Novel idea results in sequel for duo

Sue Hepworth  (right) with  co-author of Plotting for Grown-ups. Jane Linfoot at Hassop Station on the Monsal Trail
Sue Hepworth (right) with co-author of Plotting for Grown-ups. Jane Linfoot at Hassop Station on the Monsal Trail

Two writers living in the Peak District who six years ago collaborated on a novel, Plotting for Beginners, have produced a follow-up, Plotting for Grown-Ups.

In the meantime the tunnels at the Monsal Trail have opened up to cyclists and a thriving cafe has been established at Hassop Station.

They both feature in the book and are a favourite meeting place for the writers, Sue Hepworth who lives at nearby Great Longstone and Matlock-based Jane Linfoot.

“We both cycle there – me on my scruffy 15 year old bike, in jeans tucked into my socks at the ankle – and Jane more glamorous in Lycra with a posher, newer bike,” reports Sue.

The pair met on a creative writing course run by Sheffield poet Matt Black.

Since Plotting for Beginners Sue Hepworth has had two novels published while Jane Linfoot had her first contemporary romance ebook out with Harper Impulse (an imprint of Harper Collins) on August 29.

Because she wants to create a profile of a romantic novelist Jane Linfoot preferred not to have a joint by-line on the book but “an in collaboration” credit.

“We planned it out together, the characters and the plot, and then I went and wrote it. Because it’s written in the first person Jane was able to feed in material and she edited it,” explains Sue.

The idea for the first book was a woman who couldn’t find an agent for her book - “because she was grey-haired and middle-aged and lived in the sticks” which rather reflected Sue’s situation at the time.

It was Sue’s idea to return to the character of Sally Howe who now struggles to get her latest book published and decides to self-publish. Once again there is a parallel with Sue in that. The book, which even namechecks the Sheffield Telegraph, is released on her own inprint, Delicately Nuanced, a quote taken from a rejection letter for one of her books.

Other aspects of the plot - such as splitting up with her husband - are not.

“I also wanted Sally to have a romance,” she adds. “I just want to write something I would like to read myself about real women who still have aspirations and want to move forward in life.”

“My books are aimed at older readers, women who don’t read ebooks,” she observes but on the other hand she is tapping into an expanding market - the grey pound.

She agrees: “If I had to market it, it would be Best Exotic Marigold Hotel meets Bridget Jones.”

There is a launch for Plotting for Grown-ups at Hassop Station - where else? - on Tuesday evening.