Author Name: Susan Roebuck
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/SusanRoebuckauthor
Twitter Handle: @suemonte
Title of Novel: Rising Tide
Q1. How long have you been writing? And what was the first thing you can remember writing?
I was always that nerdy kid in school who, when the teacher said we had a composition to write for homework, would yell, “hooray” while everyone else groaned.
I won a writing competition when I was 14 about a village in the UK in WWII and how the residents tried to get rid of the newly installed army training camp. So, considering I knew nothing about what I was writing, I think we can throw the old adage, “write about what you know” out of the window. I even illustrated that little book which I still have, and some of the characters had weird and wonderful names like Willy Wormtongue.
Q2. Did you always want to be a writer?
I think all writers have always wanted to be writers since they were young. I have heard you can’t actually teach writing – you can teach techniques, but the rest has to come from inside the author: the feelings he/she has for the characters, the place and the sincerity of the plot. If you love your book, then that will be reflected in the writing.
Writing is in my family–my father wrote (although never published) and my mother, who is now 98, has discovered a penchant for writing poetry for the first time in her life. She loves to read them to me and I’m amazed at how they rhyme (the content might be a little suspect but I can’t criticise her form!)
Q3. How did you feel when you were writing this book?
I enjoyed it. I absolutely love the art of writing and when I get inspiration for the next scene, there’s nothing like sitting down and writing it out. The hours just fly by and I always say it’s better than any drug-high.
Rising Tide is set in Portugal – in an area that not many tourists have found, the Alentejo coast to be exact. The Alentejo is between the Algarve and Lisbon and is mostly agricultural. It’s also (unlike the rest of Portugal) quite flat, so that there are long rolling plains that are so beautiful and changing in the changing seasons. I also love the sea (I live near it) so, in Rising Tide, I wanted to try and capture the force of it, the hard and dangerous life that those who work it have, and its sheer wonder. I think there is a little bit of my dream in Piper, one of the main characters, who has a rare affinity with the sea. When I was writing about her abilities (how she can hear the creaks of wrecks when she’s underwater for example) I felt so free, and just a little bit jealous about how long she could stay under, just running with the current.
Q4. How long did it take to write?
I take a long time to write because I’m a pantser (I fly by the seat of my pants). Well, I’m not a total pantser – I do know the beginning and end of any novel I write. It’s the middle bit that tends to come as a surprise. I’m so disorganised. Of course, that also means I write myself into holes sometimes (places that I can’t get out of) so that means several chapters will have to be thrown away. I’m probably getting better because my first novel, Perfect Score, had seventeen different versions. My third and latest novel, Rising Tide, had about five.
Actually, I don’t throw away those chapters and scenes because some of them re-emerge in another novel.
Q5. Do you have a special place where you go to write?
I live in Portugal (I am British but my husband is Portuguese) and my office looks out right where the mighty River Tagus meets the Atlantic Ocean. From here I can see all the cruise ships and tankers coming into Lisbon Harbour. Those cruise ships are amazing – they’re getting bigger all the time, huge floating hotels. I often imagine the passengers on deck looking at me from the sea looking at them from the land.
Q6. When you begin writing, did you ever think you’d get to where you are now?
Well, I’m not where I want to be yet! I have three published novels: Perfect Score which is set in 1960s America about two homosexual men (it’s not sexually explicit) and the hardships they had; Hewhay Hall is a dark fantasy and set in contemporary England and is a story about unsung heroes – in this case a firefighter who gets badly hurt by a terrorist bomb. Rising Tide is a suspense story set in Portugal, with (as one reviewer said) a touch of romance and magic thrown in. I think as I grow as an author I’m tending towards romance suspense as a genre now and my next novel will be more pure in this respect. It’ll be set in Portugal again (this time a fictitious village in Sintra, near Lisbon) and, as in all my novels, a sense of injustice will be its main theme. So with my fourth novel published (I hope) my name will really be out there!
Thanks Susan! What a journey you’re on. It’s great to hear about it and I wish the best of luck for the future!