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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Sue Fortin - Interview, Guest Post, Book Review & Book Giveaway

About Sue Fortin

Published by Harper Collins' imprint Harper Impulse, Sue Fortin writes romance, mystery and suspense.

Her originally self-published debut novel was awarded the INDIE Brag Medallion and later when published by HarperImpulse was short-listed for the Joan Hessayon Award (2014). Sue was also short-listed for the Festival of Romance, New Talent Award (2013). Her second novel, Closing In, reached number one in the Romantic Suspense Kobo chart at the end of 2014. Sue blogs regularly with the on-line writing group The Romaniacs (

Lover of cake, Dragonflies and France. Hater of calories, maths and snakes. Sue was born in Hertfordshire but had a nomadic childhood, moving often with her family, before eventually settling in West Sussex.

Sue is married with four children, all of whom patiently give her time to write but, when not behind the keyboard, she likes to spend her time with them, enjoying both the coast and the South Downs, between which they are nestled.

Sue is represented by Kate Nash Literary Agency.

Catch up with Sue at
Guest post
Questions Agents/Editors & Publishers Often Ask
by Sue Fortin

It can be quite nerve wracking speaking to agents, editors and publishers no matter what stage of the writing ladder you’re at, but especially so, I remember, when I was unagented and unpublished.

Looking back, there seemed to be several questions which cropped up regularly. I thought I’d share them as, even though I am now agented and have a publisher, they still came up at a recent meeting.

1) What genre do you write in?

I found just saying ‘romance’, didn’t really pin down my style of writing very well. Romance is a very broad genre and includes, historical, suspense, contemporary, paranormal, Christian and so on. By defining it as mystery, suspense and romance worked far better and helped to expand the conversation.

2) Which author would you compare your work to?

I hate this type of question. If I answer no-one, will it make me sound ignorant of other writers? If I come out with an international best-selling author, will I sound too full of myself? I find a good way to deflect it, is by saying which authors I like to read and to say whether they have influenced my writing at all.

3) Can you sum up your novel in a couple of sentences?
This is actually a really useful exercise and can help no matter who asks you about your book, whether it be an agent, a publisher or a friend. If you can include the theme of your book, how you address this and the genre in just three sentences, then this shows that you really know your book and your market. It also helps to avoid those awkward silences or the false starts that start off, ‘Well, it’s about a woman. Well, two women. No. Actually, it’s about this man …’ Nailing it right down to three concise sentences will not only help to inspire confidence and professionalism in you from their point of view, but it will do exactly the same for you.

4) Where do you see yourself in 3/4/5 years’ time?
If you can outline your next book in a couple of sentences, this goes a long way to showing that you are serious about being an author. It shows that you have more than one book in you and you are worth investing in. If you can also have a general idea of where you are heading with your writing career, again, this all helps to show your professionalism and ambition.

5) Why did you want to speak to me?

This can be a tricky one, saying you’re working your way through the Writers Yearbook, probably isn’t going to go down too well. Explain, why you wanted to see them, maybe they have other authors similar to your style, yet you still have something fresh and new to offer. Perhaps, the publisher has a wide reaching audience or it might be because they are a small independent publisher and the family feel appeals to you. If you can come up with two or three reasons, then this will show the agent/author that you have done your research and, again, promote your professionalism to being a writer.

Of course, these aren’t hard and fast questions, they may vary and there will, no doubt, be plenty of other questions but I found these formed a good solid foundation to go into a meeting with.

1) Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

I'm married with four children and live on the south coast of England. I am also a big lover of France and we have a holiday home there, where we try to spend as much time as possible.

2) Could you describe your journey to become a published author?

I was a true bookworm as a child and I suppose it wasn't surprising this prompted me to start writing. I had many false starts over the years, beginning writing but never really getting much further than three or four chapters as I ran out of steam, enthusiasm or time. When I had my youngest child, I decided if I didn't do it then, I never would so I started writing while she was either at nursery or sleeping. Eventually I finished a complete novel, United States of Love, and sent it off the Romantic Novelists' Association for critique under their New Writers' Scheme. The report came back with lots of feedback. I then spent the next year rewriting it and submitted it again. This time the report was very favourable and after more editing, I decided to self-publish.

About a year later, HarperCollins launched their new imprint, HarperImpulse. They were open to submissions from everyone and so I subbed United States of Love and was delighted when I was offered a three book deal with them, relaunching United States of Love and then publishing Closing In and The Half Truth. This year I signed with my agent, Kate Nash of the Kate Nash Literary Agency and have had The Girl Who Lied published by HarperImpulse which has done amazingly well, reaching number 1 in the UK Amazon Kindle chart. I have recently agreed a new two book deal with them, with The Cuckoo due out January 2017.

3) You’re giving advice to people who are looking for an agent. What’s the best advice someone’s ever given you?
It's really hard to pin down one piece of advice so I'll have to give two examples. Be professional, take critique and rejection with grace and take success, however small, with joy. The other piece of advice, not to give up. You can't be successful if you stop trying.

4) You write a mix of two genres, could you tell a bit more about that?

I started off writing contemporary romance as, at heart I am a romantic. However, I do also have a thirst for mysteries, thrillers and good old fashion action and adventure stories, be it through books or film. After I finished writing United States of Love, I wanted to write something that encompassed all those things and so Closing In came about, mixing romance and suspense. I really do enjoy writing both elements and, so far, to lesser and greater extents, all my books have included both those elements.

5) What’s the biggest mistake a new author can make?

Ooh, that's a tricky one. I think my biggest mistake as a new author was to confuse advice with criticism. Coming from the right place the advice is there to encourage and support, to help you grow as a writer. The advice can be painful at times and it make take a few days, weeks or months for you to be able to look at it objectively but once you can do that, then you realise it's given to make your writing better and you then fully appreciate it.

6) Can you tell us a little bit about your next project?

It's called The Cuckoo and involves two sisters, both in their twenties. One is telling the truth and one isn't. It's more suspense and drama than anything else. Sorry, can't say any more as we're still working on the blurb and I don't want to give anything away.

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Review by Suze
Marcie has lost her job, her home and her boyfriend because of one single incident. To escape her problems she travels to France to stay with her brother for a while. Her brother has a countryside retreat in Brittany and Marcie feels very much at home there. She isn't the only guest, Will, an ex-soldier, is trying to get back on his feet as well. When her brother needs to go back to England Marcie and Will have to manage his home. They're looking forward to some peace and quiet, but they aren't the only people in the area who could use a little help. Will Marcie and Will be able to leave the past behind them and find a new future for themselves?
The French Retreat is a beautiful romantic story. I'm a big fan of books set in France, so I immediately loved the setting of this novel. I could easily picture the surroundings and Sue Fortin's descriptions are vivid, colorful and accurate. I loved the countryside home with the cozy fireplace. Sue Fortin shows her readers that France is as interesting in the winter as it is in the summer. Plus there's a lot going on for such a small place and I was intrigued from the start.

Marcie is a sweet woman with a huge heart, she's sparkling and enthusiastic. Will is a bit grumpy and at first he seems difficult to approach, but he's actually a kind and caring man. They have great chemistry and are perfect together. I kept hoping Marcie and Will would find a way to be with each other and really enjoyed the surprisingly lovely ending.

Sue Fortin has an enchanting writing style. Every time I read one of her stories I'm hooked. I love books I want to read in one sitting and her romances combined with mystery aspects keep me glued to my seat for hours. The books are heartwarming and I'm always gripped by the dilemmas her main characters are facing. The French Retreat has a scene that made my heart skip several beats. If you love France and gripping romantic stories you should definitely read this book. It's such a wonderful story filled with love, compassion and suspense.


One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a signed copy of The Girl Who Lied.
The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. Please add to your list of approved email addresses. All of our giveaways are international.


  1. I would really love to read your book, sounds very interesting, thanks for the giveaway!

  2. This sounds like an amazing book, and I absolutely adore the cover! Thanks so much for the chance to win. :)

  3. Sounds interesting! Thanks for the giveaway.

  4. Nice interview! A new author for me and more books to add to my TBR list!! All of the books sound very good. I love mysteries and suspense, historical fiction, and when a book has the word "French" or "Paris" in the title, I definitely want to read it!! :-) Looking forward to reading these books, and keeping my fingers crossed to win a copy of The Girl Who Lied!

  5. Thank you for organising the giveaway :)

  6. Thank you for the lovely interview! I'm sure these tips would be very helpful for a writer trying to get a foot in the door of the publishing world.

  7. Congratulations on your publication! It looks like a good read and I would love to win a copy to read!

  8. The excerpt doesn't even hint at the title, which is nice, so I think I'd enjoy reading this book :)

  9. I'm looking forward to reading this! It sounds really good! Thank you for the giveaway!

  10. Awesome cover. Look forward to reading. Thank you for the giveaway.

  11. Awesome cover. Look forward to reading. Thank you for the giveaway.

  12. My oldest sister is the one into romance books, other one loves mysteries so this may work for both of them. Congrats on your release and best of luck!

  13. Thanks for the chance to win! Good luck with you book :)

  14. Looks like an awesome book omg!!!!

  15. Interesting selection. Nice covers.

  16. excited for this giveaway love the book

  17. excited for this giveaway love the book

  18. I can't wait to read it. It's already on my Wish list.

  19. How did you come up with the names of your book characters?

  20. It would be great to win a Signed paperback copy
    of The Girl Who Lied by Sue Fortin.
    This sounds like a book i would enjoy reading.
    I like the book cover because it seems mysterious.
    Thank you for having this giveaway.

  21. Have read such good reviews for The girl who lied, can't wait to read it!

  22. Looks like a great book Thanks for the chance to win a copy

  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

  24. [My apologies! I deleted and re-commented out of being finicky over needless editing. :) ]
    All of the author's books look wonderful. Beautiful covers, excellent writing, and great stories.
    I thoroughly enjoyed (and got quite the kick out of) reading "Questions Agents/Editors & Publishers Often Ask." It reminded me so much of the many (...many, many, many...) externship/internship interviews I had to do. And question #2! The response cracked me up, and I loved it for its honesty as well as the sound advice it offers. Thank you!