Monthly Archives: November 2017

Sunday morning, going up

IMG_3794I thought I was excited enough when the lovely folk at Avon told me to expect The Little Village Christmas to reach #7 in the Sunday Times Fiction Paperbacks chart today. Then I bought the paper this morning – and found it at #6!

I officially became a Sunday Times bestselling author last week when The Little Village Christmas popped up at #17 but to reach the top ten makes me feel more relaxed about claiming the title ‘Sunday Times bestselling author’. It’s something I’ve coveted for so long without ever really expecting it to apply to me.

After all, it’s been a while coming. Over more than 21 years 150+ of my short stories have been published, along with 250+ columns or articles, three courses, six serials, a writing guide, and a novella. I’ve judged 120+ writing competitions, appraised dozens of manuscripts and led a host of writing courses and workshops. And The Little Village Christmas is my twelfth novel.

IMG_3790So, when I treated myself to these frivolous but beautiful boots yesterday I was celebrating every one of those steps along the road to seeing my name and the title of my book in the Sunday Times today.

My thanks go to every editor who has chosen my work over the years, the whole wonderful Avon team, my amazing agent Juliet Pickering, the writer of every good review and each member of my fantastic street team.

Most of all, thanks to my lovely readers, who made this joyous celebration possible by buying my books. Thank you.

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Filed under Avon Books UK, christmas, Courses, ebook, Juliet Pickering, Paperback, Sunday Times bestseller, Team Sue Moorcroft, The Little Village Christmas, writing

The Little Village Christmas – notes for book groups

The Little Village ChristmasWhat was the inspiration for The Little Village Christmas?

I once heard a story about a project to repurpose an old building as a youth club. The project was scammed out of the money raised for the refurbishment and one of the organisers solved the funding problem by successfully pitching to a TV programme for a property makeover. I thought it would make a great plot – but things must’ve changed, as I found that every programme I researched required the subject to have its own budget. I couldn’t use my left arm for a couple of weeks after a procedure and I watched a few (OK, a more than a few) property programmes and kept coming back to the idea of TV being involved somehow. All I had to work out was how, then throw Alexia into that situation and see how she reacted. She took me by surprise.

I was also intrigued by the problems a friend has with his brother. They aren’t the same issues as Ben and Lloyd face but the underlying mistrust and resentment made for an interesting plotline. I like every member of my family and I’m always surprised that it’s not like that for everyone.

I also had in the back of my memory something that happened when I was a teenager and a young guy crashed the car he was driving, completely changing his life and that of the passenger in the car, his fiancée. With a fundamental change to the situation so that it’s Ben’s wife in a car driven by Lloyd it made a good inciting incident.

Do I often use incidents stored in my memory banks?

Yes! I don’t sit and consciously dredge through my memories but sometimes things drift into my mind and I find myself wondering about those long-ago people and trying out ‘what happened next’ scenarios. Then I mix in a bit of ‘what if?’ for added drama.

Do I also use anecdotes I hear?

Yes again! But I usually seek permission or, if that’s not possible or appropriate, change the situation until it’s unrecognisable. Often it’s only the premise of the story I use because my characters will react according to their own characteristics and that changes everything. Just for the Holidays is an example. A friend told me about her holiday and I said, ‘Ooh, may I use some of that?’

Any other sources of inspiration?

My imagination is top of the list, obviously, but I read news features too. I like to see what contemporary challenges people are facing. Such challenges can relate to technology or the negative side of a modern phenomenon like social media, as in my other Christmas book, The Christmas Promise.

Why write about Christmas?

Originally, it was a commercial decision. Christmas books are popular. But once I began planning and writing I saw how Christmas can emphasise challenges, create its own pressures or throw people together who might not otherwise meet. I’ve written Christmas serials for My Weekly magazine too. You can read one for free here:

And the next, Moonlight Over Middledip, will be in issues dated the 2nd and 9th of December 2017.

Themes of The Little Village Christmas as I see them

Love, loss, family, betrayal, friendship, the fallout from being victims of a scam, regeneration, Christmas, village life and community spirit.

Possible messages

Love is powerful; love can change your goals; love sometimes hurts; friends and family members are not always perfect; when a victim, fight back; have a Plan B; Christmas can bring family, friends and communities together.

If your book group is reading The Little Village Christmas and would like to involve Sue click here and complete the contact form.

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Paperback publication! @AvonBooksUK #competitions

OK, you got me. Sometimes, as for Christmas books, I get two publication days! Today is when the rather fetching sparkly paperback of The Little Village Christmas hits the shelves even though I was all excited about the ebook four weeks ago.

It’s still exciting that from today readers can buy the printed version for their bookshelves or as Christmas presents – or put it on their own Christmas wishlist, of course!

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I’ll be celebrating by joining Bernie Keith on BBC Radio Northampton about 10.30 a.m. and maybeeeeee with a couple of glasses of wine tonight. Or three. It’s a joy to celebrate the culmination of all those months of work to bring you a new book. As part of the general jollity, watch out for my newsletter and on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for competitions to win one of these pretty prizes that I had made for me by crafter Pebbles by Jenn. They all have to go! Although I’m so in love with them … No! They DO have to go! Try and win one.

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Ribbon bookmarks, key rings and wine bottle charms.

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