Book Savvy Spotlight on Sue Hampton
As an ex-teacher who used to stretch my pupils, I challenge myself by writing in various genres and styles for different audiences - from humour and fantasy to historical adventure. But I hope there's always a detectable 'essence of me'! Pomp and Circumstances isn't for children but young adult/adult readers - and all the action happens over twelve hours. One day changes the lives of five young Londoners.
Q2. Why did you set Pomp and Circumstances on Royal Wedding Day?
It was a day I began as an indifferent observer, of the central players and the crowd. But I found myself held captive on my sofa! I realised this unusual day was an opportunity for new, surprising connections.
Q3. Who would enjoy this novel and why?
Anyone over fourteen. It's a lively social snapshot of partying London, but the story is character-led, exploring modern ideas, choices and relationships.
Q4. Is there an underlying message in this book?
Difference is creative and interesting! Characters come from different backgrounds and hold different opinions about more than the royal wedding, but respect brings understanding.
Q5. You've been a full-time author for more than four years. What have been the highlights of your career so far?
The praise of my hero Michael Morpurgo, who said three of my children's books were "beautifully written", "terrific" and "enthralling". Making the top three of The People's Book Prize in 2012 with TRACES. Every single appreciative word from young and adult fans.
Q6. Tell us a little about your daily routine and writing habits.
Unless I'm having fun in school (I've been to 300), I work on my laptop in the kitchen from around 7 - 7, with breaks for wood walks or coffee with friends - and Pointless on TV!
Q7. What do you enjoy most about writing? And the most challenging?
It's imaginative. I value people and love creating my own! The challenge is in exploring language in ways that are fresh each time.
Q8. When you write what emotion do you seek to evoke in your readers?
Everything the characters feel, and more, because they'll bring themselves to the story.
Q9. If you were throwing a dinner party and could invite three fictional characters from 'Pomp and Circumstances' who would you invite, and why?
Hema, because she'd share her cultural heritage and her open mind. Agnetha, for the psychological insights gained through counselling and the loss of her twin. Ollie, because he's off-centre and funny.
Q10. If you could see your book on the big screen which film director would you like to direct the movie and which actors would you like to see play the lead character(s)?
Anthony Minghella if he hadn't died young. The young actor who played Bert in the first few episodes of The Village recently could grow into James and I'd look for a Hema at Challney Girls in Luton where I was writer-in-residence.
Q11. What are your interests when you are not writing?
Reading the work of good writers, because I want to keep improving. I enjoy dance at Sadler's Wells, gardens and art exhibitions.
Q12. What is the first thing you did to promote your book once the publisher accepted your manuscript?
I emailed friends, supporters and fans with the cover, and made a 'To do' list that included printing postcards to mail out, trying to arrange events and devising a competition to run in schools prior to visits.
Q13. If you had to pick just one book marketing tool that you've used to promote your book, which would you say has been the most effective?
Facebook: links that friends can share with their friends.
Q14. Do you do more promoting online or offline and which do you prefer?
The most effective promotion is to read from the book and talk passionately about it.
Q15. Are you concerned about the effect of e-publishing on traditional books?
I'm more concerned about slavery to celebrity and trends, and the undervaluing of writing as an art. I think there's a place for both ways to read.
Q16. Do you target your books at any particular market and why?
I run writing workshops in primary and secondary schools, where I sell books, but also talk to adult groups.
Q17. How do you see your writing future?
I want to continue developing as a writer, and produce stories that people remember because they cared.
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**Book Savvy is an e-newsletter of Pneuma Springs Publishing, featuring news and information about all published books and new releases with highlights about the authors behind the books. Look out also for helpful resources e.g. blogs, book reviews and of course, discounts, special offers etc.