Today I have the great pleasure to welcome Sue Moorcroft on my blog. Thank you very much Sue for agreeing to take part in this new feature.
Sue Moorcroft writes romantic novels of dauntless heroines and irresistible heroes for Choc Lit. Combining that success with her experience as a creative writing tutor, she’s written a ‘how to’ book, Love Writing – How to Make Money From Writing Romantic and Erotic Fiction (Accent Press). Sue’s the head judge for Writers’ Forum and a Katie Fforde Bursary Award winner.
Where do you most like to write?
I have a study that overlooks my back garden – I don’t have the desk facing the window or I’d never get anything done – and this room is my refuge. I normally write directly onto my beloved iMac, although I do scribble notes, scenes and plans by hand, too. I have photos of family, a few ornaments, including a knitted monkey, and all the trappings of a home office: phone, fax, trays, cabinets, printer/copier, modem, router etc.
It’s MY space! I can’t control the noise that enters from other parts of the house – but I can control everything else.
How much does real life inspire or shape your writing?
Some. I certainly study real people to keep my characters plausible. I don’t mean I ‘copy’ real people; it’s more, ‘What would she do, if he did this? What has made her so frightened of commitment? Where in his past is the key to his personality?’ I’m a human nature junkie, I suppose.
I have used real life events as the inspiration for storylines, too. Often, it comes from an anecdote somebody tells me. Or I choose to set a book somewhere that I already know – Love & Freedom is set in Brighton, for example, because I used to have so much fun there as a teen. I knew Honor’s mother was a bit of an aging hippy and Brighton seemed an ideal place for her to be hanging out. Everything in the book hinges on that fact.
Plotter or pantser?
Somewhere in between. I used to be a complete pantser, rebelling against the way that teachers used to make me plan all the life and joy out of a story. But the more I write, the more I plan, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the first book accepted for publication was the first book I properly planned.
That said, what is a plan? A different thing to every writer, I suspect. For me, a plan means lots of biographical work on characters, quests/missions/goals, conflicts, and knowing the ending to the book. And, often, a few key scenes. It’s more of a compost heap than a plan.
My mind is unruly and sometimes comes up with better ideas, mid-book.
The dreaded writer’s block, have you been struck with it or blissfully spared?
I can’t afford writer’s block. I earn my living from writing, one way or another, and, as Mickey Spillane said, inspiration is an empty bank account.
But, because of the number of things I do – writing novels, short stories, serials, articles and ‘how to’, judging competitions and teaching creative writing – if one thing isn’t going well, I do pick one of the other things, and do that, instead.
Thank you very much Sue for taking part, loved your answers. It’s been a pleasure to get to know you a little better.
Sue’s latest Choc Lit novel, Love & Freedom, has just won the Best Romantic Read Award at the UK’s Festival of Romance 2011.