Behind the Story: Sue Featherstone and Susan Pape

Sue 2.pngToday I am delighted to introduce you to not one, but two amazing writers. Sue Featherstone is a former journalist and public relations practitioner turned academic. Her career started in local newspapers before switching to PR to become internal communications manager with a large utility company. She completed a degree in English Literature as a mature student and subsequently moved into higher education, teaching journalism to undergraduate students at Sheffield Hallam University. At the beginning of 2017, Sue left Sheffield Hallam to focus on her writing.

Together with her friend and writing partner Susan Pape, she has written two successful journalism text books – Newspaper Journalism: A Practical Introduction; and Feature Writing: A Practical IntroductionTheir first novel, A Falling Friend, was published by Lakewater Press in 2016 and a sequel will follow summer 2017.

They now write about books at https://bookloversbooklist.com/

Keep reading for more information on Sue and Susan’s special give away …

What makes a successful work partnership?

Don’t ask me.

Nor, my writing partner Susan Pape.

Neither of us has a clue why our partnership – 27 years and counting – works so well.

Especially as, initially, our relationship was a marriage of convenience rather than a love match.

I don’t even remember much about our first meeting but I was so desperate I would have teamed up with anyone with the requisite number of typing fingers.

And, I think she was beyond being over-fussy either.

We were introduced by Susan’s partner, now her husband, who did some freelance work for the company where I managed internal communications.

I’d just returned to work after maternity leave and was looking for a job share other-half.

Susan, whose local newspaper and PR background was similar to mine, wanted to return to Yorkshire and her chap suggested we might be a match.

We quickly discovered our complementary skills – did I tell you she’s incredibly organised? – made for a dynamic duo.

And, although in theory, as job share partners, we should have worked opposite ends of the week, the nature of the job – writing, editing and producing a range of internal communications projects – meant it was often sensible to double up at busy times.

It was a very happy time.

Susan Pape (left) and Sue Featherstone
Susan Pape (left) and Sue Featherstone (right)

Eventually, however, we decided to move on – and both ended up as mature students. Different universities but both studying English Literature.

After graduation we both freelanced at a mix of PR and journalism jobs and then both gravitated into teaching journalism. Me at Sheffield Hallam University and Susan at Leeds Trinity.

Of course, we’d kept in touch and, one day, over lunch – we lunch a lot, usually with a glass of wine – we were both bemoaning the lack of a decent, simple, how-to write like a journalist text book when one of us said: ‘Why don’t we…?’

I’m sure it was my idea. Susan probably thinks it was hers.

We approached four academic publishers and had positive responses from three. Our first book Newspaper Journalism: A Practical Introduction was published by Sage in 2005 and the follow-up, Feature Writing: A Practical Introduction, also published by Sage, came out a year later.

Both are still on the reading lists of many university journalism courses. (There’s even a Chinese edition.)

That’s when Susan came up with her BIG idea. ‘Let’s write a novel.’

Between us we came up with a rough synopsis and, after several drafts and much re-writing and editing and long periods when we didn’t write a single sentence, our novel A Falling Friend was published by Lakewater Press in 2016. 

Please note: although our main characters work in the local media and post-1992 universities, any resemblance to anyone living or dead is purely coincidental.

Honestly.

We’ve had some decent reviews – we were named as a Yorkshire Post top five book and as a book of the month by the Book of the Month Club http://booksofmonthclub.com/a-falling-friend/   – and, though we haven’t set the world on fire, yet, we’re happy.

And, we’ve both particularly enjoyed speaking at book clubs and other events where we’re always asked: ‘How do you write together?’

I don’t know, we just do.

How do other people write on their own?

It must be so lonely without anyone else to bounce ideas off.

Or to talk you up when you hit a brick wall.

I did once start a novel without Susan – but, after half a chapter, I decided it wasn’t much fun so I winged an email with my opening pages and asked her to join in.

A Falling Friend coverWe haven’t completed that book yet because we’ve been too busy putting the finishing touches to a sequel to A Falling Friend so we’re saving it for later.

And we have absolutely no plans for a divorce.

You can find Sue Featherstone on Twitter –  @SueF_Writer

And you can get a copy of A Falling Friend HERE.

A little more about the book:

“CHIC LIT WITH ATTITUDE!” – Amazon Reviewer
“A FAST, EASY POOLSIDE READ” – Goodreads Reviewer
Chosen as The Yorkshire Post’s Top 5: Pick of the Best Books!

This “witty and pacy” character-driven masterpiece is “reminiscent of Bridget Jones” and proves that there really are two sides to every story.

After spending her twenties sailing the globe, making love on fine white sand, and thinking only of today, Teri Meyer returns to Yorkshire – and to studying. That’s when she discovers John Wilmot, the second Earl of Rochester, and poet of all things depraved. What she doesn’t realise is even beyond his grave, his influence over her is extraordinary. To hell with the consequences.

Having gone out on a limb to get old friend Teri a job at the university at which she teaches, it doesn’t take long for Lee Harper to recognise a pattern. Wherever Teri goes, whatever she does, every selfish choice she makes, it’s all setting her up for a nasty fall. But Teri’s not the sort to heed a warning, so Lee has no choice but to stand by and watch. And besides, she has her own life to straighten out.

GIVE AWAY TIME! To celebrate the one year anniversary of A FALLING FRIEND, Sue and Susan are offering THREE (yes, you read that right!) e-book copies to three lucky readers. All you need to do is comment below is tell us who you would like to be in partnership with on any project you wish (you don’t need to leave their full name if you don’t want!). Winners will be announced May 10.

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