Author Visit – Susan Roebuck

Today’s visitor has set her new novel in beautiful Portugal where she lives.

Forest Dancer is set in the magical forests just outside Lisbon, Portugal. It is a story that fans of Polina will enjoy with characters that are genuinely flawed yet decided on bringing out the best in themselves. Flora Gatehouse has just recently lost her father, but she has also suffered a devastating blow in her career; her failed audition that sees her moving to a small cottage in Lisbon, Portugal, the only inheritance left to her by her father. Follow her story as she embraces the life of a small village with its dark secrets, and falls for the forest ranger, Marco. But can she totally become part of this little hamlet and can she ever reconnect with her dream to become a principal ballerina?

Thank you Katy for inviting me to your coffee shop today. Could I have a small black coffee please with just a drop of milk in it? (Here in Portugal it’s called a pingado)

Certainly – that’s a new word I’ve learnt today! Now my first question is, who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

Ha! This is a good one. I’d have quite an explosive dinner party with these people I think:

1. Jesus Christ (I’d invite him for obvious reasons – and I’d make sure there weren’t 13 people at the table)
2. Stephen Fry because he’s such an intelligent and witty person – and I’d love to hear what he has to say to Jesus and vice versa.
3. Oscar Wilde because I think he’d either have a huge argument with the two above or just be very interesting to listen to.
4. William Shakespeare to hear what he has to say about the world today and if he can give me any writing pointers. I also love the way he makes new expressions up (that later become integrated into the language) and perhaps he’d share a few.
5. I was going to say Cleopatra but I think she’d put a damper on things. So I’ll go with Marilyn Monroe instead because I want to know what really happened to her and I also think she’ll flirt beautifully with everyone at the table (except me, of course!).
6. Kit Harrington because I can flirt with him (probably won’t do me any good, but I can try)
7. Terry Pratchett because he’d join in all the conversations and probably take the mickey out of some of them. I hope he brings Nanny Ogg along too because I’d like to hear about her cook book.
8. Betty Davis and Joan Crawford – I might learn some lessons in bickering.

That would be an amazing evening. I love the idea of asking Shakespeare for writing tips! If you could spend a day with a fictional character who would it be and what would you do?

Bilbo Baggins from LOTR. I’d love to be in a little village with cottages built out of the hills and where everyone knows each other and helps each other out. I’d go exploring and maybe ask Bilbo to take me to see Tom Bombadil in the forest (because I love forests).

I had a feeling you did! Where do you write? What would your ideal writing room look like?

I write in a spare bedroom which we use as an office. It looks out over the point where the mighty Tagus River meets the Atlantic Ocean and I can watch the cruise ships and tankers coming in and out of Lisbon harbour. Ideally, I’d like the office to myself but I share it with my husband (don’t tell him that).


That sounds an idyllic location although I fear I’d spend most of my time looking out of the window. Do you ever get writer’s block, Sue? And if so how do you deal with it?

People say there is no thing as writer’s block and that we just run out of ideas. This may, in part be true, and when I come to a shuddering halt I know I’ve got to go off somewhere and do something else. It may be for a day or longer, it depends. But I don’t push it (unless I’m on a deadline) and ideas will always come rushing back.

Another point is that if you have any stress of some kind in your life (health or family etc.) then you might have to admit you can’t write. I’ve experienced this and I think my mind was too full of the problems I was facing. Again, we have to be kind to ourselves and just wait for things to calm down. I suppose our minds are like computers – there’s just so much you can pack into the memory at one go.

Finally, I do believe that writers, in general, lack self-worth (I’m not saying every one of them, but some – myself included). Sometimes I avoid getting down to work because I’m afraid I’m not going to be able to write a word. In this case it’s worth forcing it because I’ve found that if I make myself write, the words come tumbling out.

I find that too. If you just write the first words that come into your head, knowing you’ll delete them afterwards, it can help you get into it. What would you say is the best thing about being a writer?

You can work at home to your own timetable. If you’re a creative person with lots of ideas, it’s an outlet for them.

And the worst?

Getting a fat bottom! Getting a “writers’ hump” because I spend too much time at the computer. Having to promote my work. I’m the world’s worst salesperson and all I want to do is write, but if I don’t tell the world about my work, how’s it going to know about it? Knowing the difference between telling the world about my work and spamming the life out of everyone.

Ah, I know just what you mean – it’s such a tricky balancing act, isn’t it? Thanks for coming along today and very best of luck with your book.

Thank you for having me today, Katy.


More About Sue
I was born and educated in the UK (I am British!) but now live in Portugal. I’ve been an English teacher for many years with the British Council and also the Portuguese civil service where I developed e-learning courses.

My first love is, of course, my husband, my second writing, and my third painting. And now I have time to be able to indulge in all three.

“Forest Dancer” is my fourth novel, the second in the Portuguese series – the first called “Rising Tide” which is set in a small fishing village on the Alentejo coast. 2018 will see the third in the series: “Joseph Barnaby”, which is set on the island of Madeira.

Forest Dancer (paperback and ebook) on Amazon :





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