From The Welsh Valleys To Novels Set In Tuscany ...
Hi, I'm Susie Sharp, and I write contemporary romance for fabulously flawsome women.
I love animals, shoes, and pizza — in no particular order. (I'd happily save ALL abandoned cats, and you should see my Italian rescue dog, Sophie. She's adorable.)
I bake a mean plate of pancakes. The Welsh way, mind. Yes, there is a difference.
And I'll tell you more later about why I'm handy with a camera ...
But above all else, my family is my world.
From Wales To Tuscany
I'm a Welsh girl at heart — from the dramatic valleys of South Wales.
These days I bounce between Mumbles, London, Grand Cayman, and Tuscany. Splitting my time between my wonderful parents, my grown-up children, and running our holiday rentals.
Tuscany inspired my writing. Tucked away in the secluded mountains with just a few quirky characters for company, suddenly my imagination was full of "what ifs."
And, before I knew it, I was writing.
I'd love to share my journey with you if you'd let me ... sign up here.
Escaping With A Book
When I was a little girl, I was always sneaking off to curl up with a book. In truth, I was a bit of a loner, so stories were my secret escape.
I would read anything with horses — I was horse mad. (I had my own for a while and the joy of mucking out was my life!)
So, in the world of fiction, you'd find me galloping into the Flambards trilogy or wishing I was Jill from Ruby Ferguson's pony books. And who didn't love imagining exciting adventures with Enid Blyton's Secret Seven.
At bedtime I'd snuggle up with my notepad, thinking about stories. I would jot ideas down and probably fill my dreams with them too.
When I grew up a bit, I couldn't help devouring those risqué Jilly Cooper and Jackie Collins classics. You too? I don't blame you!
Chemistry, Cameras, And Being Mum
And yet I didn't grow up to be a writer. I got here later than most though, perhaps, earlier than some.
But, don't we all reinvent ourselves along the way?
I've been everything from a biker chick — in full leathers on my Triumph 250, to an analytical chemist. Can you imagine me in a lab coat and safety specs? White really wasn't my colour!
In my mid-twenties, I got more creative. I became a photographer with my own snazzy studio. I loved the beauty of weddings, although a woman in charge of the camera was a rare sight then. I had to put on my bravest face.
(And I still try to avoid having my own photo taken. See me hiding in the bushes?!)
Being a wife and mother too, I was always busying myself around my scrummy children and juggling those family duties.
For most of my life, I had too much "stuff" in my head to write. I was ataxi mum, football kit washer, and fixer of all things (including broken hearts).
My home was a sanctuary — for drifting friends to stray cats, and even the odd duck.
Life's Kick Up The Bottom
And then something awful happened; I had a health scare. They discovered a hole in my heart.
I won't shock you with the gory details of surgery and cardiac arrests, but it was a huge turning point for me. Because if it wasn't for the magic of medicine, I wouldn't have lived.
They managed to sew me back up, of course. But my marriage and my family became unstitched. I hadn't realised it, but things weren't working. It was time to reimagine myself once more.
It was an incredibly tough time, but it made me realise how resilient we can be.
Life was giving me an opportunity. (A swift kick up the bottom!) My children had flown the nest, and it was time to step out of the shadows. Time to make my life matter.
Tuscany called me. Those peaceful mountains spoke to me and told me my fresh start was waiting.
So after some to-ing, fro-ing, and wondering if I really could — I packed my bags and left my old self behind.
Writing Novels Set In Tuscany
And that's how I ended up in Italy — for the summers, at least. I have a fabulous new hubby, and despite the struggles, we've adjusted to our blended family life.
We come back to the UK for the winters — surprisingly, it's warmer!
But my summers are for those Tuscan hills, the sunshine, and my writing.
As soon as we moved here, the stories just began to flow. The lakes, the towns, the life. The people who stay in our holiday lets. They inspired me. They teased those stories out.
Although, much like my novels, I won't pretend Tuscany is all hearts, flowers, and happy endings. It can be rugged and sweaty, and don't get me started on the dodgy wifi!
But just like my writing, this Tuscan adventure feels like something for me.
And if you follow this journey, hopefully, something for you too.
Let's Stay Together?
I would love to invite you into my world of stray cats and sunshine, and share my words with you (as daunting as that sometimes feels!)
I hope, through my writing, I can share this message I've been learning:
That this later phase of womanhood makes us stronger.
That we all have a voice worth listening to.
And that exciting new passions are out there if you dare to look ...
So let me keep you updated with my intriguing adventures and novels set in Tuscany.
My debut novel, Time For Tuscany, is due to be published later this year.
If you want to be the first to hear exclusive news, and perhaps the odd cheeky photo of Tuscany (with or without me hiding in the bushes!) — pop your email in the box now and let's stay in touch.
I'm excited to welcome you in.