Monday, 4 March 2013

Interview with author Sue Ransom

A few days ago I had the pleasure of interviewing author Sue Ransom! Here she talks about her journey to publication, her new book and some valuable tips for aspiring writers.

For anyone who hasn't read your books (they’re missing out!), can you tell us about them?
Small Blue Thing is the story of Alex, a 17 year old who finds a beautiful bracelet in the mud by the Thames. She discovers that it allows her to communicate with the gorgeous but ghostly Callum, who she can only see when she’s looking in a mirror. She falls in love, but then realises he is lying to her, and she doesn't know why. Soon Alex has to make a choice, but if she chooses wrong, someone will die.

The book is the first of a trilogy, with Perfectly Reflected and Scattering Like Light also now available.

Do you think any authors have influenced your writing? Maybe when you were younger, or even now.
I've read thousands of books, and every one of them will have had some sort of influence on me, I’m sure. One of my all-time favourites is the Time Traveler’s Wife – I’d love to write something like that. The book that influenced Small Blue Thing, in a round-about way, was Twilight. I read that, as my daughter was reading it, and found it really American. I wanted my daughter to have something which reflected her world, in London, so I wrote her the book.

What were the hardest parts of bringing your books to life?
Trying to keep the details straight of the world I had invented for Callum. He’s a Dirge, and he and loads of others live in St Paul’s Cathedral. They survive by taking happy memories from people. It’s great fun inventing a whole new type of people, but if you don’t give them some rules to live by, you get in a muddle really quickly!

Do you get to decide what the cover of your books look like, or does your publisher/illustrator do that?
The publisher did that, and they decided to make the bracelet which Alex finds, and photograph it for the cover. I've got it now to take to the school visits which I do. They involved me all the way through, which was brilliant. I've never designed any jewellery before!

What was your journey to publication like?
Unusual! I wrote the first book just for Ellie, my daughter, as a birthday present (and I wrote all of it on my BlackBerry, but that’s another story…), then was persuaded to look at getting it published. I asked a friend of a friend for some advice, as she was in publishing, and she liked it so much she set up a new company to publish the book and asked me to write the rest of the trilogy. Having written no fiction whatsoever since school which was (cough) years ago, within two years of starting the book it was in the shops!

When your books are in the shops, do you see them and think 'Oh I wish I'd changed that bit...' etc?
Always, and the more feedback you get from readers the more you think ‘Oooh, maybe they are right, I should have …’, but you have to let it go. Just learn from it for the next one.

If you could live with one of your characters, who would it be and why?
Alex is written to be the sort of girl my daughter might be when she is 17 (I wrote it for her 12th birthday), and Ellie is great fun to live with, so it would have to be Alex. Callum would be far to distracting.

When writing a new book, how do you decide what to call it?
They usually have a working title, and sometimes that sticks, and sometimes it doesn't  The two sequels had titles long before they were even written because we needed to promote the whole trilogy. Small Blue Thing was the title I had all along, and it comes from a beautiful song of the same name, by Suzanne Vega.

Have you got any advice for aspiring authors?
Read, read and read some more. Write lots too, and ask other people to give you feedback. Try and write for a specific group, not the entire planet, because that makes it easier to find the voice you want to use.

Are you currently writing a new book and if so, can you tell us about it? 
I've just submitted my next book to the publishers, and it’ll be on the shelf in about a year. I can’t say too much now, but it’s another story set in London, but with different characters this time. I’ll be starting my next one tomorrow!

Tea or coffee?
 No contest - coffee.

Facebook or Twitter? 

Reading or writing?
Ooh, tough one. Reading, I think.

Summer or winter?

Pen or pencil?
Pencil, but also my phone.

Thank you!
Thanks Amber!


  1. Hi, Thanks for sharing. I think I will have to check this series out. Happy Blogging :)

  2. Fantastic interview! I heard about how she wrote her book on a blackberry as part of her daughter's birthday present, that is amazing. I really want to read Small Blue Thing - partly because of the unusual background story but also because it sounds so good!
    Thanks for posting :)