Sunday, 4 July 2021

The Sunday Guest Spot - Susan Appleyard

Continuing our Sunday Series
of taking a look at some fabulous authors!

Hello Susan, welcome to our Discovering Diamonds Guest Spot. Along with my readers and visitors I love to hear from authors who write wonderful stories. There’s nothing better than curling up with a good book,  box of chocs and glass of wine to hand!

Q. Would you like to tell us a little bit about yourself...
A. I emigrated from England to Canada with my husband and three young children in 1975. That’s a long time ago but there are aspects of England I still miss: church bells on a Sunday morning, country lanes, castles, the ruins of monasteries and abbeys, lovely old houses with thatched roofs, and, of course, its history. History was my favourite subject in school, and I love to tell stories so it was only natural that I should become… (drum roll) a historical novelist. And I’m now working on my 12th book. It is set in the 15th century and concerns the trials of a middle-class family.

Q. Where do you live?
A. Speaking of the southern hemisphere. I am presently in Mexico, where, due to a combination of planning and happenstance in my younger years, I spend the coldest months of the year feeling sorry for those in the northern hemisphere. So for me it’s wine, definitely, a beach lounger with an umbrella and the sea splashing around my feet, while a mariachi band plays in the background. If this sounds idyllic… well, it is. When not in Mexico, I live in Ontario, Canada, but I don’t even want to think about that right now.

Q. If you had a choice to live anywhere – where would it be?
A. That’s a hard question. I would probably choose Germany. It too has a rich history so I wouldn’t be short of material and it’s a short hop to other interesting countries – unlike Canada and Mexico. I visited a small portion of Germany in 2016 and found it a beautiful country that I would love to see more of.

Q. Modern house, old cottage, castle or something else?
A. I would like to live in an old cottage. (Like yours, Helen.) 

Q. Cat,  dog or budgie?
A. I am a dog. Loyal, friendly, like to cuddle, but I must stress I don’t pee against lampposts.

Q. Are you a ‘dining room for dinner’, or a ‘tray on your lap in front of the TV’ person?
A. I am an eat in the dining room person – with family or friends around me and with the TV most definitely OFF. 

Q. TV preferences – documentary, drama, comedy, soap or thriller?
A. Drama.

Q. What was your first published novel about?
A. My first novel was about Jane Shore, the favourite mistress of King Edward IV.

Q. What was your last novel about?
A. I thought my last novel really was going to be my last novel but it’s only my latest. It’s about the Albigensian Crusade in 13th century France.

Q. Do you write in one genre or several?
A. I have only written historical fiction.  

Q. Have you ever considered exploring a totally different genre?
A.  I have no interest in any other genre

Q. If you could, which two of your characters would you like to invite to spend an afternoon with you?
A. I would like to invite King Richard III and King Ludwig II of Bavaria. 

Q. Where would you go / what would you do?
A. I would put them in a completely empty windowless room with only candles burning so they wouldn’t get distracted by anything modern. Then I would ask Richard why he killed the princes and once he had explained that he did it to get the crown, I would boot him out. I would ask Ludwig to tell me how he died. So that would be two historical mysteries explained.

Q. How do you prefer to travel? Plane, boat, car?
A. I do travel by plane a lot but I’m not happy until my feet are on terra firma again. Boats for me are not for travel, but for leisurely afternoons, either fishing or jumping off for a swim. So it will have to be car as my favourite mode of travel.

Q. You are out for a walk. You see a chap sitting on a wall, looking right fed up – but there’s something odd about him... What? And what  do you do?
A. “Morning, mate,” I call out. “Morning,” comes the reply in what is a distinctly feminine voice. Then the person holds up a placard that read: ‘The circus is in town. Come and see our fantastic acts.’ It was the beard that fooled me.

We have a long-running Radio programme here in the UK called Desert Island Discs on which celebrities talk about their life and select eight of their favourite discs... so changing that slightly...

Q. If you were shipwrecked on a desert island, what eight books would you want to find left in an abandoned hut? (There’s already a Bible, the Quran, and the complete works of Shakespeare)

1. A world Atlas (So I can figure out where I am and where the nearest mainland is.)
2. The Land Beyond the Sea, Sharon Kay Penman (The only one of her books I haven’t read.)
3. Any one of my paperbacks (To persuade any natives I might meet that I am a famous author.)
4. A book of lined paper (Stretching it a bit, I know, but so I can write using berries and a reed pen.)
5. How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie (In case the natives aren’t friendly.)
6. Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, Scott Cunningham. (So I can eat.)
7. The Complete Works of Plato. (To improve my mind.)
8. Sh*t My Dad Says, Justin Halpern (When improving my mind doesn’t work.)

Q. What sort of island would you prefer, and why? (e.g. Desert Island... Hebridian Island...)
A. My preferred island would have lush vegetation, a mild climate and be surrounded by an azure and gentle sea. Natives are optional.

Q. And you would be allowed one luxury item – what would you want it to be? (a boat or something to escape on isn’t allowed.)
A. Could I have my husband with me? He’s not much of a luxury but he’s like MacGyver on steroids. If anyone could figure out how to build a boat from scratch, he could. If not, I would like to have Neuschwanstein Castle, fully stocked. 

Helen: no sorry, husbands (or friends and family) not allowed - but you can have the castle  fully stocked - although that won't include any servants.

Click HERE (and scroll down to 'A') to find our  reviews of Susan's books  on Discovering Diamonds

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