This month, I am interviewing Sue Galloway, a local author.
Sue Galloway was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire, but now lives in rural France. She has always had an interest in creative writing. She decided to bite the bullet and throw herself into her writing, and has since written and published two books. One is a children’s book, ‘Adventures of Blanky’, and the book I am talking to her about, ‘Growing Roses’.
Q: Sue I understand you have written your first novel. What is it called and give us a short synopsis.
It’s called ‘Growing Roses’. Rose was born in Charleston, South Carolina, where the effects of increased racism forces her, as a young child, and her family to flee North, and settle in Harlem. Within a year, her mother dies, giving birth to a third child, Samuel. Ten years on, her father is brutally murdered by extremists. Believing that nothing will ever improve, unless racism is actively challenged, Rose becomes an activist and gets involved in, what eventually became, a civil rights movement in America. The themes running through her story highlight the issues of racism and inequality that are still prevalent today.
Q: What genre do you usually read and write in?
As a new author I’m currently experimenting with various genres. I tend to read stories that have intrigue and adventure. I also like some historical facts weaved in through the story line, just like there is in ‘Growing Roses’.
Q: Who is your favourite author and why?
I like many books, and don’t tend to stick to one author. I enjoyed George Orwell’s ‘Nineteen eighty four’ as he told it as it is, or at least how it was going to be, with no punches pulled, and I liked that.
Q: When writing this book did you learn something about yourself?
Definitely. I loved being able to imagine walking in the shoes of the main character, and felt that she was able to encourage me to be honest with myself about quite a lot of things.
Q: How do you plan your novels?
Mostly mindmapping and creating a storyboard to refer to. Also some relevant pictures, for inspiration. Due to Rose’s story requiring a specific time line, it was crucial to have something to keep a check that the things that happened, could have happened at a particular time, historically. For example, when the story concentrated on women suffragettes and their getting the vote in America.
Q: What advice would you give to budding writers out there?
Mostly to just enjoy the process. Get right into the characters of the story, because if you don’t believe they are real, it’s unlikely that anyone else will. Be prepared to work very hard at getting the book published and promoted. Writing it is the easy bit!
Q: Do you have a favourite time and place to write?
I have now claimed the back bedroom as my study. It gets the sun in there and I work better if I feel warm. When I was writing ‘Growing Roses’ if I suddenly got an idea, I must confess I sat wherever I was, and just wrote. That’s what I mean about getting into the character. It’s your life and breath, while you are writing the story, which is probably how it should be.
Q: What are you writing at the moment and could you give us a flavour of it?
I have just published a book of 10 short stories for young children called ‘Adventures of Blanky’. I do have other stories about Blanky, that keep popping into my head. They will have to go somewhere, so I may do another book. I have some other children’s stories, that I hope to publish soon, but my main concentration is on writing my new novel ‘Brooke’. She is a young person that helps expose an illegal dog fighting ring. There are various scenarios weaving in and out of this story, that I hope will interest young adults. I want to keep a momentum going for potential readers, so want to get it out there soon.
Q: Who is your favourite fictional character?
Probably ‘Aslan’ in C.Lewis’, ‘The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. As a child I loved stories with strong characters and still do. Aslan comes in near the end of the story, but the build up to that moment is pure genius.
Q: Do you get writers block? If you do how do you get over it?
Occasionally I have and I tend to go do something else, then come back to my story board, or do some more mind mapping. That has worked for me so far. It’s getting a balance of leaving it for a while, but not for too long , which I think is something I have had to learn, or else I would never have got my work published.
Sue has a promotional page for her book on Facebook, called ‘Creative Minds Don’t Think Alike’, where she aims to blog her progress as a writer. She is also developing her Instagram and Pinterest accounts to help promote her books.
If you’re interested in Sue’s books and would like to follow her and her writing journey, pop over to her Facebook page.
A big thank you to Sue to talking to me and telling me all about her fascinating work.