It seems absolutely ages ago that I was able to have lunch in real life with two smashing authors, Sue Featherstone and Susan Pape and I’m absolutely thrilled that today they are staying in with me to chat about one of their books, A Forsaken Friend which is published today. I’d like to thank fellow blogger and Random Things Tours organiser Anne Cater for inviting me to be part of this tour.
It seems especially exciting to invite the ladies over to stay in with me because Sue and Susan are published by Lakewater Press and as Lakewater Press is two years old I’m interviewing their Director Kate Foster today too in a post that you can read here.
Staying in with Sue Featherstone and Susan Pape
Welcome back to Linda’s Book Bag Sue and welcome for the first time Susan.Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.
Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?
Sue: This was a no brainer: our new book A Forsaken Friend, which was published today (March 21). Don’t you just love the beautiful cover?
(I do indeed and a Happy Publication Day to you both!)
Susan: It’s a sequel to our first novel A Falling Friend, which was published two years ago by Lakewater Press.
(When A Falling Friend, was published, lovely Sue wrote a guest post for Linda’s Book Bag that you can read here.)
Sue: We started writing together about 13 years ago, but we actually met when my youngest daughter was seven months old. She’s now 28 – so a long time ago.
Susan: We were introduced by my then boyfriend, now my husband, who knew Sue was looking for a job share partner to work with her producing in-house magazines and video programmes for a privatised utility company. I was living in Wales at the time but wanted to return to Leeds so, since my background was also in journalism, he suggested we might be a match.
Sue: We hit it off straight away and have been pals ever since.
Susan: After five years, we both decided to move on and both ended up studying English Literature as mature students, before re-inventing ourselves as university lecturers. Sue taught journalism at Sheffield Hallam and I taught at Leeds Trinity.
Sue: We kept in touch – in fact, Susan was instrumental in getting me my job at Hallam – and regularly met up for lunch (we like to lunch!) and a gossip. On one of these meet-ups we were chatting about the various how-to-write-like-a-journalist books on the market…
Susan: …and because none were quite right for our students we decided to write the book we wanted our students to have…
Sue: … so I went home and emailed four academic publishers and by teatime two of them had expressed an interest in seeing a detailed proposal.
Susan: We went down to London to meet one of the editors and twelve months later, our first text book, Newspaper Journalism: A Practical Introduction was published by Sage. It was followed a year later by our second book, Feature Writing: A Practical Introduction, also published by Sage.
And then, as one does, we decided to write a novel, which eventually, after a number of false starts, became A Falling Friend.
(What a story Susan!)
Sue: We’ve just given the book a bit of a makeover with a lovely new cover to tie in with the release.
I can’t decide which cover I like best. What do you think?
(I definitely like the new one best Sue.)
What can we expect from an evening in with A Forsaken Friend?
Susan: The Amazon headline describes it as witty and intelligent chic lit with attitude. I’m glad people think our heroines Teri Meyer and Lee Harper are spunky, funny and clever women, but since neither they (nor us!) are quite young enough to be chicks, we prefer the label #diva lit.
Sue: Or even just women’s contemporary fiction.
After all, we’re two women writing about the ups and downs in the lives of another pair of women. Men and jobs and family matter – and Teri and Lee have their share of fights – but their friendship is the backbone that enables them to take whatever life throws at them.
Susan: Something which is true for very many women.
Sue: A Forsaken Friend picks up where A Falling Friend left off: as the book opens things can’t get much worse for Teri. She’s lost her job at the university, as well as the regular allowance from her dad’s factory, and now her ex-best friend has gone and stolen her ex-husband!
Susan: Teri decides to hell with them all and heads off into the countryside to spend some time at her brother’s smallholding where the gorgeous and god-like neighbour helps lift her spirits.
Sue: But back home in Yorkshire she’s still got newspaper editor Declan, and a guy she calls Duck’s Arse (because of his weird hairstyle), on hold…
(I wonder why an image of Donald Trump has just popped into my head?)
Susan: Meanwhile, her best friend Lee is feeling a bit guilty about falling in love with Teri’s ex-husband. But, she’s also rather enjoying the fact that, for once, her love life is looking up…
Sue: …except for all the elephants in the room – Teri being the biggest – and not to mention Lee’s mother’s views about her dating a twice-divorced man.
Susan: In other words, things aren’t as rosy as she first thought. So Lee’s beginning to wonder if sharing her life with a man is such a good idea.
Sue: When we wrote A Falling Friend we thought it would be a standalone novel but then lots of people started asking us what happened next…
Susan: …and we realised we weren’t quite ready to let Teri and Lee go so we decided to move their story along. It took us eight years to write A Falling Friend – we were both working full-time and juggling busy lives – but we finished A Forsaken Friend in eight months.
Sue: And then spent another eight months-or-so re-writing and editing. A lot of writers don’t like this part of the process but I don’t mind because I’m a bit of a tinkerer and polisher. I’m not so sure about Susan though…
Susan: …it can be a bit frustrating, especially when I’m buzzing with ideas for our next novel which will be the last in the trilogy, but we’ve got a brilliant editor and copy editor, and the changes we’ve made at their suggestion have made A Forsaken Friend a much better book.
Sue: We’ve already written a dozen chapters of the next one – and have a pretty good idea of what’s going to happen to Teri and Lee next. But, no doubt, they’ll swing a few surprises…
Susan: …they always do. It’s lovely when an email pings into your inbox and the next chapter arrives and then, of course, we’re straight on the phone to each other. My husband says he always knows when I’m talking to Sue because of the shrieks of laughter from my office.
(This sounds such a wonderful working relationship ladies.)
What else have you bought along – and why?
Sue: We’ve brought a selection of goodies: a bottle of wine, because, just like Teri and Lee, we like a good bottle of wine and, because I think you’ve said before that you don’t drink alcohol, a packet of my favourite China rose petal leaf tea from the world famous Betty’s tea room in Harrogate, and a box of their Yorkshire Fat Rascal scones.
(I DO drink alcohol (though I prefer tea) but, you’re right, wine doesn’t agree with me. I love those scones from Betty’s and have found I can buy them here too!)
Susan: We’ve also brought a little photo album of some of the Yorkshire settings that feature in our books. We’re going to post the pictures on our blog so readers can see them too but, in the meantime, you can have an exclusive preview.
(How lovely. Your friendship really shines through.)
Sue: And while you flip through the photographs, we’ll tell you how we make writing together work, how Twitter helped us find Kate Foster, our lovely editor and publisher, and why we avoid using the word ‘looked’.
Susan: We might also, if you’re very discreet, tell you what inspired the Friends trilogy and, though none of our characters are based on real people, we’ve both worked in universities and the local media so we might share some snippets of gossip…
I’m always ready for a bit of gossip. Thanks so much to both of you for staying in with me to tell me all about A Forsaken Friend. I’ve really enjoyed it. I hope you have a wonderful publication day.
A Forsaken Friend
No-one said friendship was easy.
Things can’t get much worse for Teri Meyer. If losing her job at the university and the regular allowance from her dad’s factory isn’t bad enough, now her ex-best friend has gone and stolen her ex-husband! Well, to hell with them all. A few weeks in the countryside at her brother’s smallholding should do the trick – and the gorgeous and god-like neighbour might help.
But then there’s Declan, not to mention Duck’s Arse back in Yorkshire…
It’s not as if Lee Harper set out to fall in love with her best friend’s ex-husband. But, for once, her love life is looking up – except for all the elephants in the room, not to mention Mammy’s opinion on her dating a twice-divorced man. Perhaps things aren’t as rosy as she first thought. And now with one family crisis after another, Lee’s juggling more roles – and emotions – than she ever imagined.
Maybe sharing her life with a man wasn’t such a grand idea.
The Friends trilogy continues in this heart-warming and hilarious hoot as two best friends navigate men, careers, family and rock bottom in this brilliant sequel to A Falling Friend.
About Sue Featherstone and Susan Pape
Sue Featherstone and Susan Pape are both former newspaper journalists with extensive experience of working for national and regional papers and magazines, and in public relations.
More recently they have worked in higher education, teaching journalism – Sue at Sheffield Hallam and Susan at Leeds Trinity University.
The pair, who have been friends for 25 years, wrote two successful journalism text books together – Newspaper Journalism: A Practical Introduction and Feature Writing: A Practical Introduction (both published by Sage).
Their debut novel, A Falling Friend, published by Lakewater Press, has been followed by a second book, A Forsaken Friend, in their Friends trilogy.
Sue, who is married with two grown-up daughters, loves reading, writing and Nordic walking in the beautiful countryside near her Yorkshire home.
Susan is married and lives in a village near Leeds, and, when not writing, loves walking and cycling in the Yorkshire Dales. She is also a member of a local ukulele orchestra.
They blog about books here.
There’s more with these other bloggers too: