THE THINGS WE NEVER SAID – 10th anniversary!

Ten years ago next week, my debut novel, The Things We Never Said, was published. To my utter astonishment it instantly became a bestseller, so I’m doing a little blog post to celebrate. I guess I’m celebrating ten years as a published novelist, but I also want to celebrate the book itself. It still sells well on Kindle and in audiobook, and is much-borrowed in libraries, but the paperback is now print on demand,  so it’s more expensive! However, I do get an author discount, so I’ve splashed out and bought some copies to give away on my  Facebook page 

What it’s about

The Things We Never Said, by Susan Elliot Wright

The Things We Never Said

In 1964, Maggie wakes up in an asylum with no idea who she is or why she’s there. Little glimpses of memory tantalise her – a roaring gale,  a sickly baby. Then one night, a word in an overheard conversation on the ward suddenly brings the devastating truth flooding back.

In 2010, Jonathan and his wife are expecting their first baby. His difficult relationship with his own father means he’s already worried he won’t be a good dad,  then a knock on the door from a cold case detective throws his life even further into turmoil. Jonathan’s familial DNA is linked with a decades-old crime


‘If you love Maggie O’Farrell, you will love this’  Veronica Henry

The Things We Never Said

Review in The Bookseller

The book seemed to touch the hearts of readers in a way I could only have dreamed of. Being my first novel, it took years of blood, sweat and tears (well, certainly tears!) and what felt like endless writing and rewriting before it was in good enough shape to start approaching agents.

I knew getting published wasn’t easy, so I braced myself for rejections. And they came. Plenty of them. But then came the call from my agent telling me that Simon & Schuster were interested. ‘But don’t open the champagne yet,’ she cautioned. The editor and the fiction team loved it, She told me, but the acquisitions meeting the following day, and nothing was certain until then.

I was working as a chef at the time, catering weddings, and the next day, I don’t know how I didn’t end up putting salt in the meringues and sugar in the potatoes. I checked my phone a hundred times, but by the time I finished my shift at 3pm, I still hadn’t heard. I went home and took the dog for a walk. We’re in the park, he’s just done a massive poo (big dog, big poo) and I’m just bending down, poo bag stretched over my hands thinking, this would be about the worst possible time for my agent to call…

The news I’d been waiting for

Have you ever tried to sound excited but completely professional while tying up a bag of warm dog poo? Anyway, the news was good – a two-book deal – and it was all systems go on the champagne. It was a long time to wait before I was able to hold the book in my hands, but eventually, the months passed, and it was published,

susan elliot wright

It’s a real book! The great unboxing

Book launch for The Things We Never Said

Book launch at Waterstones







Readers loved it, and it got shortlisted and long listed for a few things, including the RNA Contemporary romantic novel of the year (NB I don’t think it’s romantic, though it does have a strong relationship that withstands considerable pressure). I got to speak at libraries and events, and all in all, I had a brilliant time.

Romantic novel of the year Shortlist  4

With other shortlisted authors at RONAs award ceremony 2014

But the absolute best thing of all was the amazing emails I received. ten years on, I still get messages about this book, though these days it’s usually via social media. One that sticks in my mind was from a woman who said the book had reignited her love of reading after a long period where she’d been completely unable to engage with the book. Most of the messages are from women, although I’ve had some lovely comments about this novel from men, too.

The Things We Never Said

In good company on the Waterstones front table!

Since then…

My fifth novel, All You Ever Wanted was published last year, and my fourth, The Flight of Cornelia Blackwood was published ‘to acclaim’. I’m probably a better writer now than I was then, but there seems to have been something about this book that captured the imagination and brought me readers who have since gone on to buy all my novels. Which is why I’ll always have a soft spot for my ‘first baby’, and why I might just open another bottle of champagne on its tenth birthday. If you’d like to read it now,  try your luck in the giveaway by going to my Facebook page  or buy it on Audiobook  or on Kindle 

If you’d like to know more about me and my books, have a look around my website

THE WRITING LIFE – publication week and what it’s really like

The long-awaited (by me, anyway) publication of What She Lost was a week ago, so I thought this might be a good time to reflect on what publication day (and week) actually means for an author.


A mother whose memory is ravaged by Alzheimer’s, a daughter desperate to discover the truth, a terrible secret that has haunted them both. Can Eleanor reconnect with her mother before it’s too late?

Continue reading


                                                                                                                                                                My second novel, The Secrets We Left Behind was published last week. Hoorah! 

I kicked off publication day with a visit to the dentist (I know how to live the glamorous life, me) then I popped into the local shop for some washing-up liquid and a packet of biscuits. You see, I remember my last Publication Day. There had been a long build-up and I felt a tremendous sense of anticipation, and when the day finally dawned, I suppose I expected some sort of life-changing moment. But the reality of Publication Day for the vast majority of first-time authors is simply that one minute, your book isn’t in the shops, and then the next minute – um, your book isn’t in the shops!

I was pretty naive last time and I’d gone dashing around expecting to see my shiny new novel on lots of shelves. In fact, I only found The Things We Never Said in Tesco, where it was on a special promotion. It soon appeared my local Waterstones, though, and in more and more branches over the next few months, and I’ve been extremely fortunate in that it’s ended up selling very well indeed. But although my first publication day felt very special in some ways – flowers from my publishers, a congratulations card from my agent and lots of lovely messages from fellow authors, it certainly wasn’t what I’d imagined before I was published.

So this time, I was prepared. I would simply enjoy the celebratory nature of the day, eat some cake and maybe have a glass of fizz. And what lovely day it turned out to be! I was overwhelmed by the sheer warmth and number of congratulatory messages from my Twitter and Facebook friends, I received a gorgeous bouquet of flowers from Simon & Schuster, 

and when, despite my best intentions, I couldn’t resist nipping into town to have a nosy around the bookshelves, I’m thrilled to report that I found it in Waterstones, Tesco’s, and WH Smith! So I had another glass of champagne.

During my Read Regional library events, readers have been asking whether the second book was easier to write than the first. I didn’t find it easier, I’m afraid, although I do feel I learned a lot first time round. With the second book, I was much more aware of the process of storytelling; I feel I’ve learned more about how to reveal some things gradually and keep others back in order to increase the tension. I wrote The Secrets We Left Behind in 18 months – much faster than The Things We Never Said. I had a deadline to meet, so I had to make decisions more quickly and stick to them rather than allowing myself the luxury of trying out different things to see if they worked. Overall, I’d say writing the second novel was a different experience, rather than an easier one.

One of the messages I received wished me a ‘Happy Book Birthday’ and talked about my second novel being ‘born’. I suppose writing a novel is a bit like having a baby – you plan it for years but it’s only finally born after a long gestation period and an incredibly difficult and painful period of labour. Then, for some strange reason we forget how hard the whole thing is and we do it all over again!  And I’m reflecting on this now as I struggle with my third novel….

*If you’re in or near to Sheffield on 21st of May, do join me for a glass of wine to celebrate the launch of The Secrets We Left Behind. The event starts at 6.30 at Waterstones, Orchard Square, Sheffield S1