It’s a real pleasure today to be joining the blog tour for A Forgiven Friend by Sue Featherstone and Susan Pape: the third book in their Friends series, it was published for kindle and in paperback on 19th November by Lakewater Press, and is available via Amazon in the UK and US. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation and tour support.
I first met Sue and Susan quite a long time ago, when I saw them both speak at the Ilkley Literature Festival Fringe back in October 2016 – you can read my report on that event here. To my shame, I never did get around to reading their first book in the series, A Falling Friend – but I did manage to read and review the second, A Forsaken Friend, so well described as “chick lit with edge”, and very much enjoyed it (you’ll find my review here). I’m rather sad I wasn’t able to read A Forgiven Friend in time for the tour, but I do hope to be able to catch up with it later… I’ve spent time in the company of these two lovely ladies quite a few times since 2016, and always look forward to seeing them. And their personal warmth really shines through their lovely writing too.
And if you’d like to catch up with their books I have some good news. I’m just a little too late on the tour to tell you about the free promotion for A Falling Friend, the first in the series (I do hope you didn’t miss it) – but the second, A Forsaken Friend, is available for just 99p/c until tomorrow (25th November) via Amazon in the UK and US.
So, let’s take a closer look at A Forgiven Friend…
Friendship will always come first.
There’s only one way out from rock bottom and that’s up, and Teri Meyer is finally crawling out from the worst time of her life – no thanks to her best friend Lee. But no matter, she’s finally found love – real love with a real man, a successful man, a man who accepts all her flaws. Teri’s never felt like this before, and yet it’s changing her in ways she doesn’t understand.
And there’s only one person who can help, one person who truly understands Teri.
It seems that no matter how hard Lee Harper tries, there’s a battle awaiting her at every turn these days, and she’s tired. And as if she needs the extra stress, Teri continues to create constant and unnecessary drama. But Lee’s the only one who really knows what’s going on under Teri’s hard, convoluted exterior, and that’s why she’s always been there for her.
But the question is: will Teri be there when Lee needs her most?
The brilliant and entertaining final book in the unique FRIENDS trilogy dishes out another dose of rib-tickling mayhem for our favourite thirty-something professional women.
So, with apologies, no review today – but I’m delighted to welcome Sue as my guest…
I’ve got a confession: on the outside Susan and I look like two solidly responsible, respectable, sensible grown-up writers. Appearances are deceptive. We are actually two reformed pantsters, who used to thoroughly enjoy flying by the seat of our pants, and who do, occasionally, slip back into bad habits.
In fact, as I write, Susan is re-growing her nails, having chewed them almost to the quick, after giving in to the temptation to send a mysterious letter to a central character in our newest work in progress. It was a great idea – except she hadn’t got a clue what the letter was about or who’d sent it. All she did know was that the letter related to the mysterious disappearance of the parents of central characters Izzy and Mirrie.
Now, I love it when this happens. It fuels the creative juices – how will this impact on my character, Mirrie? And Italian grandmother Nonna? Ideas, ideas, ideas… Susan, though, has spent several days puzzling about the contents of the letter until – thankfully – a walk along Filey beach unplugged the plotline blockage.
How? Good gracious! We couldn’t possibly tell you – wait for the book.
But, lovely as these moments might be – and it sounds so GRAND and writerly to say that sometimes our characters ‘take over’ – it’s not really a very efficient way of writing. Far too often when a character goes off-piste, he or she gets hopelessly lost and it takes a month of Sundays to get them back on track again. Much, much better to give them a reasonably idiot-proof route map so they don’t go too far astray.
We learned that lesson the hard way, during the long, long fermentation of our first novel A Falling Friend, which took eight years to write.
Okay: work, home and family responsibilities got in the way. But it had previously taken us just two years to write two carefully planned journalism textbooks (Newspaper Journalism: A Practical Introduction and Feature Writing: A Practical Introduction, both published by leading academic publisher Sage).
The key is in those words ‘carefully planned’. Without a doubt, the gestation of A Falling Friend would have been a great deal easier if we’d fleshed out our very loose working outline in more detail AND if we hadn’t allowed the characters to take far too many detours.
We were much stricter when we embarked on the follow-up A Forsaken Friend and the final book in the trilogy, A Forgiven Friend, and, as we progress with our fourth and fifth novels together, we’ve become synopsis martinets.
Novel four, which has been brewing for a couple of years, is about friendship and fresh starts and grabbing second chances – wherever you might find them. We have a pitch line, a nine-page plot synopsis and mini profiles for all five main characters. And, though, we still find ourselves lobbing the odd bombshell – it wouldn’t be half as much fun if we didn’t – knowing the main plot and character arcs is a much more efficient way of writing.
Novel five is still at the outline stage because we’re still trying out ideas and creating characters. However, over the next few weeks, we’ll be refining the details, creating a timeline, sketching the history of the characters and then we can properly start WRITING.
Being a pantster can be exhilarating – there’s a creative frisson when characters do something unexpected – and Susan and I certainly enjoyed our brief period of pantster-ism.
At heart, though, that responsible, respectable exterior doesn’t lie. We’ve been grown-up and sensible for too long and we’re really much more comfortable as plotters.
And, guess what? Being a writer who plots is a bit like being a long-distance traveller with a detailed itinerary. You know exactly what delights lie ahead.
And I’ll look forward to the experience, ladies – wishing you every possible success with this one…
About the authors
Sue Featherstone and Susan Pape are both former newspaper journalists with extensive experience of working for national and regional papers and magazines, and in public relations. More recently they have worked in higher education, teaching journalism – Sue at Sheffield Hallam and Susan at Leeds Trinity University.
The pair, who have been friends for almost 30 years, wrote two successful journalism text books together before deciding to turn their hands to fiction.The first novel in their Friends series, A Falling Friend, was released in 2016. A Forsaken Friend followed two years later, and the final book in the trilogy, A Forgiven Friend, was published on November 19th.
Sue, who is married with two grown-up daughters, and the most ‘gorgeous granddaughter in the whole world’, loves reading, writing and Nordic walking in the beautiful countryside near her Yorkshire home.
Susan is married and lives in a village near Leeds, and, when not writing, loves walking and cycling in the Yorkshire Dales. She is also a member of a local ukulele orchestra.