The next couple of weeks are going to be exciting, busy and intense for our Sue, as she becomes the first Romaniac to self-publish. Her debut novel, United State of Love is available in e-book format now prior to its official launch on Wednesday 11 July. It will also be available in paperback soon.
We are immensely proud of Sue and in true Romaniac style wish her luck and love and plenty of congratulatory group hugs.
Here are our thoughts on Madam Fortin:
Laura: You know the phrase, ‘The room lights up…’? Well, that. It seems odd to think I’ve only known Sue since November last year, but I cannot imagine taking this writing journey without her. She is a warm and nuturing lady and a great friend. How lucky am I? United State of Love has wings and it is going to fly.
Celia: So very happy to see the lovely Sue going from strength to strength – she inspires us all, never fails to bail me out of my techie nightmares and is always there to give her time, advice and warm friendship. She has to stand on a box when we want to talk to each other but, hey – you can’t have everything in a friend! Can’t wait to read ‘United State of Love’.
Jan : I warmed to Sue the instant I first met her. She has that natural ability to put you at ease, a beaming smile and a laugh that makes you want to laugh too, it’s so infectious. (Okay, so we were mischievously gossiping & giggling when we should have been concentrating…) but being around Sue and chatting to her online almost daily has made me realise very quickly how glad I am that we’re friends and how very grateful I am for all her support. I wish her all the success she deserves with ‘United State of Love’.
Lucie: Sue is an amazingly supportive and generous person. She has no end to her giving and is always looking to make sure everyone is happy. She is extremely talented with her writing and I wish her all the luck in the world with her book, United State of Love. She deserves every bit of success she is bound to get!
Catherine: I’m certain Sue has a twin. She must have to be as efficient as she is. I’ve never met a woman more capable of multi-tasking. Not only is she busy doing her own thing, she is also generous with her time and advice. I can’t wait to read United State of Love.
Debbie: It never fails to amaze me how Sue finds time to do any writing! Not only does she have her own little brood at home to manage and juggle mummy and domestic duties, she also seems to be the most natural leader of our Romaniac pack and organises us, supports us and nags us to do our homework! Sue is a very special lady and I echo every comment from the girls, especially about that smile of hers. It surely can’t get any bigger, even when United State of Love is published, can it?
Vanessa: What can I say that the other ladies haven’t already said about our lovely Sue? She’s a fabulous friend – supportive, motivated, funny and just plain daft as a brush; the perfect combination. I just know United State of Love is going to be a huge success – how can it fail with such an amazing person pushing it on?
From Laura: Sue – how do you manage to keep a level head when all around is chaos?
I’m not entirely sure myself. Maybe it’s because I grew up in a busy household with two older brothers, a younger sister and extended family – there was always something happening. I wouldn’t say I had a bohemian childhood but it was pretty free and I guess I’ve just got that laid back attitude as an adult. Having said that, certain things do get me in a tizz, as you all well know.
How does writing fulfil you?
Am considering whether to give you a flippant answer or a deep and meaningful one. Okay, flippant response – (1) it allows me to escape – I can go anywhere in the world, at any time, with anyone and (2) it gives me control – I make all the decisions myself, decide who says and does what and with whom.
From Celia: What distracts you from your writing more than anything else?
You lovely lot!
If, in a bizarre parallel universe, you discovered you had a completely free day, how would you spend it?
Oh, that’s a difficult one. All to myself? I need a couple of weeks to even get my head round that concept. Okay, I would pack the day full with all those things I’ve always wanted to do because in this bizarre parallel universe time has no meaning. Things like learn to ski, drive through the Alps in an Aston Martin DB4 GT like Michael Cane at the start of The Italian Job, ride side car round The Isle of Man, learn to Quick-Step, fly trans Atlantic on Concorde (because remember I can time slip also), visit China, take a hot air balloon ride, sit on the cross bar of Paul Newman’s push bike while he cycles round to the soundtrack of Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head playing in the background (Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid), go to a Kings of Leon concert and then round the day off with a romantic evening meal at the top of the Burj in Dubai.
What’s your all-time favourite three/four course meal?
I would have cake, cake, cake and err… cake. I’m working on the basis that I can have my cake and eat it.
From Jan : What was the whackiest/funniest/hardest piece of research you had to do for United State of Love? Do you enjoy researching or dread it?
A parent at my son’s football BBQ commented that she was a nurse and had to deal with a drunk at A&E the previous evening. I hooked onto this straight away and started asking her about the effects of alcohol poisoning and abuse – I forgot to mention it was for research and at the end of the evening she came and found me. She discreetly offered me the number for counselling for any alcohol related problem I might have. I’m sure she didn’t believe me when I said it was for research.
Which three words, in your opinion, best describe what it takes to write a novel?
Determination, bordering on being bloody-minded at times when it gets tough
From Lucie: Taking writing out of the equation, if you could pick any profession in the world, what would you love to do?
Always wanted to be a nurse when I was younger but somehow ended up working in a bank. Not sure what happened there so maybe I’d go into nursing. However, if this job is in the same parallel universe as my ideal day, then I would have a little workshop/studio where I could paint, sew and make cakes to my heart’s content.
How was United State of Love first born? Where did the initial idea come from?
It started off life under a different title but changed when I went back to do some rewrites. Originally it was just a little scene in my mind which I had no idea what happened leading up to it or after it. By the time the final version was complete, the original scene never made the book.
What comes first for you, characters or plot?
I think it’s the characters that suddenly come to me and then I find myself putting them in difficult situations or up against a premise and it’s at that point I develop the plot.
From Catherine: Now you’re a big author, what are your demands from your flat mates (us lot) at the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Conference?
(Oh no! Does Sue get to have riders now? Laura)
I’m no Diva but when I arrive I would like you all to line up Downtown Abbey style to greet me. In public please address me as ‘Oh Great One’ but in private I’m happy with ‘Captain, my Captain’. Fresh flowers in my room. A chocolate on my pillow and my towel fashioned into a swan to be left on the centre of the bed.
What are you planning for the launch of United States of Love?
I’m going for the stealth approach, subtle not too ‘in your face’ – some tweeting, a bit of Facebook, a mini blog tour, that type of thing. At home, away from the laptop, I’ll probably being doing something glamorous like the ironing.
From Debbie: When I log off for the evening, more often that not you’re still up and when I log in in a morning, you’ve invariably been working for hours. How do you get by with so little sleep??
I’m pretty good with little sleep. Even if I go to bed early, I’m rarely asleep before midnight and I start waking up around five although I don’t get up until six. Every now and then it does catch up on me but if I’ve had 5 hours sleep I think I’m doing well.
Imagine you’ve won the lottery. What would you treat yourself (not the family!) to?
I keep coming back to this question and then leaving it. I really have no idea what I would treat myself to.
From Vanessa: Just the one question from me … I’m about to dive into United State of Love, and looking ahead to when I read the last page and am feeling bereft – what’s next? What can you tell us about your next book?
My next book has the working title ‘Once Upon A Secret’ and is about moral responsibilities and obligations – doing what you have to do, rather than what you want to do.
Thank you for all the lovely things you’ve said about me – do you want payment in cash or by bank transfer? Sue x