I'm very happy and giddy about meeting Susan Buchanan and having her as the first author reviewed on my new blog. I met Susan through Goodreads.com, when she introduced herself by telling me how much she loved Maeve Binchy (a personal favorite of mine) and told me about her visit to San Diego - my lovely city!
After that we talked a lot about books and eventually I noticed she wrote one, Sign of the Times and decided to read it. So glad I did! She's a very promising Chick Lit Author and here's a short interview with her:
1) How did you come up with the idea of using zodiac signs for your characters?
Basically, I was looking for something that hadn’t been done before, along a chick lit vein, but with serious themes too. The seasons of the year, months, days, diaries, etc., had all been done, so I figured why not the zodiac. Then I started researching the signs, the traits and likely careers that the characters would need and it all began to take shape.
2) It is said that debut novels are semi-autobiographical. Are there any scenes from your real life that were added to the book?
All of the characters are fictional, but unless you are writing sci-fi, paranormal etc, I think often there are elements which are semi-autobiographical. I also think this isn’t only true for debut novels. There are a couple of scenes in the book, one major, almost unbelievable scene, which happened to a friend of a colleague. The only other anecdote in the book based on fact is Maggie’s mother always being in the know about who has just died in the village – this is based on a family member of mine! I won’t say exactly who, or I may be disinherited!
However, I believe the main semi-autobiographical element is the fact that many, although not all, of the locations I mention in Sign of the Times, I have been to, both in the UK and abroad. I have kindly been told by readers that I describe Italy amazingly well. I have been to Italy a lot, although to Bibbiena only once. But, I loved it and that can make all the difference.
In fact just today, I received a little tweet from a reader saying ‘thank you so much you have wrote a book which is speaking about our village, Bibbiena and our land Casentino.’ I was ecstatic!!
I have also been to Glencoe, in Scotland, many times, and Lucerne in Switzerland, which I loved. The tobogganing scenes set in Valais in Switzerland are based on a ski-ing holiday I had about 11 years ago in Austria, albeit there was no romance, just lots of après ski!
3) Are you working on something new? Now that the first book is out, do you find it easier to continue with a second book?
Yes, I am working on The Dating Game, which should be out later this year. It’s too early to have an official blurb, but here’s a mini-taster.
Workaholic recruitment consultant Gill McFadden is sick of her friends trying to match-make for her. Up until now her love life has been a disaster and she’s going through a drier spell than the Sahara desert. Seeing an ad on a bus one day, she decides to visit Happy Ever After dating agency. Before long she is experiencing laughs, lust and… could it be love? But like everything in Gill’s life, nothing is straightforward and she ends up wondering exactly who she can trust.
To the question, is it easier to write a second novel? Yes. Is it easier to redraft and edit? Yes. Is it easier to write a 2nd book whilst marketing the 1st. Absolutely not!!
4) Anything you would like to say to your readers?
Thanks first of all to anyone who has downloaded/read/reviewed Sign of the Times. I hope you enjoyed reading about the characters as much as I enjoyed creating them. I would love to know who your favourites were and which scenes in the book you enjoyed best. You can send me a tweet to @susan_buchanan. I love receiving them and they totally make my day.
Future releases – there are two more concrete books already mapped out, after The Dating Game. The third book should be out this time next year and for the moment I am keeping its contents a secret. The fourth book will be a sequel to Sign of the Times, due out end 2013/early 2014.
Reviews are very important to authors, as it’s your way of giving us input. Due to the amazing feedback for Sign of the Times, asking for a sequel, I decided to write one. Originally it was meant to be a stand-alone novel. Also, since so many readers on Goodreads, Amazon and Twitter commented on how much they enjoyed the scenes set in Italy in Sign of the Times, I decided to include foreign scenes in The Dating Game. All I will tell you is that they will be set in Barcelona and that I used to live there, so don’t expect just the regular Barcelona haunts, as I know the city very well!
Finally, I would just like to say, you can chart my progress of writing The Dating Game, amongst other features, on my blog – www.susancbuchanan.blogspot.co.uk
And follow Ellie’s blog!
Susan Buchanan's debut novel, The Sign of the Times, can be purchased at Amazon.com and to read my review, click here.