Hi I'm Laura, I’m an English teacher from East London and married to Phil, who is a Geography teacher.
We have two daughters, Sadie who is two and Esther who was born in September 2016.
I’m often told that I’m funny, but don’t always mean to be.
My interests include reading, watching cult TV, eating seafood and messing around on the Internet.
I am not very interested in housework, cooking toddler-approved meals or CBeebies, but unfortunately seem to do more of those than of the pursuits that I actually enjoy. My favourite book of all time is the much-underrated Time for Bed by David Baddiel.
I blog here and tweet here .
I got to interview Sue Whitaker about her books 'Remember Remember' and 'Dear Anyone'.
Q. What made you get into writing books? Was it something you had always wanted to do?
A. " I think that I was so unhappy with my own life at the time, that I felt the need to escape, so I began creating the life of the main character of the book, living her life so that I didn’t feel my own personal pain. The book was rejected by the publisher, but it was good therapy for me. It was as if I had given my pain to someone else and by doing so I could create different ways of dealing with the pain. "
Q. When did you write your first book and how old were you? What was the thing that got you started with the first book?
A. "I began writing in my late twenties for the reasons I have mentioned above."
Q. Both of these books utilise the first person voice. Why did you choose to write them in this way? What does it add to the story and what does it make harder as a writer?
A. "I find it easy to take on the role of a character, and when I am writing I become that person, so writing in the first person feels natural, as if I was writing my own diary. When I am writing I am terrible to live with as everything else takes second place, as the main character of the book takes over my way of thinking. It can be difficult to switch that person off and be myself, and I guess sometimes I lose my own identity."
Q. In Remember Remember Carla is disfigured after an incident involving fireworks.
She then has to overcome the stigma of disfiguration. What was your inspiration for such a hard hitting story?
A. "Around bonfire night, when the darkness is intermittently bombarded by invading sounds of exploding fireworks, I always feel uneasy. I worry about the safety of wildlife and hope that my grandchildren (if they are out) are safe and acting responsibly themselves. Alas, every year not everyone’s children and grandchildren are safe, and this should not be the case. Even though we are all supposed to know the firework code, in the midst of November 5th excitement, warnings can be forgotten. I wanted everyone to think, just for a minute, what would it be like if we were at the wrong end of someone’s excitement. What if being at the wrong end changed our life forever."
Q. In Dear Anyone the story is told through letters. This must make it difficult to tell some elements of the story, how did you overcome this?
A. "They began writing their letters with no intention of ever meeting face to face, so the letters had to become the conversations that they would never have. They had to be frank, honest and full of hope."
Q. You include a lot of detail about the medical side of Carla’s disfigurement and of her encounters with medical professionals in Remember, Remember. How did you do your research?
A. "I trained as a nurse and I come from a medical family."
Q. In Remember, Remember Carla is lucky enough to experience kindness from an unexpected source, which ends up making a huge difference to her life. Is this something that you have experienced in your own life?
A. "I believe in the bonds that unite a family, and I am lucky enough to have a very supportive family of my own, but what I have never had is a friend who can give me a similar kind of support. Something I have wanted but never been able to achieve."
Q. In Dear Anyone, the character of Ava has been diagnosed with cancer, is this something that is close to your heart?
A. "Cancer is close to the hearts of many, and yes I have known my fair share of people who have suffered the ordeal, but sadly not anyone who has beaten the disease."
Q. In Dear Anyone Ava and her pen pal manage to create their own little universe where death isn’t constantly hanging over their heads like it is in real life, and we as the readers get to see that world. How did you, as a writer, make sure that we got to know the characters well enough that that was possible?
A. "I have always been bewildered by the fascination of women to write to men on death row, in fact I am one of those women and this is something that I am considering doing. However, I have always told myself that when I do write to someone I would try to help them leave their circumstances behind and starting with a blank canvas, create their life again, like a collage of everything they never had. I intentionally made both of their lives unbearably painful so that their fantasy world would become their therapy. I hope I got this across."
Q. What feedback have you had from readers about Remember, Remember and Dear Anyone? Did they have any questions about the characters or story?
A. "I have often been asked how can I write about matters so painfully tragic. I guess it’s because, like a lot of people, I have had a lot of pain in my life, so I have empathy and understanding for the pain of others."
We want to thank Laura and Sue for their questions and answers, which make a very interesting interview.
If you want to purchase Sue's books Remember Remember and Dear Anyone please click the links below.
Dear Anyone eBook
Dear Anyone Paperback
Remember Remember eBook
Remember Remember Paperback
Hi, I’m Lauren Catherine aka my name in real and on the blog. What is my blog about? Well all about lifestyle, beauty and just anything what I feel like. I’ve been blogging for just over 5 months, I’ve been loving it. I’m sorry I never really stuck it before this!! Hope you enjoy this post and thank you to ETA Publishing for letting me write on their blog. It’s been fab!!
You can find Lauren's links down below:
Remember Remember by Sue Whitaker
Paperback available here and everywhere books are sold by discerning book sellers.
E-Book available here
"A short story, I actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would. First we meet a girl; we don’t even know her name to begin with. We don’t even find out her name to at least half way through the book, Carla. She’s young and quite naïve I find to begin with, but she does have quite the story. Bonfire night, “remember remember” the 5th of November I see what Sue did there. I like it.
Bonfire night told from Carla’s point of view the whole way through, it’s actually refreshing to read a book purely from the victims view. Especially since Carla was unconscious, bonfire night it’s all fun and games till someone gets hurt. She unfortunately got attacked by a firework, just as she was meeting her friends, just as any teenager would do. Goes to show it really can happen to anyone, any age.
Carla a young teenager, worrying about what young girls worry about, I find it quite sad that girls are always worried about how other people perceive them. After what Carla went through and listening to her thoughts imagine how scary it would be, to not know who you are, where you are or who anyone is. Now that’s scary!!
Throughout the story, it goes through every aspect of being a burn victim. Dealing with the physical and mental side of it, as well as dealing with the way people, especially friends and family react. People react and deal with stuff differently, which is dealt with brilliantly in this book.
If there’s one thing I learnt from this book, it’s this, don’t underestimate your own strength!
I was so happy to discover where Carla and the rest of the story, ended up, especially for this time of year, with Bonfire Night just around the corner. This is a brilliant read that really shows how dangerous this time of year really is. Everyone should read this book. I would award this book FOUR STARS!
We would like to thank Lauren for featuring on our blog this week, we really enjoyed reading her review on Remember Remember and we hope you did too.
Keep an eye out for upcoming posts from Lauren and other guest bloggers too...
If you would like to feature on our blog email Amber and we will be in touch.
Thank you for reading.
We all need to relax at times in our life. You can get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and forget to take time for yourself.
I am going to be telling you ways that you can relax with a great book in hand.
1- Take a bath and read. There is something so calming about reading in the bath.
Adding lots of bubbles or soft scented fragrances will really help you unwind.
2- Go to a coffee shop and take your favourite book.
Do this when you have no where to be, you can watch the rush of people around you while you are taking your time and relaxing.
3- Sit outside on a cold, fresh morning.
Breathing in the cold air while being wrapped up really warm is amazing, a good book in hand and you will feel energised and refreshed for the day ahead.
4- Walking/ jogging with an audio book, this is great if you feel lonely while on your walk. It’s like someone is talking to you but they’re telling a really good story.
5- Turn off all technology an hour before you go to sleep, get into bed and read a book. This will help your mind relax and unwind and you should get a great night sleep too!
There are 5 ways to relax with a good book, if you have any other ways you like to relax with a book lets us know!
If you want to receive free ebooks every month to review then click the link here and sign up to the ETA Book Club today!
As a book worm myself I decided to compile a list of 10 things that us book worms love.
1. That new book smell, it's amazing! When you open a fresh book in a shop, stick your nose in and take a deep breath. Ahhhhh, perfect. (Also you may get funny looks from passers by but who cares, right?)
2. The feeling of a new book. When I have a brand new book in my hand I feel great, the book is pristine, no folded corners and its all smooth. Oooooooooo ahhh!
3. Placing an online book order. Yes going into a shop is nice but they may not always have every single book that you will ever need there. You want more, so you go online. 1000's of books to decided between... maybe adding one to the basket, or 10?
4. When you finally get to relax and read the book you have been thinking about all day. FINALLY getting to catch up on the characters you are so emotionally involved with, who may or may not be real, but WHO CARES???
5. Finding an older series of books and getting so heavily into the first book to discover it's left on a cliffhanger and you don't know how you will survive without knowing the ending, then realising the next book in the series is already out and you don't have to wait for the author to release another one! Hehehe.
6. When the book has an unexpected ending. oh my god, the feels. It's so good when the book doesn't go as you imagined. Sometimes it it so predictable as to how the book ends but when theres a sudden twist it's great... unless it goes the bad way, then that's not good.
7. Feeling like you are a character in the book, if it's a good book then it's so good to be able to escape reality and involve yourself in it, maybe you will meet new mystical creatures and discover some hidden treasure.
8. Finding new friends from your love of books. It's so nice to have someone to talk to about books and if you start reading the same book at the same tame you can fangirl about it together. Yay!
9. When your favourite author announces a new book... *HAPPY DANCE*
And finally number 10.
10. WHEN THERE IS A SALE ON BOOKS. How amazing for me (not so for my purse) all the books you have wanted to read, cheaper. You can't get better than that.
(Unless they're free...)
If you want to receive free eBooks every month and review them then head over to the ETA website (Linked Here) to sign up to our Book reviewers club!
I hope you enjoyed and could relate to this post.
Thank you so much for reading!!!