Her originally self-published debut novel was awarded the INDIE Brag Medallion and later when published by HarperImpulse was short-listed for the Joan Hessayon Award (2014). Sue was also short-listed for the Festival of Romance, New Talent Award (2013). Her second novel, Closing In, reached number one in the Romantic Suspense Kobo chart at the end of 2014. Sue blogs regularly with the on-line writing group The Romaniacs (www.theromaniacs.co.uk) and in 2014 they released a charity anthology 'Romaniac Shorts'.
Lover of cake, Dragonflies and France. Hater of calories, maths and snakes. Sue was born in Hertfordshire but had a nomadic childhood, moving often with her family, before eventually settling in West Sussex.
Sue is married with four children, all of whom patiently give her time to write but, when not behind the keyboard, she likes to spend her time with them, enjoying both the coast and the South Downs, between which they are nestled.
I live in West Sussex on the south coast and have lived in and around the area since I was fourteen years old. I’m very lucky to have the coast within a few miles one way and the South Downs a few miles the other way. I was originally born in Hertfordshire but have also lived in Cambridgeshire. Growing up we moved around a lot within those counties, but it always had to be within commuting distance of London where my dad worked. Three years seemed to be the average time we spent in one house and as the moves usually entailed a change of area and school, I spent most of the time as ‘the new girl’.
If you had a choice where would you choose to live, and why?
Ideally, I’d love to be based in France – Southern Brittany to be exact. We have a second home there and have spent the last twelve years renovating the cottage. We love going over to visit as often as possible and, once there, we immediately relax into the quiet rural country life. I would, however, like to spend some months of the year in my favourite cities Paris, Rome and Barcelona. Don’t want much do I?!
Have any places you’ve visited been the inspiration for a book?
My first three length novels, United States of Love, Closing In and The Half Truth have all been set in my home county of West Sussex. There are some lovely towns in the area and, of course, the coastline – all make for a good setting. I think it adds to the realism too and local people like to be able to identify with the area and landmarks mentioned in the book.
How important do you think the setting is when you write a story?
I think it plays a very subtle, yet important role in a story. It sits quietly in the background for most of the time and weaves its way in to help support the story. When it gives the reader a sense of being there without sounding like a tourist guide, it’s really doing its job well.
‘The French Retreat’ is set in France, what made you choose this as the setting for your book?
I’ve wanted to write a book set in the area for a long time and recently I had the opportunity to do so. Admittedly, I was spoiling myself, but I enjoyed every minute of it and intend to write some more in the Falling for France series.
Can you tell us anything about the book?
The French Retreat is a romance and mystery story. It’s a novella of approximately 40,000 words and set in Southern Brittany – I used our own cottage as inspiration. It follows the story of two people who have both ended up in France to get away from it all – both for very different reasons. It’s an uplifting story of human compassion, hope and love, with a little bit of mystery and adventure thrown in.
If you weren’t a writer, what would be your next choice of career?
I’ve worked in various secretarial positions in the past but more recently worked in education, so it’s probably something in the latter I would be doing.
What’s your idea of a perfect day?
Spending time with my family would come top of the list, followed by some time to work on a sewing project, read a book, bake a cake and go on a really long hike somewhere. Not sure there’s enough hours in one day for all that …
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Marcie isn’t the only one looking to escape. Ex-soldier Will hopes the gentle pace of French life will help to banish the ghosts of his past and offer him the fresh start he desires.
However, all is not what it seems at The Retreat. Fuelled by a string of strange happenings and local rumours, Will and Marcie are pushed together as they try to discover who or what is behind it all. In so doing, they end up finding a lot more than they bargained for.
The French Retreat is a story of human compassion, hope and love.
Looking over, she spotted the MPV and a man striding towards her.
He had dark hair, just long enough to see the hint of unruly surfer type curls, his jaw was set in a firm line, as was his unsmiling mouth, and a pair of sunglasses covered his eyes. He wore a black tee-shirt, a pair of cargo trousers and desert boots on his feet.
‘Hi,’ said Marcie as he neared her. ‘Are you Will?’ She smiled at him.
‘Marcie Grainger?’ he said, not returning the smile.
‘That’s right, Ben’s sister.’ She held out her hand to him which, after a moment’s hesitation when she thought he was going to ignore it, he shook firmly.
‘Will Adams.’ He picked up her suitcase and began walking back to the car. ‘I was beginning to think you weren’t coming.
‘I didn’t know where to find you,’ said Marcie as she followed on behind. ‘Ben was a bit sparse with the details.’
‘Good job he told me to look out for a dizzy blonde carrying a suitcase, probably pink, and probably the same size as her.’ He opened the side door of the people carrier and slid the suitcase in.
‘He said that?’ said Marcie, not entirely sure she liked the description. Okay, she was blonde and her suitcase was pink and, yes, it was big, but she was staying for several weeks. It was the dizzy bit that bothered her most.
‘Yep,’ said Will, not expanding on the reasoning. ‘Front or back?’
‘What?’ said Marcie. She wished he would take his sunglasses off, at least then she would be able to see his eyes. It was good manners to at least make eye contact when you met someone for the first time. He wasn’t bloody CIA for God’s sake.