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
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.