Fact or fiction?
By Sue Cross
People constantly ask me, “Are you Celine, Kristin or Samantha?” or “What actually happened to you in Tea at Sam’s?”
The simple answer is, “I am all three girls and everything happened to me but I am lying. This is not the truth at all.”
What I believe to be authentic in the novel are the descriptions of Hong Kong, Mauritius and Australia in the late 60s and early 70s as these are the three countries where I lived in those far off days. It was an exciting time to be alive and women’s roles were changing fast. I write the facts and embroider the rest.
I have always found it difficult not to exaggerate and what is fact and what is fiction have blurred and become one picture; like watercolours running across paper. Who knows what will emerge as the paint travels, merging, creating and eventually becoming an impression? The paint sometimes appears to have a mind of its own when mixed with water and so words can’t help but find expression when mixed with inspiration. That inspiration is sometimes based on reality or just a wandering of the imagination.
As I write, I become lost in the story. My pain, disappointment and trials as well as the joys, hope and love have become the paint that I use to produce a picture. I am compelled to write, not always knowing where the story will take me but I am a willing passenger, enjoying the ride and looking forward to the destination so that I can start another journey all over again. Writing is like sleep walking – you are not sure where it will take you. And that is the truth.
Tea at Sam’s is about three young women, all unknown to each other, who travel abroad as reluctant colonial wives. Each encounters various trials and return to the same town in England where they meet at an art class. They form strong and loyal friendships which, in turn, help them to trust again.
Our story ends in Spain at a colourful fiesta where the unexpected happens.
For more information, visit Sue’s website www.suecross.com
Born on the Wirral, I attended a Grammar School and then a convent. It was during my time at the convent that I played hooky and enjoyed a forbidden trip to the Cavern Club in search of my heroes – The Beatles.
After relocating to Cheltenham, in the beautiful Cotswolds, I became a fashion buyer, married young and later moved with my husband and baby to live as a colonial wife in the tropical paradise of Mauritius. Then followed ten years in Hong Kong interspersed with a spell in Australia.
With a desire to have my own business, I first opened a beauty salon and then realised a dream – to launch my own skin care range. Due to hard work and lots of grace, the range became one of the top in its field.
After surviving the trauma of having a drug addict son and a daughter who became a deserted single mother, I eventually decided to retire from the competitive beauty world in search of a quieter life.
I have just completed Making Scents, the sequel to Tea at Sam’s (my first novel) and hope to produce a third novel. As well as these two books, I have written two children’s books, a memoir and a compilation of short stories.
I now live part of the year in Spain where I enjoy the luxury of having the time to follow my passions – writing and painting. Widely travelled, I have visited more than fifty countries and like to incorporate some of my experiences abroad into my writing.
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Notes about my work by other authors –
“You write vividly, clearly and well.” – Fay Weldon
“Sue’s prose is clear and engaging – she clearly has a gift for writing.” Dr Nigel Scotland
“Beautifully written.” David Pytches
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