Welcome to Clubhouse Chat page. Those of you who are not a member won’t be aware that the location of the Clubhouse is shrouded in mystery. The only way to visit it is via membership or an invite to the tearoom. Every few days, I’ll be sharing a conversation with all sorts of writers and authors at different levels of their writing careers. Over tea and cakes, or maybe a glass of something stronger, I shall be chatting with my guest about their work in progress, or latest book release.
Today I’m welcoming apocalyptic thriller writer, Susie Kearley to the clubhouse tearoom to talk about her book, Pestilence. Welcome, Susie.
Thank you for the invite to your lovely tearoom, Paula.
It’s lovely to have you here. Now we have our refreshments can I ask you when you first begun your writing journey what drew you to your chosen genre?
As a teenager I wanted to be a horror author, but at that age my manuscript ran out of steam, and the novel wasn’t published for another 30 years. By this time it had evolved into an apocalyptic thriller, Pestilence, published 2021: mybook.to/pestilencebook
I began my career as a magazine journalist at the age of 36 and my genre was driven by who was prepared to commission me. Money talks when you’ve just quit the day job. From the outset I would tackle any subject, and my first job was with a military history magazine, exploring the story of a local war hero. I did a lot of work for gardening magazines too.
How have other authors influenced your writing?
I was inspired to be a novelist by James Herbert. I picked up one of his books when I was 15 and was completely drawn into his story. I thought it was brilliant and aspired to be like him. Since then, I’ve developed my own style and am told my novel is more reminiscent of work by HG Wells or John Wyndham!
Is there anything about you your readers might be surprised to find out?
I was quite surprised to hear that my 97 year old mother-in-law wanted to read my novel. She’s a huge fan of People’s Friend’s cosy tales. I would say my novel is a bit lively for her tastes! I’m glad I took the swear words out in one of the last edits.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I work from about 8am to 5pm every day and go for a walk in the afternoon – the break is important and can help to reset the mind and enhance the creative process.
Do you set yourself a daily word count?
Not in particular, but I try to write an article every day, which would usually be around 1000 words. Achieving this goal was easier before lockdown, because I had more commissions coming in. But even during slow periods, I try to be productive every day, and that might involve working on a book, photo editing, or keywording on a picture library – I sell photos through Alamy too. A few weeks ago, I was doing the cover design for my novel ‘Pestilence’, so these days, my productivity takes many forms.
How many hours in a day do you write?
Usually I focus on writing in the morning, so I might get a draft done in four hours, but then I’ll do editing in the afternoon, or work on something different, like sorting out photographs to accompany my work. There’s a lot of administration, including pitching to editors, invoicing and keeping my accounts up to date, record keeping, tax returns, etc, so I need to fit these into my schedule. The job isn’t all about actually writing, as nice as that would be.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
Oh yes, I have written under a pseudonym many times. I have used pen names when a magazine wants to publish more than one piece of my work, but doesn’t want to use my name more than once. I have used a pen name when I’m writing for competing magazines too. I have no qualms about using a pen name.
How do you select the names of your characters?
I worked out the character profiles for my novel, Pestilence, many years ago. The names chosen were just names I was familiar with – perhaps people I knew – but the characters were not like the people I knew. I did write some character profiles to help me get started, my characters definitely came to life and evolved when I started writing.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
The first draft of my novel, Pestilence, was created when I was 16. It ran out of steam and was shelved for 20 years. I worked out the ending when I was 36, and used National Novel Writing Month to sort it out. I then focused on journalism, while it sat on a virtual shelf for another decade. I eventually took two months off work to complete the novel in 2019! 2020 was the year of trying to figure out what to do next, while approaching agents. 2021 was publication year! I think 30 years is extreme. I wasn’t actually working on it for most of that time.
Another book I wrote took about two months to put together. I also have compilations of articles that I’ve self-published and these were quite quick to produce.
Thank you for joining me in the tearoom, Susie. If you would like to find out more about Susie’s writing and books check out the links below:
Petilence Novel: mybook.to/pestilencebook
Amazon Author Page: Author.to/SusieKearley
Author Website: http://www.susiekearley.co.uk
If you want to find out more about Clubhouse Members’ Books, don’t forget to check out the Clubhouse Bookshops, too.