I love Philippa Gregory's books about period history, I have read about 7 or 8 of them so far. She has a wonderful talent of bringing her characters to life and mixing fact with fiction, which is something I like to bring into my writing as well.
I also love the way Diana Gabaldon writes - every sentence paints a picture - I have read most of her books with relish.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Running my own tour company - Susy's Tours, taking photos, reading and spending time with my family.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I bought a Kobo some time ago and when it comes time to re-load it I search on Amazon or the Kobo sites which come via my email.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, it was about a group of travelling players in the 1800's out west in the USA. I had never travelled overseas at that stage and all I knew about my subject was what I had seen on TV. It was a great learning curve, it was then that an assessor kindly told me to write about what I knew - lesson learned.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
No, but the books that had a real impact on me back in my mid 20's were the Spiritually themed ones - for example 'The Bringers of the Dawn' about Pleadians was a mind blower and so was the Celestine Prophecy at the time. At a dark place in my life I was given a book called 'The Going and the Glory', it made a huge impact on my life at the time, I don't know who gave it to me and I have never seen it since but it launched me on to a Spiritual path which has taken me on a lifetime of interesting and varied pathways.
How do you approach cover design?
My first cover was designed for my by an advertising rep who's work I admired. I love what she did with the cover of Elizabeth's Diaries.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My beloved Kobo, I've had it for several years, it fits neatly into my handbag and goes everywhere with me.
When did you first start writing?
I first started writing at primary school. I loved English and my essays were often read out in class. There was another girl who used to write really well and we were always vying to top billing with each other.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Elizabeth’s Diaries is based on my visit to a High Country Sheep Station in 1974. I hand wrote the first 100 pages then got serious about the project as I began to learn more about writing. I called on the 1974 experience and found it easier to write about something I could relate to. The more I learned about writing the more re-writes I did. This book had 13 rewrites.
I like reading non-fiction novels about inspirational people and their lives and achievements. We are on the world stage now with the successes of several great movies and the triumphs of our actors and athletes. I believe people the world over are looking for more Kiwiana. My descriptions of the farm and farm life are real, I have lived and experienced a lot of the scenarios in this book.
What I am hoping to achieve with this book is to shine some light on historic high country sheep station life in NZ and give the reader something real to lose themselves in and to fantasise about and to perhaps even encourage them to take a trip up the Molesworth or Skippers or some other high country area to see the stunning scenery for themselves.
Writing Brigit, the sequel, came so much easier, I was able to relate well with my characters. I love the Australian Outback so it was a thrill to be able to bring some of it to life in this book. The places are real and some of the events are based on my own experiences but the main characters are pure fiction.
My next book is wildly different again and is based around a remote and mysterious island in the Pacific. It is currently on hold while I get my travel company up and running but I plan on getting back to it early in 2017.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
As a first time author I knew my chances of being picked up by a publishing company were pretty minimal so when indie publishing came to light I decided it was an opportunity to get my books out there,
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Not sure yet, I have only just joined so watch this space.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The thrill of seeing all the years of hard work and research and effort finally in print. It is wonderful being able to get lost in another world and 'live' another life for a while too. I also enjoy the challenge of improving my writing skills everytime I sit down at the keyboard.
What do your fans mean to you?
The wonderful people who have taken the time to comment on my first book are absolutely awesome - I am so grateful for their feedback and the appreciation they show for my writing, it is very humbling and very much appreicated. They inspire me to keep going.
What are you working on next?
A mystery and suspense novel based on a mysterious and remote island in the Pacific. I am also working on a series of children's books. Watch this space.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.