Born in Yorkshire, Susan Lund has been a writer since she was 6. While still at school she had pieces broadcast on the BBC’s ‘Northern Drift’. Her first novel ‘The Red Army’, set on Hull fish-dock, was published by Antony Blond when she was 19.
Widowed at an early age, she earnt a living at various jobs, including several years working with Teddy Goldsmith as he set up ‘The Ecologist magazine’. She re-married five years later, when she began her work on Beethoven.
She has written over a dozen novels, screenplays and stage-plays, and has become a recognized authority on the life of Beethoven. He is the subject of her latest book, ‘BEETHOVEN: Life of an Artist’.
Describe a typical day for you?
I get the Times from the newsagent on the Green and do the codeword over breakfast. Turn on computer at 9am and work on a book, sometimes keying in pages written overnight. The work never stops and can cover 3 or 4 books at a time.
What do you feel are your biggest achievements?
Mainly my work on Beethoven and my discoveries about his life – as a non-academic with no previous history of writing non-fiction.
What’s in your handbag/ satchel?
Doorkey, two pens, a Moleskine notebook. Lovely card-holder from Bottega Veneta which cost more than the bag, and an incredibly cheap smaller card-holder from the Royal Opera House which houses my Freedom Pass. With its Lion & Unicorn logo, in Jaguar Maroon, it is the colour of the XK 150 which took me to my first wedding.
What are your ambitions in life?
To write a thriller for my sister. Most writing I approach without trepidation, but thriller-writing is as closed to me as algebra.
What do you wish you’d known at the start of your career you now know?
Don’t be so prickly! & don’t panic! Panic is behind most of the failures in life.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
I should like to put on a play about Beethoven to mark the 250th anniversary of his birth, in December 2020: either a full-cast version of my stage-play Passion or a one-off charity performance, perhaps with live music, of Immortal, for one older actress (up to 90!) for the children’s hospice Helen & Douglas House.
What advice would you give a budding author?
Two things you need: perseverance and passion. The things that start off being the most hated by publishers/agents often prove to be the most successful. Be genuine. and original. If you’re not saying what you want to say, there’s no point in saying it. Stand up to anybody in the world when you know you are right. Walk away from anybody who oppresses you.
If you are a mother what do you wish you’d known about motherhood before having kids?
I’ve not had my own children but was involved in legal proceedings concerning my first husband’s 4 children by his first wife. It fell to me to ensure that his children, teenagers by then, knew of his funeral. This year for the first time I met his son (almost my age). I wish I knew the best approach to take in my emails to him and his sisters. At least they do now know the site of their father’s grave. I hope they now know how much he loved them, and that he was loved when he died.
Finally, happiness is…
success with one’s work (having been twice widowed and lost most friends to cancer, unfortunately). Classical concerts, especially Beethoven. The friendship and help of many Beethoven scholars.