I’m very pleased to introduce the lovely Sue Moorcroft as my guest author today. A prolific writer of women’s contemporary fiction, Sue was born in Germany, the daughter of two soldiers, then lived in Cyprus, Malta and the UK. She’s worked in a bank, as a bookkeeper (probably a mistake), as a copytaker for Motor Cycle News and for a typesetter, but is pleased to have wriggled out of all ‘proper jobs’.
Here, Sue talks about the inspiration for her latest book The Christmas Promise.
What inspired The Christmas Promise?
When people ask about inspiration I feel they must anticipate tales of poignant life experiences or points I’m bursting to make to the wide world. Some of my books do have their origins in life experiences and, like most writers, I always have several points I want to make, but, fundamentally, I like to write about things I want to write about.
How The Christmas Promise came into being went something like this:
- I was asked for a Christmas novella because they sell well and Christmas is always a promotable subject in the UK.
- I don’t care for Christmas. I decided it would be more bearable to write about a heroine who doesn’t like Christmas, either.
- On BBC Radio Cambridgeshire’s afternoon arts and culture programme I met a fellow guest, Abigail Crampton, who was a milliner. Making fabulous hats by hand seemed exactly the kind of occupation for one of my heroines, so I asked Abigail if she’d advise me.
- Books have to have conflicts to drive the story so it seemed natural that Ava’s millinery business wasn’t too successful. (This changes as the book develops, partly owing to a WAG called Booby Ruby.) Not having much dosh at Christmas added to Ava’s challenges.
- I wanted my hero to have a more serious beef with Christmas, so I put Sam’s mum, Wendy, in the elapse between surgery and chemotherapy, making him resolve to give the best Christmas he possibly could, cancer being such a life changer for the loved ones as well as the patient.
- I began to suspect Sam and Ava’s story deserved a bigger stage and should be a novel rather than a novella.
- My agent agreed, and so Ava needed a greater conflict than a Grinch-like dislike of the festive season. By happenstance, I read an article about ‘revenge porn’, ie an ex circulating intimate images of someone as revenge for being dumped. I was so annoyed on behalf of the victims that I immediately created Ava’s ex-boyfriend Harvey to illuminate the despicable crime.
- A contemporary career for Sam, ways in which Ava’s goals and conflicts would impact upon Sam’s goals and conflicts, and I had assembled the elements I needed to begin planning back stories and seeing where the issues in the book would take me.
I’m not sure if the above process comes under the heading of ‘inspiration’ so much as ‘plotty idea-storming sessions with a significant dash of commercialism’, but it’s where the roots of this particular book lie.
Award-winning author Sue Moorcroft writes contemporary women’s fiction with occasionally unexpected themes. The Wedding Proposal, Dream a Little Dream and Is this Love? were all nominated for Readers’ Best Romantic Read Awards and Darcie’s Dilemma for Readers’ Best Short Romance. Love & Freedom won the Best Romantic Read Award 2011 and Dream a Little Dream was nominated for an RNA in 2013. Sue’s a Katie Fforde Bursary Award winner, a past vice chair of the RNA and editor of its two anthologies.
Sue also writes short stories, serials, articles, writing ‘how to’ and is a creative writing tutor.
Sue’s next book (available for pre-order now): The Christmas Promise