It is with great pleasure that I welcome bestselling women's fiction author Sue Moorcroft to the blog today to chat about her new book,The Italian Summer Island, and all things books. Thank you for your time today, Sue it is always a pleasure to chat with you. Tell me all about your new book.
What inspired you to write An Italian Island Summer?
I’m contracted to write a summer book and a winter book each year for Avon HarperCollins, so the season was a given. A previous novel, Under the Italian Sun, attracted feedback from bloggers and reviewers asking for the story of Ursula, who was the best friend of the heroine, Zia-Lucia – so this is it. I already knew a few things about her, such as her being Irish, having a sleeve of tattoos, and her marriage having ended after she was the victim of drug assault. Therefore, deepening Ursula’s characterisation was a question of filling in blanks. Zia-Lucia is now living in Italy, but I didn’t want Ursula to live too close by, for fear of Zia thinking she was the heroine of this book, too. It’s a completely separate story, so I chose Sicily for Ursula to study ceramics.
I hadn’t decided what to do with the hero, Alfio, but when I was looking for hotels for a research trip I came across a boutique hotel with a lot of character and a lot of TripAdvisor comments, and it sparked an idea.
Who is your favourite character in An Italian Island Summer and why?
Although it’s a bit part, I like Ursula’s uncle Gerry. He’s a meddlesome scamp, the kind who’s wait till his wife’s away to paint the house blue when she wanted it white, or – in Ursula’s case – put you in touch with someone from your father’s past because he thinks it solves a problem. I’m seriously considering giving Ursula’s little sister, Sorcha, a book, just so Uncle Gerry can be a pain in her rear, too.
What was the first story you had published?
All’s Fair appeared in My Weekly in 1996. The People’s Friend had already bought a story a few months earlier, but they didn’t publish it for two years. For the purposes of this answer, I’m ignoring a story in my school magazine about my dog!
Do you have another story planned or in progress? When can we expect to see that?
A Love Letter Christmas (working title) is due out in October 2023. It’s set in Nelson’s Bar, a Norfolk village on a headland. Regular readers will already have visited it in summer for A Summer to Remember. The story involves a story that’s been in my head for years, since my dad told me about a distant relative whose husband went missing. Women had few rights then and things didn’t go well for her. In A Love Letter Christmas I’ve let Maddy get a much better result.
What do you like to do when you’re not planning or writing your next book?
I love Zumba, Formula One and hanging out with family and friends. I also enjoy long walks, especially if they’re by the sea, and travel (the safe kind, not backpacking through war zones).
When did you know you wanted to write novels?
As soon as I understood that someone created what went on the pages of books, I wanted to be that person.
Do you write novels in other genres?
No. I like romantic suspense but don’t think I have the correct kind of mind to write it.
What do you like most about being an author?
Oh, it’s an amazing job. I like almost everything apart from tax forms. It’s an especial thrill to see a book doing well.
Do you have a specific routine for writing? Is there a special place or particular tool you use?
I have a large office at home. I used to have a small one, but my husband converted the space above the garage. That’s where I write mainly, but I love to go abroad somewhere warm on my own and crack on with a book on the balcony or in cafés. I’m a lark, so I’m usually at my desk about 07.30. I start with emails and social media, over a cuppa. Later, I get breakfast to eat at my machine and crack on with the task for the day – writing, editing, research or whatever. Promo goes into my day as and where it will fit. I work till 18.00 most days, although on Tuesday and Thursday mornings I do a Zumba class and have a cuppa after.
What advice do you have for other writers?
Never give up. It took me just over twenty years from selling that first short story to The People’s Friend and making my living as a novelist (and being #1 on Amazon). During that time, I wrote whatever would earn me money and did writing-related things such as tutoring and judging. I never stopped writing novels, even when they earned modest sums.
If your book were to be made into an Audiobook, who would you choose to read it?
Luckily for me, my book is an audiobook, narrated by Antonia Whillans. Usually, my publisher presents me with a narrator or two to OK for each book. On this occasion, I had concerns about the first two, so they asked Antonia to audition. It was great!
If your book were to be made into a movie, who would you like to play Ursula?
I’m always rubbish at this because I don’t watch many movies. I’ll say Evanna Lynch. She does a good job of looking determined, which Ursula has to be.
Thanks for inviting me onto your lovely blog, Val.
author photo courtesy of Silvia Rosado Photography
Sue Moorcroft is a Sunday Times bestselling author, #1 on Kindle UK and Top 100 on Kindle US and Canada. She writes two books a year for publishing giant HarperCollins and has won the Goldsboro Books Contemporary Novel of the Year, Readers’ Best Romantic Novel award and the Katie Fforde Bursary.
Her novels, short stories, serials, columns, writing ‘how to’ and courses have appeared around the world.
Amazon page: Sue Moorcroft
Facebook author page SueMoorcroftAuthor
Linked in: Sue Moorcroft
Link Tree: linktr.ee/SueMoorcroft