On this quiet Sunday morning why don't you put the kettle on, make your favourite breakfast and settle down for Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo
I'm delighted to welcome Sue Shepherd to our Sunday Brunch today
Welcome to Jaffareadstoo, Sue. What favourite food are you bringing to Sunday brunch?
On my birthday this year my eldest son (21) made me a lovely cooked breakfast. It included avocado, poached eggs, grilled tomatoes on the vine and toast. What I loved most about it was the fact that it was his first attempt at poaching eggs, and he Googled Jamie Oliver for advice. The eggs were perfect! I think we should have this for our Sunday Brunch.
Would you like a pot of English breakfast tea, a strong Americano, or a glass of Bucks Fizz?
Well, I absolutely love a decent mug of tea, but, as it’s a special occasion, I’ll take the Bucks Fizz, please.
Where shall we eat brunch – around the kitchen table, in the formal dining room, or outside on the patio?
The patio sounds lovely. If it’s all right with you, I’d like us to sit in a couple of wicker hanging chairs. There will be a beautifully manicured lawn in front of us, and lavender bushes to the side. Ohh, and … no wasps!
Shall we have music playing in the background, and if so do you have a favourite piece of music?
I’m happy either way. We can simply sit and enjoy the tranquillity, or we can listen to music. I do enjoy a bit of Carly Simon or Take That. (Can you tell I’m a middle-aged woman?)
Which of your literary heroes (dead or alive) are joining us for Sunday Brunch today?
I think we will be joined by the Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie. She really did love to write about a good cooked breakfast. As a young adult I devoured her books, and I know that she has influenced my writing over the years, almost by osmosis. I would love to ask her about her writing techniques; did she decide who was going to be the murderer at the beginning of a novel, or did she go back and drop in the red herrings once she got to the end? Did she plot or was she a pantser? Does she prefer Carly Simon or Take That?
Which favourite book will you bring to Sunday Brunch?
I shall bring The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I’ve read it many times. Since I was a child, I’ve loved books and films about time travel and alternative realities. The very first book I remember reading that influenced me was Charlotte Sometimes by Penelope Farmer. It sparked my love of the idea of Time Travel. Then, at about ten years of age, I watched It’s a Wonderful Life with my dad, and I remember it having a profound effect on me. Since then, I’ve always pondered the what ifs of life, marvelling (and slightly fearing) the fact that for every action we take there is a consequence. Are you up for a bit of time travel and alternative realities chat over breakfast, Jo?
When you are writing do you still find time to read for pleasure? And is there a book you would like to read but haven’t had time for …yet!
I am going to make a huge confession to you now, and it goes against all the advice that to be a good author you must read, read, and read some more. I hardly ever seem to have time to read these days!! If I am reading, I always feel that I ought to be writing instead. Also, when I have a work in progress on the go, I’m very engrossed in my characters and I don’t know that I could give head space to someone else’s creations. I always say – when I’ve finished writing this book, I’m going to read all the books I’ve been planning to. But then I get an idea for the next book and off I go again. When I do get time to read again, I plan to read some of my fellow Hobeck authors’ novels, they have published some intriguing sounding books. I would also like to read The Island, a novel by Mary Grand, which is set on the Isle of Wight.
Where do you find the inspiration for your novels?
My books normally start with a snippet of an idea. I like to people watch, and I often find myself listening into other people’s conversations. Sometimes I’ll hear part of a phone conversation from one side, and I’ll find my mind filling in the blanks. One of my books came from a news article I read about a very unfortunate car accident. Another came from a simple piece of flash fiction I wrote about a disgruntled guardian angel. Taking the initial idea, I usually do as Stephen King advises – put a couple of characters in a situation and let them show me what happens next. I never plot because for me the fun is in watching the story unfold before my eyes.
Have you a favourite place to settle down to write and do you find it easier to write in winter or summer?
I don’t think the season affects me at all. I write in winter, spring, summer or fall – as they say. I always write at home, either at the kitchen table or on the sofa. I would very much like my own little writing den in the garden, perhaps one of those ready made pods. The only other people who would be allowed in my den would be my dogs, or any member of my family who is bearing a mug of tea.
When writing to a deadline are you easily distracted and if so how do you bring back focus on your writing?
I think a deadline really helps to focus the mind. When I was writing the first book in the Sandlin PI Series, (which at the time I thought would be a standalone book) and I was yet to find a publisher for, I took a long time to write and edit it. It could’ve gone on being changed forever if my submission hadn’t luckily been accepted by Hobeck Books. Now I’m writing book 2 in the series, and I am definitely aware of the need to get it finished and off to Hobeck in good time. Knowing you have a publisher waiting is a good incentive to write!
Give us four essential items that a writer needs?
A good imagination,
A good imagination,
A good imagination,
What can you tell us about your latest novel or your current work in progress?
After having three RomComs published by Corazon Books, I switched genres and wrote my first suspense novel. The characters in that novel were my companions all through lockdown and the story took on several guises before finally being submitted to publishers. It was picked up by Hobeck Books and published on September 7th this year. After a discussion with my publishers, we decided it was most definitely the first in a series and so its full title became – Swindled, Book One in the Sandlin PI Series.
7 September 2021
Swindled in brief.
Swindled is about a young woman, the far too charming man who conned her and her family, and the ambitious, fledgling PI who’s going to help track him down. It’s a tale of how the strong bond of friendship can overcome the darkness of deception.
'A great debut mystery thriller with a touch of cozy.' Advance Reader.
As I write this, I am nearing the end of the first draft of Book Two in the Series. I’m really enjoying writing a series. It’s given me the chance to continue to hang out with characters that I know and love and allows me to fully explore all their relationships.
Sue, where can we follow you on social media?
More About Sue
Sue Shepherd began her writing career in 2015, writing contemporary romance. Over the next couple of years, she created three novels with heart, laughs and naughtiness. Doesn't Everyone Have a Secret?, Love Them and Leave Them and Can’t Get You Out of My Head.
Realising that one of the parts she enjoyed most about writing was deciding when to let the reader in on the secrets from her characters’ past, Sue switched genres and wrote a suspense novel entitled Swindled. Hobeck Books published Swindled in September 2021. Too fond of the main characters in Swindled to let them go, Sue decided to write her fifth novel, another suspense staring the accidental private investigative duo.
Sue lives on the picturesque Isle of Wight with her husband, two sons, a standard poodle named Forrest and a Cavachon called Sky. Her passions in life are; her family, writing, the seaside and all the beautiful purple things her sons have bought her over the years. Ask Sue to plan too far in advance and you'll give her the heebie-jeebies and she'd prefer you not to mention Christmas until at least November!
Thank you, Sue for taking part in Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo.
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