I’ve a special guest for this week’s Friday Read slot, the lovely poet, author and writing tutor, Sue Johnson. Sue has dropped by to tell us about her latest release, Apple Orchard, Lemon Grove.
When Gemma’s Great Aunt Anna passes away, she leaves her a half share in her restaurant. Ready to escape her mundane life and recent break up, Gemma heads for the restaurant in the apple orchard in Charworth.
Stefano is the other partner in Gemma’s new venture. Italian, moody, but an amazing chef, Gemma and Stefano are aghast to discover the clause in their joint inheritance. They must both live at the restaurant while they work together. If either of them leaves, or if a profit is not made at the end of the six months they will have failed, and lost their inheritance.
The challenge is on, but Gemma and Stefano have another mystery on their hands. Stefano has no idea what he is doing there, and has never heard of Great Aunt Anna. And so it is up to them to unravel the family tale, and find out what links the Apple Orchard or England to the Lemon Grove of Italy…
Sue Johnson is a poet, short story writer and novelist. She also creates books aimed at helping other writers. Sue is a Writing Magazine Creative Writing Tutor and also runs her own brand of writing classes. Further details of her work can be found at www.writers-toolkit.co.uk
I asked Sue to tell us a bit more about herself
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Yes – I’ve written ever since I could write. I finished my first novel when I was seven or eight. It was fifteen pages long!
Has any author inspired you?
Yes – a huge number of them! Enid Blyton, Christina Rosetti and Elinor M Brent-Dyer (The Chalet School series). Also the Brontes, Helen Dunmore, H E Bates, D H Lawrence, Michele Roberts and Joanne Harris.
What do you like writing most?
I work on a range of projects from poetry to books aimed at helping other writers. Since 1st January 2013 I’ve written a poem a day every day. I’m also published as a magazine fiction writer and a novelist. I enjoy all of it.
Do you have a special place for writing?
For the last four years I’ve had my own workroom indoors that overlooks the garden. I also have a summerhouse that I can use all year round because it has heating and light. I also enjoy writing in local cafes.
Are you a pantster or a plotter?
I’m a combination of the two. I need to explore an idea before I know if it’s going to work. This involves ‘test pieces’ about characters, settings and conflict situations that often become poems or flash fiction stories. I also create collages and collect magazine pictures. Gradually, longer scenes develop in my head, with ideas of an ending. Once this happens, I create a detailed outline and then follow it like a road map. (However, because geography isn’t my strong point, I do sometimes take unpredictable turnings that somehow make the story better.)
Is your writing ever inspired by your family or real life incidents?
Yes – childhood memories often inspire stories and poems. I also ‘find’ ideas when I listen to people in cafes.
Oh yes, me too, Sue. Don’t you hate it when they get up and leave halfway through a conversation
What are you writing at the moment?
At the moment I’m working on another regency novel – working title ‘The Bluebell Wood’ and a book aimed at helping other writers.
What inspired you to write this book?
My 4th novel ‘Apple Orchard, Lemon Grove’ published by Endeavour Press on 15th December 2017 was inspired by two different images. The first was an orchard near my home in Evesham where I saw a couple walking hand in hand. The second was a man I noticed at a place where they sold limoncello near a café in Sorrento in Italy.
What time of the day do you write best?
I write best first thing in the morning and during the night.
What are your hobbies?
I enjoy yoga, walking, reading and going to the theatre and folk concerts.
What advice would you give to other writers?
Keep going until you achieve all your writing dreams. If you like an idea, stick with it. Don’t listen to negative criticism. Find a writing buddy or support network and reward yourself for every positive step forward.
Great advice, Sue!
You can find out more about Sue here:
My website is www.writers-toolkit.co.uk
Thanks for dropping by to talk to us, Sue. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a happy, successful New Year!
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