In conversation with... Susan Lewis

Hi Susan! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the publication of One Minute Later! Can you please briefly tell us what it is about?

A: It’s about a young woman whose dreams are shattered when she finds out she needs a new heart. The agonising wait changes her life completely as she realises she will never achieve her ambitions, that there is no time to fall in love, or to become a mother.

Did you have the plot entirely figured out when you started writing the book or did it take an unexpected turn as the characters grew on the page?

A: I’d say I knew about half of it when I started. I like the characters to have free rein in the story and I love being surprised when things take a turn I hadn’t expected. That happens quite a lot.

What kind of research, if any, did you have to carry out while you were writing this novel? In general, is research something you enjoy or a means to an end?

A: I spent a lot of time talking with Jim Lynskey, a young man who is waiting for a new heart and who features as himself in the book. Together he, Josh and Vivi set up a website called www.save9lives.com. This exists. I also spoke with cardiologists and GPs.  Usually I enjoy research, but sometimes it can be quite difficult to find a way through to where I need to go.

Without giving too much away, can you tell us about a scene in the book that you love or that was particularly difficult to write?

A: I love the scene where Vivi and Josh first meet at Michelle’s house. It was very hard to write in order to strike the right balance. This is truly an impossible love at first sight, but it happens.

Is there anything that didn’t make it into the final version of the book?

A: Yes, but if I told you that I’d give away how it ends.  

If you are already working on your next writing project, would you mind giving us a little anticipation of what we are to expect?

A: The next book is about Angie, a kind, funny and vivacious young mother who tries to help the homeless and finds herself and her children in the same situation.  

What are you reading at the moment?

A:  I’m reading The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley – and listening to The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfiled.  

Due to the popularity of social networking websites, interacting with readers – be it via Twitter, Facebook Instagram etc. – is becoming increasingly important. How do you cope with these new demands on authors and do you think that they somehow disrupt your writing schedule?

A:  It can be a lot of fun, but you’re right it’s also quite distracting at times. It’s a wonderful way to communicate with readers though. Before social media there was so little interaction, which was a great shame. I love it when a reader is in touch to say how much a book has moved them, or to share their own experiences that are similar to those in the book.  

What one piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers?

A:  Listen! Listen to what’s going on in your head, characters will speak if you allow them to. Listen to the way people speak, and when you write anything always try to hear it in your head.   

Thank you for your time!

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