Susan is a well-known name in the “Friend” and has a story “Where Are All The Hats” coming up in this week’s issue.
What gave you the idea for writing “Where Are All The Hats?”
Ideas are the worst thing for me. Sometimes I just put anything down on paper and then the story happens as I start writing. Very rarely do I know where I’m going. I probably knew I wanted to do a modern church setting – I’m an ordained priest in the Anglican Church in Wales although I haven’t worked in full-time ministry for ten years – and worked it out as I was going along.
Which came first, the story or the characters?
Usually, a character and a situation present themselves and then the story follows.
When did you start writing fiction?
I started writing novels. I’ve written 11 and over half have been picked off the slush pile by agents or publishers. I was even shortlisted in a big competition but I’ve never managed to get a book deal or an agent, and I’ve stopped trying to write them. I’ve had three pocket novels published, though. I sold my first short story to Woman’s Weekly over ten years ago and I also write Manse Window features for the Friend.
What do you like to read yourself?
I like to read historical novels about powerful figures. When it comes to non-fiction I love anything about the space programme or aircraft like the 747 and the A380 – a friend bought me the Haynes manuals on them for Christmas.
Notebook and pencil or laptop? Kitchen table or study? Blank wall or inspiring view?
I write longhand before typing onto the laptop. I write at my desk in my bedroom and I have a view onto my garden.
And a PS. Any tips for aspiring writers?
Keep on doing it and don’t lose heart. Once I come up with a brilliant idea I’ll be trying to write another novel.