Really pleased today to be hosting a Q&A author interview with Ruth Sutton, author of Burning Secrets
Here’s what the book is all about
It’s the spring of 2001 and Foot & Mouth disease is raging across Cumbria.
Twelve-year-old Helen Heslop is forced to leave her family farm and move in with relatives in a nearby town because the strict quarantine means she can’t travel back and forth to school in case she inadvertently helps spread the disease.
As the authorities and the local farming communities try desperately to contain the outbreak, tensions run high and everyone’s emotions are close to the surface.
And then Helen disappears.
The police search expands all over the northwest coast where farms are barricaded and farming families have been plunged into chaos – not least the Hislop family, where potentially explosive fault lines are exposed.
Under the strain tensions build inside the police team too, where local DC Maureen Pritchard is caught between old school DI Bell and new broom DS Anna Penrose.
Will Helen survive? And can life for the Heslop family ever be the same, once burning secrets are discovered and old scores settled?
“During the awful Foot & Mouth emergency of 2001 many individual lives were changed forever. Burning Secret is about some of those. At the heart of the book are innocents, threatened by events they could neither prevent nor control, and those who try to protect them…”
Hello Ruth, nice to meet you and thanks for taking part here.
First of all, can you please tell us about your latest book:
Burning Secrets is a dark and complex story, set against the dystopian backdrop of a devastating outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease in Cumbria, in the north of England. The outbreak, like a plague, threatened every aspect of the community and was the catalyst to tragedy for many families.
Where do you find inspiration for your novels?
All my novels are set in the area where I live, and my inspiration comes from the history, stories and characters of my own community
Who is your writing hero?
Probably Ann Cleeves, author of the Vera series set in the north-east and the Shetland series. Her global success was kick-started by luck, but she has worked hard and maintained a high standard with great professionalism.
Which book do you wish you had written?
Wolf Hall (Hilary Mantel), but the quality of her writing is beyond my capability.
What advice would you give to someone considering taking the plunge and attempting to write their first novel?
I would advise them to find a good introductory course and immerse themselves in it, learning as much as they can about structure, dialogue and other essential considerations before starting their first effort.
If you could have a dinner party and invite three other writers (living or dead), who would you invite?
Rose Tremain, Jane Austen, Vikram Seth
What’s the one question you wish I had asked and what’s the answer?
‘At what point, and why, did you decide to self-publish?’
After trying and failing to raise any interest from an agent, my impatience and bloody-mindedness got the better of me and I decided to wait no longer. I knew I wanted a high-quality product and was prepared to invest in the process of self-publishing, gambling that I would at least break even, and I did. Self-publishing is lonely and very hard work, but you are beholden to no one and free to respond to your readers in any way you choose.
Thank you Ruth and best wishes for your book
Follow the rest of the blog blitz