1. What got you into writing? I’ve loved writing all my life but it took the back-seat when I got into broadcasting at college. After university, I became a full time radio DJ and worked my way up the ladder until I was a national radio and Television presenter in Ireland. It was only when I retired from media after my second baby was born that I started to write seriously. The kind of TV I did involved jumping out of helicopters and swimming with dolphins – great fun but not very baby-friendly.
2. What is a usual writing day like for you? I write new material every morning, Mon – Fri. I’m a full time Mummy in the afternoons because I have five children. I edit in the evenings when the younger ones have gone to bed. The weekends are all about family.
3. Do you get writers block? If so, how do you overcome it? I’ve just completed my seventh novel. For the last three years I’ve averaged a book a year. It means I don’t have the luxury of stopping. The trick is to work through writer’s block and then delete the weaker material later. It’s the only way to get through to the good bits again. JUST REMEMBER TO DELETE. You may find you can axe a full three or four chapters and the book will be better as a result. Always respect your reader. Don’t take their patience for granted. Delete everything you’re not proud of.
4. Are you a plotter/planner when it comes to writing a story? I love a strong start that will pull the reader in fast. That’s probably more important now than ever because readers check your first few chapters on Amazon before they commit to buying. Make your first sentence, page and chapter the best it can be. After that I let the characters run free but step back every four or five chapters to ensure it’s going in a good direction. I’m a broad strokes kind of person with a mental image of where it will end.
5. What was the publishing process like for you & any advice to aspiring authors? I was lucky because I came into it with the background of being a national radio DJ and TV presenter. For somebody starting today, without an angle or reason for grabbing a publisher’s attention – it’s going to be very hard. Many of the big publishing houses are losing money and may have to close or merge over the next few years to survive financially. That said self-publishing is a very interesting option. Think of it as a cottage industry. You have to build up your own followers through social media. The larger publishing houses will start to take you seriously when you have a big enough fan base. If you get enough sales and fans through self-publishing you’ll be able to take your pick of the publishers. But by then, you mightn’t even want them.
6. What has been your highlight since becoming a published author? I will never forget the time my Irish publisher phoned me and told me I was number one in the Irish Times Bestseller’s List. I was living in Ireland at the time and burst out crying in the middle of the street. People walking by thought I’d been given bad news but it was the best news possible. I stayed at No. 1 for five glorious weeks. Last year Wellesley Wivesbecame an Amazon EBook Bestseller within 10 days of being published. That was another happy-tears day. My Australian publishers flew me to the Sydney Writers Festival in Australia earlier this year to guest talk on how to write romantic comedy which was pretty fantastic. I think I’m very lucky. I’ve had books translated into German and Norwegian at this stage so sometimes I just look at those paperbacks and think – Wow. I’ve had quite a few highlights.
7. Can you share a little of your most recent book with us? And any other books of yours, if you wish. My newest release is Newton Neighbors where; “The only thing worse than a weak dollar is a weak martini.” It’s a romantic comedy about the colorful residents of Crystal Lake. The lake exists in real life and the houses around it are spectacular. It was once called Wiswall’s Pond – because a man named Wiswall owned it, which makes sense. After that, the name was change to Baptist Pond because they started to do Baptisms in it – again reasonable. But eventually the name was changed to Crystal Lake because some entrepreneurial person wanted to sell the ice to the southerners. I thought this was very funny and appealed to the cynic in me. Crystal Lake sounds so romantic and evocative but who would want ice that any oul’ heathen had been dunked in for a Baptism? That got me to thinking about the kind of people who could live around such a lake. Naturally there are the women who are scrambling to get in. Meet Cathi who is a bit mad and will go to any lengths – hint, Botox and Bollinger parties. Then there’s Maria who sort of ended up there by accident a decade ago and now really wants to move on. The story will take you to Puerto Rico as we escape with her to the tropical paradise. Noreen is my favorite character because she’s been there the longest and her wild days would shock today’s neighbors. It’s a story to make you laugh at the lighter side of life and appreciate the neighbors you have… Last year I launched Wellesley Wives. It was published in Norway a few months ago. It’s a romantic comedy about Popsy Power – a Boston society-wife and her best friend, Sandra. They have it all with adoring husbands and fabulous daughters. Rosie is married with a baby of her own and Lily has a glittering career. Life is incredibly good but then it goes bad. They have to move from Ferraris and fine art to working in a boat house in Banagher (in the middle of Ireland) and when Lily runs off with her father’s best friend and Rosie finds herself on a yacht with another woman’s husband, it’s hardly surprising that their mother should worry about the next generation of Wellesley Wives. It’s a roller coaster ride of laughter and tears and a reminder to all of us how precious our best friends are. It will make you want to call you mother or your best friend and tell her how much you love her.
8. Apart from writing, what do you do in your spare time? I loved gardening back in Ireland but the winters are much bigger here Boston. We can have up to ten feet of snow in one winter so I spend more quality time with the children and of these days I’m going to ski.
9. If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be & why? Wow – that’s quite a selection. Being a woman, I guess it would be fun to live inside a male body for a week – you know just to see how different it feels…. It makes sense to time travel too and who wouldn’t want to be in a position of authority? So I’ll go back in time – Okay, I’m going to be John F Kennedy, President of America when he lived in the white house. I might even get to meet Marilyn and I could check out Jackie Kennedy’s closet as long as I didn’t get caught. That would start off a whole new set of rumors!
10. Do you have anything that you want to say to your readers? Thanks for joining us today. Like me on Facebook for giveaways, stories and lots of laughs!https://www.facebook.com/Suzyduffybooks1 Here are a few other links too.https://twitter.com/suzyduffybooks http://pinterest.com/suzyduffybooks/boardshttp://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6420971.Suzy_Duffy