Thursday, September 22, 2011

An Interview With: Sue Watson

Sue Watson was born in Manchester and moved to London to work as a journalist on tabloid newspapers and women's magazines. She then moved into television, and became a producer with the BBC, working on garden makeovers, kitchen programmes and daytime talk shows. Sue now writes novels in Worcestershire, where she lives with husband Nick, daughter Eve, two cats and a rather glamorous goldfish.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Sue, earlier this week, about the success of her debut novel Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes and here is what she had to say:

Thankyou so much for joining us at Chick Litaholic today and congratulations on your debut novel Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes. How did you come up with the idea for the novel?
I think the seed was planted for Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes several years ago when I was working as a TV producer with the BBC and struggling with being a new mum. I remember a friend saying that she'd like to just stay home and look after her children and bake.... that sounded like a lovely idea and got me thinking.

How similar to the character of Stella are you?
I think I am very much like Stella and once I began writing her character it just flowed because I felt things in a similar way to her. We both deal with life in a similar way .... by never letting things get us down and we always add a large sprinkling of humour. Like Stella I also struggled with the pressures of motherhood, work and marriage, but being in a media career there was also pressure to stay young ... and being a springy size zero.

Are any of the characters in Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes based on real people, or are they all fictional?
I think most of my characters have elements of people I know in them. I found it helped to have a vague idea of a real person in mind and build on that while developing the characters. It helped me to think 'how would she deal with that?' or 'how would someone like him react to that situation?' I also have a friend called Al who is involved in the Gay swimming community (yes it does exist!) and there are definatly some cute little bits of him in the book character, but the real Al is far more sensitive, and wouldn't ever be as hilariously tactless as the fictious Al.

In Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes Stella loves to bake. Do you enjoy baking in your spare time?
I love to bake - I find it very therapeutic and my favourite part about baking fairy cakes is the decorating bit! I love to ice the tops and put candies and jellies and little coffee beans (on the coffee flavoured cakes.) My book contains lots of recipies that are referred to in the narative and that were all created by me in my own kitchen .... like Cranberry and White Chocolate Chritsmas Fairies and cute coffee cupcakes.

What is your favourite food that you enjoy as a treat?
Well I have to say fairy cakes. I love coffee and chocolate ones the best. I also LOVE chocolate (or candy) in every form and could probably eat it all the time ... hell I do! And let's face it that's probably why I never have been, or never will be a size zero.

It sounds like I love chocolate just as much as you! If Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes were made into a movie, who would be your dream cast?
Ooh what a lovely thought that would be! I would like Stella to be played by someone who is naturally big and gorgeous - not some skinny actress who has to eat doughnuts for a few weeks to put on half a stone and call herself 'fat'. I would love to see someone like Brooke Elliot who plays Jane, the plus size girl whose body is inhabited by the soul of a supermodel, in Drop Dead Diva. She's a big, beautiful, sassy lady who I just know would play a witty, intelligent heroine perfectly. I think she has just the right balance of beauty, bigness, feistiness, yet vunerabilty ... she'd be fabolous. For Stella's best friend Al, it would have to be Micheal Urie who plays Marc St James in Ugly Betty. As Marc he has the crazy energy and twisted dark humour that I love so much in Al ... he also tells it like it is!

What do you think of the chick lit label being placed on your novel?
I am so delighted to have the book in print (and kindle) and so flattered anyone would want to read it I really don't mind about the label. I am really interested to know what my readers think and whether or not that believe it fits into the chick lit genre? I also guess it's about how you define chick lit and I see chick lit as a very broad genre. Essentially it's a women's commercial fiction - but chick lit just sounds lighter and more fun!

I agree! Who are your favourite authors?
I love Jen Lancaster - she's outrageous, says it like it is and though I don't always agree with her politics I love her writing. 'Such a Pretty Fat' is one of the funniest, most brutally honest books I have ever read. In complete contrast, I love Anne Tyler - 'Back When We Were Grown Ups' is my favourite book and centres on a slightly older heroine - which is quite unusual. Tyler's characters are so incredibly real and she writes with clarity, revealing their innermost, peeling away their layers of dissapointment, hurt, love that they have gone through - and essentially what it is to be human moving through life and living in relationships with other humans.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Yes. Never give up ... writing can be the loneliest, most thankless and yet most wonderful profession. I left the BBC and my career in TV to pursue this and it has taken years to get to the publication stage. There have been times when I have had rejections and been so dissapointed that I wanted to throw the towel in but something drove me on .... I always believed in this book and wanted to share the story. Think about your cover - imagine the book on shelves, on Amazon ... just keep visualising it and re-editing and sending it out again and again. Believe it what you are doing and don't let anyone put you off - and don't read statistics about how unlikely it is you'll get published ... someone has to!

Are you working on a second novel, and if so can you tell us more about it?
Yes, I'm currently completing my second book, 'The Terrible Truth About Tanya Travis.' It's the story of a talk show host - with a dark secret. I think Tanya is as engaging and in her own way as funny as Stella, but she's a very different character, Tanya is slightly uptight, suffers from OCD and is always feeling anxious and finds relief in cleaning. Tanya is great fun to write about, but has provided quite a challenge for me as a writer because she is so different from Stella. I am also planning a sequel to Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes and want to take Stella and her friends to Hollywood - because I know they will love it! I want them to bake glamourous fairy cakes and sip frothy cocktails by fabolous blue swimming pools. And who knows? There may even be a few film stars dotted around the 'Fairy Cake' landscape!

Sounds exciting. I know I can't wait for your next novel. Thankyou so much for joining us here today.
Thankyou so much for having me - I do hope your readers enjoy the interview...!

To find out more about Sue Watson you can visit her website:

Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes is avaliable on Amazon on Kindle (US and Canada) and paperback (UK). To buy the novel, click on the links below:


  1. Great interview.
    Nice to meet you Sue.
    I am looking forward to reading this one.


  2. This book looks really cute and totally my cup of tea! So glad I found your blog!


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