Our Writer Of The Week is Suzan Lindsay Randle. Suzan’s Pocket Novel, “The Schoolmaster’s Daughter” is out on July 22.
Tell us about your Pocket Novel, “The Schoolmaster’s Daughter”?
It’s about Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887 — around which the story is set — and to the impact that the celebrations have on eighteen-year-old Louisa Marchington.
It’s a year that changes the course of her life. Louisa is a headmaster’s daughter who’s trying to find her place in local society and in the world at large.
She meets George Jevcott, a baker’s apprentice, who’s sure of his ambition to one day be master of his own bakery. However, before long they’re both faced with obstacles to overcome and decisions to make that affect their families as well as themselves.
Where did the idea come from?
It started with family history.
My great-great-grandfather was a member of the local Rifle Volunteers in the late 19th century.
I have his long service medal which was presented by Queen Victoria’s cousin, the Duchess of Teck.
While researching this, I discovered that he took part in the town parade to mark the Golden Jubilee. He was right at the front, escorting the regimental colours. As I read about the celebrations, I found myself being drawn into that world and wanted to use it as the setting for a story.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve enjoyed writing since I was at primary school where I was lucky to have an inspirational teacher.
My first published poem was in “The Brownie” magazine when I was nine.
My career has mostly involved communications in some way but I’ve always wanted to write fiction. So when my children were young, I took the opportunity to try my hand at writing short stories.
My first submission — to “The People’s Friend” in 1990 — was quite rightly rejected. I needed to learn my craft, and found my niche writing stories for teenagers that were published in “Jackie”, “Catch” and “Shout”.
I’m thrilled that my first Pocket Novel is being published by the “Friend” more than 30 years after that first rejection. And to be Writer Of The Week, too!
Who are your favourite authors?
Charlotte Brontë is my literary heroine. She wrote remarkable novels which defied the conventions of the time for a female writer and “Jane Eyre” still resonates today.
And Sebastian Faulks, author of “Birdsong”, who describes in only a few words emotions the reader can really feel because he uses exactly the right words.
I’m looking forward to reading his next novel which is due out later this year. Meanwhile I’m enjoying “The Thursday Murder Club” by Richard Osman which is highly entertaining.
Do you have a writing area at home?
The sofa! I don’t have the luxury of a study or a spare room but I do have a Chromebook which is nice and light on my lap with a good keyboard and my reference books are within easy reach.
Although I live in a city, there’s lots of green space where I can walk and think. I often come up with ideas for scenes or snatches of dialogue while I’m out walking.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently working on an idea for a Pocket Novel set in the 1930s — creating the cast of characters, plotting and researching the period, all of which I really enjoy. I’m not under any illusions, though.
I know I’m on a learning curve when it comes to writing longer fiction.
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