In a few words describe the personal side of Suzan:
Always difficult to answer so I asked a few friends and they came out with: generous, reliable, trustworthy, funny, will help anyone out in a crisis ...
A recent email from a writer I was helping, 'Thank you, Suzan...wow...you are prolific [in relation to your writing]'.
And in a few words describe the business side of Suzan:
This is quite easy for me to answer as one of my customers described me recently to the NHS who was looking for someone to help them, 'Suzan Collins is an extremely experienced, skilled and published consultant and facilitator of social care learning'. And I have to agree, lol!
Suzan, you and I both write romance, but you have also written several non-fiction publications. Can you tell us a little bit about your books?
Yes. I wrote some open learning workbooks, which staff could read pieces and answer questions [to test their knowledge] and could complete at their own pace, and at a time that suited them. I have had 6 workbooks published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Supporting Positive Behaviour ISBN: 978-1-84905-073-9
Supporting Relationships and Friendships ISBN: 978-1-84905-072-2
Safeguarding Adults ISBN: 978-1-84310-928-0
Reflecting On and Developing Your Practice ISBN: 978-1-84310-930-3
Health and Safety ISBN: 978-1-84310-929-7
Effective Communication ISBN: 978-1-84310-927-3
My latest book, just released, is a narrative non-fiction called, Beyond My Control: Why the Health and Social Care System Need Not Have Failed My Mother.
With 33 years experience in health and social care, Suzan Collins believed she could ensure good care for her mother, and her family relied on her to do so. She was actually delivering training on best practice when she was first contacted with the news her mother had broken her leg at her nursing home and had been transferred to the hospital.
This is the story of what followed - the gradual revelation of a whole ongoing chain of bad practice and poor care that Suzan, with all her knowledge and experience of 'the system', could not influence.
In this highly topical book, Suzan shares her story from her personal and professional perspectives and looks ahead to how we can all contribute to keeping vulnerable people in health and social care system safe from harm.
'I was sitting in the dining room of a care service, waiting for my NVQ candidate to finish what she was doing. Whilst waiting, I took in what was happening in this room. There was quiet talk between various people at different tables. It was happy talk. One mother was telling her daughter how happy she was living there. Another lady, with dementia, was being supported by a staff member. Another was being quietly helped into her wheelchair and leaving the room. Staff spoke at a level that the individual could hear. I was good at picking up on body language and at that moment I could say that the individuals, staff and the relatives - everyone in that room at that particular time - were happy to be at the home and happy with the home.
Three days later I was back at this home to see a different candidate. He told me how he had supported a lady that morning with end-of-life care. Those words hit me hard and it took me back to the poor end-of-life care my mother had received when she was dying.
The candidate told me he 'felt privileged' to give personal care to a lady who was confined to bed and leaving this world. Why, oh why, could Mum not have had someone like him to help her when she was dying in hospital? I swallowed hard and told him how lovely that was. He took it in his stride; he didn't realise how good he was at his job and how much the people he supported valued him'.
Beyond My Control tells the story of my mother's ordeal and the efforts I and my family made to put things right. It is also intended to show what good practices are, and what to do when things go wrong. Suzan has provided practical advice at the end of many of the chapters and in an appendix at the end of the book to show what you, the reader, can do to stop something this bad from happening to you.
Are you currently working on a new book?
Yes, in fact, I have 2 WIP's [Works in Progress]. I have written some new open learning workbooks for staff and are now debating whether to keep them single or to make them into a handbook, and if it should be a Handbook for Health and Social Care Staff or just Social Care Staff.
I also am writing a sequel to my novel On The Rails.
What do you find to be your biggest challenge as a writer?
There are many, but I will give just a few.
1. Writing a book in my head, and not just once! This can happen if I am sleeping and suddenly wake up with an idea, or characters of my novel won't leave me alone. Does this happen to you, Jan? It definitely does, Suzan!
2. When you are typing, still thinking you know how the story is going and then some characters take on their own and they direct the way the novel goes. I remember the first time this happened to me, it was 3am and I wanted to wake everyone up to tell them what happened. I am waiting for this happen in my current WIP.
3. When I write open learning workbooks and give it to my editor it has the most up to date legislation and standards in them. However, by the time the workbooks are due for printing, legislation and standards can change which can mean having to update the work at very short notice, before it goes out.
4. When the editor sends me my work for signing off, I can forget what I have written as time has passed and I am then writing something else.
What can you offer aspiring writers?
Write and write! Some authors plan their writing and if this is you then plan, if it isn't then don't. Think on what you would like to write; poetry, a novel or non-fiction etc.
It is important to know why you are writing and who your audience will be.
If you would like to write a book but find it daunting for your first piece of writing, why not try something smaller, like writing a story for a magazine.
Where to find Suzan:
Where you can find Suzan's books: