I’m delighted to be working with Brook Cottage Books in welcoming Suzy Turner to Linda’s Book Bag to celebrate her latest novel Aphrodite’s Closet.
Published on 6th May, Aphrodite’s Closet is available for purchase in e-book on Amazon UK and Amazon US. I’m thrilled to bring you an extract from Aphrodite’s Closet and an interview with Suzy. There’s also a fantastic giveaway run through Brook Cottage Books to win an e-copy of the book and a £20 or $20 Amazon Gift Voucher. You can enter at the bottom of this blog post.
Agatha Trout didn’t even know she had a Great Aunt Petunia, so imagine her surprise when she finds Petunia left her a corner shop in her will. But it’s not just any old corner shop—it’s a corner shop that needs something unique, something the town of Frambleberry has never seen before. Influenced by her confident best friend, Coco, Agatha is soon convinced that there’s only one way to go: an adults-only sex shop.
While some of the townspeople are clutching their pearls in horror, others are open to the new experiences this shop offers. But not everyone in Frambleberry is convinced. Will the women soldier on in the face of violent threats or will their fears get the best of them—and their new venture—before it even gets off the ground?
An Interview with Suzy Turner
Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag, Suzy. Thank you so much for agreeing to answer some questions on my blog about your writing and Aphrodite’s Closet in particular. Firstly, please could you tell me a little about yourself?
Hi Linda! Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here. I’m a British expat living in Portugal for the past 31 years (I was ten when we moved). I live with my husband, Michael, who has also lived here 31 years. I’m a former magazine editor and now full time author/blogger/yoga instructor.
Why do you write?
Usually because I have an idea that won’t leave me alone until I’ve gotten it down on paper!
When did you realise you were going to be a writer?
In my early 20s I was already a writer for a newspaper, but after reading an interview with Jenny Colgan, I was so inspired that I knew I would have to write novels as well.
So, which aspects of your writing do you find easiest and most difficult?
The easiest part is coming up with ideas – my head is always full to bursting with wacky stories. The most difficult (and least fun) is probably the editing process.
What are your writing routines and where do you do most of your writing?
When I am writing a book, I start typing at 10am, stop at midday and then start again at 1pm until about 4pm. I never write in the evening because I enjoy nights in watching TV with hubby (we’ve literally just binge watched the entire Downton Abbey series and I’m so sad it’s over!). I write wherever is comfortable at the time. The kitchen island, the dining table, on my knee on the sofa. I did have a dedicated office in the summer house but that’s now become my tiny yoga studio.
Although you’re Yorkshire born, you live in Portugal. To what extent do you think location has influenced you as a writer?
I think living in Portugal has had a huge impact on my writing. I think pretty much all of my books do feature Portugal in it to some extent – if not the country, then I usually introduce a Portuguese character. I think it’s also made me more keen to write about travel, which features a lot in my writing.
Without spoiling the plot, please could you tell us a bit about Aphrodite’s Closet?
Aphrodite’s Closet is about a woman named Agatha who inherits a beautiful old building in the fictitious town of Frambleberry and is encouraged by her mad best friend, Coco, to open a sex shop.
Aphrodite’s Closet is clearly chick-lit, but you also write for young adults as well as penning chick lit for the adult market. What are the challenges and benefits in writing in different genres do you think?
I actually don’t think it’s too challenging in my situation, because I tend to write in a similar way in both genres. With the exception of my book, And Then There Was You, I avoid writing anything that wouldn’t be appropriate for a slightly younger audience. Even Aphrodite’s Closet would be okay for 14+ readers. And Then There Was You, however, is not!
(And now I want to read And Then There Was You!)
Of all the possible settings open to you for Aphrodite’s Closet what made you decide on a sex-shop?
I think it’s because many years ago I actually pondered the idea of opening a sex shop myself. I guess it stuck with me all this time! I’ve been wanting to write Aphrodite’s Closet for years but it’s only this year that I finally got down to it. Plus, just think of all the situations that could happen in a sex shop!?
(I’m thinking – maybe I need a lie down now!)
I know you’re a yoga instructor as well as a lifestyle blogger and writer. Can yoga help in the writing process?
It’s funny that you should ask me this because I’m actually in the process of creating yoga classes specifically designed for authors. I’ll be sharing some of them on Youtube over the next few months (as well as creating some for download too). But one of the reasons I became a yoga instructor in the first place is because of the horrendous back pain I used to suffer with. All because I spent so much time sitting down and typing at the computer. I really want to help others ease their pain too – and also to help inspire them using breathing techniques.
(I think bloggers could benefit from those too!)
How did you go about researching detail and ensuring Aphrodite’s Closet was realistic?
When I’m writing I spend a lot of time on Google and Google Earth!! I also use my own travel experiences in my books.
If you could choose to be a character from Aphrodite’s Closet, who would you be and why?
I think it would be fun to be Great Aunt Petunia – although she had died when the book starts, there are scenes that feature her and she was a total hoot!
If Aphrodite’s Closet became a film, who would you like to play Agatha and why would you choose them?
That’s actually a tough question because when I wrote it, I don’t think I had anyone specific in mind. I guess I’d like to see someone like Emilia Clarke (from Game of Thrones) play the role. It should be someone who can be a plain Jane before revealing herself as a true beauty.
When you’re not writing, what do you like to read?
I love reading chick lit – the fun, light-hearted aspect of this genre always leaves me feeling happy and what’s better than that? I also love to read young adult urban fantasy and anything about the power of positivity.
Finally Suzy, if you had 15 words to persuade a reader that Aphrodite’s Closet should be their next read, what would you say?
If you loved the humour and pathos of Bridget Jones, then you’ll love Aphrodite’s Closet.
Thank you so much for your time in answering my questions.
An Extract from Aphrodite’s Closet
“What about wool?” Aggie suggested.
“What about wool?”
“A wool shop?”
“A wool shop?”
“Are you just going to repeat after me all morning?”
Coco shook her head and put her hand on top of Aggie’s. “Aggie, honey. You’re twenty-eight years old, not seventy-eight. Why, oh why would you want to sell wool to all the old biddies of Frambleberry all day long?”
Aggie shrugged, “It wouldn’t be so bad. Some of those old biddies are quite lovely.”
“Oh yeah, I forgot they’re some of your neighbours. You really need to find yourself another house. Living in a bungalow is for retired people,” she mouthed as an old lady walked past and scowled at her.
Coco raised her eyebrows and returned her attention to Aggie.
“Come on, there must be an alternative business opportunity needed in this town. Oh my God. I mean, seriously O-M-G,”
“What? What Coco?”
Coco began to grin at her best friend as she sat up straight. “I’ve got it. It’s bloody brilliant. I can’t believe I didn’t think of it earlier. It’s perfect and it’s a proper money earner, Aggie. There’s potential to earn squillions here. Oh my God…I’m so excited. I could so help with the decor. I’ve got ideas swimming about in my head already. We must get on to suppliers right away. I know a few people who might be able to help, come to think of it. Dickie from Saffron Walden, for example, he owes me a favour. And there’s Selena from Frome. Oh and I must ring Alison, although I think she’s in Edinburgh at the moment. I’ll wait ‘til the weekend. Oh this is going to be so much fun. Drink up, Agg. We need to get going. We’ve got masses to do. Come on, let’s…”
Coco stopped short and stared at her friend. “What?”
Aggie closed her eyes for a moment and shook her head.
“What’s up, honey?”
“Have you listened to yourself? You’re getting so carried away. But there’s just one little something you haven’t mentioned yet.”
“Oh really, what’s that?” Coco replied innocently.
“What kind of shop are you talking about?”
Coco slapped her own forehead and started to chuckle, “Oh right. Sorry…Aggie. You’re going to open the town’s first…sex shop!”
About Suzy Turner
Born in England and raised in Portugal, Suzy lives with her childhood sweetheart Michael, two crazy dogs and a cat.
Shortly after completing her studies, Suzy worked as a trainee journalist for a local newspaper. Her love of writing developed and a few years later she took the job of assistant editor for the region’s largest English language publisher before becoming editor of a monthly lifestyle magazine. Early in 2010 however, Suzy became a full time author. She has since written several books: Raven, December Moon, The Lost Soul(The Raven Saga), Daisy Madigan’s Paradise, The Ghost of Josiah Grimshaw, The Temporal Stone, Looking for Lucy Jo, We Stand Against Evil (The Morgan Sisters), Forever Fredless, And Then There Was You, Stormy Summer and her latest, Aphrodite’s Closet.
In 2015 she launched her popular 40+ lifestyle blog which continues to go from strength to strength, while just over a year later, she trained to become a yoga instructor. Suzy continues to write, blog and teach yoga in one of Portugal’s loveliest settings – the Algarve.
For your chance to win an e-copy of the Aphrodite’s Closet PLUS a £20 / $20 Amazon Gift Voucher click here.