Susanna M. Newstead has always been an avid storyteller. During childhood, she crafted small narratives deeply rooted in historical contexts, drawing the attention of her teachers who eagerly anticipated each subsequent instalment. History, particularly the era of King John, 1199-1216, has been her lifelong passion. This period, marked by significant developments in the nation’s history, naturally served as the backdrop for the author’s creative works. However, Susanna’s objective extended beyond mere storytelling; she aims to present a balanced portrayal of King John, shifting away from the commonly depicted monstrous figure to a more nuanced and flawed individual.
The genesis of Susanna’s literary journey dates back to her early twenties when she embarked on writing the first novel of the Savernake series, “Belvoir’s Promise”. In an era prior to widespread computer usage, she meticulously penned this novel by hand in a compact orange notebook. It remained tucked away in a drawer, quietly awaiting its moment for over four decades. Throughout this period, Susanna continued to immerse herself in historical research, delving into original manuscripts whenever feasible, a task that has become notably more accessible in recent years.
With the benefit of updated historical research and a lifetime of accumulated experiences, Sue embarked on a substantial rewriting endeavour. “Belvoir’s Promise”, the inaugural instalment of the Savernake series, underwent a transformation into a murder mystery set within the enchanting confines of Savernake Forest in Wiltshire, a place intimately tied to the author’s own upbringing. Extensive research became a hallmark of Susanna’s creative process, each book serving as a gateway to additional literary work. Consequently, the Savernake Novels were born.
As time progressed, the author’s repertoire expanded to encompass novels set in the 13th century, which found a place within “The Kennet Valley Tales”. Susanna ventured into the realms of romance and adventure, crafting stories that captivated readers. Additionally, she embarked on the “Withershynnes” series, exploring the realm of magical realism and fantasy. These tales revolved around a shapeshifting female detective from the 13th century and her romantic partner.
Currently, the Susanna resides in peaceful seclusion with her husband and a wire fox terrier named Tabor. Together, they embark on regular woodland excursions, deepening their understanding of the emerging town of Marlborough, which holds a special place in history as a favourite of King John, who bestowed it with a charter in 1204. In these tranquil surroundings, Tabor dutifully conducts his investigative groundwork, while Susanna follows along, weaving intricate murder mysteries in this idyllic setting.