Bridget Whelan, however, is always pulling someone out of the hat who has cracked the market! I think it’s an old straw Laura Ashley one, but who cares, today there was an unexpected surprise – she had invited the lovely Susanna Quinn to the Friends Centre to talk about her life as a writer and her journey into this, her first novel.
Before you all rush to pen a best seller, please note Susanna had spent several years building up plenty of credibility as a journalist with the ‘Guardian.’ She has also done a lot of freelance work as a copywriter, is a sought after ghost writer and now, of course, a best selling novelist. Susanna has a two book deal and other ventures of her own, including exploring the ebook market!
Today she is on great form telling us about the nitty-gritty of writing, her writing journey, the hard work, the background to writing the ‘Glass Geisha’ and not least the three years in Tokyo, ‘walking the talk’, working as a hostess herself.
She stresses however that such work is not about dubious sexual favours but rather clients drinking in a bar and talking to a beautiful hostess. It was while Susanna was soaking up the atmosphere that the less than happy aspects of the life became obvious. So with her journalistic skills and ability to create characters, generate stories and intrigue she was away.
Nevertheless even with all that experience she tells us it took nine years to write, not least because she tried it in different genres. No one, of course, actually paid for those hours of research, or the endless days of typing. What a feat! Finally, with an agent keen to support her, a deal with a leading publisher was achieved.
Susanna confirms Bridget’s mantras about the writing business, write, edit, proof-read, sharing your work with others you trust. She also tells us the publishing world is changing rapidly and that she researches what people actually want to read about before she puts pen to paper. That’s interesting in itself.
Glass Geishas follows Steph, an Englishwoman that becomes a bar hostess in Japan with the promise easy money by flirting with customers. Her friends hostessing say it is safe and no sex involved. However when she arrives, one friend has become a shell of her former self and the other, Annabel, has gone missing. Steph becomes drawn into the snack bars, and no panty cafes, the grasp of Mama San, a woman who exploits those in the sex industry. Steph begins to lose sight of why she’s there. She needs to find out what happened to her friend and get out before it’s too late for the both of them.
Bridget too is, of course, a novelist with a new novel ‘A Good Confession.’
What I like about both these authors is that they are generous with the nitty-gritty of writing and getting published, they both tell you how it really is in the world of publishing. They are inspiring and encouraging and of course Bridget runs courses too!