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Good morning everybody,

I've woken up this morning with a really happy thought - in nine days time, it's the shortest day!! Yaay! From then on, we start getting a few more minutes of daylight every day! That for me is a cause for celebration! I've always detested the dark descending on us at 4pm. It's positively criminal! With the horrendous weather lately, I'm looking forward to lighter, warmer evenings and a nice gin and tonic sat out on the patio. Isn't that a wonderful thought for today?

So let's get today's interview with the lovely Sue started without further delay.

Eva: Good morning Sue. Thank you so much for taking part. Now, tell us all about yourself, as in, a bit of a biography.

Sue: Hi Eva and thank you for hosting me. I’m Sue Cook (no, not the one from Crimewatch) and I write short stories and novellas. I started with successes in the British Women’s Magazine market (WOMAG) and now tend to write serials and novellas up to 50,000 words, featuring romance sprinkled with crime and/or intrigue.

I live in the cold, damp West Pennines with my husband and five ducks.

How many books have you written up to now? Are they published or self-published? What genre are they?

I have just had my sixth pocket novel accepted by My Weekly. Murder in Tuscany should be published next summer. I’ve had three, I think, accepted for lverscroft’s large print Linford romance line for libraries. I have also self-published all five past pocket novels. There are three romances, and three cozy crimes with romance. Contemporary or historical, I write the story that comes to me, although I feel more at home in the past – generally!

Of all the genres there are, is there any genre/s that you feel you wouldn’t be able to write and why? Is there any genre that you really wish you could write, but feel you wouldn’t be able to do it justice?

Where do I start? Sci-fi – no idea or interest. Horror - because I’d scare the pants off myself. Memoir - because who on earth would be interested? Magical realism - because I don’t really understand what it is. I would like to write straight crime – the genre I love to read, but somehow it eludes me. I suspect it’s a plotting thing, plus not having the foggiest how a police station works.

Do you have any favourite ‘out-of-the-ordinary’ words that you like to use in your books? What are those words? Also, what words used by other authors irritate you more than they should?

My favourite word is discombobulated, though it never looks quite right on the page. I might slip in a quick canoodle, though.

Do you sing at all, be it karaoke, in a choir or have done so professionally? Whether you have or not, have you ever written (or had the urge to write) any song lyrics? Have those lyrics been used at all?

No! No! No!

I don’t even listen to music much, and giving my hero a playlist in Murder in Tuscany was a trial. I had to ask friends and acquaintances for suitable suggestions.

What question would you like to pose, (if you were to ever interview your favourite author), which never seems to get asked in author interviews? And who is that favourite author?

Ian Rankin is my favourite author. What would I ask? Hmm. Will Siobahn and Malcolm Fox ever get together? (I admit, I haven’t read the last book or two, so this might have become obvious already…) Though I suspect that question has already been asked.

If you were to ever write a children’s book, (and those of you who already do) would you/do you do the illustrating yourself, make use of a family member or friend’s talent or pay an illustrator? Do you solely write or do you have any other creative pursuits?

If I wanted it to sell, I would definitely not illustrate it myself! I would definitely pay an illustrator, though the chances of needing to are infinitesimally small.

Of all the characters you have created, who is your favourite? And why?

Agnes Morrow, the cook in Murder at the Abbey. There’s a woman who knows what she wants and is determined to get it. So, my fiancé became a monk? No worry - I can wait. King Henry won’t allow him to marry? We’ll see about that! Cromwell doesn’t know what’s coming his way.

Have you ever killed off a character in your books (I’m sure you have)? If so, was it because…it fitted nicely into the storyline? OR…Did you start to really dislike the character and, with too much work involved to re-write without that character, think it the easiest option to have that person die?

I’ve only killed characters that had to go for the plot. Because of the market I write for, I can’t have characters that are too horrible. The victims are either minor characters or had an irritating flaw. In Murder in Tuscany, the first victim is a terrible gossip and the second is hounding the love interest.

Are any of your characters based on family members or friends? Have you kept their characters totally true to life or have you given them bonus traits that you wish they possessed in real life?

Yes and no. No one character is a particular friend/relative in his or her entirety, but I pick little traits, habits and attitudes that I’m familiar with and fit them into characters to bring them to life.

Relationships and family life aside, what are your TWO main regrets in life?

Buying a Ford Focus about 15 years ago. It was a panic buy when my beloved Rover blew up. I hated it from day 1. But seriously, I have no major regrets, although I wish I had developed earlier some insight into certain character traits of my own. All my life I seem to have been an expert at inadvertently upsetting people. I think writing romance, and growing relationships between two people on the page has made me understand better how real relationships work – or not.

What was your passion as a child? Did that passion stay with you during your adult life OR did you, as you grew up begin to detest what you once enjoyed?

Birds! Although I would call it an interest rather than a passion. I am definitely not a twitcher and struggle to tell one hawk from another. It has definitely stuck with me through my whole adult life and now my husband seems to have been infected with the bug. One of our best holidays recently was a four-day birdwatching trip to Suffolk, with an expert spotter. Wonderful! And last summer, we saw European bee-eaters in Germany, near where our son and daughter-in-law live. They are such stunning birds.

What was your best subject throughout your school years? And the worst?

The sciences, especially maths. I have a terrible memory and in science, with a few principles to hand, I could work the rest out. Worst? Art. I was useless at history because of my memory – dates and names wouldn’t stick. To be honest, I wasn’t great at English Lit, either. There were too many options, so much wooliness. I prefer nice, neat, concise answers. That’s probably why I like a good whodunnit.

Tell me about your favourite teacher throughout your school years? Was it a crush you had? Were they just an excellent teacher of your favourite subject? Or some other reason…kind, fun, generous…?

Mr Jones. Physics. He was wonderful. So enthusiastic about his subject. Always keen to help those who wanted to learn, completely intolerant of those who weren’t, and great at explaining things in ways you could understand. I can still hear him explaining that bits of us started life as cabbages growing in the Vale of Glamorgan (when explaining how matter is neither created nor destroyed. And he was right; what we ate became part of us). I’m not sure he’s even now got over the day girls were allowed onto the rugby pitch to play, well, rugby. I can still see him intermittently breaking off from writing equations on the board to go back to the window muttering, “They are. They’re playing rugby!” He was not impressed.

Did either of your parents ever express a wish to write? Are they supportive and proud of your work? Or do they just choose to not get involved, but they are pleased for you?

Neither wrote, and both died many years ago. They were ‘elderly’ parents, and I’m already retired myself. I have a cousin who’s a natural story teller, but she won’t use a computer so the chances of her stories ever getting published are zero, which is a great shame.

Tell us about your ultimate ambition, be it personal, travel, writing, work, hobby related or other?

To stay healthy in the decade or two I have left. I read a statistic, something to the effect of at age 65, 5% of women need help getting out of a chair and at 75, 25% need help getting out of a chair. I decided right there and then that I would be in the 75% not needing help, and I’m determined to keep it that way. So it’s Pilates on Monday, Nordic walking on Wednesday and legs, bums and tums on Thursday from now on.

Do you have any phobias and if so, what are they? Have you ever conquered any phobia and if so, how did you do it?

Spiders. Hate them. Always will. I used to be anxious about flying – but not to the point of phobia. Now I get so irritated by the whole palaver of getting to the airport and making it through security that it’s a relief to get off the ground.

Most people I know are not happy with something physical about themselves (face/body etc.,) but if you could change anything about your personality, what would you wish to change?

Be better at conversations. After the first bit of small talk, my brain seems to freeze.

What is your ‘go to’ snack, whatever the time of day? And drink of your choice?

Bread and butter. 3pm. With. Out. Fail. And coffee. Caffeinated first thing, decaff for the remainder of the day.

Cats or dogs? What do you have? Do you introduce any pets into your books?

I am definitely a dog person, though don’t have one right now. We had to have our Lab cross, Tessa, put down the year the world cup was held in Britain, as she had dementia and had lost the use of her back legs. We dithered about replacing her and now can’t while we have pet ducks running around the garden.

And finally, hit me up with all your book links and links to social media.

Instagram (mostly my walking pics):

Another fabulous interview! Thank you once again Sue, for taking part in this series!

I hope you all have a brilliant week, whatever you are doing, and on Friday, we have Vincent Formosa in the spotlight!




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