September 30, 2012

Writer Wrangler: Suzy Duffy (Wellesley Wives)

Talk Supe: So there's a Wellesley, MA. How is it similar to the one in the book?
Suzy: The book is based here in the real Wellesley, MA. I used it as the hometown for the story because I live here and know it pretty well at this stage. The story starts in the autumn and Wellesley is just breathtaking in this time of year. It gave me a colourful backdrop upon which to build my story. To be honest, I don’t mention many shops by name because you never know if you’re going to get into trouble or be thanked for that! I reference Cliff Road a few times because it’s such a pretty road. You should see the houses – wow. They’re just the sort of place I could see Popsy living – lucky girl!! The people in my story... they are complete fiction.

Talk Supe: Can you tell us about the real Wellesley Wives from Wellesley, MA?
Suzy: Regarding the real Wellesley Wives, they have a reputation of being exclusive but it’s just not the case. I’m a blow-in from Ireland and they’ve been so welcoming and friendly. They’re all highly normal woman - getting their kids out to school and trying to stay on top of everything. I’ve lived in Geneva, Paris, London, Dublin and women in all these places are basically the same. We worry about our family’s health, our loved ones, the future, the past, the stare of the nation, the planet. Women are wonderful worriers!

Talk Supe: What's the inspiration behind the better-than-average females in Wellesley Wives?
Suzy: It was autumn two years ago, a particularly lovely sunny day when I saw a fantastically glamorous blonde woman in a convertible red Ferrari driving through Wellesley. I’ll be honest, I was envious. She was older than me but her life looked pretty damn good from where I was sitting in my PB&J stained, SUV. I was on a school run at the time and so I had plenty of time to think. My mind began to wander and Wellesley Wives the story began to formulate. What if that image was just the tip of the iceberg? What if her life was actually falling apart and she had no idea (because the gal I was looking at looked pretty darn happy!) That evening I sat down at my computer and wrote the first chapter of Wellesley Wives. Funny thing is I never saw her again. Maybe she was really only test driving the car. Maybe Popsy is real!!!

Talk Supe: Is Popsy based on a real-life character?
Suzy: There are no real people behind Popsy and the other WELLESLEY WIVES. She is a complete figment of my imagination, although I do think there’s a little Popsy in every woman I know. Any woman (even the smartest ones) can be a bit ditzy but we all have great strength too. We don’t know how resilient we are until we’re challenged. I love Popsy, but sadly she’s only real in Wellesley Wives.

Talk Supe: Wellesley Wives touched on several controversial topics like infidelity, financial mismanagement and in-your-face affluence, are you worried about the strong reactions some readers might have about these themes?
Suzy: As a novelist, you’re going to get some people who love your work and some who don’t. That’s a fact of life. Thankfully, most people are nice. Before writing, I was a radio and Television personality. It was the same in that industry. To be honest, I think every job brings its own share of grief, even being a Mom. On reflection, Moms probably get the most hostility. Just because you gave birth to the antagonist doesn’t make it any easier.

Talk Supe: Which character was the most difficult to write?
Suzy: I usually find men harder than women. I guess I have a pretty good idea how women think at this point and how many shapes and sizes we come in, but men? I’ll never quite understand them! 

Talk Supe: What should we expect from book 2, Newton Neighbors?
Suzy: I’m almost finished it now and it’s been great fun. Some parts are very funny. It’s about the crazy lengths a woman can go to in order to have the right address. As if that’s going to make her happy – Ha! As with WELLESLEY WIVES, it touches on a few issues; mid-life-marriage difficulties, today’s deeply materialistic world, the importance of female friendships (I like that one), how we view old people, pressures on young people, ambition, love and pursuit of happiness.

But it’s all done in a light hearted and comedic setting, because you gotta laugh at life – right?

Talk Supe: Are we going to read the same characters in Newton Neighbors?
Suzy: I don’t write sequels any more. I did it once in Ireland and readers told me they were fed up if they accidentally read book 2 before book 1 so now I write every story to stand alone. That said, I really fell in love with Popsy and Sandra so I’m thinking they could do cameos.
Talk Supe: Looking forward to that, I like to know is Popsy hooked up with that Irish dude and if Sandra managed to snag that doctor.

Talk Supe: What are books 2 and 3 about; can you tell us a little bit about their respective plots?
Suzy: NEWTON NEIGHBOURS is almost finished and I have to say I’m very excited to get it out into the world. Of course it has to be edited and rewritten so realistically, it will be next autumn when it goes public. As with WELLESLEY WIVES, there will be a few leading ladies and each one will have her own story. Without giving too much away, the issues in NEWTON NEIGHBORS are; Mid-life-marriage difficulties, materialism, the importance of female friendships (yes, I like that one!) ageism, pressure on the youth of today, ambition, love and the pursuit of happiness – but it’s all done in a light hearted and comedic setting.

I have no idea what book 3 will be about yet!

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Wellesley Wives 
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1 International

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