Name Susanne Bellamy
Where are you from Queensland Australia
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I spent thirteen years studying ballet but chose a different path for my career. I graduated from University as a high school teacher back when there was more academic rigour than now. I have two children, both grown up, and a baby granddaughter who brings us great joy. Still married to the same wonderful man.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news? My latest rural romance is with the publisher and I’m waiting to hear what they think. Working title is ‘Stitched Up’, the hero is the town saddler, and the heroine is a clothes designer. I can’t say more at this time.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
A younger colleague one day admitted her guilty secret – reading romance! We had a laugh about how ‘easy’ it would be to write, and I set myself the challenge to do just that. It wasn’t precisely easy, but I loved the creativity of writing and was fortunate to take a writing workshop led by Anna Campbell and Christine Wells around that time.
They encouraged me to join the RWA (Australia) and enter competitions to gain feedback on my work, which I did. I was stunned and thrilled when my first romance novel won third place in the RWA Emerald Award for unpublished writers. The book was picked up by a small publisher as ‘White Ginger’.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
The moment my first book went ‘live’, I said to my husband: Now I’m an author.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I’ve had a lifelong love affair with Hawaii and all things Hawaiian, from James Michener’s Tales from the South Pacific to Elvis’ Hawaiian movies. For my first writing efforts, it seemed only natural to share that love!
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I tend to write on the ‘sweet’ side with a twist of suspense, but occasionally, a character demands I write him/her with more spice, so I do! In the past couple of years, I’ve written mostly in the rural/small town fiction area and readers seem to enjoy my ‘voice’ in these types of stories.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
As a teenager, Hawaiian White Ginger was my favourite perfume from Avon. My first book was set in Hawaii, the heroine’s rented cottage had that plant in the garden, and … ‘White Ginger’ just felt right.
Titles for each book in my rural series, ‘Hearts of the Outback’ have been more difficult. My favourite of those titles is ‘Heartbreak Homestead’, which my husband came up with over coffee one day.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I sometimes include some sort of environmental or social justice theme. ‘Engaging the Enemy’ was set in the Melbourne CBD and centred on a building both protagonists wanted. The heroine had set up a shelter for women and children escaping abuse.
In ‘Long Way Home’ (Hearts of the Outback bk 4), the heroine undertakes a long endurance ride for charity; in spite of her own life having been tipped upside down, she wants to help those less fortunate.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Hearts of the Outback began with a moment from real life. When I was living in Cloncurry in the north west of my state, I went to an outback horse race. Red dust and finery make an interesting mix!
In ‘White Ginger’, my heroine’s nightmare comes straight from one of my own, and her phobia is mine. It has much to do with the sea.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life? a mentor?
I used to love reading doorstop books; Exodus, James Michener, A Suitable Boy… That said, I think Georgette Heyer was an early influence. Even earlier still was Enid Blyton!
As for a mentor, I thank my lucky stars every day for my good friend and fabulous critique partner, Annie Seaton.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I love what I’ve read of Liane Moriarty’s books, and her ability to create the slow build, and the gradual reveal; and I have just finished reading Deborah O’Brien’s ‘The Rarest Thing’, set in the Victorian high country in the 1960s. Beautiful story, writing, and interesting and unusual characters. Heroic, and different. Great stories and quality writing.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Writing can be a very solitary occupation, which suits me well now. My very good writing friend, Annie Seaton is amazing. She is a generous and incredibly supportive friend. Although we live several hours away from each other, we chat online every weekday about our lives and our work, and discuss what we’re working on, such as plot problems or just a really good passage we’ve written.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely. It’s wonderful, frustrating, challenging, but also liberating. It’s a sense of control over a ‘world’ I’ve created, and decision making about other lives!
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
My current work, ‘High Stakes’ (working title) is a romantic suspense set in Nepal. In this editing stage, I’m building up tension. The thing I would change is: I would have accompanied my husband on his recent trip to Nepal to refresh my memory of the countryside. It’s been a lot of years since I was there, but hubby is my expert, having trekked/climbed in various parts of the country seven times.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
According to my mother, I was born writing. Apparently, I populated my young childhood with imaginary friends, and wove stories around them.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
‘High Stakes’ (working title) is a romantic suspense set in Nepal, on the track to Mt. Everest. Dr. Marcy Westcott is having a short holiday following in her father’s footsteps before she begins her research . . . into a fungus known for its aphrodisiac properties. She meets Jake Harris who tells her he’s a tour guide.
Jake is head of the Bureau’s south east Asia anti-drug operation and has been given a brief to observe Marcy because of her links to a drug cartel in Sydney. The same cartel responsible for his younger brother’s death. But soon, Jake’s watching brief turns to protection duty when someone attempts to kill Marcy. When he learns the truth, can he get her off the mountain alive?
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Plotting. I’ve tried several methods and can loosely plot, but my stories are usually hijacked by characters who reveal themselves as I write them. About three chapters in, I begin to diverge from the plan and come up with different (and better!) alternatives. I seem to need that ‘getting-to-know-you’ 3 chapter introduction to them.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
My Italian stories most definitely arose from our trip to Italy. ‘One Night in … An Italian Anthology’ is two novellas, set in Florence, and on the Amalfi Coast.
Hearts of the Outback arose from my time teaching in northwest Queensland, and the two Hawaiian stories (White Ginger, Winning the Heiress’ Heart) are set on Kauai and Oahu respectively.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My self-published book covers were designed by Annie Seaton. Others are designed by the publisher.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Funnily enough, I think it’s knowing when you have edited it to its submission stage. There are always tweaks you can do, and it can depend on how you are feeling on any given day!
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
The most important thing I learned is that I love writing. It’s what I most want to be doing (perhaps after travelling!)
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead:
I’d love to have Chris Hemsworth play Jake Harris, the Aussie spy in my current work.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Enter competitions to gain constructive criticism and feedback; join local or national writers’ groups; find a good critique partner, and most of all, practise your skills every day.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I LOVE to hear from you, which books touch/inspire you, what you like so far/would like in the future.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I read so much that it’s difficult to state, ‘this is what I’m reading now’ because, tomorrow, it will be a new book. However, I’m participating in the Australian Women Writers reading challenge, so most of my choices are books by Australian women authors. I need to include books by three early Australian women writers so will probably look for an Australian historical next.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Movies, books, humanity, my baby granddaughter.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
Aung San Suu Kyi – she’s a brave and courageous woman who, at the expense of her own comfort and family, has forged a path for her nation.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
No headstone. I want to shoot into the sky in a brilliant firework. J
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Travel, musicals, reading. I used to do scrapbooking, and made jewellery, but I have little spare time for pursuits other than writing and all the associated work to promote my books. But I do make time for lunch and a movie with good friends once a week.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Outlander! I really don’t like Droughtlander in between seasons! I’ve also begun catching up with The Night Manager, and Wallander. British crime shows are also on my watch list.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music:
Paella, pies, potato, pasta – purple, green, blue – a broad range of music, depends on my mood. Claire de Lune, Pink, Robbie Williams, and beyond.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
You can find me at the following:
- Facebook https://www.facebook.com/susanne.bellamy.7
- Website http://www.susannebellamy.com/
- Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/6869630.Susanne_Bellamy
- Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Susanne-Bellamy/e/B00AYRGVRA