Did you get hooked on the series Outlander like I did? Susan and her husband, Jez Braithwaite, not only speak Scottish, but they also collaborated to write a series called Things in Scots. I could get easily hooked on it. It’s a challenge to try to read and understand what they mean.
Language is so important to our identity. Not long-ago educators thought you had to erase a child’s first language for them to become fluent in a second or third language. Newer research proved this to be invalid. Susan shares how she felt about her language in this quote.
“As kids, we were discouraged from speaking Scots, so much so, we were given little bits of paper to put in a tin with the English for the Scots words we were meant to stop using.”Susan Braithwaite
Those of you from the United States will notice that some of the words in Susan’s interview are spelled differently. This drives American Grammarly crazy, but to the best of my ability, I ignored the differences. But wait until you read Scottish. The semblance to American English ends there.
When I was taking classes to become a teacher of English as a Second Language, our teacher used Scottish (English for Scots) to illustrate how difficult it was for our Spanish-speaking students to listen in English all day long. Another teacher gave us an education thesis to read in Australian English. We learned our lesson as you will after you read the story that goes with this darling puppy.
Scottish Word: Coorie
What do you think it means? Take a wild guess, then read to see how close you came.
“Whanivver Ah wiz smorin wi’ the caul, ma maw wid aye say, “Guan coorie doon on the sofa. In Inglis: Whenever I had a horrible cold, my mum would always say, “Get yourself wrapped up on the sofa.”Susan Braithwaite
I had the privilege to interview Jez Braithwaite whose blog is Photos by Jez. He hosts two challenges, Fan of… and Water Water Everywhere. You can read his interview here. As we chatted, I found out that his wife, Susan also blogs and she is an author. They are such a cute couple, I know you are going to enjoy her interview.
By the way, we live in Cumbernauld, which is also where the Outlander studio, Wardpark Studios, is located.Susan Braithwaite Susan’s post on Interative Outlining.
Susan had to overcome quite an obstacle that most of us bloggers take for granted that we can do easily.
Introducing Author Susan Braithwaite
Can you tell us a little about your background, blogging history, and what kind of writer you are (ie mostly a poet?) do you write fiction or non-fiction?
I’m from a military family. From the age of thirteen, I was an Army Cadet until I joined the Royal Navy at eighteen. Unfortunately, I suffered a career-ending injury while serving and was medically discharged. The injury is a neurological pain condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), and it affects my dominant hand.
Fortunately, while learning to come to terms with my injury, I discovered a silver lining. Of all the things I’d lost the ability to do—playing the piano and the guitar—writing was the one that I refused to let go of.
Since the age of seven, I’ve been in the grip of the writing bug. I wrote wee bits and pieces for a magazine a friend and I sent out to all of our neighbours; song lyrics for exam pieces, and for the bands I was in; and a terrible play.
But after the injury, I wanted to do more. I wanted to really write. Specifically, I wanted to write screenplays. Cue several years of long-distance learning via UCLA Extension’s Writer’s Program. I came out with a certificate and several movie scripts under my belt and a sudden realization that breaking into Hollywood from outwith the US would be difficult. Very difficult when no one produced the type of story I was writing—romantic suspense.
My blogging history is spotty. Since 2007, I have started an embarrassing amount of blogs, but they ultimately fizzled out because they lacked a focused output. My current blog is a keeper, now in its fourth year.
As I mentioned above, I write romantic suspense stories featuring spies, Scots heroes, and international locales.
When did you realize you were a professional writer?
Before diving into fiction writing, I was a writer for hire. When my first client hired me for a series of pieces on the back of a trial article, I knew I was a professional non-fiction writer. It wasn’t until I’d sold my first copies of my novella, Hidden Desires, that I felt that I was a professional fiction writer.
What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your successes, so far?
I think the biggest contributor to my success so far has to be that I never stop learning about the craft of writing. Whether from books, courses, or blog posts on screenwriting, fiction writing, or blogging. As writers, there’s always something new to learn, be it a technique or a style.
What is one opportunity that you attribute to blogging in addition to selling your books?
Blogging has given me the unique opportunity to forge personal relationships with readers and other writers. Social media is great for the occasional “hi”, but I find it doesn’t afford the personal connection that blogging does. Much like how this interview came up!
What obstacles or concerns have you overcome in your writing career?
There are quite a few, all of them linked to my injury. One enduring obstacle is how to get the words onto the screen. For the longest time, I was using ViaVoice, a speech-to-text program, until it left the market and then Dragon for Mac. But, Dragon has since stopped supporting Mac users, and there’s no viable replacement. For now, I write with my nondominant hand longhand, then do a type/rest/type/rest thing, and swallow the pain that comes with having to work this way.
What are your published books, WIPs, or anything else you are working on?
I have a two-book erotica series called The Carmichaels. The two books, Hidden Desires and Ever Craving, received 5-star ratings, but they are no longer available for purchase since I changed my genre.
I’m currently working on a romantic suspense spy series called The Deniable Unit. So far, I’ve got the outlines for the first four, with pencilled-in ones for a further three. And I’m nearing the end of writing the first draft of book one in the series, Running the Asset.
Running the Asset
Elle McGuire’s carefully duct-taped life is torn apart when Adam Dekker, a gorgeous but overbearing spy, holds her at gunpoint, spinning a crazy tale that her teddy bear of boss is Europe’s biggest weapons dealer. Worse still, the man insists that Elle’s going to help him take her boss down, whether she likes it or not.
Confident that Dekker is insane, Elle tries to put the incident behind her… but something in the spy’s wild story sows the seeds of doubt about her boss’s innocence—that and the two attempts on her life in the space of an hour.
What’s something you are an expert at that few people know about?
I’m a marksman.
Can you give us an interesting fun fact about you?
English is my second language.
Favorites. Do you have a favorite author or poet, movie? Favorite color, song, food, drink, clothing item, or favorite place to go to refresh? Favorite blogs to follow… besides Photos by Jez, LOL
My favourite author is Anne Stuart. Whether it’s her romantic suspense or her historical romances, I’m buying it if it’s got her name on it. For non-fiction, it has to be H. R. D’Costa for her game-changing books on writing.
My favourite movie has to be Grosse Pointe Blank. The writing in that movie inspired me to study screenwriting.
I don’t have a favourite colour. I lean heavily into darker shades—purples, blood reds, blacks, burgundies.
Songs… I love so many, but it has to be Discipline by Nine Inch Nails (my favourite band). I’m a Scot, so my favourite drink has to be Irn-Bru!
I had to look Irn-Bru up. Irn-Bru you might guess in English is “Iron Brew” “iron brew”; Scots: [ˌəirənˈbruː]) is a Scottish carbonated soft drink, often described as “Scotland’s other national drink” (after whisky). Introduced in 1901, the drink is produced in Westfield, Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire, by A.G. Barr of Glasgow. Wikipedia
My favourite place to refresh is the canal, pretty much anywhere with water.
What are some of your favorite blogs?
Blogs: Photos by Jez (jezbraithwaite.blog); Scribe Meets World (scribemeetsworld.com); bushboys world (bushboy.blog); View from the Back (viewfromtheback.com); luna’s online (lunas-online.com); nowathome (nowathome.wordpress.com); Kokopelli Bee Free Blog (kokopellibeefreeblog.wordpress.com)
If your blog or career ended today, what legacy would you leave behind?
Ooft, that’s a tough one… I think I’d have to say that it would be my small part in introducing the Scots language to people from around the world, and closer to home, who didn’t know of its existence.
Can you share some links to where we can find you online?
- My website is susantbraithwaite.com
- I’m on Twitter @SusBraithwaite (twitter.com/susbraithwaite)
- Instagram susanbraithwaite_ (instagram.com/susanbraithwaite_)
- Facebook Page (facebook.com/susantbraithwaite)
New Word: Oxter or Oxters
“Stoap at! Ma oxters ur right ticklie. In Inglis: Stop that! My underarms are ticklish.”Susan Braithwaite
Susan and Jez Braithwaite both work and still blog regularly as well bike, take amazing photographs. I’m in awe of what Susan accomplishes in spite of her pain and full work schedule. Thank you so much for the opportunity to get to know you better.
Now it’s your turn
Susan and I would both love to hear what you think. Leave us your comment and start a chat. In March we are doing something new with the interview posts. There will be a follow-up with a summary of your comments with links to the newest post on your blogs and a report of what is new in Susan’s life as a blogger and author.