THE WRITING LIFE – book 3 out in less than two weeks, redrafting book 4

Whenever I start a new blog post after a bit of a gap, I feel like I should begin with: it has been eight weeks since my last confession…

Yes, I was quite shocked to see that I haven’t blogged since just before Christmas. My only excuse is that there’s a lot going on in my writing life at the moment.

In my last post, I talked about the experience of writing the first draft of my fourth book surprisingly quickly and receiving positive feedback. A few weeks ago, on a cold and drizzly day at the end of January, I met my agent and my new editor for lunch in a lovely little Bloomsbury pub. we sat at a table next to a blazing log fire and discussed how I might approach the next draft.


It was a wonderfully creative meeting, and I came away fired up with enthusiasm for the redraft, my main brief being to make the next draft a little less dark. (I do seem to have rather overdone the darkness in this one, especially in the first few chapters!) So, I’m now working my way through the rewrites with that in mind. I also need to identify and cut out some boring detail, as well as tweak my central character’s history. In addition, I’ve decided to change it from third person to first person (which isn’t as simple as changing ‘she’ to ‘I’). So all in all, although it’s nothing major, there’s still a fair bit of work.

As well as thinking about book 4, part of my brain is constantly exploring possible ideas for book 5. So that’s two books in my head at once. Add to that the fact that book 3 – the most difficult book I’ve written so far, but also the one of which I am the most proud – is being published in a couple of weeks, and you’ll see why I’m feeling a little overwhelmed. Here’s the heads up on the new book:


Eleanor and her mother Marjorie have always had a difficult relationship and although they’ve tried, they have somehow just failed to connect.

    Now Marjorie has Alzheimer’s, and as her memory fades, her grip on what she has kept hidden begins to loosen. When she calls her daughter to say, ‘There’s something I have to tell you’, Eleanor hopes this will be the moment she learns the truth about the terrible secret that has cast a shadow over both their lives.

    But Marjorie’s memory is failing fast and she can’t recall what she wanted to say. Eleanor knows time is running out, and as she tries to gently uncover the truth before it becomes lost inside her mother’s mind forever, she begins to discover what really happened when she was a child – and why…

    A story of family and secrets, perfect for fans of Maggie O’Farrell.

It’s surprising just how much work there is for an author to do leading up to publication. True, I could just recline on my chaise longue (if I had one) sipping champagne and waiting for inspiration for the next novel. But although realistically I can’t make a massive difference to sales, I can connect with readers, so the next few weeks will be very much focused around social media. Not exactly a hardship! I love social media – writing is such a lonely business, and I really value the banter I have on Twitter, not to mention the wonderful support from other writers.

As I write, it’s a little less than two weeks to publication day. There will be a few exciting things to report nearer the time, so watch this space! In the meantime, if you’d like to pre-order the book, you can do so  via Simon & Schuster  via Waterstones  via Amazon  and many other outlets.

If you’re in Sheffield or south-east London and you’d like to come along to hear me read from the book and get your copy signed, there are a couple of events coming up:

Sheffield – Thursday March 16 at Waterstones, Orchard Square, S1 2FB Time: 6.30 to 8pm

South-east London – Thursday, March 23 at Waterstones Greenwich (Cutty Sark) 51 Greenwich Church Street SE10 9BL Time: 530 to 7pm

These are public events, so do feel free to come along. If you can make it, it would be great if you could add your name to one of the lists on my Facebook page: Sheffield event   London event

Look out for another blog post very soon!

WORKSHOPS NEWS: we have a few spaces left on the structure workshop on March 4th, and also on the space to write day, March 18th. Go to the workshops page for full details

3 thoughts on “THE WRITING LIFE – book 3 out in less than two weeks, redrafting book 4

  1. Juana says:

    I can speak only for myself, but your wish to engage with the readers is what keeps me following your blog and posts, not to say what keeps my motivation going.
    It's such a beautiful and yet scary world, the one we writers have in our minds, and more often than not the temptation to give up is very appealing…
    Good luck with the launch of your new book, I am sure it will be another pleasant surprise for us readers!!

  2. Susan Elliot Wright says:

    I'm so glad to hear this, Juana. It's so important to have that connection, isn't it? And for me, knowing that readers are connecting with my writing is what helps my motivation. As you say, the temptation to give up can be very appealing when things get tough – which they often do! Thank you for your kind words about the new book – you've followed this blog quite closely, so you know how difficult this one was for me to write. I got there in the end, though – I hope you like it!

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