I'm back with another awesomely brilliant author
on the blog today.
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Susan Francis is an emerging writer from Newcastle, NSW. Her debut memoir, The Love that Remains was released by leading independent publisher Allen & Unwin, on 4 February 2020. She has completed a Master’s degree in Australian Literature and is a former high school English teacher.
In 2017, an earlier version of Susan’s memoir gained a final placing in the Varuna House Publishers Introduction Program. A colleague in Susan’s writer’s group then nominated her story for the radio podcast ABC Conversations. The interview with Sarah Macdonald went to air in 2018.
Since then, Susan’s work has been published in the Newcastle Short Story Anthology and International Anthology from Hammond House (UK). She has also been longlisted for the Fish Publishing Competition and highly commended for the AAWP Emerging Writers' Prize, amongst many others. Her script The Year of the Dog, was performed at The Monologue Adventures -Voices of Women, in Sydney 2018.
Susan is currently writing her second book, a crime thriller set against the backdrop of a significant historical event: the 1975 execution of the Balibo Five. Susan has lived in the United Kingdom, Spain and Indonesia and hopes soon to travel to Timor Leste.
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Pun Date: 4 February 2020
Page extent: 256
An extraordinary memoir about secrets, life's shocking twists and unconditional love.
How could I write about the importance of truth and not tell the whole truth myself?
After twenty years spent searching for her biological parents, 52-year-old Susan Hull unexpectedly meets the great love of her life - a goldminer named Wayne Francis. He is a gentle giant of a man, who promises Susan the world.
Two years later, they throw in their jobs, marry and sell everything they own, embarking on an incredible adventure, to start a new life in the romantic city of Granada, where they learn Spanish and enjoy too much tapas. In love, and enthralled by the splendour of a European springtime, the pair treasure every moment together.
Until a shocking series of events alters everything.
Riveting, heartfelt and remarkably honest, Susan Francis The Love that Remains explores unconditional love and the lies we tell to safeguard our happiness.
BUY YOUR COPY HERE!
Who are you and what do you write?
I’m a woman - nearly fifty-nine years of age. I’m a mother, a reader and a writer, a traveller and a former high school English teacher who has been blessed with some amazing friends and family. I create short stories and I’ve recently completed a memoir. This year I hope to finish my first novel which is a political thriller, of sorts.
Where and when and how did the writing life begin for you?
As a child, maybe at 4 or 5 years of age, I remember the moment when the individual letters I was drawing on my blackboard at home, merged into a single word and made meaning. And I had a sudden and wonderful understanding: I could transfer ideas from my head onto the page. It seemed like magic.
How has the journey to this point been? Can you give us a basic rundown?
My relatively short journey to publication followed the most traumatic period of my life. All that horror after my husband died in Portugal was replaced with the strongest sense of personal achievement, and both these aspects of my life occurred in my mid to late fifties. This seems remarkable, even to me. To find your sense of self so late in life is the gist that has been given to me.
I have also been extraordinarily lucky with the people around me, including my agent Benython Oldfield from Zeitgeist Agency, my publisher Annette Barlow from Allen & Unwin and my publicist Laura Benson. Up until this point (5 weeks on from publication), I had always thought writing a waiting game. But right now, it feels like I’m desperately hanging on to a pole inside a train carriage, with half my body hanging out the door. The rush is real.
What's been the hardest part of your writing/publishing experience so far?
My memoir is structured in three parts, and each section narrates the journey I made through a different country: Australia, Spain and Papua New Guinea. The most difficult challenge was trying to make the decision about whether to include the final section. Questions about appropriation and betrayal still remain unresolved for me.
And the most enjoyable?
Finding my place. Finding where I belong. The writing community has been kind and embracing.
Would you go back and change anything?
Where would you like to be in 5 years’ time? And 10? Or, what are your plans for the future?
In 5 years, I will be sixty-four. I would like to be living in the same house, with the Balibo book completed and published. I would also like to return to PNG and partner with women in a writing
What's one piece of advice you'd give to new writers just starting out?
Listen to the good advice and don’t take it personally. I incorporated changes that some very wise people suggested and it is a much better book because of that. Also, although everyone says it, you must not give up. Just keep working at it till it is the best it can be.
And most importantly...
Ketchup or Mayo? - Ketchup
Night or Day? - Night
Inside or Outside? - Inside
Dogs or Cats? - Dogs
Twitter or Facebook? - Twitter
Ebook or Paperback? - Paperback
Sun or Rain? - Rain
Keyboard or Pencil & Notebook? - Keyboard
Comedy or Drama? - Drama
Chips or Chocolate? - Chips
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