The Chapel in the Woods

Today I’m joined by Susan Louineau, who has completed and published her first novel, The Chapel in the Woods. I managed to bag some of her valuable time (see below) to find out about how she writes, why social media is her new friend, and the benefits of a soft pencil. 

1. As a new author, what do you wish you’d known at the beginning?

I wish I’d had the courage to put my work out there sooner.  I’ve wanted to be an author for very many years but confidence held me back.  Don’t let anyone put you off, close your eyes and jump!

2. Tell us about your book.

The Chapel in the Woods is a mystery set over three time periods; 1172, 1942 and the modern day.  It’s main characters are all Britons who found themselves in the same village in the Loire Valley and their contribution changed the history of that village forever.

3. What made you decide to write over three different time periods?

I’ve always been fascinated with old buildings and the history they conceal. I stumbled upon a derelict chapel in the forest near my home in the Loire Valley and couldn’t help wondering who may have passed through there and what their purpose was.  I heard a rumour that it was believed that an English monk had hidden in these woods in the 12th century and that it had been named after him – though this has not been substantiated.  I, of course, thought of Thomas Beckett and THE CHAPEL IN THE WOODS was conceived!

4. Why set your book in France and did that choice present any additional challenges?  

I lived in France for seven years and am a confirmed Francophile.  Having studied there, renovated a house, had children and cooked, eaten and made merry, I simply enjoyed writing it all down and celebrating their unique lifestyle.  

5. How much research did you do about the ebook market and the various
publication and distribution options?

Absolutely none, it has been a steep learning curve.  Since I published in March I have ‘met’ an amazing number of fellow indie authors on Twitter and between us we share, guide and support each other to success.

6. What are you working on at the moment?

I am currently working on a novel set in Cornwall ‘The Weather Gods’.  It is again set in a community with all the flavours and values of this amazing County and as the title would suggest intertwines science and mythology.

7. What is your writing process?

I try and write 1000 words a day.  If I get stuck I draw up character profiles of their loves, fears, habits (good and bad) – most of which will never be included in the story but help to define what their next move might be, and it usually does the trick and I’m on my way again.  I seem to work more productively in public places like on beaches or in caf├ęs.  I tend to veer between typing straight into my laptop, writing with a good fountain pen or a soft pencil depending how my mood takes me!  

As a self-published author a large part of my day is spent marketing on Twitter and Facebook and controlling myself not to check my sales figures online every 2 minutes!  I moonlight as a wife, mother and a translator as I like to keep my hand in in the real world so at times writing has to take a back seat.  But variety is important in anyone’s life and I wouldn’t swap mine for anything!  

The Chapel in the Woods is available through Amazon.


  1. Lucky you, being able to go and write on the beach. If I did that up here, (Ayr, where I used to live is the closest, about 40 miles), I'd get blown away! Good interview and I like how we always find out something new, even about those authors we know well! Sooz

  2. What an interesting novel and concept! I'm an "old building" junkie as well–such history (and inspiration) there. Excellent interview.

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