Interviewing Sue Galloway, author of ‘Growing Roses’

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.

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You can buy Sue’s novel, ‘Growing Roses’, on Amazon and also her children’s book, ‘Adventures of Blanky’. Both are available in eBook and paperback format.

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

Thank you!

A big thank you to Sue to talking to me and telling me all about her fascinating work.

Interview with Vanessa Whyte author.

Vanessa Whyte is a writer of two published novels.

Hi Vanessa, thank you for joining me on my blog.

  1. My first question has to be what is the genre you write in?

Vanessa: It can be called reality magic or urban fantasy. It is set in the real world with a sprinkle of magic.

2. So why fantasy?

Vanessa: It is what I like to read. It catches my imagination and there is a wide scope to create mythical beasts and worlds.

3. When did you start writing?

Vanessa: I started writing when we moved as a family to France. I started to attend a writing group run by the author Clara Challoner Walker. I soon realised that I got a lot of pleasure from the process.

4.Are you the solitary writer?

Vanessa: I think you do have to have peace and quiet but I also have support from a group writers cramp. I also have a writing buddy, another author who encourages me to write. We will write chapters then read aloud to each other. It is very important for others to hear your voice.

5. Do you have a special place to write?

Vanessa: I am very lucky I have an antique desk bought as a present. The zone is peaceful and I am totally relaxed there.

6. Do tell me about your books.

Vanessa: I have published two of a trilogy. The Lightning Tree is the story of a young Arabella and her family. A spell is cast upon her and it takes love and good magic to set her free. The Family Tree goes back in time to where the magic began. It is of a medieval time with wizards and witches.

7. What are you currently writing?

Vanessa: I am currently writing the final book in the trilogy. The Ash Tree.

Arabella is grown with a family. This book about the final battle between good and evil.

Thank you Vanessa

Interview with Denise Bloom

I have decided to start a blog to share my thoughts and feelings, tell you any news about my new books and releases, and to generally keep in touch with all of my readers.

In collaboration with Cindy Mobey, who helped me design my website, we are both publishing an interview Cindy conducted a week or so ago. She wanted to ask me some questions about being an author and I wanted to share more of an insight into my work and what inspires me.

My latest book, ‘The Ladies of Whitechapel‘, is getting lots of interest on Amazon and I have a few other things in the pipeline which I want to share with you all.

I had met Cindy a few times socially and we knew we had writing in common. When I found out that she is also a marketing consultant and makes simple websites, I knew that we would be a good fit, so got in touch to set up a meeting.

For those of you who don’t know me, I also run a writing group and we meet in a local bar, Cafe bar de la Terrasse in Suris, (dept 16) SW France. The group, Writer’s Cramp, is open to anyone who would like to join us and my website has a page dedicated to the group to showcase some of their work.

A couple of months down the line, my book is published, my website is up and running and this is the result of the interview Cindy conducted. Although our blog posts will be taken from the same interview, they will be from slightly different perspectives. 

The Interview

Denise, you have been a writer for a while now, but what actually made you want to become a writer?

I have always written stories, right back from being little. I remember, I used to write short plays for my friends. We would practice them and would then perform them in front of our parents!

You’ve been writing since you were small, but when did you realise it was something you’d like to do seriously?

When I was in my teens, I wrote short stories and always wanted to write a book.

What made you pick your particular genre?

I feel a bit of a fraud here!  I can write in any genre, even fantasy. However, the reason I wrote ‘The Invisible Woman’ was that I always loved crime novels.

Ian Rankin and Agatha Christie are among my favourites. At that particular time in my life, I felt invisible, a feeling that overtakes most women at a certain time of life. I just wrote how I was feeling at that moment.  And NO, I didn’t kill anyone, but it didn’t mean that I have never felt like killing someone!

My sequel to ‘The Ladies of Whitechapel’ is almost finished but I cannot give the title away just yet. It is very dark almost horror.

If you could give your younger writing self some advice on writing, what would it be?

The advice to my younger self would be to save all the work you have done in the past. Never throw any of your work away.

How do you decide on the names for your characters?

The names of my characters are taken from the most popular names of the year they were born. You can do this on Google. However, I have chosen names and then changed them mid-book because I didn’t feel the name suited my character. 

Do you want each of your books to stand alone, or are you trying to build connections between each book you write?

‘The Invisible Woman’ was successful and most of my readers have begged me to write a sequel. I have one on the back burner, so Heather can live another day!

‘The Ladies of Whitechapel’, although stands alone as a story, has really drawn me into the Victorian era. I have a written a short piece that will be included in an anthology of short stories, called ‘Dark London’, which will be available from June. It includes a couple of my characters from ‘The Ladies of Whitechapel’.

I’m also just finishing a novella, again based in Whitechapel, so watch this space!

Does your beautiful, haunting home inspire your writing? If it does, how?

I have written a ghost story about my house. The area we live in has a history of the resistance and collaboration. I got absorbed in the research and the book is set in both the present day and 1940 Vichy France.

It certainly sounds like you have been keeping busy, Denise. I’d like to now ask you a few questions about your website …

Why did you decide to have an author website?

I decided to have an author website, because most of the authors I know have one. People are interested in what you write, why you write and how you write. Instead of answering emails or loads of questions, you can instead guide them to your site, where hopefully, you have the answers.

You have a page on your website for your writer’s group, ‘Writer’s Cramp’. What made you want to start a writer’s group?

I started ‘Writer’s Cramp’ a couple of years ago. I had been attending creative writing classes, run by Kate Rose, a very talented writer and poet. When Kate moved away from the area, we all wanted to keep on writing together and to keep running, so the group was born.

You chose a very minimalist look for your website – why?

The style I chose for my author’s site had to be simple for me to use. I am really not a ‘frills’ person. I like things to be straight forward, and wanted my website to do the job! It’s important to me that my website is easy to navigate for my readers without them having to search or scroll endlessly. I also like the plain, clean, white look to my website, exactly what I asked for! I’m really pleased with it.

Is there anything you think you might like to add to your website at a later date?

Obviously I want to add a blog, of which this interview is the first post! I think as my books are published and my writing group evolves, I will think of other things I want to add.

For the writing group, I would like them to be able to add their stories, or send them to me if they want me to review a piece. And of course, I will be changing the stories on the website every month, so different members of the writing group get their work ‘published’. 

 I often look at other authors on the internet, so may see something else I like from their sites. However, I am always open to suggestions and as you, Cindy, are on the ball with new innovations, I know that you’ll come up with more great ideas and will guide me to what is current!

Thank you to Cindy for her time and help in pulling this interview blog post together.

If any of you have read my books, I’d be really pleased to hear what you thought of them. Please leave any reviews/recommendations in the comments box below. Thank you for reading and I hope you will follow me so you can see future blogs – I will be publishing one on the first Monday of every month.

If you want to find out more about Cindy, please visit her website or blog.