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Archive for the ‘Biography’ Category

Sunday Morning Pajama Flash Festival: Paige Nick Chats to Susan Newham-Blake

Making Finn

Making FinnThe Good Book Appreciation Society has hosted another Sunday Morning Pajama Flash Festival, during which Paige Nick chatted to Susan Newham-Blake about her memoir Making Finn.

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Making Finn is the story of a couple’s unconventional journey to motherhood, and Nick admits that as “a single, heterosexual woman who doesn’t have or want kids”, she had little or nothing in common with Newham-Blake, but says despite that she was quickly “sucked into this book”.

Read an excerpt from the interview here:

Susan Newham-Blake Thanks Paige! I didn’t even think of turning it into a book while I was going through it all. It was such a huge absorbing task that I didn’t have time to jot it all down. Although all of it is factually accurate in terms of what happened and the order of events, I did draw on my memory and reconstruct a lot of it

Paige Nick Interesting. It felt incredibly well and accurately documented. So what was the catalyst that made you think to write the book, and when did that happen?

Susan Newham-Blake Also, I never delete emails so I had a fair bit of information from emails from Sperm Banks in the States to draw from. And also, all the papers on the various donors both from South Africa and the States.

Susan Newham-Blake There were a couple of things. While I was pregnant I was asked to write a weekly column for on my experience of being pregnant. I enjoyed writing this column and it also got quite a bit of positive attention. People I met also seemed very curious about our story and I thought why not put it down in a book

Susan Newham-Blake I’m also a writer. And it seemed a story worth writing.

Paige Nick So then what was your path to publication once you’d written it?

Susan Newham-Blake I sent the manuscript to one publisher and waited six months before receiving a one-line email saying they weren’t interested in publishing it. And so I sent it to every other publisher in SA and two then came back to me quite quickly to say they were keen. It was surreal.

Paige Nick Did you always think you wanted to write a book of some kind?

Susan Newham-Blake Yes, I’d always hoped I’d write a book. I’d hoped for some literary work of fiction! But this story seemed to want to be told first. And somehow non-fiction seemed less daunting at the time.

Paige Nick There are so many quotes out there about how even non-fiction is actually fiction, I remember delving into a lot of them after reading Julian Barnes’ Sense of an Ending, where the insight is that narrators aren’t always reliable, or that all stories are tinged with the experience of the author. I wondered how your partner, Roxi, felt about the book? Were there any experiences in it that she remembered or related to differently?

Susan Newham-Blake My experience writing this book was that although there was a predetermined plot I could thankfully draw from, I was aware that it had to be engaging and readable. You don’t want to put in every conversation or thought that entered your mind during a particular period because you might be bored to death by the time you’ve finished writing it, boring your readers in the process. So there was a fair amount of creativity and imagination involved in shaping the work to be a compelling read. So while all the facts and timelines are accurate, I might have left some details out or focused on events I could write in a humorous or engaging way. I gave Roxi the manuscript to read before I’d sent it to publishers and there were thankfully no arguments about how she remembered it all. She did laugh at herself in it!

For the complete interview, and to take part in future Sunday Morning Pyjama Flash Festivals, join the Good Book Appreciation Society.

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