# Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
I’m Sue Moorcroft and I live in Northamptonshire, England. I write two books a year for Avon HarperCollins – one summer and one winter. I’m a Sunday Times bestseller and have been to #1 in the UK Kindle charts and top 100 US Kindle chart. I’ve won the Contemporary Romantic Novel Award and the Readers Best Romantic Read Award. My books are emotionally compelling, feel-good stories with serious issues at their heart but always a happy ending for the hero and heroine.
# What is/are the real-life story(ies) behind your book(s)?
The inspiration for my books come from almost anywhere. In Under the Italian Sun I wrote about Zia discovering her own past because I once went to a lunch where there was a baby asleep under the table. He was the nephew of a friend who was looking after him because his mother had developed postpartum psychosis and couldn’t look after him herself. I always wondered what happened to him so I gave Zia his situation and filled in the blanks. I wrote about bulimia in sportsmen in Christmas Wishes because I read that Formula One star David Coulthard suffered from it. I’ve had a hero who’d triumphed over an underprivileged childhood because I began wondering what had happened to someone from school and a heroine whose mum was an army kid because I’m an army kid. I have what I call a ‘plotty head’. It just spins stories.
# What inspires/inspired your creativity?
It’s more of a compulsion. Writing is what I do. Even when it wasn’t going well I didn’t even try to give it up. I have a broad commercial streak too, though, and value being able to earn enough to live on and whatever level of success I’ve reached. It’s taken a lot of hard work.
# How do you deal with creative block?
I don’t really have time for it. Sometimes I reach the point where a plot turns to treacle so I maybe do some admin or promo tasks awaiting my attention, write a short story or a future scene for the book. Then I go back to the difficult part and gnaw at it until I’ve solved the issue.
# What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?
For me, it’s filling the pages without moving the story forward. I must have plenty of plot.
# Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
That’s my publisher’s end of things!
# How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
They make me feel low and hurt. I’m human and nobody enjoys that kind of reaction. I’m very lucky that the good reviews outweigh the bad but I’m like most authors – I remember the bad ones.
# How has your creation process improved over time?
I suppose it’s practice. And the process of being edited over and over again – that’s valuable. Under the Italian Sun is my eighteenth published novel and there’s also a writing guide, novellas/serials, short stories, columns, features and courses. That’s a lot of editors to work with and I’ve learned from their expertise. I’ve recently revised my very first published book for republication and I now have no doubt that I have developed. It took a lot more work than I’d bargained for.
# What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?
I think the best was to go to #1 on UK Kindle for several days. I literally couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw it and I talked to my agent, my editor, went crazy on social media … then I went downstairs to tell my husband and cried.
The worst was when my previous agent had to phone me up to tell me she couldn’t represent a book I’d written. That was when I learned that I needed enough plot! It was the only time writing has made me cry unhappy tears.
The most surprising, unfortunately, is the relish with which the occasional person says something horrible about your work on social media and then tags you in to make sure you see it. I’m very lucky that this hasn’t happened much.
# Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?
My editor is the gatekeeper to my readers and so pleasing her is the first step. Happily, I’m in a situation where I write exactly the kind of book I like to write and my editor wants. I sometimes run ideas past her at the planning stage to check there’s nothing there that she has a problem with.
# What role do emotions play in creativity?
Some authors find they can’t write when life’s going badly. I’m the other way – when I write, I take myself off somewhere in my head where the problem doesn’t exist. I count myself lucky.
# Do you have any creativity tricks?
Scribble. There’s something about scribbling and doodling when I’m hunting for ideas or trying to plan a scene or understand a character.
# What are your plans for future books?
I’m writing my summer 2022 book, which is set in a park in France. Kat becomes the victim of a hate campaign. She’s also trying to get to know her young half-brother, as they’ve been brought up separately, and run a business because the owners are struggling with illness. Noah’s a seasonal worker at the park but is only in the area because of his young daughter as her stepfather is trying to supplant Noah in the daughter’s life.
Before that, Under the Mistletoe will come out in October 2021 and we’re in the editing process. In that story, Laurel left her village when she was sixteen but has now had to come back to support her sister and niece. But the reason she left the village is still there.
# Tell us some quirky facts about yourself
I think Formula One should be watched live and in absolute silence. I hate milk. I left my birth country when I was six weeks old (Germany). Apart from F1 I don’t watch much TV. If I could wish for any kind of power it would be to have a prehensile tail.