Wednesday Windback with Susan Pape @wordfocus

Today I’m delighted to revisit my Five on Friday interview with Susan Pape which was first posted in May 2019. It’s been brought up to date to include all Susan’s books. Susan is a former journalist turned novelist who writes smart and witty women’s fiction with long time friend Sue Featherstone. 

Susan Pape is a former newspaper journalist with extensive experience of working for national and regional papers, and magazines. She has also worked in higher education, teaching journalism at Leeds Trinity University.

Susan joined with best friend Sue Featherstone to write two successful journalism text books – Newspaper Journalism: A Practical Introduction and Feature Writing: A Practical Introduction (both published by Sage).

They went on to write their debut novel, A Falling Friend, published by Lakewater Press, which has been followed by a second book, A Forsaken Friend. The final book in the Friends trilogy is a Forgiven Friend will be published this year.

Over to Susan:

Which five pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?

Mr Blue Sky. I saw Jeff Lynne’s ELO at the First Direct Arena in Leeds last year and the audience (many of a certain age who remember the Electric Light Orchestra from the first time around) erupted in sheer delight. It was an absolutely amazing atmosphere.


Happy by Pharrell Williams. It’s a song that you can’t help smiling, clapping and dancing along to.


Faure Requiem is the best known of composer Gabriel Faure’s large works, and although I’ve listened to it many times, it still has the power to overwhelm.


Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen. I would gladly list all Leonard Cohen’s music on my soundtrack, but it I had to pick just one it would be this. I saw Leonard Cohen in concert two or three years ago and it was one of the most magical events of my life. The whole audience was as one: we loved him and none of us could believe we were actually there listening to him.


Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto is a popular piece which regularly features in Classic FM’s top 100. I love it because it’s so intense and leads you into a slowly building finale that knocks your socks off.


What five things (apart from family and friends) would you find it hard to live without.

My ukulele

My car

Walking boots

My diary

My computer (for writing)

Give five pieces of advice to your younger self?

Dive in at the deep end.

Relax – the bath won’t overflow (mother will remember to turn the taps off before everyone in the house drowns)

Just be natural: life’s not a performance, and you don’t have to put on an act.

Be genuinely nice to people rather than ingratiate yourself or try to please others to win their affection and approval.

Some of your worst fears will materialize, but you will deal with them.

Tell us five things that most people don’t know about you

I have climbed all the 214 hills (known as Wainwrights) in the Lake District (some more than once). I took a bottle of champagne up the final one on my list (which was some weight in my rucksack) and sat on the cairn drinking and celebrating.

I spent my early years in Hong Kong and can count to ten and swear in Mandarin.

I play the ukulele in a band. I learned to play during a music tuition weekend in the Lakes, without telling anyone what I was doing. I came home, made my husband close his eyes while I took my uke from its case, and played him Jambalaya, an easy tune as it’s only got two chords, but to me, it was the start of a love affair with this crazy little instrument.

I ghost wrote two cookery books. Friends will laugh at this because I’m a notoriously bad cook. To produce the books, I spent time with the chefs involved and it was a case of interviewing them and copying down, ounce for ounce, the recipes they wanted including. Because these books were ghost written, I wasn’t allowed to say I was the ‘author’, but I proudly keep them on my bookshelves.

Deep within my heart is a secret I can never tell anyone.

Tell us five things you’d still like to do or achieve.

I don’t really have a bucket list. I’ve always taken the view that if you have ambitions and goals, just get on with it. Don’t make excuses as to why you can’t do something – go on and do whatever’s possible for you. I’ve had that approach to climbing mountains; walking long-distance footpaths; taking two degrees as a mature student; training and running half-marathons; speaking in public; and writing books and getting them published.

But if I was pushed, I’d say I want to learn to dive and conquer my fear of swimming underwater. 

Susan’s Books

(NB This post features Affiliate links from which I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases)

A Falling Friend

There are two sides to every friendship.
After spending her twenties sailing the globe, making love on fine white sand, and thinking only of today, Teri Meyer returns to Yorkshire – and back into the life of childhood friend Lee. Plus, there’s the new job, new man – or three – and the guaranteed lump sum of a bursary for her academic research piece on the way. Life is first-rate.
What could possibly go wrong?
Going out on a limb to get best friend Teri a job at the same university seemed like a great idea. But it doesn’t take long for Lee Harper to notice a pattern. Teri seems to attract trouble, or maybe she creates it, and Lee can see exactly where things are spiralling – downwards. But Teri’s not the sort to heed a warning, so Lee has no choice but to stand by and watch.
And besides, she has her own life to straighten out.

A Forsaken Friend

No-one said friendship was easy.
Things can’t get much worse for Teri Meyer. If losing her job at the university and the regular allowance from her dad’s factory isn’t bad enough, now her ex-best friend has gone and stolen her ex-husband! Well, to hell with them all. A few weeks in the countryside at her brother’s smallholding should do the trick – and the gorgeous and god-like neighbour might help.
But then there’s Declan, not to mention Duck’s Arse back in Yorkshire…
It’s not as if Lee Harper set out to fall in love with her best friend’s ex-husband. But, for once, her love life is looking up – except for all the elephants in the room, not to mention Mammy’s opinion on her dating a twice-divorced man. Perhaps things aren’t as rosy as she first thought. And now with one family crisis after another, Lee’s juggling more roles – and emotions – than she ever imagined.
Maybe sharing her life with a man isn’t such a grand idea.

A Forgiven Friend

There’s only one way out from rock bottom and that’s up, and Teri Meyer is finally crawling out from the worst time of her life – no thanks to her best friend Lee. But no matter, she’s finally found love – real love with a real man, a successful man, a man who accepts all her flaws. Teri’s never felt like this before, and yet it’s changing her in ways she doesn’t understand.
And there’s only one person who can help, one person who truly understands Teri.
It seems that no matter how hard Lee Harper tries, there’s a battle awaiting her at every turn, and, as if she doesn’t need the extra, Teri continues to create constant and unnecessary drama. But Lee’s the only one who really knows what’s going on under Teri’s hard, convoluted exterior, and that’s why she’s always been there for her.
But the question is: will Teri be there when Lee needs her most?

Newspaper Journalism

′As well as guides on how to report courts and councils, Newspaper Journalism offers tips on how to write both news stories and features and how to make and keep contacts. The tips are packed with real life examples from journalists working on provincial newspapers. A worthwhile read – and not just for the latest newshound to join the press pack′

Feature Writing

This book provides a practical and richly informative introduction to feature writing and the broader context in which features journalists operate. As well as covering the key elements and distinctive features that constitute good feature writing, the book also offers a rich resource of real life examples, case studies and exercises.

The authors have drawn on their considerable shared experience to provide a solid and engaging grounding in the principles and practice of feature writing. The textbook will explore the possibilities of feature writing, including essential basics, such as:

  • Why journalists become feature writers
  • The difference between news stories and features
  • What features need to contain
  • How to write features
  • The different types of features

 The text is intended for both those who are studying the media at degree level and those who are wishing to embark on a career in the print industry. It will be invaluable for trainee feature writers.

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