2019 – so many thanks to give!

This year was so epic that words fail ME! A WRITER! Multiple goals were kicked including:

HEALTH – I’ve been alcohol-free for 14 months straight now. The longest stint I’ve ever done and it will continue as I’ve no intention of going back on the booze. I’ve found it drains so much time, energy and money and it addles your brain and stops you from getting shiz done. So yep, it’s a definite no-go for me from now on.

WORK/LIFE BALANCE – Me and hubby took a 3 month sabbatical in Bali and Corfu this summer with the objective of doing as little as possible…WORK that is. We did LOADS of other stuff like swimming, running, yoga, gym, sightseeing, reading, painting, eating and, oh sleeping (don’t forget that!). Basically experiencing life unhindered by the obligations of work. We returned fully rebooted and raring to go!

SPIRITUAL – I’ve carried on meditating. It’s got me through a ton of crap since I started doing it 7 years ago and works every time; when you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed, angry, down, confused…anything negative just melts away after 20 mins of quietening the mind. Then ta-daaa! Everything becomes 100% cool again : )

PHYSICAL – At 48 I’ve never been fitter in my life. The 3 month holiday in the sun helped, as I spent a lot of it exercising. But one of my biggest achievements this year was learning to do the headstand properly, as taught by a wonderful, local yoga teacher in Nusa Lembongan Island, Bali. I’ve also taken up strength training and incorporated pilates into everyday life so that even my running has improved.

FINANCIAL – It took a lot of hard graft over the years including 10 of them slogging away in the advertising industry in Central London, but we’ve now paid off our mortgage! It’s given us the freedom to invest in other things, do up the house a bit and travel more, which both of us absolutely can’t get enough of. We’re thinking Seoul or Shanghai for our next trip.

CAREER – Well where do I even start with this? My debut novel Chinglish took off in a BIG way. Unexpected for a book I didn’t want to write in the first place! I was thrust into the spotlight doing live BBC TV and radio and ended up writing for The Guardian too. WHAT?! HOW?! Bonkers. It couldn’t have happened without the support of the amazing team around me though: my agent, publishers, PR, event organisers, family and friends. I sincerely thank you all.

So 2020 is looking super juicy already with loads of events booked, discussions around various adaptations and talk of a sequel. I’m now fully rested up after a frantic book launch and tour and ready to face the New Year with excited anticipation. I hope you are too, whatever your own special personal goals may be.

Good luck and much love, Sue x

The Guardian Best Book 2019!

Holy crap! If ever I’ve felt like a gatecrasher it is well and truly now. Yesterday I got the news that I had been included in The Guardian’s Best Books of the year list (YA) alongside Philip Pullman(!) and Malorie Blackman(!) as well as others in the star studded list. I still can’t believe it a whole day later – somebody slap me please.

When I was writing Chinglish there was no way I imagined the response it’s getting now. I was a lowly, working class minority lacking what I felt anyway, the background or skills to ever achieve anything this grand. It was just me dumping my angst about being dragged up in a Chinese takeaway. What I enjoyed the most about it though was the serious opportunity to write comedy, I’ve always wanted to succeed at making people laugh and somehow I BLOODY DID IT!

I want to thank everyone who had faith in Chinglish when I didn’t, and cheerleaded me all the way to the bitter end: my agent, editor, publisher, husband, family, friends, my cats who doubled as stress balls against their will, the media who have been amazing and the hundreds of supporters on social media. What a fabulously surreal way to end the year!