November 2008


This is the pen-name of children's author Sue Mongredien. Recently married, she lives in Bath with her husband and three children. Her latest adult release is Over You.

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  1. Why did you decide to move from writing children's books to adult fiction?

    I started writing Any Way You Want Me when I went on a creative writing evening class back in 2002. I was a full-time mum with a one-year-old daughter and a baby son and was experiencing some really intense love/hate feelings about motherhood - loving my children to bits but hating all the domestic drudgery and the fact that my life seemed to have shrunk in size, from having a job (and a life!) to spending a lot of time at home/in the park/other mums' houses. I started writing down how I was feeling about it all, to try to make sense of it to myself as much as anything else, but from there, the novel just unfolded.

  2. Why did you choose the name Lucy Diamond?

    My real name - Sue Mongredien - is quite hard to spell and pronounce, and, as AWYWM is fairly racy in parts, it was thought better to distinguish between the children's books that I write and the women's fiction, with two names. I love the name Lucy, and Diamond lends itself to all kinds of good puns . . . a gem of a novel etc. (That's the hope anyway!)

  3. Which of the three friends from Over You - Josie, Nell and Lisa - are you most like and why?

    I am a mixture of Josie and Nell. I think I used to be more like Nell back when I was a 20-something girl about town - I did a lot of travelling and have always been very independent - but since I became a mum, I probably have more in common with Josie. I'm not remotely like Lisa - although I did fall a bit in love with her house when I was writing the scenes set there!

  4. Infidelity seems to be a popular theme in chick lit. Why have you chosen to write about it for both your novels?

    I must set the record straight and say that I have never been unfaithful and am a hopeless liar (a lot of people asked if AWYWM was a true story - absolutely not!) but infidelity is definitely a very intense experience for anyone involved, which interests me as a writer (if that doesn't make me sound too horribly detached). I couldn't bear the thought of having to go through what Josie goes through in Over You - I actually felt really upset writing some of the scenes in that book. I think anything that stirs up such depths of feeling is good material for a novel.

  5. How did your experiences of motherhood inspire Any Way You Want Me?

    Well... see question one! I was overwhelmed by how difficult I found motherhood at first, to be honest - I had visions of me with armfuls of beaming healthy infants, being this wonderfully inventive and patient mother... but I quickly discovered it wasn't quite so easy as all that, especially when you've only had two hours' sleep in the last month. And my God, was I ever shocked by the amount of washing one small baby can produce! But then the flipside is, you have these wonderful times too with your children, where you feel you're the luckiest person in the world to have them, and are incredibly privileged to have such fabulous little people in your life . . . I just wanted to try and capture that intensely demanding yet intensely joyful time as best as I could.

  6. What do you think about yummy mummies?

    That phrase seems to mean different things to different people . . . If you mean terribly glamorous mothers who have staff and who've never had baby sick on their shoulders, I don't think I know any!

  7. Have you ever been tempted to invent a fictitious identity for yourself?

    A friend I was at uni with was always doing that and roping me in . . . if a couple of blokes came up to us in a bar or whatever, and started talking to us, I'd suddenly hear her saying, "Oh yeah, well, people are always a bit surprised to find out that me and Sue are plumbers, but it's good money, you know," - and I'd think, Oh God, here we go, and would have to go along with whatever story it was! But as I said, I'm a pathetic liar. I always ended up blowing our cover, however hard I tried not to!

  8. What do your kids think about you being a writer?

    My eldest daughter (now 8) is really proud, I think. If we're in a bookshop and she sees one of my books, she'll yell across the shop to me, "Look, Mum, they've got your book! That YOU WROTE! Look!", all excited. I try out a lot of my children's stories on her too - she's become quite a harsh critic these days, so has no qualms about saying, "Hmmm, well, it's OK, but there was too much talking in the middle" etc. The other two (aged 6 and nearly 4) seem less aware - they're quite matter-of-fact about new book covers arriving for approval, or the fact that we have an office filled with 'Mum's books'. It's just a job, to them.

  9. Tell us about your third novel.

    It's called Hens Reunited and is about three friends, their hen nights, and their disastrous marriages - and what happens next!

  10. Have you ever imagined a career outside publishing?

    I have a little fantasy about owning my own bookshop.

  11. How do you handle bad reviews?

    I had a couple of stingers after AWYWM where people slagged off Sadie, the so-called immoral heroine. The first one really upset me, I couldn't actually bring myself to read the whole thing, I felt sick, the works! By the time I saw the next mean one, though, I'd already had a lot of other good reviews, and a lot of emails from complete strangers telling me how much they liked it - so I was able to be more philosophical about it that time. You can't please everybody.

  12. What other authors inspire you?

    I think Kate Atkinson is brilliant - her latest novel made me burst into tears with shock at the end of the first chapter. That's never happened to me before. I love the beautiful, poetic way that Rose Tremain and Julie Myerson write, and will happily read anything by Jonathan Coe, Maggie O'Farrell and Sarah Waters.

  13. What's the best tip you could give an aspiring author?

    Join a writing group or go on a writing course. The evening class I took involved each of us getting our work analysed by the rest of the class - absolutely terrifying at the time but fantastic for feedback and support.

  14. And what's the top tip you would give a bride planning her wedding?

    To delegate where possible! And definitely to book in a few pampering treats to get through the stress!

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