifty hours in a particular week, it doesn’t matter which fifty, other than turning up for workshops and hitting deadlines.
I’m a pretty organised person and good at hitting deadlines. I keep a
‘to do’ list on a whiteboard – currently: write a piece for an online magazine; create a new page for my website at www.suemoorcroft.com; pitch an idea to a print magazine; write two blog posts (of which this is one); then there are three promo ideas
around my new book, The Wedding Proposal; an idea for a future blog post and an idea for a short story. I also keep a diary and put any forthcoming workshops or talks in that. Over all these things I’m writing a new novel, putting together my next two Writers’ Forum columns and working with student assignments as they come in. I’m waiting for feedback from a magazine on a serial outline and opportunities for interviews and radio stuff will just turn up (hopefully) so I’ll deal with them as I go along. Social media takes up a little of most days but is invaluable for interaction with readers, chat,
information, and research. Oh yes, I didn’t say anything about research! It can take up a lot of time but often merges happily with downtime – a meal with a friend helping me with PR or a day out with another whose daughter happens to be working on an exhibition I need to see.
I work hard, stay organised, and take opportunities as they arise. I have to be self-motivated but it’s better than a proper job.
I have to agree, although I might need a little lie down after reading that, Sue.
And now to Sue's fabulous new book (please find my review below).
Can a runaway bride stop running?
Elle Jamieson is an unusually private person, in relationships as well as at work – and for good reason. But when she’s made redundant, with no ties to hold her, Elle heads off to a new life in sunny Malta.
Lucas Rose hates secrets – he prides himself on his ability to lay his cards on the table and he expects nothing less from others. He’s furious when his summer working as a divemaster is interrupted by
the arrival of Elle, his ex, all thanks to his Uncle Simon’s misguided attempts at matchmaking.
Forced to live in close proximity, it’s hard to ignore what they had shared before Lucas’s wedding proposal ended everything they had. But then an unexpected phone call from England allows Lucas a rare glimpse of the true Elle. Can he deal with Elle’s hidden past when it finally comes to light?
Sue also writes short stories, serials, articles, writing ‘how to’ and is a competition judge and creative writing tutor.
Sue’s latest book The Wedding Proposal was nominated for Best Romantic Read at the Festival of Romance 2014 and is available now as an ebook and in paperback.
Facebook sue.moorcroft.3 and https://www.facebook.com/SueMoorcroftAuthor
break (aren’t we all?), I would have been seriously peeved if this book hadn’t delivered. It did, totally. I was transported from Portugal to Malta in a flash and have to congratulate the author on exactly the right attention to detail, painting an atmospheric, believable backdrop to the story. From the yachts bobbing lazily in the sun-drenched port, to the sun-scorched, dusty Maltese backstreets, I was there.
To the story, which actually turns around a proposal past and a wedding that never came to fruition, Four years on, thanks to a well-meaning uncle playing cupid, the couple are thrown together again,
each having left their lives behind to build new ones on, of all confined places, a yacht, gorgeously named, The Shady Lady. For Elle, recovery from the painful relationship gone wrong meant throwing herself into her well-paid IT job. Made redundant, she’s there to put her IT skills to use for free, volunteering to help the underprivileged children of Malta, and never in her wildest dreams did her future plans include Lucas. Lucas has abandoned the future he had planned
with Elle and wants no more from life than to swim the wide blue ocean as a divemaster, where he certainly didn’t expect to bump into the woman who’d walked out on him and broken his heart. Phew! Great premise, or what?
I won’t give the whole plot away, except to say funds don’t allow either of them to find alternative accommodation. They’re stuck, living together, yet not, in a boat just forty-two feet in length and they are going to have to accommodate each other somehow. Throw into the pot some excellent secondary characters, including a loathsome male volunteer who clearly doesn’t have the children’s emotional welfare at heart, Lucas’s parents, who never approved of Elle, and a wonderful little boy, Carmelo, who, with his too big shorts, too small shirt and
dysfunctional home-life, will melt hearts, and you have a fabulously satisfying anytime of the year read. There are some lovely twists and turns and the mystery of Elle’s past is drip-fed perfectly. Thank you, Sue Moorcroft, for providing me all the essentials in my holiday read. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend, The Wedding Proposal.
Keep safe all!
Lots of love,