Welcome, Sue Thompson…
Can I offer you a drink? Tea? Wine? Beer?
Ooh, tea would be nice.
*Hands tea to Sue*
Can you tell me a little about yourself? (inc if you use a pen name and why)
I came to writing very late but since I moved to Suffolk in 2013 I felt I wanted to share my experiences with others who may be thinking of relocating. I write in my own name because the stories are about my own experiences.
What is the title and genre of your book?
It is called Harmonicas Round my Hat, as the music scene in Suffolk is very close to my heart and this refers to a very special day in my life, the day I decided to become an author. I suppose you would call it a memoir, hopefully in the vein of Driving Over Lemons by Chris Stewart.
Do you write in first or third person? Please explain why
I write in the first person as the book largely happens in real time, like a diary, and is written from my own point of view. Now that I am writing my second book I find this suits my style and the ‘author voice’ that I hear in my head when I write.
How did you come up with the story?
I just recounted the amusing events and characters that became known to me over our 4 years in Suffolk. When my husband was very seriously ill in 2015 I kept a diary which covered everything that happened in minute detail including texts from friends and my daily moods. It kept me sane and helped me make sense of events when thankfully this episode was over. I also wanted to thank everyone who looked after both of us at this time.
It has a lovely cover, did you have any say in what you wanted the cover to be?
I designed the cover myself using two photographs which I thought summed up the spirit of our beautiful new home. My brother-in-law, who was a professional photographer, helped with the technical side. I also wanted to use quotes from friends on the cover as it is such a personal book and their help meant a lot to me.
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Become obsessed. Keep the thought in your head that you are an author and eventually you will be one.
What is your writing routine?
I carry a notebook around and jot down ideas, amusing things people say, lyrics to songs when we go to performances, anything I might use later. I find that if I wait until I have lots of ideas it is easier to write than if I just try to come up with a story. Then I write it in longhand in my special notebook. I don’t put anything on the computer until I have a whole chapter I am happy with.
Do you have an editing process?
I can’t edit as I go along, I have to do a chapter at a time or I don’t feel that I have achieved anything. I try not to over-edit as then my style gets lost and the writing feels stilted.
What do you enjoy the most/least about writing?
I feel happy when the words are just flowing and I feel that I am involving the reader in my book. I don’t like typing onto the computer, it makes my back ache!
Where can people find you on the internet?
I’m not much good with technology so I tend to stick to Facebook, but I do use this a lot, probably too much….
Is there anything else you would like to share with your readers?
Thank you to everyone who has bought my book. My second book is about the pub/festival/folk scene in Suffolk so if you see me at any events scribbling in my notebook you’ll know why.
I am appearing at the East Anglian Festival of Culture in the Ambassador Room at the Hatfield Hotel in Lowestoft on Sun 10th Sept and would love see my readers there.
Thank you for a lovely interview. It’s been fun.