I’m delighted to be hosting Susan Roebuck in my hot seat today as part of the tour organised by Rachel’s Random Resources for romantic suspense, Joseph Barnaby.
Susan is chatting to us today about her characters, her favourite scene and more. There’s also a generous tourwide giveaway that you won’t want to miss!
- Print Length: 269 pages
- Publisher: Crooked Cat Books (5 Oct. 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781724565440
- ISBN-13: 978-1724565440
- ASIN: B07FMVFLH1
Stand by your beliefs – even if it means going to the end of the Earth
By standing up for his principles to save the life of a prize racehorse, farrier Joseph Barnaby loses everything. Now, a personal vendetta has become too deep to fight and he escapes to the island of Madeira where he finds work on a small farm at the foot of a cliff, only accessible by boat. The balmy climate and never-ending supply of exotic fruit, vegetables and honey make it sound like paradise but, for Joseph, it’s the ideal place to hide from the world. Can the inhabitants of Quinta da Esperança, who have more grit in them than the pebbled beach that fronts the property, help Joseph find his self-worth again? And can he escape the danger that draws ever nearer?
Welcome to Jera’s Jamboree.
Please tell us about the characters in Joseph Barnaby.
The main character is Joseph Barnaby, a well-known farrier working with race-horses in the east of England. Based on a hunch he puts his career on the line when he prevents the favourite from running in one of the UK’s most prestigious horse racing events. Professional and public opinion turn against him and, although courageous, he cannot stand alone against the pure hate that falls on his shoulders from the general public and the professionals. Fearing for his life, and with a need to protect his father, he sticks a pin on a map and finds himself working on a small farm on Madeira Island, a farm so remote, it’s only accessible by boat. That suits Joe fine. He’s hiding from the world.
But what a waste of a great man and professional whose only contact with his beloved animals are a stubborn donkey called Ed and a bunch of goats who all follow him everywhere, much to the amusement of the farmer and his niece, Sofia.
Sofia is the other main character. She’s profoundly deaf, beautiful and loves bees. She can “hear” the buzzing of bees and understand their movements, just as she can feel the vibrations of loud drum music. Is it possible that she can get Joe to join the world again? You’ll have to read Joseph Barnaby.
What scene did you enjoy writing the most Susan?
I think it’s Sofia’s opening scene. She’s such a lovely girl and feisty with it. The farm that Joe and she live on is a narrow stretch of land on a beach at the bottom of a steep escarpment. I mentioned above that the only access to this place is by boat, but it is possible to reach it by negotiating the sheer face of the huge cliff. No-one ever does it, except Sofia. I enjoyed it because it let my imagination run riot about the sights and smells of Madeira. Here’s a little excerpt:
…How a tree, eking out an existence on this steep, barren, dry escarpment, could produce such wonderful fruit in such abundance was beyond her. But there were other shrubs, spiky and dry, that miraculously sent out the sweetest fragrance in the heat as if to say I might be ugly but I do have a beautiful inside. Anything can have a certain exterior it shows the world, but also have a beautiful interior only a select few can appreciate.
Sofia snorted at her profound thoughts and carried on, deftly stepping around loose boulders. Another twenty minutes of this and she’d be where she’d called home since she was eight years old. Way below, the farm stretched to the rocky grey-pebbled beach where the white veil of surf broke on the grey and black shoreline of the Fajã. Her uncle’s Quinta dos Françeses sat at sea-level where he farmed two acres of vineyards, an acre of banana trees and another two of fruit trees and bushes, not including the vegetable patches, goats, chickens and a donkey. The red-roofed farmhouse had been built on a small hillock, the highest point of the Fajã, at the far western end surrounded by a verdant array of overhanging passion-fruit creepers and a vegetable garden. Next to the farmhouse was the washhouse, then the farm-worker’s cottage. Behind them were the fruit orchards, and the wine-cellar barn. Next in line was the toolshed, flanked by another fruit orchard. And there, at the far western end, sheltered from the sea by a black stone wall, were her beehives….
Did you do any research? What resources did you use?
I had to do a lot of research as I know nothing about being a farrier. I used Google and read three of Dick Francis’s horse-racing books. I don’t know anything about bees either so I bought “The Secret Life of Bees” by Sue Monk (I love that book) and also “Beekeeping for Dummies”. I was fascinated by the tenacity of the little creatures and now yearn to keep a hive myself which might be a little difficult as I live in a flat!
What inspired you to write?
Writers always give the same answer, don’t they? I’ve always wanted to write. At school I won a prize for writing a short novel when I was fourteen. It was set in World War II and about a village in the UK fighting to prevent an army training camp taking over their village. Now, what I know about World War II or the army could be written on a postage stamp so the old adage given to budding writers that you should only write about what you know is rather obsolete, I reckon.
I only managed to find time to write full time around ten years ago after an illness forced me to stop working as a teacher.
Do you have a most creative time of day?
Definitely early morning. I live in Portugal (that’s why the last three of my books have been set in this country!), overlooking Lisbon harbour. The early morning is when the cruise ships start arriving and I look at those floating monsters carrying 3,000 passengers and wonder what on earth they’re all doing and whether any of them are looking at me!
Can you share with us your favourite place for inspiration?
I think, living here in Portugal is an ideal place for inspiration. I always say this is a little country with a huge heart (you’ll always get a warm welcome by the Portuguese). I’ve set three of my books here now: Rising Tide which is set in a small fishing village on the Alentejo coast which most of Portugal and the whole world has forgotten about. Forest Dancer takes place in the forests just outside Lisbon (near the town of Sintra) where a classical ballerina from London arrives to try and re-discover her life. And, now, Joseph Barnaby, which is set on the exotic island of Madeira (which is where my husband was born).
Finally, the written word is a fabulous ‘vehicle’ for highlighting social barriers. How do your stories tackle issues Susan?
I’ve written five books now and I think I cover social barriers in most of them. I’m not sure why – but I personally loathe corruption and injustice. These subjects come to the fore in my first book, Perfect Score, which is set in the US in the 1960s. The main characters are gay (so you can imagine the bullying etc., that went on), one of them is also dyslexic. Dyslexia wasn’t really understood in the 1960s and Sam, the character, was treated as stupid. Corruption in the pharmaceutical business also comes out in that book.
My second book, Hewhay Hall, is about unsung heroes – a fireman who has lost his leg due to injuries he incurred rescuing a family during a terrorist attack.
Then the Portuguese series have included parents not allowing their daughters to marry beneath them socially; the prevention of a fracking project that could destroy a village and forest; corruption in the horse-racing industry; the use of the rape drug.
Heavens! I really do hate social injustice.
Thank you for inviting me to your blog today!
You’re very welcome 🙂
Wishing you success with all your writing projects.
About Sue Roebuck
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.
My debut novel, “Perfect Score” was published by Mundania Press on Sept 21, 2010 and the paperback launched on May 11 2011. It was a finalist in the 2012 EPIC e-book Awards in the Mainstream Category.
My second novel is a dark thriller/fantasy called “Hewhay Hall”. It won an EPPIE award in the 2013 EPIC (Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition) e-Book Awards in the Horror Category.
Next comes “Rising Tide”, published in 2015. Set in Portugal, published by Mundania Press. It is set in a tiny fishing village that the world, and most of Portugal, has forgotten. Read about the wonders of the ocean and see if Piper from Norfolk UK and Leo from Alaska, USA, can find what they’re searching for in the little village of Luminosa.
“Forest Dancer” was published on 20th February 2018 by CrookedCat Books. This is novel number 2 set in Portugal but this time in the forests outside Lisbon, Portugal. Instead of the sea (as in Rising Tide), now find out about the wonders of the forest and whether classical ballerina, Flora, can find what she’s searching for in the small village of Aurora.
On 5th October 2018 CrookedCat Books published my newest novel, “Joseph Barnaby”, another romance/suspense which is set on the island of Madeira.
Connect with Susan Roebuck
Blog and website: http://www.susanroebuck.com
General Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SuRoebuck
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SusanRoebuckauthor/
Twitter @suerobuck: https://twitter.com/sueroebuck
Don’t forget to check out the other hosts on tour.
Don’t miss entering this fabulous tourwide giveaway! (Please note, Jera’s Jamboree/Shaz Goodwin is not responsible for this giveaway).
- 1st prize an Amazon book token (£10) ,
- 2nd prize – 2 x signed paperbacks of Joseph Barnaby
- 3rd prize – 2 x ebooks of Joseph Barnaby
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
Read all posts in the romantic suspense genre on Jera’s Jamboree.