Writing, Work and Wine with… Sue Moorcroft

Sue Moorcroft writes romantic novels of dauntless heroines and irresistible heroes, a regular Formula 1 column for www.girlracer.co.uk, short stories, serials, articles and courses and is also the head judge for Writers’ Forum. She’s a Katie Fforde Bursary Award winner.

Q. Hi Sue, it’s lovely to have you here. Please tell us a bit about your writing. What do you like to write and who are you published by?

A. I’m published in novels, short stories, serials, articles, courses, columns and ‘how to.’ My novels are my major focus and first love. Reader reviews generally refer to them as chick lit, which is fine by me, but I generally call them contemporary romantic fiction because they don’t satisfy the ‘urban setting’ requirement of chick lit. The length varies but is usually around the 90,000-word mark. The romantic fiction audience is a large one and covers all ages and both genders but I’m sure I have more female readers than male.

Most of my novels have been published by Choc Lit, an independent publisher that consistently punches above its weight. It’s difficult to be precise about how many are out there as my second published book, Family Matters, was a hardback for Robert Hale but later came out as Want to Know a Secret? with Choc Lit, as a paperback and e-book. Also, my four serials were made/are being made into large print books and are available as e-books. But you could safely say five novels, four novellas, and my ‘how to’ book, Love Writing – How to Make Money From Writing Romantic and Erotic Fiction out with another independent publisher, Accent Press.

Q. Do you have an agent?

A. I used to be agented, and my agent sold my first two novels. But after a life-changing event I thought I wouldn’t be able to write novels any more and so I left her flock. Then I found success with Choc Lit and found I could write novels after all.

Q. What have been your most memorable writing successes and rejections ?

A. The most memorable successes were the first short story I had accepted and published; the first novel (apparently, my side of the conversation consisted of me saying, ‘You’re joking!’ in various degrees of disbelief and excitement) and Love & Freedom, because it’s the first novel I wrote in its entirety post life-changing event. My most memorable rejection was from a magazine. They said, ‘Make it half as long and twice as funny and we’ll look at it again.’ I sold it to a different magazine.

Q. Can you describe your writing journey to date in under 50 words?

A. Hard word, persistence, disappointment, euphoria, satisfaction; pursuit of the best job in the world.

Q. And what about telling us your top three tips for writers.

1) Persist. I truly believe that the name for a writer who doesn’t give up is ‘published’ (and am living proof).

2) Educate yourself. Don’t believe that ‘writers are born, not made’ stuff. Why should it apply to writers? Great artists, musicians, dancers and actors study damned hard for many years in order to be successful. OK, you need an aptitude and you’ll hear of writers who just took their school essay-writing education, sat down on their sofa and wrote a bestseller. But not many.

3) Don’t make enemies. Editors, agents, publicists, booksellers, librarians, they all move around from job to job. If you make one hate you, odds are that your book’s fate will somehow end up in their hands …

Q. Thank you, now on to the work bit. Do you have a day job or do you write full-time? What is a typical day for you?

A. All of my work is writing related: writing; judging competitions; critiquing; working with creative writing students. I’m not sure that there’s such a thing as a typical day. Most days I’ll be at my machine from 7.30am to 6.00pm, performing some combination of the above tasks, plus promo, research, market study and all the biz things that take up the time of freelancers. But, also, I give talks and workshops, attend parties, meetings, conferences etc. I also fit in classes in yoga, Zumba and piano.

Q. What do you love and/or hate about writing full-time?

A. I love sitting in a room and making stuff up which, in the fullness of time becomes a book on the shelves in bookshops. I love it even more if someone messages or e-mails me to say they enjoyed the book, especially if it got them through a hard time. I dislike doing my accounts; people not leaving me alone to make stuff up and rejection.

Q. Tell us what your favourite wine is.

A. Champagne, the drier the better.

Thanks for sharing Sue, some interesting insight into the world of a full-time writer. For those of you who want to know more…

Sue’s latest book, Love & Freedom, won the Best Romantic Read Award 2011 at the Festival of Romance and her next book, Dream a Little Dream, is due out in November 2012. Check out her website www.suemoorcroft.com and her blog at http://suemoorcroft.wordpress.com/ for news and writing tips. You’re welcome to befriend Sue on Facebook or Follow Sue on Twitter.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this post – look out for the second in the series next Tuesday.

Voting for the Novelicious Undiscovered competition opens on 6 June and closes on 20 June  http://www.novelicious.com/ Please head over to the site for a look and to vote for your favourite of the top 20 entries. Yours truly is there!

Happy Writing, Nikki x

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