Monthly Archives: January 2017

The Laid-back Book Group discusses #TheChristmasPromise

When Tricia of The Laid-back Book Group contacted me to say that The Christmas Promise had been Featured Image -- 2969read by the group and was due to be discussed, I offered to reply to any questions. I found the result fun and interesting so I kindly asked if I could reproduce the discussion on my blog:

Tricia: My reading group met last Tuesday evening to discuss The Christmas Promise. Everyone really enjoyed it and loved the characters. They liked how you brought awareness to personal photos between couples landing on the internet.

Sue: I’m so glad that they all enjoyed The Christmas Promise! There are few things that give me more pleasure than people enjoying my books.

T: Here are a few questions and observations from our group:

The Laid-back Reading Group: How much research did you have to do for the online porn?

S: Unfortunately, it wasn’t hard to research revenge porn. There’s a huge number of online articles on the subject, a government campaign and case histories from victims in many parts of the world. I became angry on behalf of those victims and wanted to shine a light on the subject. I began with reputable and authoritative websites and let my research expand organically from there. Some of the case histories were harrowing: the mother whose 19-year-old daughter had killed herself in her humiliation; the documentary-maker who’d been told by the owner of such a site that he wasn’t in the business of making friends of women; ordinary people whose lives had been marred by online malice. What WAS difficult to research was the legal remedies available. When I began the book the UK had no specific law to counter revenge porn although there was a movement to create some, which the House of Lords dismissed. Then the House of Lords changed their mind between the book being bought and it being published so I had to rewrite! I wish they’d made up their minds the first time.

TLBRG: Alcohol has a negative presence in the story. Did you have to do any particular research about heavy drinking?

S: I’m not sure why alcohol was shown in a fairly negative light in the book as I enjoy alcohol and don’t have a personal drum to beat. Of course, people do act stupidly when they drink too much and that’s particularly highlighted by the Christmas festivities. Truly, over-consumption of alcohol just suited this particular plot and was credible with the Christmas background.

TLBRG: Why did you give Izz such a hard time? Making her part of the upload was completely out of character, even if drunk.

S: Things did go a bit awry for Izz, didn’t they? I’m quite glad if it appeared out of character for Izz as the point I was making is that alcohol does make some people act out of character. I think it’s clear that Izz never meant to do what she did. She was showing off her techie knowledge to Patrick and they completed the upload without thinking of the consequences.

TLBRG: Faux dating – Have you checked the urban dictionary definition? They felt they should make you aware of what it says.

S: No, I hadn’t checked the Urban Dictionary and simply made the term ‘faux dating’ up. Now I do check I see the UD’s definition is when a man pays for dinner and gets no sexual reward. I’m not too worried by that, although my reactions are: a woman should expect to pay her way on any date, partly because why the hell shouldn’t she? and partly to avoid any expectation that she should be intimate in exchange for food. You’ll remember that the subject of financing dates is a theme of The Christmas Promise and Ava has strong feelings on the subject. I garnered opinion from men and women in their thirties on social and in person on this subject. Dating etiquette is fascinating!

TLBRG: P.61 – searching tongues – one member said ‘Tongues really? – Was this necessary?’ and felt this shouldn’t have come until much later.

S: The heat level of a book does provoke a wide range of reactions from readers. How we conduct ourselves in intimate circumstances is so personal that when we read something that jars it can feel uncomfortable. I do understand this but I don’t know a one-size-fits-all solution. Personally, I don’t feel that tongue being involved in a Christmas kiss is unlikely or outrageous.

Many thanks to Tricia and the members of The Laid-back Book Group! It’s been great chatting with you.

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Audiobook: The Christmas Promise by Sue Moorcroft

Audio books are a growing market and the voice of the actor is part of a book’s success. This is a lovely review of the audio version of ‘The Christmas Promise’ and I’m reblogging it because it illustrates the importance of the narrator’s voice.

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“Modern issues dealt with in a festive romance”

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Overall 5*
Performance 5*
Story 5*

I just didn’t want to switch this audiobook off. A superbly crafted story complemented so well by Laura Kirman’s use of different ‘voices’ for the characters and her expressive reading of the story bring it to life, make a fantastic listen.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Christmas Promise?

The comparisons of how Ava is treated by her bullying, drunk and threatening ex-boyfriend contrasts dramatically with the usually more supportive reactions of Sam Jermyn, though he, too, has his moments! All the moments with Sam’s Mum, as she endeavours to enjoy the festive break recovering from major surgery before starting chemotherapy are also very moving and memorable.

What does Laura Kirman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Laura Kirman uses changes in pace…

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What happened to me this Christmas

Christmas is supposed to be a time of magic and, this year, for me, it was.

The Christmas Promise hit the UK Kindle #1 spot!tcp-1-web

A friend messaged to ask if I’d seen my Amazon ranking. I had, and I’d been at #2, so I chatted on that basis.  Then I saw my new ranking and a Tweet from my lovely editor, Helen, and the storm of joy broke all over my social media accounts. Eventually, I went back to my friend and said ‘And now it’s at #1!!!’ and she said ‘That’s what I was trying to tell you!’
It was a euphoric experience, which, if you were around on social media that morning, you may have noticed! Joy, shock and disbelief turned me into a jelly. I was in the lovely situation of having exceeded even my most optimistic expectations and floating somewhere above Cloud Nine. There were actual tears of joy, I promise you. And, later, champagne!
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I’d also like to share with you my gift from my brother, presented on behalf of our mum, who died in March. He had an ‘Oscar’ made. Inscribed on the plinth is:
Best selling No. 1 author
Sue Moorcroft
oscar-2We all got choked up so I couldn’t make an ‘Oscar-winner’s speech’ but we hugged very hard.
I’m not choked up now so here goes:
Thank you to everyone who bought The Christmas Promise, either for yourself or to give as a gift. Thank you for every one of the many wonderful reviews, whether online or in print, review site or national media. Thank you to everyone who supported the promo campaign, including the wonderful members of Team Sue Moorcroft. Thank you to all the retailers who supported the paperback with wonderful chart and shelf positions. Thank you to my agent, Juliet Pickering, for knowing Avon HarperCollins would be a good publisher for me and thank you to Helen, and everybody at Avon, who worked so hard and successfully to make the book a success.
Thank you, family, for sharing my joy.
And now I’d better get on with the copy edits of the next book, Just for the Holidays. May’s not that far away.

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