Happy New Year Everyone!
OK, so you’re still the teensiest bit hung over from the excesses of Christmas and New Year. But now it’s 2016, and time to ditch that cabin fever. Come with me. Fill your lungs with invigorating sea air, and stride out past the creeks and coves of beautiful Cornwall.
We’re in the company of busy Cornish writer, Sue Kittow, who has dropped by my blog this week to tell us about her two very entertaining books on Cornish walks. With her devoted companion, Mollie Dog, walking with Sue is always an adventure. She writes in an engaging, conversational way, making readers feel they are right there with her and Mollie as they stroll the highways and byways of Cornwall.
That’s Sue above. Here’s what she told me –
R. You’re one of the busiest people I know, Sue, so thank you for taking the time to chat here. Let’s get right into it. What brought you to writing in the first place, and what gave you the idea to write about your hobbies, in particular the Cornish walks?
S. I’ve always written, Rena, for as long as I can remember, and I’ve always loved walking – plus I have a bad back if I don’t move around a lot, so walking helps that! Plus of course I have Mollie Dog who needs exercising regularly. I started writing walks for Cornwall Today back in 2009 I think and they became a regular fixture, which led to my first walks book, Discover Cornwall, then the current one, Walks in the Footsteps of Cornish Writers.
R. Can you tell us a little about the research and planning that goes into this type of book, how you decide on the different walks and who accompanies you on them?
S. The walks have to be a geographical spread around the county, so I can’t have more than one in one area. The second book meant I had to match the walks with the writers mentioned, which was somewhat of a challenge! So logistically it takes a bit of working out, then obviously i had to work out what writers I could use according to which part of the county they were associated with. Thanks to the internet, I could do a lot of research online but I read the authors’ books from the library and talked to the contemporary ones, liaised with them about which walks they would like, and spent time with them making sure they were happy with the finished product. Obviously I couldn’t consult the writers who are no longer with us, but they needed a lot of work as well!
R. How did you find a publisher?
S. I made a long list of publishers who published books on walks and crossed them off as I went along! I can’t remember how many I tried, but it was a lot and I’d almost given up. I remember it was after my husband died, and my brother in law and I were sorting out some of his clothes when I heard a ping from my emails and thought oh I’ll look at that later – it’ll only be another rejection. I didn’t look at it till later that day and it was from Sigma to say yes to my first book!
R. Your second book Walks in the Fooststeps of Cornish Writers was a brilliant idea and is already selling well. Care to share a few of your promotion tips?
S. I’ve done a few events with a friend who writes short stories, so we had a joint book launch which was great fun and much better to do with someone else – less nerve racking! Also we’re going to do some talks together. I post events on Facebook and Twitter – I never know how much that helps, but it spreads the word anyway. I have been interviewed on radio several times and I’m booked to give several talks next year as well – it’s hard work but word of mouth helps, plus gentle plugging away!
R. I know you are already working on a third walks book, but do you have any other writing projects currently on the go – books, magazines, newspapers?
S. Yes, I write regularly for various sailing magazines and a corporate client as well, so there are always several things in the pipeline.
R. Have you thought about spreading your wings into fiction?
S. I’ve written several novels, the last of which I finished 5 years ago and got shortlisted for an award for the first 3 chapters. I don’t feel in the right place to look at that now but I’m sure that time will come. I hope so!
R. You are a very prolific feature writer, Sue, and I know you write magazine columns on walking and sailing. How did that come about? What’s it like to write for a magazine and work to regular deadlines?
S. The magazine columns came about through my regular work for Cornwall Today. When I stopped writing their walks (not my choice), I pitched the idea of a sailing column and they said yes! I like working to deadlines – it suits me well and gives me a target. Sadly due to budget cuts I am no longer doing the column which I loved, but you never know what else may come up.
R. Can you tell us a little about your writing place and what writing tools you use ie: Notebook and Pen? Computer? Digital Recorder?
S. I write in my bedroom overlooking a back yard where I grow tubs of flowers. It sounds more prosaic than it is! My desk has an iMac, printer/scanner, phone and loads of different scrawled notes, maps, notebooks and biros. It’s not tidy! Mollie Dog usually lies on my bed behind me, snoring gently.
R. I know you are also a very active member of a Cornish choir. Over the years you must have amassed a wealth of stories, both happy and sad. No experience is ever wasted when you are a writer so can we expect to read about your choir exploits any time soon?
S. That’s a good idea, Rena – I may well do that!
R. Ha! I’ll look forward to that one. Thanks so much for taking time out to chat to us, Sue. It’s been lovely having you here.
You can link up with Sue here:
Sue’s Amazon Authors Page: http://amzn.to/1UhY7sE