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Susanna Kearsley
Writer. Dreamer. Traveller. Mom.
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Susanna here. My elder son is moving in a few days, and that has me grateful that he lives in modern times, when he can freely move across an ocean to another country without having to navigate the complex social etiquette involved in introductions that our ancestors were bound by. In another age, we’d have been busily rounding up letters of introduction he could carry over with him. I’ve come across countless examples of these in my years of doing research for my novels, including including the one Admiral Thomas Gordon wrote in March, 1724 to General Dillon at Paris... Continue reading
Posted Aug 23, 2019 at Word Wenches
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Morgan, your typewriter will probably find you, when the time comes. Like Nevil found me. (And I hope your boss is feeling better after his surgery).
Toggle Commented Aug 7, 2019 on Introducing Nevil at Word Wenches
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I LOVE Trustee from the Toolroom. It is such an underrated classic. My favourite Shute will probably always be A Town Like Alice, because of the romance and because it was the first of his that I ever read, and because it's probably the reason I write dual-time novels now; but the racism in it, which I always found jarring, stands out even more now, so I do have to mentally compartmentalize a few bits as I read. But Trustee from the Toolroom is such a lovely character study of a quiet, ordinary man who turns out to be anything but ordinary, in the end. I truly love that book.
Toggle Commented Aug 7, 2019 on Introducing Nevil at Word Wenches
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I know exactly what you mean. I typed the first draft of my very first novel on the self-correcting electric typewriter (can't remember the make) from the museum where I was working back in the late 1980s. I do remember it had a cartridge ribbon, because I used to swap out the ribbon cartridge and use my own for the book, so I wouldn't be using museum supplies for personal purposes :-) It was a lovely machine.
Toggle Commented Aug 7, 2019 on Introducing Nevil at Word Wenches
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Nevil says hey, Jennifer :-)
Toggle Commented Aug 7, 2019 on Introducing Nevil at Word Wenches
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Lillian, one of the fun offshoots of all of this for me has been how much I've learned about old typewriters! There are so many different makes and models, all so individual. Does your typewriter have any maker's name on it?
Toggle Commented Aug 7, 2019 on Introducing Nevil at Word Wenches
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Nevil says hello back!
Toggle Commented Aug 7, 2019 on Introducing Nevil at Word Wenches
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Pamela, I write by hand sometimes, too (especially in the bathtub, when my characters decide to start talking to each other and I have to grab whatever paper is nearby and try to get their dialogue down before I lose it!). But in general, my thoughts move too quickly for my hand to keep up, and I was fortunate enough to have been able to persuade my guidance counsellor in High School to let me take touch-typing (I was in the Academic stream, typing was in the Business stream, and he didn't think I'd need it, so I had to convince him it might come in useful if I ever had to type an essay at university...). So keyboards are the only way I can (almost) keep pace with my thoughts when the words are coming quickly.
Toggle Commented Aug 7, 2019 on Introducing Nevil at Word Wenches
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I've never seen a half-electric typewriter! What an intriguing concept. Sounds like the kind of odd thing we would create back in the 80s, though... :-)
Toggle Commented Aug 7, 2019 on Introducing Nevil at Word Wenches
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Melony, maybe it will come back to you. Susie Benton, from Sourcebooks, also had that exact typewriter (or one very like it), and typing on it at the store brought back a lot of great memories for her.
Toggle Commented Aug 7, 2019 on Introducing Nevil at Word Wenches
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Susanna here. Today I’m going to tell you a love story. Not the most conventional of love stories, but it does have a meet-cute, and it happens in Manhattan, and I promise it ends happily. A couple of weeks before I was due to go down to New York for the Romance Writers of America’s annual conference, I opened my morning paper to find an article by AP journalist Katherine Roth focused (rather wittily) on the “Typewriter’s Return”. “At the few remaining typewriter repair shops in the country,” she wrote, “business is booming as a younger generation discovers the joy... Continue reading
Posted Aug 7, 2019 at Word Wenches
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Susanna here, still settling back to life in the workaday world after a wonderful time at the HNS North American Conference, held this year at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center at National Harbor in Maryland—a beautiful setting, although I have to admit the whole sensation of being in a community enclosed within a glass dome where everything was aiming to look old yet had a futuristic edge felt so surreal at times it had me thinking "Logan's Run" on more than one occasion :) But with so much natural light, it was all but impossible to get the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 5, 2019 at Word Wenches
Hi everyone! Apologies for the delay--I was away at a conference and the Internet there wasn't very reliable. I'm home now, though, and can end the suspense for you... The lie is #1. Although it's true that I do make playlists for my novels and characters (and sometimes share songs from these on my Facebook page on Mondays), I only play the songs when I'm not writing, as a way to get the characters moving. I write in silence. Any kind of noise in the background (other than nature) distracts me, and if I'm not alone in the house I put on headphones playing white noise to block out the other sounds so I can concentrate. So, definitely NO music :) I DO get ideas in the bathtub. Whenever I come to a difficult place in my writing, the first thing I do is to run a hot bath. An hour or so of soaking and my characters inevitably stir and start to talk, and I emerge with scribbled water-spotted pages filled with random bits of dialogue and thoughts for scenes, enough to get my story moving. Why I’m inspired in the bathtub I really don’t know, though I privately suspect that the effects of lying neck-deep in warm water with the white noise of the bathroom fan obscuring outside sound comes fairly close to the experience of lying in an isolation tank – sometimes called a ‘sensory deprivation tank’ – in which most people’s brainwaves slow to a speed known as ‘theta’, the daydreaming state that falls somewhere between relaxed ‘alpha’ and sound-asleep ‘delta’. My creative subconscious, in other words, gets time to play. And I DO write some scenes entirely by hand. Usually because they come to me at inconvenient times, in inconvenient places, when I'm away from my computer and have to scramble to find a pen and something to write on before I lose the scene entirely...or sometimes because I'm in the bathtub (see above) and using a computer would be ill-advised...but either way, I just re-type those scenes into the manuscript and file the original paper copy away in the three-ring binder I use to hold all the bits and pieces for that particular book. So there you are. I think I'm off to take a bath... :)
Toggle Commented May 23, 2019 on Two Truths and a Lie at Word Wenches
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Susanna here. This week I'm in New Orleans, at the first ever Booklovers Con, enjoying the time spent with old friends and new ones. Today I'm one of a group of authors taking part in a reader game of Two Truths and a Lie, wherein people try to guess which of the statements we make are the false ones. In preparation for the game, I had to come up with twenty truths and ten lies (I found the truths a lot harder, for some reason...), and without using any of those same ones here, I thought it might be fun... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2019 at Word Wenches
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Susanna here. I don’t read much fiction while I’m writing, so I don’t always have anything to offer for our monthly “What We’re Reading” posts, but I’ve been trying to tidy my files and I came across a not-so-old piece in which I was asked to choose five of my favorite historical fantasy novels. This is one of my favorite genres to read in, so choosing a handful of titles was hard. Since I know a lot of other writers working in this category, I tried to keep my recommendations unbiased by only choosing books by writers from outside my... Continue reading
Posted May 1, 2019 at Word Wenches
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Susanna here, with our Ask A Wench post for this month. A few weeks ago, I interviewed Andrew Pyper, author of The Homecoming, for a session at my local library, and while doing my preparation for that interview I came across an article he’d written for the Globe & Mail in 2012, called Crafting the Novel’s Crucial First Line. Here’s an excerpt: “no writerly preoccupation is more universally shared – or has been the cause of more agonized hours staring at the blank page – than the First Line… How we begin a book is widely considered to be a... Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2019 at Word Wenches
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That used to be me, as well, although I surprised myself a couple of years ago when I went on a cruise and wasn't sick AT ALL. Completely unexpected, because I'm like you--normally it doesn't take much. I can't decide whether to cruise again, to see if I can pull it off a second time, or whether I should simply consider that voyage was charmed.
Toggle Commented Mar 25, 2019 on By Carriage on the Continent at Word Wenches
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:-) I haven't come across Bourdaloues yet, but I confess I may still be distracted by the active man-servant...
Toggle Commented Mar 25, 2019 on By Carriage on the Continent at Word Wenches
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Rabbit holes are the best.
Toggle Commented Mar 25, 2019 on By Carriage on the Continent at Word Wenches
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Sue, my parents actually did take off for a time in a pop-up tent trailer. I had no idea where they were, they would just telephone in every now and then from various campsites. They loved it. Looking around my Very Cluttered house right now, that has a definite appeal :-)
Toggle Commented Mar 25, 2019 on By Carriage on the Continent at Word Wenches
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Mary Jo, I kept thinking of your characters while I was reading of her travels...
Toggle Commented Mar 25, 2019 on By Carriage on the Continent at Word Wenches
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Carriage In A Landscape, by Gerard ter Borch Susanna here, back at the bottom of another research rabbit-hole. This one’s entirely unintentional. I started off by looking up the land routes into Genoa, which led me quite by accident to Mariana Starke—or, more specifically, the Fifth revised edition of her comprehensive guidebook, Information and Directions for Travellers on the Continent. Being published in 1829, it’s about a century too late for my needs, but it’s still a fascinating read, and when I’m trolling the Internet, coffee in hand, for good primary sources, I’m easily lured down rabbit holes by fascinating... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2019 at Word Wenches
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Susanna here, just back from the sunny south and the wonderful Tucson Festival of Books, where I had the privilege of sitting on two panels—one called "Keeping History Fresh" (pictured above), with Susan Meissner and Kristina McMorris, moderated by Anne Spieth, and another called "Transported by Words", moderated by Victoria Marie Salajko, in which R.O. Kwon, Shobha Rao, and I talked about the use of setting in fiction. Both panels were great, and the questions we were asked could provide the jumping-off point for any number of posts here, but in the panel on setting we were asked, “What writers... Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2019 at Word Wenches
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Susanna here, inviting you to join me in wishing a very Happy Book Birthday to THE WOMAN IN THE LAKE by our own Nicola Cornick! This is its American birthday, actually, which will be followed on March 7 by its British birthday, so we will be keeping the celebration going here at the Word Wenches (any excuse for cake, really). It’s a dual-time novel, linking the lives of two women together over centuries through one lovely but ill-fated gown… *** ‘I see it all again: the silver moon swimming beneath the water and the golden gown billowing out about her…’... Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2019 at Word Wenches
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Claire, I can completely relate. I was reading Nancy Drew and A.A. Milne and Jan Westcott and Charles Dickens, all at the same time. And Spider Man comics, of course :-)
Toggle Commented Feb 12, 2019 on First Loves at Word Wenches
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