In the past I have occasionally repeated an interview if it was relevant to do so, but as far as I can remember I have never interviewed anyone twice, famous or otherwise. Tonight is the exception, because Suzan Collins, whom I interviewed in 2013, is such a multi-talented person and excels in just about everything she does, either as healthcare specialist, consultant, or author.
It’s time for an update, so sit back and enjoy!!
Suzan, It’s almost 4 years since we last talked and exchanged news, so what have you been doing since 2013?
It’s been a busy couple of years. SPC Consultancy is busy especially in inspecting care homes and delivering training on the different types of dementia and I am the Director of Get Writing, East Anglian Press, oh and the East Anglian Festival of Culture #eafoc.
The last time we met your publisher was due to release ‘Beyond My Control: How the Health and Social Sector Need Not Have Failed My Mother.’ How is that going?
It’s going really well and thanks for asking. The main reason for writing the book was to tell people what happened and to give advice on what they can do if it’s happening to them or someone close to them. The book is selling well, of course people can get a copy from their local library and I’ve had feedback from many telling me how it has helped them and guided them.
Before I ask you about ‘Get Writing’ have you written any more books?
Yes, I wrote two books for staff working in care on the topic of Supervision:
Supervision Skills pack (buy singularly or both together)
Supervision Skills has been devised to equip managers and senior staff with the knowledge and skills to enable them to provide supervision meetings in the workplace. This workbook will provide guidance on how supervision is to be delivered to staff and explains the processes and requirements for supervision.
Making the Most of Your Supervision
This workbook is written and aimed at new staff or staff who want a more effective supervision meeting with their supervisor.
Was there any particular reason for writing them?
I do believe that staff need to be supported in their job, there is a lot to do and not a lot of time to do it in. By having 1-1 supervision sessions with a trained supervisor they can share any concerns they have and receive feedback on their practice. Unfortunately some supervisors are given this role without any training which can result in badly handled 1-1 supervision sessions or not held because the supervisor is not confident to facilitate the sessions.
I hear you’re the author of the Chatty Cat series. Tell me more…
Chatty Cat is my cat I got from the rescue centre. They named her Twinkle but as she chats a lot Chatty Cat seemed more appropriate.
In 2014 I wrote the first book in the Chatty Cat series which is about Chatty Cat, settling into her new home with her hooman, me. Yesterday, 14th August 2016, I released book 4.
Book 1: Chatty Cat: My Purr-Fect New Home
Book 2: Chatty Cat: Spring Into Summer
Book 3: Chatty Cat: My Purr-Fect Friends
Book 4: Chatty Cat: Activity Book.
These books are unique as they are narrated to me by my cat. You can read about the life of a cat and at the same time read some helpful tips on caring for cats.
I notice that Chatty Cat has her own Facebook page, blog and Twitter account. What does she chat about?
‘I tell my own stories in my Chatty Cat books because they are about me and what I do and what I think. They are books for children but adults read them too #chattycat.’
I know someone else’s pet was in Chatty Cat Book 3 after an auction for an excellent cause. If someone wants a chance to have their pet featured in book 5: Chatty Cat: Autumn into Winter, is this an opportunity to do so?
In book 3 ‘Chatty Cat: My Purr-Fect Friends’ I ran an auction in which the highest bidder had their pet named in print (money from auction went to Alzheimer’s Research UK), I am again offering a lucky reader the chance to have their pet named in book 5 ‘Chatty Cat: Autumn into Winter’ with all monies raised from the auction going to a cat rescue centre. Click here if you would like to place a bid https://www.facebook.com/suzancollinschattycat/
I see in book 3 ‘Chatty Cat: My Purr-Fect Friends’ you’ve touched on sensitive subjects of bullying and dementia (in different chapters). Is there a particular reason why you wrote about these two subjects?
Children and adults suffer from bullies and bullying and also children and adults will know someone who has dementia. Both subjects need to be out there so they know:
· What bullying is and how to stop being a bully (if they are one) or if they’re being bullied what to do
· What dementia is
Both children and adults read Chatty Cat books and as you say I have only touched on these two subjects (or rather Chatty Cat has). We will be expanding on them but not sure at the moment if I should have them in a chapter in book 5 or in separate books told by Chatty Cat. Perhaps readers can let me know.
If you would like to buy any of Suzan’s books here’s the link to her author page on Amazon. I know from experience that her Chatty Cat series is great fun and that her more serious books are fascinating to read and highly respected. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Suzan-Collins/e/B0037DXY46/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1
Tell me about: Get Writing, East Anglian Press and the East Anglian Festival of Culture #eafoc.
Two years ago I ran a set of writing workshops and I had some fab authors come to facilitate some workshops for me: Jayne-Marie Barker, Glynis Smy, Rosy Thornton, Jo Wilde and Ann Bowyer. The workshops covered Getting Started and Planning . Researching . Editing . Publishing . Marketing. Some of the writers were already writing and some enthused by the 3-day workshop said they would start writing. I expected for the three days to finish and that would be that but one writer announced that she was so motivated she was going to write a book. I said something like ‘If you are serious I will help you self-publish it and if this is done before my pop-up bookshop in July you can have a stall. Every writer then said I am going to do it too and they did. We formed a group ‘Waveney Author Group’ (WAG) and we’re currently on tour (a year on tour and it ends next month).
The pop-up bookshop July 2015 was such a success authors booked almost immediately and we were soon full. In July 16 we held the first ever East Anglian Festival of Eafoc #eafoc with authors coming from across the country. We are now planning for the second festival which will be in July 2017 and will have a wider genre.
Each year more writers come to our Get Writing workshops and to date I have helped 22 authors independently publish their books and see on Amazon, many are published under my imprint, East Anglian Press.
Along with running the structured writing workshops Get Writing also invites people who want to come and join other writers and finish writing that book in the fabulous 55 acre grounds of Gunton Hall and finish at 4pm with a swim in the pool (and have some time afterwards if writers wish to discuss the writing they have written that day).
*Come for the facilitated writing workshops or come and join other writers and finish writing that book!*
The first of our 3-day writing workshop this Nov will be a little different, yes it will cover fiction but in particular it will be a day of ‘Writing a Novel.’ I have booked 10 times novelist Jane Lovering from Yorkshire and I am very excited. And if writers wish they can book our 2-night writing retreat in Jan which is being held in an 18th-century country house hotel. Writers can write in their rooms or in the room we have booked and there is the option to discuss their work after dinner around the open working fire.
More info can be obtained from www.getwrting.co.uk
Contact details for Chatty Cat:
Contact details for Suzan:
· Blog: https://suzancollins.wordpress.com/