Susie Kelly

A profile of Susie Kelly, Festival Patron and Travel Writer

A typical day? I begin with coffee while reading emails, checking Facebook, doing the Guardian quick crossword, and dealing with paperwork, shopping and cooking.

My office faces the garden where I can see our bird-feeding table. In winter I make up large bowls of food for the birds. As I watch, thoughts, phrases and ideas are running through my mind. I’ll carry on as long as the words flow, often still writing at midnight. I have a Swiss cheese plant on my desk called Ethel; she is my confidante, and guardian of my secrets.

Favourite places? Kenya, where I grew up is where in my heart I will always think of as home. I love France, where we have lived for over twenty years. The Pointe du Van in Brittany is somewhere I would like to return. There is something about that tip of land that is so majestic and other-wordly.

Favourite Authors?  Bill Bryson and Paul Theroux. They make me laugh.  I enjoy travel literature when it involves mishaps and nothing goes according to plan. For thrillers, Gerald Seymour as the lines between good and evil are blurred, each character is a human being with his or her own strengths and weaknesses. Historical fiction – Philippa Gregory, Alison Weir, C J Sansom and Tony Riches.

 A perfect day South West France? Breakfast in the garden in the shade of the tri-colour maple. The wisteria in bloom, the scent of roses in the air. A jug of freshly-squeezed orange juice, a pot of strong coffee, a small jug of cream and a plate of croissants and black cherry jam. We take the dogs for a long walk through the fields, time to meet friends for lunch at our favourite restaurant, Le Bouton d’Or. Chef Francis serves a superb 4-course meal with a bottle of crisp, light rose wine.

Later we retire to the garden to read and doze. The dogs take us for another walk before supper. We have a simple meal – Vichyssoise followed by fresh Gariguette strawberries, and a glass of something fizzy, probably a Vouvray. We sit under the stars and the nightingales begin to sing.

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Susie’s books are available in paperback or Kindle from your local Amazon. Paperbacks can be ordered from bookstores worldwide. Her publisher is Blackbird Books