Today I’m thrilled to invite my old pal Sue Barnard back for a quick natter. Unfortunately she isn’t here in person but via the magic carpet I can give her a glass of the local vintage and ask her why her Shakespeare novels are reduced this week.
Thank you, Ailsa. Cheers! And upon this charge, cry God for Harry, England and St George! (Rather appropriate today, don’t you think?)
Yes! Everyone knows about St. George’s Day even if he wasn’t an English saint but not many remember that it is supposed to be the Bard’s Birthday. How sure are we that this is the right date?
We aren’t, because nobody has found a record of the exact date of his birth, but the register at Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon, shows that he was baptised on 26 April 1564. What we do know is the date of his death: 23 April 1616 – exactly four hundred years ago today. This is the anniversary which is being commemorated this year.
I know you are passionate about our William but tell me how that started. Was it from reading his plays at school or by seeing them on stage or screen?
A bit of both, really. When we did Shakespeare at school we had some very good teachers, who seemed to appreciate that the plays were meant to be performed rather than read – so they allocated parts to members of the class and we acted out the key scenes at the front of the classroom. They also organised trips to the theatre when Shakespeare plays were being staged, and encouraged us to watch any versions on television. The first play I studied in any detail was The Merchant of Venice, which has remained one of my favourites ever since. The high point for me, though, has to be Zeffirelli’s film of Romeo & Juliet. Nothing has ever equalled that, before or since.
Yes, me too! And I was lucky enough to have an English teacher who encouraged us to act the plays out as we read them in class as well, so he came alive for me from an early age. However, it was when I first saw a live production that I became enamoured. I’m still in love with Leonard Whiting’s Romeo! Enough about William – tell my readers about your two novels with Shakespearean themes. Give us a teaser!
The Ghostly Father is a retelling of Romeo & Juliet, but with a few new twists and a whole new outcome. I wrote it originally for myself, but I hope it will appeal to anyone who, like me, loves the Romeo & Juliet story but hates the ending.
The Unkindest Cut of All is a murder mystery set in a theatre, during an amateur dramatic society’s production of Julius Caesar. I’ve drawn on my own experience of am-dram backstage work to create the setting, but the plot and the characters are pure invention.
And now the bait – HOW MUCH are they and for how long?
Just 99p each for all my books, for the next few days.
Links and Bio.
Editor at Crooked Cat Publishing
Sue Barnard was born in North Wales but has spent most of her life in and around Manchester. After graduating from Durham University, where she studied French and Italian, Sue got married then had a variety of office jobs before becoming a full-time parent. If she had her way, the phrase “non-working mother” would be banned from the English language.
Since then she has had a series of part-time jobs, including some work as a freelance copywriter. In parallel with this she took several courses in Creative Writing. Her writing achievements include winning the Writing Magazine New Subscribers Poetry Competition for 2013. She is also very interested in Family History. Her own background is stranger than fiction; she’d write a book about it if she thought anybody would believe her.
Sue has a mind which is sufficiently warped as to be capable of compiling questions for BBC Radio 4’s fiendishly difficult Round Britain Quiz. This once caused one of her sons to describe her as “professionally weird.” The label has stuck.
Sue joined the editorial team of Crooked Cat Publishing in 2013. Her first novel, The Ghostly Father (a new take on the traditional story of Romeo & Juliet) was officially released on St Valentine’s Day 2014. This was followed in July 2014 by her second novel, a romantic mystery entitled Nice Girls Don’t. Her third novel, The Unkindest Cut of All (a murder mystery set in a theatre), was released in June 2015.
Thanks for popping by on the carpet Sue. I’ll keep a bottle in the fridge for when you next manage to visit in person xxx
Thank you for hosting me, Ailsa. A la prochaine!
Bisous! (Frantic smiling and waving from residents of Bingergread Cottage), exit skywards, Sue B on a magic carpet.