On Friday Focus some authors have answered questions about their writing, so I though it only fair that I did the same. I've tried to answer questions about my writing that the other authors didn't answer. Here we go.
The right setting is critical for a story to work. Have any of your books started out in one setting and ended up in another? What changes did you make and what made them necessary?
‘The Sixth Key’ started in a modern setting, then switched to a medieval style planet with magic. At the end of book it switches again. This was necessary for the mystery aspect of the story.
How do you come up with the titles for your stories?
I try to make my titles give some guidance as to what the book is about. The title has to fit and I have to be satisfied with it before I’m able to write the manuscript. ‘The Sixth Key’ centred on a rhyme which had to be followed to solve the mystery. Once I decided on this title I was able to dive into writing the book.
What was the very first thing you remember writing?
I believe it was called “Little Lord Fotheringay”. It was my essay entry for the 11 plus exam in England. It must have been reasonably good as I passed the 11 plus and went to an ‘A’ stream grammar school.
Where do you draw your inspiration from? Is it dreams? Things you see on television or in movies. Books? People you meet?
Anything catches my imagination and a story forms in my mind. I saw an unusual name on a boat once and have started writing a book using that name. People in the street, something on television – anything can supply the basis of a story for me.
How old were you when you finished your first novel? Is that novel published today?
Oooh a lady never reveals her age. Let’s just say I was in my forties. This novel was never published as looking back I realise it needs a lot of editing to make it suitable for publishing. However I learned my lesson and the second book I wrote was published and is still available today.
Of all the characters you've created, who is your favorite and why? Yes, I know you aren't supposed to have favorite children, but it's okay to have a favorite character. Be sure to tell us what book they are in.
This has to be Caishel. The first release of the book was under the title ‘Blue and Silver’ but then I changed publishers and the second release was called ‘Caishel’. I’m so fond of her that I named my publishing name after her – Caishel Books. Unfortunately these books are not available at the moment as I am no longer with the second publisher, but I do intend to release the whole series of Cloud Kingdoms next year as self-published.
Where is the most interesting place you have ever traveled? If you haven't travelled much, where would you absolutely love to go?
I have travelled all over the world when my husband was at sea, but the one place I remember as being really interesting is Kuwait. Our family lived there for two years before the troubles with Sadam Hussein. It was a wonderful place to live and I felt very safe there and made many friends.
I would really like to visit New Orleans and go up the Mississippi on a paddle boat to see the plantations etc. Apparently it’s possible to travel as far as Memphis. Really great.
How do you choose the names of your characters?
I start off with the initial letter of the first name then think of lots of names starting with that. Once I find one I like I change some of the letters around to make it different this is because my books are fantasy so I need to the names to be a little different. There are times when the name just pops into my mind. Whichever method I choose it has to suit the character before I write about them.
What other books or authors do you believe have influenced your writing? How did they influence it?
Anne McCaffrey and David Eddings. I came across their books at the end of my teenage years and fell in love with fantasy. It seemed to be the natural thing when I began to write my own stories for publishing to head to the fantasy genre. I do also write romance, but my main love is fantasy.
Has being a writer affected how you read other books?
Definitely. I pick up any small errors in books which sometimes spoils it for me. The main thing that puts me off is when an author hasn’t done the research properly. This is not only new authors but famous ones can do this too. American authors in particular can fall into the trap that because the language is similar the settings must be similar too.
What was the best advice you ever received about your writing? Something you keep in mind still today OR What was the best writing tip you ever read, learned, etc.
The secret of writing is re-writing.
Sue has many books published and these area available on various online bookstores. She lives in New Zealand at the top of the South Island.
Although her main focus is on fantasy writing, Sue also writes romance books. Her other interests are family history, aqua jogging and graphic art.