Today I welcome Crooked Cat writer and editor (also poet and fiendish question-setter!) Sue Barnard. Let’s see what she’s been up to since we last spoke in the summer.
Welcome Sue, and happy new year!
Thank you, Tim – and a very happy new year to you too. I hope it will be a good one for you.
Did you have a good Christmas?
Yes thanks, though already it seems a very long time ago, and there’s a big gap where the Christmas tree used to be. But my elder son’s birthday is in mid-January, so this somehow manages to keep the festive spirit alive for little longer!
When you last visited, you were mulling over the possibility of writing a time-slip novel based on an old French legend; or possibly a sequel to your second novel Nice Girls Don’t. Have either of those projects come to fruition?
Yes and no. The time-slip novel has progressed a little since we last spoke. After long periods of no activity, I tried to use NaNo 2015 to give it a bit of a boost. I fell a long way short of the NaNo target, but at least I managed to get some of the key scenes written. The book currently stands at around 30,000 words. When I go back and edit, I expect that about 20,000 of them will end up on the cutting-room floor.
The sequel to Nice Girls Don’t is still very much at the concept stage, but it will be my next project if I ever get the time-slip one finished.
Have you got any further plans for future novels?
I’ve had one or two ideas, but at the moment that’s all they are: ideas. (Er – what are these “plans” of which you speak?)
Written any good poems lately?
I’ve written some poems. Whether or not they are “good” is a matter for serious debate!
What else is new in your life?
A new living-room carpet. Yes, I really know how to live!
Have you made a New Year resolution?
What else would you like to do, or would you like to happen (or both), in 2016?
I’m very lucky that I’ve managed to achieve most of the things on my bucket list, but there are still a few that I need to tick off. One of these is to go to a performance at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London. I have a significant birthday this year, so here’s hoping this might form part of the celebrations.
On the subject of the Bard, I’d really like my Shakespeare-inspired mystery The Unkindest Cut of All (which at the moment is only available as an e-book) to be issued as a paperback. This will depend on how well the e-book sells. It’s currently on special offer, for one week only, at a princely 99p – so if enough people are kind enough to buy it (for less than what they would pay for a cup of arty-farty coffee!), they could help to make an ageing author very happy!
Finally, last time we spoke, you shared with us a limerick and a quiz question. Anything you’d like to leave us with today?
Well, if you insist…
NEW YEAR’S EVE
Each year in December I say that next year
will, for me, be a brand new beginning,
but years of experience make it quite clear
that whatever I try, I’m not winning.
Three years last December I made a firm vow
that I’d concentrate more on my writing,
but all the rejections which flow in suggest
that it’s obviously not that exciting.
Two years last December I firmly resolved
that I’d lose weight and get myself fitter,
but less than a week without chocolate or chips
made me ravenous, twitchy and bitter.
A year last December I vowed to cut down
(I don’t smoke, so that bit wasn’t hard),
but when the champagne toasted in the New Year
it caught me completely off guard.
After so many failures I know very well
that my will-power just goes to the wall,
so on this occasion I’ve firmly resolved
to make no resolutions at all.
Thanks for that! And thanks for coming, Sue. Good luck with The Unkindest Cut, and your time-slip novel.
Sue Barnard was born in North Wales but has spent most of her life in and around Manchester. After graduating from Durham University, where she studied French and Italian, Sue got married then had a variety of office jobs before becoming a full-time parent. If she had her way, the phrase “non-working mother” would be banned from the English language.
Since then she has had a series of part-time jobs, including some work as a freelance copywriter. In parallel with this she took several courses in Creative Writing. Her writing achievements include winning the Writing Magazine New Subscribers Poetry Competition for 2013. She is also very interested in Family History. Her own background is stranger than fiction; she’d write a book about it if she thought anybody would believe her.
Sue has a mind which is sufficiently warped as to be capable of compiling questions for BBC Radio 4’s fiendishly difficult Round Britain Quiz. This once caused one of her sons to describe her as “professionally weird.” The label has stuck.
Sue joined the editorial team of Crooked Cat Publishing in 2013. Her first novel, The Ghostly Father (a new take on the traditional story of Romeo & Juliet) was officially released on St Valentine’s Day 2014. This was followed in July 2014 by her second novel, a romantic mystery entitled Nice Girls Don’t. Her third novel, The Unkindest Cut of All (a murder mystery set in a theatre), was released in June 2015.