Welcome to Dawn’s Reading Nook, Suzie Tullett. Please let my cabana boys/girls get you a drink and make yourself at home. Comfortable? Great…now let’s get down to business.
So tell us about yourself. What got you interested in writing? Who are your publisher(s)?
I’d just like to say a big thank you for having me today, Dawn. I’m Suzie Tullett, a novelist from Lancashire in the north of England. I’ve been married for 24 years and have two very gorgeous sons. I write contemporary women’s humorous fiction.
How did you start your writing career?
Years ago when I was teaching at a local college, I was telling one of the performing arts tutors about an idea I had for a short story. He suggested the premise would make a great sitcom and as a result, I sent it off to a production company to see if they agreed. For a while they did and although in the end it actually came to nothing, it led me to studying a Masters Degree in Television & Radio Scriptwriting and my career went on from there – firstly, as a scriptwriter and now as a novelist.
Tell us about your favorite character from your books.
At the moment, I’m absolutely loving Lydia Livingston – she’s the protagonist in the novel I’m currently writing. She’s driven, very ambitious but not in a way you might expect and how she keeps getting herself into one scrape after another is so hilarious… I hope readers find her just as much fun to read, as I’ve found her to write.
Where do you dream of traveling to and why?
This questions’ easy. I’d love to travel to China because that’s where my oldest son’s been living for the past year. It was such a wrench when he left and it’s hard not being able to visualize his home or his workplace and the people who’ve become his friends… Plus the cultural differences seem fascinating and a country like China would, no doubt, be a great source of inspiration.
Tell us about your current/upcoming release. What inspired it?
My upcoming release is about a woman who’s reached a junction in her life; but rather than admit to the wider world that she’s in something of a rut, she invents a whole new, more exciting persona for herself. Unfortunately, it isn’t long before her little white lies start to catch up with her and the consequences for telling them keep going from bad to worse…
As for my current release, Going Underground is about living with the past, rather than living in it. It follows three men on two scooters (a vintage Lambretta and a Vespa) heading down the country to Brighton, with three women and a heavily pregnant belly in hot pursuit – the latter set of travel companions being squashed into a classic, little, Union Jack roofed mini. And not forgetting the off duty Police Officer bringing up the rear, I suppose we can say it’s a road trip, come car chase, come man hunt!
Has someone helped or mentored you in your writing career?
You can’t get a better mentor than Author, Margaret James, who’s been a fantastic help throughout my novel writing career. She started out as my tutor when I did a novel writing course with the London School of Journalism a couple of years back and being more than happy to stay in touch, she’s always been there if I have a question or need a bit of help or advice. In fact, I’m sure she’d be happy to be interviewed here and pass on some of her knowledge if you think your readers would benefit from her expertise like I have.
Who are some of your favorite authors/books?
I tend to go for books that make me laugh, which is probably why I enjoy writing comedy myself and as a reader I’m guaranteed to enjoy anything written by Marian Keyes. She manages to combine quite serious subject matters with such a down to earth humor that you really are taken on a roller coaster of ups and downs. You know the phrase ‘if you don’t laugh you’ll cry’? Well for me, those words are at the heart of all the Marian Keyes novels I’ve read.
What was your first sale as an author?
Scriptwriting aside, my first sale was a short story for ‘Best’, a women’s weekly magazine here in the UK. And I have to say it felt quite exciting to think all these people, whom I was never going to actually meet, were now reading something that had come from the inside of my head! In fact, it feels the same to this day and I still get a buzz when I think about whose coffee table my books could now be sat on.
When in the day/night do you write? How long per day?
My writing day starts when I get out of bed in the morning and continues probably until early evening. I’ll have a bit of a break for lunch and take the dog out a couple of times, but even when I’m away from the keyboard it’s fair to say I’m still working… I’ll be thinking about something I’m not quite happy with and how best to change it and I constantly have a notebook and pen with me to jot things down as when they come to me.
If you could visit any time and place, where and when would it be and why?
I’d love to go back to the mid 1800s/early 1900s and the British Suffragette movement. My first degree’s in Women’s Studies and women’s rights have always been an issue close to my heart and when you think about what those women went through for the very things we almost take for granted… In fact, Selina Cooper, a well know Suffragette from the North of England, lived just down the road from where I was born and I often wonder what she’d think about her life back then, compared to what mine is today.
If you could be any shape shifter, what form would you take and why?
For a writer, I think the obvious one would be to turn myself into a fly on the wall so I could observe everyone in secret and listen in on their conversations. It would be like taking people watching to a whole new level.
What else would you like readers to know about you or your work?
That I like to write stories with characters that everyone can identify with, often fusing both comedy and tragedy to demonstrate how very often one can stem from the other.
Who's more fun to write: bad boys or perfect gentlemen and why?
For me it has to be ‘bad boys’. If you think they’re more fun in ‘real’ life, imagine how much fun they can be in fiction!
If you could meet any fictional character, who would it be and what would you do together?
I remember feeling so sad when I realized Sherlock Holmes was a drug addict and to be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever quite gotten over it. So as weird as it might sound, I’d meet up with him and lock him in a room until he was clean again! Then I could stop worrying about him.
Sherlock Holmes aside, however, and it would be nice to meet up with any fictional character that looks like Johnny Depp. Not that I can tell you what we’d get up to, of course – kiss and tell just isn’t my style…
Out of all your books, do you have a favorite one? If not, then which one is closest to your heart?
As a new novelist this is a difficult question. Going Underground is, after all, my very first novel and will always have a place in my heart because of that. However, now I’ve moved on to book number two, I have to say I’m really enjoying writing this one as well... So we’re probably best coming back to this question in the future, when I have even more books under my belt and then I can give you a more interesting answer.
What character out of all your books is the closest to your personality?
I think when it comes to the female characters, there’s a little bit of me in all of them; although were you to ask the same question to anyone who knows me, they’d probably say I’m closest to Tracey, the mother-to-be, from Going Underground. Not that I, myself, intend on having another baby any time soon; the two sons I have already are enough for me.
Anything else you would like to add?
I’d just like to say thanks again for having me today, Dawn. And a big thank you to all your readers, many of whom I hope will go on to enjoy my books x
Going Underground by Suzie Tullett.
A laugh out loud, feel good novel with Brit Flick flair..
At 8 ¾ months pregnant, Tracey Parkes has everything she wants in life. A nice house, even if it is a bit on the small side, a long awaited baby on the way and a reliable husband to boot… Well, as reliable as a husband can be when he’s keeping a long held secret – a secret she’s desperate to uncover.
But with Jonathan continuing to keep schtum over the whole thing, Tracey is forced to turn to his past for answers. And it’s the unfortunate death of his old friend, Malcolm that provides her with just the opportunity she’s been waiting for – an opportunity she soon wishes she hadn’t taken.
Of course, the last thing Tracey expects is to find both herself and her humongous belly squashed into the back of a classic, little Mini – all in a desperate attempt to catch up with three men on two vintage scooters. But with Jonathan seemingly hell bent on facing up to a past he’s spent years trying to forget, what choice does the mother-to-be have?
“Did you know,” asked Megan. “That the name ‘Louise’ actually means ‘famous battle maid’?”
All very interesting, considered Tracey, at the same time wondering what on earth the girl was going on about. But a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ will suffice.
“And everyone knows that grief can make people do things they wouldn’t normally do, don’t they?” she continued.
Yep, now I’m completely lost, the mother-to-be couldn’t help but tell herself – unable to quite connect the two statements in relation to each other, let alone with a request to drive both her and Andrea down to Brighton.
“And should one particular famous battle maid feel the grief stricken need, the last thing I want is my Ace Face in a position where he has no choice but to oblige, isn’t it?”
“Right…” said Tracey and in realising this was all somehow part of Megan’s decision making process, she found herself slowly nodding in agreement – despite not having a clue as to what it was that she was actually agreeing with.
In fact, none of what this young woman was saying was making any sense whatsoever and she began to wonder if this had been such a good idea after all.
She looked to Andrea for some assistance.
“So, does that mean you will drive us to Brighton then?” Andrea duly obliged.
“Yes,” came Megan’s simple reply. “Of course it does.”
Tracey shook her head, by now completely baffled.
“Louise is Malc’s girlfriend,” whispered Andrea, by way of an explanation. “The plan is for her to meet up with the boys when it comes to them scattering his ashes.”
Not that Tracey gave one iota who planned to be present, as long as by then Jonathan wasn’t amongst them.
“You two load your bags up,” Megan instructed, whilst pointing in the general direction of the garage. “I’ll go and let mum and dad know where I’m off and then I’ll grab my toothbrush.”
Tracey watched her happily head off back inside the house, at the same time speculating over whether or not she’d inadvertently entered some sort of twilight zone – a feeling that only got worse when Andrea proceeded to lift the up and over garage doors, revealing what had been hidden within.
She looked from what she saw to Andrea and back again.
“You’ve got to be kidding?” she said. “Someone please tell me this isn’t happening.”
Going Underground is available in all good book stores and on Amazon in both the UK and US, in paperback and many e-reader formats.