Having chatted to authors in the past few weeks who are already published, I’m turning to my friend, Sue Sharp, at the beginning of this new week and at the beginning of her writing journey. Her first book is due out this summer.
I will post her photo after you’ve peeked at her enchanting space in Tuscany, not far from where I live. When I discovered a fellow-writer and member of the RNA living nearby, I was ecstatic. At last, somebody to share tips, hopes and fears about this writing passion.
How could you not be inspired by such surroundings? I’m so looking forward to reading Sue’s debut novel when it comes out. (I might even sneak into her Tuscan garden to read it by the lavender).
Drum roll – meet Sue Sharp:
Angela, thank you so much for this opportunity. After many years of treading water with this writing lark, I’m nervously peeking from the safety of my comfort blanket to put myself out there. It’s a scary prospect, especially for an introvert like myself. Though I’m reassured by people like yourself, who have braved the same path. This is my first ever blog interview, so here goes (deep breath) …
You will be fine, Sue. I find the writing community so supportive and we’ll all be cheering you on. How did you start on your novel?
I started writing ten years ago when we first arrived in Italy. From the first moment, I found myself thriving on the solitude, and the voices in my head started to make sense (we all have them … right??) After a lifetime of wanting to write, I’d suddenly found I had the time. At first, I dabbled, with no idea what I was doing. After scribbling random paragraphs for a couple of years, praying things would come together, I realised I needed help. That’s where fate stepped in. A fellow romance writer messaged me one New Year’s Day. Urging me to apply for the New Writer’s Scheme (NWS), offered by the Romantic Novelist’s Association (RNA). I had no idea what she was talking about. With a quick internet search, I discovered that the RNA NWS offers around 250 memberships to unpublished romantic fiction writers. And the best bit? The organiser has a team of readers who are published authors. After joining, members of the NWS can send their manuscript to be critiqued. Just what I needed.
However, the scheme is only open at a specific time in January. I have to say, my finger shook when I sent my application email at two minutes past midnight on the second of January 2014, as instructed. I didn’t think I had a chance. The following day, I was over the moon to find I’d been accepted. This was my turning point … when I started to take myself more seriously.
There’s a membership fee to pay. But, it’s not a huge amount and well worth the investment. Because not only do you get a critique from proven experts, you become part of the most inclusive group I’ve ever known.
There you go! You’re discovering this friendliness and readiness to share expertise already. I’m going to interrupt you now, to share some more photos of your writing spaces. (Drool, drool).
Sue, looking inspired. I recognise Anghiari, a picturesque hilltop town in our corner of Tuscany
Back to you, Sue.
Of course, my first submission was a complete disaster! However, I plugged away and gained a new focus. After scrubbing my first attempt, I moved on to something new.
My husband and I run a summer holiday rental business in Tuscany. We meet people from all over the world and, for a short time, have a glimpse into their lives. With an active imagination and a penchant for people watching, this became my inspiration. Having a constant feed of interesting personalities made it a no brainer.
However, constantly moving between the UK and Tuscany means I’m a bit of a nomad. With no fixed place to write, I have to travel light. So I use Pinterest boards for my characters, settings, and situations. And Scrivener for the actual writing. It means everything is with me, wherever I am.
My debut novel, Time For Tuscany, is a contemporary romance exploring love, friendship, and forgiveness. If all goes to plan, I will be self-publishing this summer.
It sounds wonderful. Can’t wait. I wish I used Pinterest in a more organised way. I’ll have to pick your brain sometime.
And I hope everybody will sign up for Sue’s blog and newsletters. She is a photographer, as well as an author and has a real eye for detail. You’ll be transported by her images.
I’ve loved chatting with you, Sue, and I wish you all the very best with your debut novel. The cover is mouth watering.
In bocca al lupo, as they say in Italy, or buona fortuna!
If you would like to follow Sue in her writing journey, here are some links.