Welcome Suzanne Ross Jones.

Digital imageprofile pic 2 26-08-11

Hi Susan – and thank you so much for inviting me to visit your blog today.

Q1.  When did your first story appear in People’s Friend?

Suzanne.     My first People’s Friend story appeared in the issue dated 6th October 2010. As I’m sure you can imagine, I was thrilled – especially as a lot of luck was involved in that first acceptance.

I don’t generally enter writing competitions, but a series of editor interviews appeared in Writers’ Forum – these were written by Sue Moorcroft and were each accompanied by a competition, with the winning entries being published in the relevant magazines. I felt The People’s Friend competition was too good to miss – not because I expected to win, but because each entrant could request a critique from Sue.

My entry, The Baby of the Family, made it to the final ten – which was a lovely shock. As a result, I was invited to submit future stories directly to Shirley Blair – and my next submission, Home Comforts, was accepted. Shortly after that, Baby was also accepted.

Q2.  Did you send many in to them before you had your first acceptance?

Suzanne.    I’d been writing off and on since I was 16 and, while I’d mainly concentrated on writing novels, I did have the odd attempt at a short story. I’ve always been fond of The People’s Friend – it was always my gran’s favourite magazine and she’d introduced me to it when I was a child – so it seemed natural to submit some of my stories to them. My first People’s Friend submission was in 1994 – and I continued to send them a story or two most years until they accepted Home Comforts for publication.

Q3.  I know you write pocket novels. Roughly, how long does it take to write one?

Suzanne.    I fit my writing in around my family and a day job, so my writing time’s limited. It usually takes me around three months to write a People’s Friend pocket novel from idea to submission.

It takes me a while to write my way into a story, so the beginning is always slower than the middle and the end – and there don’t seem to be any exceptions to this, even if I already know the setting and who’s involved.

The pocket novel I’m working on at the moment is the last in a trilogy (Kinbrae Kisses) about the McGregor brothers. The setting was already there, so you’d think it would have been a faster start – but it wasn’t.

Q4. How far in advance do you send a seasonal story for example, I know you like stories with snow scenes.

Suzanne.    I do like snow scenes very much. I think they’re handy for writers, as they can force characters to stay together in one place.

For seasonal stories, I try to submit at least three months in advance. I’d like to work further in advance, but I never seem to get organised in time.

When I post out a seasonal story, I always write a note on the envelope to highlight that the submission is time sensitive.

Q5. How many characters would you say was enough for a people’s friend story?

Suzanne.    Three or four named characters are probably more than enough for most short stories. As with all things, there will be exceptions and more characters will sometimes work their way in, but I try to keep characters to the minimum absolutely necessary for the story.

Q6. When you visited People’s Friend headquarters recently, what was it like to meet the people who say ‘yes’ to so many of your stories.

Suzanne.     Meeting the editors at The People’s Friend was fantastic. They were all so welcoming and every bit as lovely in real life as they’ve always seemed. I so appreciate that the editors I’ve worked with, Shirley Blair and Tracey Steel, took time out of their busy schedules to speak to me. I still can’t believe I was lucky enough to be invited to visit.

Newly available for Kindle:

It Had To Be You – originally published as a People’s Friend Pocket Novel.


The Housewarming & Other Stories – a second collection of 12 short stories, all previously published in The People’s Friend.


Published in Large Print on 1st April – available in libraries soon:

Your Secret Smile


The second McGregor Brothers Pocket Novel will be on the shelves in newsagents and supermarkets in May.

Facebook writer page: https://www.facebook.com/suzannerossjoneswriting

Twitter: @sj_suz

Blog: http://www.suzanne-sj.blogspot.co.uk/

Thank you Suzanne for popping by for a chat, and great to know that you have more stories in the pipeline.

More from People’s Friend writers soon.


Author: susanjanejones

I write pocket novels for My Weekly and also enjoy writing short stories. Gardening and reading are my other pastimes.

51 thoughts on “Welcome Suzanne Ross Jones.”

  1. Thank you, Susan, for hosting and to you Suzanne for a great interview. I hadn’t realised that was how you had your first sale and I’m the same in that it takes me ages to ‘get into’ a story. One thing I definitely agree with, is how great The People’s Friend are to write for.

    1. Hello Wendy, that was quick work. I think we all agree that People’s Friend live up to their name. Enjoyed your school re-union story Wendy. That was lovely. Thanks for popping in. Tea and cake on the table:))

  2. Lovely blog post, Suzanne. I love your writing and you deserve all your success – and a whole lot more! Caroline xx

  3. Hi Suzanne and Susan.
    Thank you both for this fascinating interview.
    Like you, Suzanne, my first short story acceptance was from the Friend, and everything you say about the lovely editors there is right. I haven’t written any shorts for a couple of years now, but your enthusiasm makes me want to take it up again.
    Congratulations on all those wonderful successes – and here’s to all the others still to come. Rx

  4. Great interview Susan and Suz!
    I love writing for the “Friend” too – and, yes, the editors are lovely.
    Lovely as well that Suz and I have been ‘story sisters’ in the magazine and the Annual.

    1. Yes Pat, your prefab stories are legend. Always a treat. I have the annual, will have a weekend in the garden reading it soon. Hope to interview ‘Friend’ writers each month Pat, so don’t go far.xx

  5. Thank you, both, for this really interesting interview. It was great to read about your ‘history’ with People’s Friend, Suzanne. As Sue knows, I’m yet to get my first story accepted by the magazine but will keep trying. 🙂

    1. Thank you for your comment, Jan. Glad to hear you’re going to keep submitting – I’ll look forward to hearing about your first acceptance. Lots of luck. xx

      1. Yes, thanks to you and Suzanne. Because of your post, I’m in the process of submitting another story to PF and will get it in the post today! 🙂

  6. Fantastic interview, Susan and Suzanne.The PF ladies are exceptionally warm and lovely people with great expertise when it comes to choosing stories. I’ve treasured their feedback and suggestions when they’ve asked me to do a rewrite. It’s the same as being given a free critique that points you in just the right direction.
    I haven’t written for them for some time because I’ve been trying to write novels, and I miss their kindness and enthusiasm. They were one of the first publications to buy one of my stories and I’ll be forever grateful. x

    1. Hi Joanna, thanks for popping by. I agree, the stories are special. Whenever I’ve had a rejection, then read the magazine, I realise, my story wasn’t as good as that. So, next time I’ll try harder to get it spot on. At least I know what they want as I read every story, each week. x

  7. Great interview, ladies. I hadn’t realised your first published story was only in 2010, Suzanne – you’ve done really well since then! I love snow scenes too.

    1. Thank you so much, Rosemary. I’d had a small handful published before then, but 2010 was when my first People’s Friend story was accepted :0) xx

  8. What a lovely interview – thank you Susan and Suz 🙂 I love reading stories such as the snow scenes ones where characters are forced to stay together. Oh, the power!! xx

  9. What a great interview and very inspiring. Thank you both. Having just had my first story in TPF after literally years of rejection it’s a dream come true and so shows to never, ever, ever give up!

    As you say to actually now get feedback on my stories even if they are rejected is SO amazing – truly a free critique and from such experienced editors worth so much. xx

  10. Oh thank you for asking. It’s in TPF Special out on 12th March – it’s in the Mini Mag section – After the Rain.

    Featured author? Me? (blush) Gosh ……… I’m no Suzanne Ross Jones you know! Maybe one day (sigh) ………..xx

  11. Lovely to read about your writing journey, Suzanne, you’ve done so well. Laughed at you loving snow scenes! I’ll have to remember that 🙂

    Great interview, Susan.

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