Author Spotlight with Susan Buchanan
Get to know Susan Buchanan in this exclusive interview.
Susan Buchanan lives in Central Scotland with her partner, Tony, and their two children. She is the author of FIVE novels; Just One Day- Winter, Return Of the Christmas Spirit, The Christmas Spirit, The Dating Game and Sign Of The Times. She is currently working on her sixth novel, which is due out on the Spring 2022. Susan is also proof reader, editor and translator, and when she isn't working, writing or caring for her two children. She loves reading, the theatre, quiz shows and eating out- not necessarily in that order!
Hi Susan! I'm so thrilled to have you here, I really hope you are well. Following on from reading your novel "Just One Day" (Winter) I am so excited to be talking to you right now! What was your main inspiration for writing this fantastic novel?
Thanks, Aimee, and thanks for having me on your blog. It’s a pleasure to be here. There’s probably more of my own experience in this book, and series, although it’s by no means my story. The idea for Just One Day came from the fact that so many mums simply cannot get through their to-do lists. There is always something else to be done. Even once their kids go to bed at night, they don’t tend to sit down with a book and a glass of wine, they’re still putting a washing on, ironing clothes for the next day, sorting out lunch boxes, doing internet banking, ordering clothes and doing the online food shop.
We all know that "Just One Day" is part of a four-book series! Most people are eagerly waiting for the other books to arrive, can you give us a little detail about what these books will entail following on from your first in the series?
I’m so pleased readers are enjoying the series so far, particularly as I’ve just finished writing Just One Day – Spring. The protagonist, Louisa, will have some difficult choices to make and be in some very uncomfortable situations in book two; friendships will be tested and a shocking event has far-reaching consequences. Louisa will have to figure out what she really needs, and that’s not saying it’s going to be what she thinks she needs. In books 3 and 4 there are even bigger life changes afoot for her and those around her. I’m hoping the reader will find plenty of love, drama, hope and humour in the books.
So far you have five novels published now! That is so exciting! What made you decide to be a writer? Have you got any advice for those who are wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Thanks. I’ve been writing since I was young, but I chose to go into European languages instead of the English language, for a long time. I finally decided to write as I had stories to write that I didn’t felt had been written by other authors yet, and also because what I wrote wasn’t quite as love hearts and flowers necessarily, and was more realistic, than much of what I was reading, and I felt there was a gap, so I decided to fill it. I once heard someone say, ‘write what you’d like to read’.
You say you love quiz shows! If you had the opportunity to take part in a game show, which one would you choose and why?
It would definitely be Pointless. I love the dynamic between Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman. I’ve been a fan since the beginning. I used to sit on my pregnancy ball watching Pointless. I actually filled out the application form for it once, but didn’t send it. Maybe one day.
I related to your novel so much considering I have three young children myself, and the hectic and busy schedule that is involved in being a parent/guardian of any sort. Was there any influence into your novel that reflects on your own life being a mother?
Absolutely. In fact, even now, when the kids do stuff that is nuts, I tell them to be careful or I will put their antics in a book! In fact, when I am redrafting Just One Day, I am always amazed at how well behaved the kids are. Then I have to make them more annoying, interrupt more, refuse to do as they’re told, to make them more realistic!
You say you love reading and writing, when you were younger who would you say was your favourite author, and the best book you have ever read to date?
When I was really young, Enid Blyton, without a doubt. Best book ever – wow – toughie, but Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s The Shadow of the Wind is right up there. It may have something to do with having lived in Barcelona, and being able to visualise the places, as well as having studied Spanish history at university, but the very fact it was about books themselves made it a bit of an obvious choice for me.
For those that aren't familiar with your other five novels, can you tell us a bit more about them?
Sure. Sign of the Times was my first novel, released in 2012, and coming in paperback to celebrate a decade of my writing on 16 March. It’s the story of 12 characters, each based on a zodiac sign. Travel writer Holly links the 12 signs. In film and TV terms, I’m told it’s Love Actually meets Cold Feet and Pulp Fiction. It’s set partly in Tuscany and partly in Scotland, with a side trip to Switzerland.
The Dating Game is the story of workaholic Gill, set in Glasgow and Barcelona. Time-poor, she joins a dating agency for professional people, and we live through Gill’s dates with her, with the help of the input of her three best friends.
The Christmas Spirit and Return of the Christmas Spirit are, funnily enough, Christmas books! However, whilst their backdrop is Christmas, their themes are love, family, friendship and community, which are true at any time of year. Throw in a little magical realism and you’re there.
What are you hoping to achieve in the next two years? What are your goals?
Crikey! Well, I have 3 more books to release in the Just One Day series this year (May, July, October). I also have plans for at least one of the Sign of the Times spin-off books, one other standalone novel and who knows what else next year. Although I’m self-published, I still have some books that I intend to send out to traditional publishers, as I’d like to see how life is on the other side of the fence!
What would you say that comes first to you? The characters or the plot? Which one and why?
Honestly? It depends. Sign of the Times it was plot; The Dating Game was plot, the Christmas books were characters and the same with Just One Day. However, sometimes it’s the title or the location that comes first.
In your book 'Just One Day' is there a particular character you relate to the most?
Inevitably Louisa. I honestly think most mums could!
As you are a mother to two children, how do you manage your time in being able to write? Especially as you have published five novels so far, with some on the way...that is an amazing achievement!
Thanks, although it took some considerable time. I also work full time as a freelance editor. My time spent writing has been very sporadic. I’m definitely not a write every day person, although I did manage that for most of February! But with the constant juggling of kids, job, writing, I have no average writing day. So, I might do zero for weeks then write 10K in one day. That said, I’d be happier if I was writing between 2-5K a day. When I do get peace to write, the words tend to flow.
Who has been your biggest support in regards to writing? And what would you say literary success means to you?
There has been no one single person. My husband for telling me to go for it in the first place, and in the past year for taking over a larger share of looking after the kids so I can write; my sister Margaret, my aunt Catherine and cousin Katy for support and feedback; several writer friends, particularly Karen Furk; the late Maeve Binchy for showing me how I wanted to write characters, the Romantic Novelists’ Association for so many different things, and of course my cover designer Claire, who not only creates awesome covers for me, but has pushed me to find more writing time for myself for the past few years. And let’s not forget my readers themselves. For me literary success is a form of happiness. My absolute dream would be to go into a bookshop and have someone pick up my book and my daughter say, Look, Mummy, that lady’s reading your book!’
What can you share with us right now, that your readers may not know yet?
Fingers crossed, touch wood etc, I’m lucky enough not to suffer from writers’ block. In fact, I have so many ideas. I email myself my ideas and have a folder, both virtual and physical of book ideas, and, naturally, a spreadsheet. I have more ideas than I can ever write. The trouble is choosing what next, but I already have 2022 and 2023 mapped out at least, and then we’ll see which ideas take my fancy most!
If you had the opportunity to describe yourself in three words what would they be?
Tenacious. Loyal. Friendly.
Thank you so much for taking part in this interview, we are blessed and honoured to have you here with us, and even more excited to see your new books coming this year, which will be linked below this interview, one last question...
Has writing and published books changed the way you see yourself?
Yes, I definitely see myself as an author now. I love that my 8-year-old daughter writes her own books and that she told her teachers she wants to be an author. Seeing my books in print was a huge step for me. Joining the RNA, the Society of Authors, the Alliance of Independent Authors and the Scottish Association of Writers definitely helped make me see this as a career and not a hobby. And more importantly, the last two years have made me believe!
To buy her books check below: Amazon: Just One Day- Just One Day: Winter: One mum - one endless to-do list: 1: Amazon.co.uk: Buchanan, Susan, Ball, Claire: 9780993185151: Books (Paperback)Just One Day - Winter : One mum - one endless to-do list. A funny, heart-warming page turner. eBook : Buchanan, Susan, Design Studio , Jaboof, Janes, Wendy: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store (Kindle) The Dating Game- The Dating Game: No one said dating would be easy: Amazon.co.uk: Buchanan, Susan, Studio, Jaboof Design: 9780993185113: Books (Paperback) The Dating Game: No one said dating would be easy eBook : Buchanan, Susan: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store
Return Of The Christmas Spirit- Return of the Christmas Spirit: 'Reminiscent of "It's A Wonderful Life".': one of those feel-good Christmas books that gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling: 2: Amazon.co.uk: Buchanan, Susan, Design Studio, Jaboof: 9780993185199: Books (Paperback) Return of the Christmas Spirit: ‘One of those feel-good Christmas books that gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling.’ eBook : Buchanan, Susan, Design Studio, Jaboof: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store (Kindle)
The Christmas Spirit- The Christmas Spirit: a fabulous festive feel-good fireside read: 1: Amazon.co.uk: Buchanan, Susan, Design Studio, Jaboof: 9780993185182: Books (Paperback) The Christmas Spirit: a fabulous feel-good festive fireside read eBook : Buchanan, Susan, Design Studio, Jaboof : Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store (Kindle)
Sign Of The Times- Sign of the Times: What really makes the world go round: family, friendship, fidelity? eBook : Buchanan, Susan: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store (Kindle)
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Good Reads: Susan Buchanan