Saturday 27 August 2016

Isle of Wight Virtual Mini Book Festival - Introducing Sue Shepherd

Hello again! I hope you're enjoying the festival and meeting the lovely authors who very kindly agreed to take part. I only have one more author for you all to meet this afternoon, but watch out for more coming tomorrow. So readers, it's my pleasure to introduce you to the fourth and final lady for today, Sue Shepherd.

Sue writes contemporary romance and enjoys creating novels with heart, laughs and naughtiness. She doesn’t pull any punches when choosing her subjects, but manages to handle her characters’ challenging situations with sensitivity and humour.

Her debut novel 'Doesn't Everyone Have A Secret?' was published by Corazon Books in March 2015.  It reached the top 10 UK Kindle chart, and also topped the romantic comedy, contemporary romance and humour charts. It became available in paperback on Amazon.UK in November 2015. Sue is currently working on her second novel, which is due to be published in the Autumn of 2016.

Sue lives on the picturesque Isle of Wight with her husband, two sons and a standard poodle.  Her passions in life are: her family, writing, the sea-side and all the beautiful purple things her sons have bought her over the years.  Ask Sue to plan too far in advance and you'll give her the heebie-jeebies and she'd prefer you not to mention Christmas until at least November!

Photo courtesy of Sue Shepherd
Doesn't Everyone Have a Secret? is a romantic comedy about three very different people, each with a secret, whose lives collide in unexpected ways.

Steph is a harassed mum who's considering an affair with her children's sexy headmaster. Penny is trying to deal with a crush on her boss, OCD and a sad secret from her childhood. And Mike is a vicar who is being blackmailed for his secret, although it's not all that it seems!

Meanwhile, all three are being watched over by their own guardian angels, who try to push them in the right direction and help move their lives along - but not always successfully ...

Doesn't Everyone Have a Secret? is genuinely laugh out loud funny, but also deals in a sensitive way with serious problems that any of us could face in life. Sue Shepherd's debut novel is bold, it doesn't pull any punches, and it has bucket loads of heart.

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As a reader I've often wondered just what goes on in the mind of an author, how they come up with their idea's and if they have a specific storyline planned out before they start writing their books. Well today Sue has given us access to her thought process.

                                      Inside the mind of an author

A strange title, I suppose. Because, ultimately, I can only tell you what goes on inside my mind. Every writer is different, aren’t they? I recently went to a Literary Festival and enjoyed a talk by a well-known author of Contemporary Romance. She described how she approaches writing a novel, and, I have to say, it was nothing like my Modus Operandi. However, her method works for her, she has many successful books to her name, so she clearly knows how she likes to do things.

Some authors will tell you that they can’t start writing a novel until they at least know roughly the beginning, the middle and the end. I, on the other hand, start out only knowing the beginning. As I write, I wait for the story to unfold before me. For example, I may hint strongly that there’s going to be a revelation by one of my characters, despite the fact that I have absolutely no clue what they’re about to reveal. I just trust it’ll come to me.

For me, writing is like reading a great novel, only, a hundred times more exciting. You know that feeling when you get to the end of a chapter and the author has left you on one of those infuriating, yet wonderfully thrilling, cliffhangers? Yes, of course you do. Well, when I type that cliffhanger, I’m equally as desperate to get onto the next chapter. Only then, will I decide which way things are going.

As soon as I start writing a new book, I take the characters everywhere with me. As I walk the dog or snuggle down in bed, they begin to whisper, ‘Do you want to know what happens next?’ or ‘Did I mention that I have a bit of a chequered past?’ and that’s it, I’m off and running. I see the story like a movie playing out in my head. I might watch the next chapter several times, before I grab my laptop and write those movie scenes down. 

However, it doesn’t stop once I’ve finished the first draft and my characters have tied up all the loose ends. Even then, I might be out and about and I’ll hear a phrase, and immediately one of my characters will mutter to me, ‘That’s the kind of thing I’d say, isn’t it?’ Of course, I’ll have no choice but to agree with them; we both know them so well! Then, all the way home, we’ll be chatting (in my head) about where that phrase could be added to the book. In the same way, I might see something on the news or read something online and one of my characters will ask politely, (they’re usually well-mannered), if I’d mind mentioning it in the book. 

Writers never switch off; they’re always listening to the conversations going on around them. After all, a chance remark, overheard in the pub, could result in an amazing plot twist.

Sadly, I can no longer rely on my memory, and, as there’s nothing worse than knowing that you had an excellent idea, but you let it slip away, I’m very grateful to the notes section on my IPhone. Thank goodness I can surreptitiously make a note and explore the possibilities at my leisure. 

Sometimes, my shopping lists and my aid memoirs get muddled up, and I find myself pondering how the phrase ‘Prosecco toilet rolls’ was ever going to enhance my book, but on the whole, it works out well.

So that’s it – a brief trip inside my mind. 

Like I say, there may be authors whose methods differ. But, I’m quietly confident that there are many who would read this and nod their heads, whilst agreeing that their characters constantly chat to them too.

What a wonderful insight Sue, thanks for sharing that with us all. So remember the next time you see a lady wandering around your local supermarket, looking at her shopping list with a puzzled look on her face and muttering away to herself, don't judge her, she could be the author of your next favourite book!

If you'd like to find out more about Sue or connect with her you can find her by using the links below.


I'd like to thank Sue for taking the time to stop by today. It's been a pleasure to have you here.


  1. Well, what a great day this has been on your' blog !

    Congratulations, I have really enjoyed it.

    Roll on tomorrow's installment.

    1. Thanks Sue. I'm so happy to hear that you've enjoyed it. I hope you've found some new authors 😉