Susanne Gervay is my guest this week on How Writers Work
How did you get your first book published?
My first book ‘Jamie’s a Hero’ took two years to get published. I faced endless rejections until Cathie Tasker then the publisher at HarperCollins, took it out of the slush pile. So began my life as an author.
I didn’t have a mentor, but I had a wonderful writers’ group including Moya Simons who wasn’t published at that time either. I also went each month with Moya to the FAW in the journalists’ club where Hilarie Lindsay presided. Hilarie was a great support to me and all those who went to the FAW meetings.
What is your daily writing routine?
My writing routine is crisis management. As the writing life increasingly fills my days, I struggle to find that solitude and peace of mind to write. I’m often on deadline and end up dropping everything to just take a slab of time to write. When desperate I go away for a few days and write.
Sometimes I work through the night. It’s all hit and miss. However when I write my mind and soul becomes filled with the journey.
Tell us about your writing room
I love a tidy study so I can order my thoughts. However it quickly becomes out of control. I then tidy it up and feel relief. The phone rings, there are demands and new projects – big and small – and my desk becomes chaos again and drops onto the floor. That’s the cycle and my study reflects it.
However peace of mind is retained by a picture frame on my desk which reads:-
May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind always by at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
And rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
What is your latest book?
My latest book is my very first picture book, ‘Ships in the Field’ illustrated by the talented Anna Pignataro. While personal, it is also universal as it seeks to give a voice to the children and families of refugees as they find hope and home.