Author Interview: Sue Featherstone
Today I am pleased to welcome Sue Featherstone on to the blog with a quick interview! She’s come up with some fascinating answers!
What is your favourite thing about writing books?
All of it: planning them, plotting them and discussing them with my writing partner Susan Pape. And actually physically writing them… starting with a blank page and an idea of where the story will go; and then crafting words and sentences so they flow into a coherent whole.
There’s a real pleasure in bringing our characters to life and I even enjoy re-writing and revising and working with our editor, Kate Foster, and copy editor, Rebecca Carpenter, to polish and improve the finished product.
I love the whole part of the process.
BUT, if pushed, I’d have to say that one of my most favourite things about writing is that I work from home – so the commute takes next to no time, which means I don’t need to feel too guilty about snuggling back under the duvet for five more minutes…
Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
In both our first novel A Falling Friend, and its sequel A Forsaken Friend, Susan and I tell the stories from the perspective of two friends: Teri Meyer, who’s greedy for life and love and can be both impetuous and thoughtless; and academic Lee Harper, who is a little more grounded but also knows what she does and doesn’t want from life.
But which of the two is my favourite? Sorry, can’t choose – it’s too much like asking me which of my daughters do I love best. I love them both equally.
What is your favourite drink to consume while writing?
I’ve usually got a glass of cold tap water somewhere close. I like a mug of weak Earl Grey tea with my breakfast but otherwise I’m not a huge tea or coffee fan.
Do you have any bad habits while you’re writing?
I’m not sure it’s a bad habit but whenever I get stuck with a sentence I go and do something really mundane – load the washing machine, wash the kitchen floor, clean the bathroom. I get a lot of routine housework jobs done that way.
Getting up and moving away from the desk empties the brain and when I hit the keyboard again the words seem to flow better.
How do you research your books?
The characters in both of our novels work in either academia or the local media – two worlds that Susan and I know really well. We are both former journalists and university lecturers and still have lots of friends who work in both – so, in that sense, we’re writing what we know and research, as such, isn’t necessary.
But, where we need specific detailed information about a particular topic or issue, we always consult an expert – for instance, in A Forsaken Friend one of the characters, a TV presenter, is suspended from work after a brawl so Susan consulted an industry insider to find out how this would be handled. And the internet is very useful for fact-checking minor details – such as how long it takes to travel by train from Suffolk to Yorkshire.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Bit of both: Susan and I start with a broad plot outline of where the story starts, where we want it to end up and the major incidents in between. But, we also allow ourselves the freedom to go where the characters take us which is sometimes not always where we thought it would be.
And, during the editing process, we often make revisions based on feedback from our editor. For example, in A Forsaken Friend Teri travels to Suffolk to visit her goat-herd brother Charlie. Originally, she went alone but our editor suggested Lee should accompany her, which gave us some interesting opportunities to shine a spotlight on different aspects of both their characters.
If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose and why?
I don’t daydream as much as I used to do when I was younger and spent a lot of time imagining myself in a variety of exciting and dangerous environments where I was always brave and bold and on the side of truth and justice.
But that was largely because I led a fairly boring life of school, home and homework. My own life is now rich enough that my daydreams are confined to plotting what’s going to happen next to Teri and Lee. And I’m not going to share those thoughts here…wait for the final instalment of our trilogy.
If you could befriend any fictional character, who would you choose and why?
That depends: I really enjoyed the recent BBC dramatisation of The Musketeers, based on the Alexander Dumas novel. So, purely on the understanding that the fictional d’Artagnan, bears a strong resemblance to his TV alter ego Luke Pasqualino I’d be happy to inhabit the world of The Three Musketeers.
About the Book
Things can’t get much worse for Teri Meyer. If losing her job at the university and the regular allowance from her dad’s factory isn’t bad enough, now her ex-best friend has gone and stolen her ex-husband! Well, to hell with them all. A few weeks in the countryside at her brother’s smallholding should do the trick – and the gorgeous and god-like neighbour might help.
But then there’s Declan, not to mention Duck’s Arse back in Yorkshire…
It’s not as if Lee Harper set out to fall in love with her best friend’s ex-husband. But, for once, her love life is looking up – except for all the elephants in the room, not to mention Mammy’s opinion on her dating a twice-divorced man. Perhaps things aren’t as rosy as she first thought. And now with one family crisis after another, Lee’s juggling more roles – and emotions – than she ever imagined.
Maybe sharing her life with a man wasn’t such a grand idea.
About the Author
Her career started in local newspapers before switching to PR to become internal communications manager with a large utility company.
She completed a degree in English Literature as a mature student and subsequently moved into higher education, teaching journalism to undergraduate students at Sheffield Hallam University.
At the beginning of 2017, Sue left Sheffield Hallam to focus on her writing.
Together with her friend and writing partner Susan Pape, she has written two successful journalism text books – Newspaper Journalism: A Practical Introduction; and Feature Writing: A Practical Introduction.
Their first novel, A Falling Friend, was published by Lakewater Press in 2016 and a sequel A Forsaken Friend is published on March 21, 2018. The final book in their Friends trilogy will follow next year.