Monday, 21 July 2014

The Ghostly Father - Sue Barnard

About the book...
Romeo & Juliet - was this what really happened? 

When Juliet Roberts is asked to make sense of an ancient Italian manuscript, she little suspects that she will find herself propelled into the midst of one of the greatest love stories of all time. But this is only the beginning. As more hidden secrets come to light, Juliet discovers that the tragic tale of her famous namesake might have had a very different outcome... 

A favourite classic story with a major new twist.

About the author...

Sue Barnard was born in North Wales but has spent most of her life in and around Manchester. After graduating from Durham University, where she studied French and Italian, Sue got married then had a variety of office jobs before becoming a full-time parent. If she had her way, the phrase "non-working mother" would be banned from the English language.
Since then she has had a series of part-time jobs, including some work as a freelance copywriter. In parallel with this she took several courses in Creative Writing. Her writing achievements include winning the Writing Magazine New Subscribers Poetry Competition for 2013. She is also very interested in Family History. Her own background is stranger than fiction; she'd write a book about it if she thought anybody would believe her.
Sue has a mind which is sufficiently warped as to be capable of compiling 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 joined the editorial team Crooked Cat Publishing in 2013. Her first novel, The Ghostly Father (a new take on the traditional story of Romeo & Juliet) was officially released on St Valentine's Day 2014.  Her second novel, a romantic mystery entitled Nice Girls Don’t, is due for release in July 2014.

You can find Sue on Facebook, Twitter, or follow her blog here.

An interview with Sue...

Hi Sue welcome to my blog :)

Thank you for inviting me!

  • Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in North Wales, but have spent most of my life in an around Manchester.  I’ve been married to the same wonderful man for over thirty years, and we have two grown-up sons.  
  • What can you tell us about your next novel The Ghostly Father?
It’s a retelling of the traditional story of Romeo & Juliet, but with a few new twists and a different ending.  It takes the form of a backstory for the character of Friar Lawrence, and the story is told from his point of view.
In this version he’s called Fra’ Lorenzo, which is the Italian form of his name.
  • You studied French and Italian at university I believe. Did you ever consider using those and working or settling abroad?
I used the French for a while during some of my various office jobs.  And I do enjoy travelling (and the languages come in useful for that!).  There was a point, some years ago, when my husband’s job might have meant moving abroad, but in the end that didn’t happen.
  • Did you always want to be a writer and if you weren’t what would your dream job be?
I’ve been writing, off and on, for quite a long time, but it’s only during the past few years that I’ve started taking it more seriously.  This was triggered by a life-changing event which happened just under ten years ago.  That’s another story entirely and would probably fill another book all on its own.

I don’t have a “dream job” as such; I don’t think there’s any job which is totally devoid of drawbacks in some form or other.  But if someone offered me the job of all-expenses-paid travel correspondent or restaurant critic, I think I’d be very tempted!
  • The cover of your book in no way gives a clue to a classic love tale, how was it chosen and how much input do you have into the cover designs of your books?
The choice of cover was a joint decision between me and the publisher.  Several designs were suggested, but that was the one which really stood out from the crowd.  The monk represents the “Ghostly Father” of the title.  We wanted something which was eye-catching and slightly mysterious.  The same is true of the cover of my second novel (Nice Girls Don’t, published on 15 July 2014).
  • Describe a typical day in your life of Sue Barnard the author.
Er – what is this “typical day” of which you speak?  My days seem to fill themselves without any visible effort on my part! The nearest I have to a routine is that mornings are usually given over to errands and admin, and writing is done in the afternoons. But none of that is set in stone.
  • What was the process and how long did it take from writing your first page to having the book published?
I started writing the first draft of The Ghostly Father in the summer of 2010.  It was officially published on St Valentine’s Day 2014.
  • Where did the inspiration for this book come from and how do you research your story-lines, are they complete fabrication or part fact?
I’ve always loved the story of Romeo & Juliet but hated the ending, and I’ve often wished that there was an alternative version of the story which had a more satisfactory outcome.  I was finally kick-started into writing The Ghostly Father when I saw one of those lists of “Things You Should Do Before You Die.”  The one which leapt out at me was “Write the book you want to read.”

The Ghostly Father is a complete fabrication, but the tale is closely woven round the original Romeo & Juliet story.  Because it’s told from the Friar’s point of view I researched the routine of life in a monastery, and because the he’s skilled in herb-lore I had to study a bit of that too.  

In Nice Girls Don’t, two of the episodes in the story are based, at least in part, on real events.
  • Now the book is published and ‘out there’ how do you feel?
Still a bit bewildered, to be honest.  Every so often I have to go to the bookshelf and pick up the book, just to convince myself that I haven’t imagined the whole thing.  
  • Is there a message for the reader, what do you hope they get from one of your books?
Both The Ghostly Father and Nice Girls Don’t contain what I hope is a strong message of reconciliation and forgiveness.  
  • What can we expect from you in the future?
Goodness knows!

Now for a little bit of fun, a glimpse at the real 
Sue Barnard:-

What’s your favourite tipple? 
A pint of real ale.  And it has to be a pint.  Halves are for wimps.

Do you prefer savoury or sweet things? 
Savoury, always.  

Friends coming round  - cook or get a take-away? 
Cook.  It’s usually a joint-effort; Better Half is a much better cook than I am, and he’s happy to take care of most of it!

Do you prefer hot or cold climates? 
Hot – so long as it’s a nice dry heat rather than oppressively humid.  

Do you prefer a beach holiday or city break?
I’m equally happy with either.

Which would you prefer luxury cruise or fly long haul first class? 
Cruising has never really appealed to me.  I’ve flown long haul several times, but for reasons of cost it’s always been cattle-class.  I don’t have a problem with flying, but I do have a problem with cramped conditions.  Flying long haul first class, and being able to do the journey in comfort, is the one “rich person” thing I’d love to be able to do.

Do you prefer to go to the cinema or theatre? 
That depends what I’m going to see.  My decision is based on the show itself, rather than the format.

Which do you prefer: comedy or true stories when watching a film? 
Comedy.  There’s far too much misery in the world as it is.

Do you have any pets? 

Tell us something we don’t know about you.
I was once sawn in half.

Thanks for visiting my blog Sue:)

It’s been a pleasure!

My friend Jo has written a review of The Ghostly Father 
you can read it here: Comet Babes Books


  1. Love your interview Dawn, yes I am awake at stupid o'clock xx thanks for the shout out too xx ����