Welcome to my new blog series, Five Minutes with Australian Authors #LoveAusAuthors where I will feature Aussie Authors, their books, and their lives. I am kicking off with a personal favourite, Susan Francis, author of The Love that Remains, an extraordinary memoir about secrets, life’s shocking twists and unconditional love.
Like most writers, Susan loved reading as a child and her love of books continued into adulthood, completing a Masters degree in Australian literature and eventually becoming a high school English teacher. After her husband died in Portugal in 2015, she looked around for something else she loved, something else she could focus on, and that’s when she made the decision to start taking her writing seriously.
She has since had several short stories published and her memoir, The Love that Remains, was published by Allen & Unwin in 2020. She likes to write about subjects that she feel passionate about; slip political comment in between the pages of an otherwise mainstream story.
5 Things About Susan’s History
For anyone who has read the memoir, Susan says her life is an open book and apologises for the pun! But for those who haven’t yet read it, here’s a teaser:
1. She has been married four times
2. She was adopted
3. She and her husband Wayne lived in Spain in 2015
4. She has one gorgeous son
5. Her best friend’s name is Dianne
At the moment Susan is finishing the final draft of her first novel, which she hopes her agent will read in August. The themes resonate with the subjects she explores in the memoir: secrets from the past, betrayal, grief, loneliness and how we can stay true to ourselves. Her protagonist is an ‘unusual man’ and she hopes people will learn to feel affection for him, as she has.
‘It’s a fascinating process for me, very different to writing the memoir, but I’m still mixing in real life with fiction, just in opposite proportions,’ she says. ‘It’s very important to me that this first novel gets published. It touches on a subject matter very close to my heart and writing it has been difficult. There has certainly been no graceful unfurling of the pages.’
Five Things That Help Susan Keep Writing
1. I have things to say and I want to say them and that keeps me focussed.
2. I structure my paid work for the evenings and limit my material wants so that mostly, I have writing time available during the day.
3. I like my own company and live on my own. That makes it easier to rack up the hours.
4. Education: I read as a writer, I search for constructive criticism and I try to attend some kind of writing course or writing retreat at least twice a year.
5. I interact with other writers, and watching them realise their dreams, listening to their wisdom, inspires me every day.
In the future Susan would like to travel overseas once more.
‘Seeing foreign places had always been a part of my life but I’m sixty now and with the virus shutting down the world, in addition to some chronic conditions I’ve developed, I’m not sure that will eventuate, but I hope for it. I’d be very happy about a change of federal government. Sweet peas growing on the back fence is only going to happen if I get my arse off the chair, but that would be cool. And I’d like to see another female Prime Minister of Australia.’
If you are an Australian author and you would like to feature on my blog, please get in touch here