Mastodon The Writing Desk: Special Guest Interview with Author Suzy Henderson, Author of Spitfire

1 September 2020

Special Guest Interview with Author Suzy Henderson, Author of Spitfire

Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

May 1940. The French and British armies are in retreat as Hitler's blitzkrieg storms through France. Finally, they are beaten back to the coast at Dunkirk, with nowhere left to flee. Churchill is determined to rescue as many men as possible, for without her army, Britain is sunk. A plan is hatched to evacuate the men from the beaches by sea, but it will take the combined strength of all the forces to ensure its success.

I'm pleased to welcome author Suzy Henderson to The Writing Desk:

Tell us about your latest book

My latest published book, Spitfire, is a short story featuring a character who is to be the main protagonist in my next WW2 novel. I have no idea where the story came from, but it was a lightning bolt moment as it paved the way forward to the new series. It features Sam, a fighter pilot caught up in the Dunkirk evacuation in May 1940 The French and British armies are in retreat as Hitler’s blitzkrieg storms through France. He flies multiple sorties day after day, hunting the Luftwaffe, enduring battle fatigue, and the loss of friends.

What is your preferred writing routine?

A great question. My preferred routine is to rise early morning and begin writing or editing over breakfast and beyond, at least until lunchtime. I do manage this sometimes, but alas my other work beckons and it’s impossible to maintain a rigid writing schedule right now. Generally, I find pockets of time where I can write or do some revisions even if it’s while cooking dinner! It’s flexible and it works for me.

I aim to write a minimum of 2000 words per day when writing a new book. As long as I have a complete draft, no matter how rough, then I can work with it and revise until I’m satisfied. When I first started out, I was definitely a panster, but that didn’t last. I’m a fan of plotting and of writing a synopsis as I find it helps in the long run. The framework keeps me on track.

What advice do you have for new writers?

Go for it. If it’s in your blood and your bones, then you’ll know because you won’t be able to resist. You might think you are the worst writer in history, ever! Know this—you will be in good company. You will get better, and if you are brilliant, then perhaps you will shine brighter than everyone in time. Tread the rocky road. Some days are great, some days are okay while others are dire—again, that’s a writer’s life and it’s okay. 

I think discipline is key. Make time in your routine to write most days if possible, and get used to showing up. For me, that often means having to make sacrifices in order to write. And join writing communities or tune in on Facebook. Twitter has a wonderful community—search #writingcommunity. Try to get some feedback on your writing too, especially before sending off to agents or publishers. It’s so helpful and helps you to revise your work so it’s the best you can possibly make it before you begin pitching your book.

What have you found to be the best way to raise awareness of your books?

I’m not so sure that I have. As an indie author, it’s tough going at the best of times, but in all honesty, I have found promoting on Twitter to be the best option. It keeps people in the know, provides some exposure for my work and aids sales. I tried NetGalley earlier this year and received a decent amount of reviews from readers and I think Instagram is a growing, viable platform for authors.

Tell us something unexpected you discovered during your research

One of the most gruesome was when I read that the guillotine was still being used in WW2. The Germans used it for some executions. I remember including this in a scene in a screenplay for a creative writing course years ago, and my tutor exclaiming that surely the guillotine was extinct by then. Sadly not. According to official records, the Nazis executed some 16,500 people while they were in power between 1933 and 1945. Many of them were resistance fighters.

What was the hardest scene you remember writing?

That was a love scene in my debut novel, The Beauty Shop. I hated writing that, and it made me cringe! Still, I did it the best I could after many revisions, and I think it turned out okay. Definitely not one of my strong points.

What are you planning to write next?

Well, as I mentioned above, I have a new WW2 series in the planning stage, but right now I am in the midst of edits/revisions on a women’s fiction novel, set in the present day. It revolves around the central character, Grace, a widow, and survivor of emotional abuse, who is learning to start again and build a new life for herself on the Isle of Mull. Typically, there’s a wee hint of WW2 in there when she uncovers some interesting information about her recently deceased grandmother. What can I say? The idea offered itself on a plate and I couldn’t resist.

Suzy Henderson
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About the Author

Suzy Henderson lives with her husband and two sons in England, on the edge of the Lake District. Although she never set out to be a writer, she has always loved reading and experiencing the joy of escaping to another time and place.  While researching her family history, Suzy became fascinated with both World War periods and developed an obsession with military and aviation history partly due to her grandparents' war service. After obtaining her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she began to write until one day she had a novel. In a previous life she was a Midwife but now she runs a small business from home which fits in perfectly with being a novelist. Other interests include music, old movies, and photography—especially if WW2 aircraft are on the radar.  Suzy writes contemporary and historical fiction and is a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors. Her debut novel, The Beauty Shop, was awarded the B.R.A.G. Medallion. Find out more at Suzy's website 
and find her on Facebook and Twitter  @Suzy_Henderson

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