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  • Writer's pictureSarah Davis

Interview with Sue Barnard

Ready to meet another talented author?

Me too! As I have said time and again, I love meeting new authors and getting to know what makes them tick, er, or write. Today, Sue Barnard is with me, the author of multiple books. Check out those covers! Not pictured are the many short stories she has also published.

Hey Sue! Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with me. I have been asking all the authors I get a chance to interview how many languages they speak. So, how about it? How many languages do you speak? Which is your favorite?

I speak French like a Belgian, German like a schoolgirl, and Italian & Portuguese like an Englishwoman abroad. My favourite is any language in which I can order a beer.

My friend, you and I would get along very nicely at a bar/pub.

You have written several books. Who inspired you to write your debut novel?

William Shakespeare. I’ve always loved the story of Romeo & Juliet but have always wished it didn’t end so tragically. Some years ago I saw a list of Things You Must Do Before You Die. The one which leapt out at me was Write The Book You Want To Read. The book I’ve always wanted to read is the alternative version of the story – the one in which the young lovers get the happy ending they deserve. Why, I asked myself, should there not be such a book? And the answer came straight back: Why not indeed? And if it doesn’t already exist, then go ahead and write it.

A bit of a weird question for you. You are asked what your least favorite color is knowing that it will forever be erased from existence. Would you give your answer?

Shocking pink. It’s such an assault on the eyes!

Yes, quite shocking!

If you were to be gifted a superpower that you had to use continuously for 8 hours every day, what would it be?

Curing the world of all known diseases (including stupidity).

Ooh, that is a good one. I'll add that to my superpower wish list.

What is your favorite sport to play?

I enjoy walking and open-water swimming, but I don’t regard either of those as sport. I don’t watch sport at all. Life is too short.

Life is too short. We should all play games and be merry. One game that my family has fun with is Kubb. Have you ever played it? Did you have to look it up to determine if you have?

I tried looking it up, but it isn’t even in my dictionary! So I’m none the wiser, but I’m assuming not!

We discovered it at the Renaissance Festival in Shakopee, MN. Strolling through the packed thoroughfare, back in the time of such things, we came upon a person bent over, his head almost touching the ground. Between his spread legs, he threw a baton at a mid-calf tall wood block in the center of a pitch. Captivated by his significant other's laughter and the fact that we were at the Renaissance Festival where crazy stuff is normal, we drew closer to find out why the person was acting thusly. It was the game of Kubb. The salesperson told us a legend about how the game came to be. He suggested that Vikings used to throw bones across a pitch to knock over skulls. I'm not sure about that, but I have found it also called the Swedish Skittles game. It is quite fun until the dog runs off with one of the kubbs.

The zombie apocalypse will happen in two days. You are fully stocked with food, water, and toilet paper. What is the one thing you will have stocked up on as your guilty pleasure?

Good-quality red wine. Presumably the question of a hangover won’t arise…

So long as you are stocked with pain killers and stay hydrated, I think you would be fine.

If you could have authored a book, which one and why?

It would have to be That Devil Called Love, by Lynda Chater. It’s a modern reworking of the Faust legend, in which the heroine finds out the hard way that youth, beauty, wealth and fame don’t necessarily hold the keys to lasting happiness. I first read it when I was in my 40s and starting to feel depressed about getting old, and I can honestly say that it changed my whole outlook on life. The story is told with great perception and humour, and the whole concept is so ingenious that I’ve often wished I’d thought of the idea myself.

Well, I just added a new book to my TBR pile. It sounds fascinating!

What is one food you could never bring yourself to eat and why?

Tinned peaches. They have all the charm of slugs marinated in their own slime.

Tell us your favorite "dad joke."

I can’t. It’s too rude.

Fine. Maybe a different time. Ha!

Tell us about your latest book

My most recent book is called Finding Nina. It’s a story of adoption and reunion, and it’s based partly on my own experiences as an adoptee. It’s a part-prequel, part-sequel to one of my earlier novels (Nice Girls Don’t) and took about six months to write. I found it very cathartic (even though there were times when I could barely see the computer screen through my tears). It’s available in paperback and Kindle formats from Amazon.

1943: A broken-hearted teenager gives birth in secret. Her soldier sweetheart has disappeared, and she reluctantly gives up her daughter for adoption. 1960: A girl discovers a dark family secret, but it is swiftly brushed back under the carpet. Conventions must be adhered to. 1982: A young woman learns of the existence of a secret cousin. She yearns to find her long-lost relative, but is held back by legal constraints. Life goes on. 2004: Everything changes… FINDING NINA is part-prequel, part-sequel to the bestselling NICE GIRLS DON’T, but can also be read as a stand-alone story.

It sounds amazing! Another book to my TBR pile! Folks, you should check it out!

Do you have a favorite character that you created? Why or why not?

I think it would have to be Lorenzo, the eponymous hero of The Ghostly Father. I didn’t actually create him from scratch as he already existed as the Friar in Romeo & Juliet, but I loved getting into his head and finding out what makes him tick. I’ve often wondered why, in the original play, he behaves as he does – and by giving him what I hope is an interesting and thought-provoking backstory, I’ve tried to offer some possible answers.

I am very thankful for you taking the time to answer some of my questions. Shine on!

Thank you for inviting me to your blog, Sarah. Take care, and stay safe!



More on Sue:

Sue Barnard is a British novelist, editor and award-winning poet whose family background is far stranger than any work of fiction. She would write a book about it if she thought anybody would believe her. Sue was born in North Wales some time during the last millennium. Her mind is so warped that she has appeared on BBC TV’s Only Connect quiz show, and she has also compiled questions for BBC Radio 4's fiendishly difficult Round Britain Quiz. This once caused one of her sons to describe her as "professionally weird”. The label has stuck. Sue now lives in Cheshire, UK, with her extremely patient husband and a large collection of unfinished scribblings.

To see what else Sue is up to:

Twitter: @AuthorSusanB


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