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Susanna Kearsley
Writer. Dreamer. Traveller. Mom.
Recent Activity
Quantum, I think every writers process is different. As with everything about writing, there is no one hard and fast rule when it comes to location research. For me, I have to be there--but it doesnt have to be for long. Sometimes I can gather the details Ill need for a place in a matter of hours. Other times, Ill need to return to the same location at different times, in different seasons. Interestingly, the one time I did take the giant step of moving house to the location I was writing about--in Wales, where I actually lived in the house where I was setting my story--was the only time my editor handed me back my manuscript and complained he couldnt see the landscape. I was too close to my subject--I had lost the outsiders eye. I had to regain it, and notice what it was about that part of Wales that made it special. Easier to do when youre a stranger, not a resident. Of course, when Im dealing with historical landscapes that have long since disappeared, I have to rely on travel diaries or paintings, but for the most part, nothing replaces the value of actually being there, walking the path of my characters. Sent from my iPhone
Toggle Commented Nov 5, 2018 on Being There at Word Wenches
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Sue, you are most welcome. But I do hope you get a chance to come back in person. Scotland is the sort of place that lets you be--you can travel at your own pace, and there are even slower paced coach tours. In the meantime, though, Ill do my best to help you travel vicariously :-) Sent from my iPhone
Toggle Commented Nov 5, 2018 on Being There at Word Wenches
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Thanks for sharing these, Shannon. Now I think I should have called my post Off the Path because thats such a nice way of describing it! Sent from my iPhone
Toggle Commented Nov 5, 2018 on Being There at Word Wenches
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What a lovely discovery, Alison. The most unexpected treasures can be found tucked away down little side streets. Sent from my iPhone
Toggle Commented Nov 5, 2018 on Being There at Word Wenches
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Lucky you, Beth Anne, to have friends in such a pretty place. And yes, this new novel, The Vanished Days, is a sort-of-prequel to The Winter Sea... Sent from my iPhone
Toggle Commented Nov 5, 2018 on Being There at Word Wenches
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Hi Grace! Fortunately, there are no standing stones near where Im going...although I will be going somewhere rather special this coming weekend, and will try not to get lost in the woods there. Sent from my iPhone
Toggle Commented Nov 5, 2018 on Being There at Word Wenches
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I am nothing if not stubborn, Mary Jo, and when I realized the computer wasnt going to let me connect to the Internet, I was determined not to let that stop me :-) Yes, Leith was indeed lovely. And Lily and I (and some other stray characters) did have a wonderful day there. Thanks! Sent from my iPhone
Toggle Commented Nov 5, 2018 on Being There at Word Wenches
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Susanna here, with what may be a shorter post this time, thanks to the fact that my trusty travelling computer is being obstinate this evening so I'm writing this on my cellphone instead (a Decidedly Slow Process for someone not used to typing with her thumbs :-) But since I'm in Scotland at the moment doing research for my current book, and since I know that many of you like to know what we get up to when we're working, I thought I'd share some of what I did today. Today the sun was shining, so I went to Leith.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 4, 2018 at Word Wenches
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Susanna here, packing and gathering things for a research trip for the new novel, which has me here pondering travel in general, and how different people can visit the same place and walk the same streets and yet come away with such divergent impressions. I had this illustrated perfectly not long ago while searching for historical details in traveller's narratives of Portofino in the first years of the eighteenth century. In those days, Portofino, Italy, was not yet the grand playground of the rich and famous that it would turn into in the mid-twentieth century. It was a place that... Continue reading
Posted Oct 24, 2018 at Word Wenches
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Susanna here. When I was first published, in 1994, everyone I talked to—agents and editors—had an opinion on prologues. Essentially, all the opinions came down to: “Don’t write them.” The late Elmore Leonard even placed it second on his famous “10 Rules of Writing” list: “Avoid Prologues”. Your readers don’t need two beginnings, I was told. Any backstory that’s important can be worked into the main part of the novel. Just get in there and start with the main characters in mid-action—don’t clutter things with prefaces and prologues. It’s old-fashioned. And yet… As with all things in writing, fashions tend... Continue reading
Posted Oct 5, 2018 at Word Wenches
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Susanna here. I thought I'd do something a little different for my turn this week, and share the first chapter of my current work-in-progress with you. It's a novella that will be part of a book titled THE DEADLY HOURS, with three other novellas contributed by Anna Lee Huber, Christine Trent, and C.S. Harris, to be published next year by Sourcebooks, following a possibly-cursed pocket watch as it wreaks havoc in the lives of its various owners through the centuries. My novella brings Hugh and Mary from A Desperate Fortune together with Anna and Edmund from The Firebird and Daniel... Continue reading
Posted Sep 21, 2018 at Word Wenches
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Oooh, that's a cool twist on the theme, Janice. I like that. Fictional eateries and watering holes where we'd like to hang out. You like dangerous ones, I see :-)
Toggle Commented Sep 7, 2018 on Fictional Dinner Guests at Word Wenches
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Liz, I'd be afraid to eat or drink anything with Flavia de Luce and Miss Marple both at the table--a sure sign someone was going to wind up getting murdered, and with my luck, it would probably be me :-)
Toggle Commented Sep 7, 2018 on Fictional Dinner Guests at Word Wenches
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I probably have a spare one I could loan you :-) And I know...I never do well when I'm asked this question. You and I can sit to either side of Keith Stewart, then, at our fictional dinner party...
Toggle Commented Sep 7, 2018 on Fictional Dinner Guests at Word Wenches
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Susanna here, with re-faced apologies for her tardiness. It was my son's first day back at school today and in the mad rush of packing lunch and organizing backpacks and readjusting to getting up early, I completely forgot it was my day to post, and am only just now getting round to it. So I thought I'd do something quick and fun, for a change. While I was sorting through my files recently, trying to organize things, I came across an old interview in which I was asked, among other things, If you were having a dinner party, and you... Continue reading
Posted Sep 5, 2018 at Word Wenches
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Susanna here. Today is not only this month’s Ask A Wench, it’s also Nicola’s birthday—and since my July 23 post fell on Pat’s birthday, I’ve got books and birthdays all muddled up in a lovely way in my mind now, so instead of doing our usual thing and choosing a question from the ones you’ve asked us, I thought I’d ask my fellow Wenches: What were the best books you remember receiving as birthday presents? For me, there would be too many to list here—my birthdays and my Christmases all brought those recognizable rectangular wrapped gifts that meant I’d be... Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2018 at Word Wenches
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Card Players in a Drawing Room, by Pierre Louis Dumesnil the younger Back in the late 70s and early 80s when I was at high school, every lunch hour in the cafeteria I’d be surrounded by a sea of tables filled with people playing what was then “the” card game—euchre. I never joined them, because I didn’t know the rules and, being a teenager, didn’t want to look more awkward and incompetent than I already felt. But I found it fascinating to watch. Cards were never my forte. At home, I played cribbage and gin rummy, and I could shuffle... Continue reading
Posted Aug 1, 2018 at Word Wenches
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Susanna here, still trying to figure out what time zone I'm in, with a Very Large cup of coffee on my writing desk and a Very Happy (if slightly Reproachful) poodle curled up on my lap. Whilst a number of my fellow Wenches were over the pond at the Romantic Novelists' Association conference, I headed off (alone, I believe?) down to the States, to the Romance Writers of America's National Conference in Denver, Colorado. I had a grand time. I was going to try to gather everything into a coherent and eloquent post, but several days spent in the glorious... Continue reading
Posted Jul 23, 2018 at Word Wenches
I was thinking that, too, Jenny--little bit of bitterness there, lurking underneath the wit. I'd love to know who actually wrote them.
Toggle Commented Jul 11, 2018 on Advertisements Matrimonial at Word Wenches
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Great ideas indeed, Michelle. And great fun.
Toggle Commented Jul 11, 2018 on Advertisements Matrimonial at Word Wenches
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I've been keeping my eyes open, Faith. The British Newspaper Archive doesn't have the Morning Post and Advertiser online that far back yet, though they're getting close (they're into the early 1800s), and I'm on their site quite regularly doing research, so every now and then I check to see if they've added any earlier issues, so I can check up on my matrimonial advertisers :-) I came across these ads by chance in a copy of the paper that was up for sale at auction.
Toggle Commented Jul 11, 2018 on Advertisements Matrimonial at Word Wenches
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Sue, I'm sure the reality behind the ads, even if they were (as I suspect) a farce, was more entertaining than any story I could come up with about them :-) Truth is so often much better than fiction.
Toggle Commented Jul 11, 2018 on Advertisements Matrimonial at Word Wenches
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A series is always good, Annette. And I like your idea of a long and gossipy search for the people behind the advertisements...
Toggle Commented Jul 11, 2018 on Advertisements Matrimonial at Word Wenches
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Oooo, Mary, I think you may be on to something, here. So many ways this plot could twist... :-)
Toggle Commented Jul 11, 2018 on Advertisements Matrimonial at Word Wenches
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Lillian, YOU ought to write those stories :-) You have a splendid imagination!
Toggle Commented Jul 11, 2018 on Advertisements Matrimonial at Word Wenches
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