Bay gets writer’s juices flow­ing

Black Barn to fea­ture as UK au­thor weaves New Zealand into the ‘dark’ se­quel to her best-sell­ing tril­ogy, writes Linda Hall

Havelock North Village Press - - News -

Bri­tish au­thor Su­san Lewis was in Hawke’s Bay re­cently do­ing re­search for her third book in the long-awaited se­quel to best-sell­ing tril­ogy No Child of Mine.

The au­thor of an in­cred­i­ble 35 books was stay­ing at Black Barn, a win­ery, restau­rant and re­sort where the book will be set.

No Child of Mine is about a so­cial worker try­ing to get a 3-year-old out of an abu­sive re­la­tion­ship. She ends up steal­ing the child and mov­ing to New Zealand.

“It’s quite a dark sub­ject,” Su­san tells me over cof­fee at Wright and Co in Have­lock North.

“Many of my books re­volve around is­sues like this— so­cial is­sues. It in­ter­ests me how peo­ple re­act to hor­ri­ble things, how they cope. So many fam­i­lies are af­fected by things like de­men­tia, child abuse, but I have to be care­ful be­cause some­times sub­jects like this turn peo­ple off.”

The sec­ond book in the se­ries is set in Kerik­eri and ti­tled Don’t Let Me Go.

“The last is set in Have­lock North. A friend told me about Black Barn and when I saw the setup I knew it would be per­fect. Some peo­ple at Black Barn will ap­pear in the book.”

Her re­search here in­cluded in­ter­view­ing Te Mata School prin­ci­pal Mike Bain plus Mary Ann who runs the Cel­lar Door at Black Barn and Dave the wine­maker.

Su­san has cen­tred her books on cancer, mur­der, bul­ly­ing and a num­ber of so­cial is­sues.

“Some­thing just clicks and sud­denly I have an idea.

“It might be that I read some­thing or hear some­thing and my story grows from there.”

She says her nov­els on bul­ly­ing have had a sur­pris­ing re­sponse. “It af­fects so many peo­ple, it can be so dan­ger­ous. My re­search when I’m writ­ing on this sub­ject in­cludes log­ging on to cha­t­rooms. I don’t join in. I just read so I can get the hang of “teenage speak”.

“Some of the things I read are scary.”

Su­san gath­ers the in­for­ma­tion she needs for a book care­fully and thor­oughly but once the book is writ­ten “the in­for­ma­tion goes”.

“I sim­ply can­not hold on to all the re­search for ev­ery book I’ve writ­ten.”

She says her first draft is al­ways re­ally long. “It’s a prop­erly writ­ten book but no one reads it but me. I edit it to a sec­ond draft then sent it to the pub­lish­ers. They know my

strengths and weak­nesses and will give me ideas on how I can bet­ter this or that but it’s up to me if I choose to ad­dress them. I usu­ally do.”

She was lov­ing her time in Hawke’s Bay and had been to The Mis­sion “where the wine was amaz­ing” and was plan­ning on vis­it­ing Craggy Range.

Her new book will be out next year but in the mean­time grab a copy of her lat­est book The Girl Who Came Back (see re­view).

SU­SAN LEWIS: The Bri­tish nov­el­ist says she is en­joy­ing her time in Hawke’s Bay which has helped pro­vide in­spi­ra­tion for her lat­est book.

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