Joanita Wibowo


5 minutes with author Suzanne Daniel

5 minutes with author Suzanne Daniel

In 5 minutes with authorOver 60 asks book writers about their literary habits and preferences. Next in this series is Suzanne Daniel, journalist and communications consultant. After years of working for BBC, The Sydney Morning Herald and ABC TV, she is now serving on a range of community, philanthropic and public company boards. Allegra in Three Parts is her first novel.

Over 60 spoke with Daniel to discuss daily word count goal, insights from books of the past, and why older writers should not be discouraged. 

Over 60: What is your best writing tip?

Suzanne Daniel: I find having a daily word count goal very helpful. For me it's 600 words, banked, every day on the days that I write and that's usually 4 days a week. Of course I often have to write significantly more than 600 words to have that number worth banking! 

I sometimes wish that I had started my fiction writing earlier but then I remind myself that I don’t think I could have written the layers within Allegra in Three Parts without having the layers within me that being the age I am now has delivered. I now want to encourage older writers because rich lives lived over many years gives great nourishment to good writing.

What book(s) are you reading right now?

I usually like to have a fiction and non-fiction on the go at the same time. I am reading Unfettered and Alive by Anne Summers and about to start The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway.

What was the last book that made you laugh?

Parts of Boy Swallows Universe… although other parts made me cry and cringe!

What classic book do you think has not stood the test of time?

I think most books are a product of their times and often serve to illustrate attitudes and social norms at the point in history they were written. As such I like to think of them as insights rather than outdated. 

Paperback, e-book or audiobook?

For me, I definitely like to read a physical book – paperback or hardcover – particularly because I spend so much time on the computer writing so it’s a relief to get away from a screen. I also enjoy audiobooks on a long drive.

What do you think is the most challenging work you’ve ever read?

Ulysses by James Joyce.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

I have a background in journalism and social services and for many years now have served on public company, community and philanthropic boards. We have a small farm in Berry on the South Coast of NSW and I love spending time there as often as possible with my husband, family and friends. I have three children, six godchildren and many nieces and nephews so keeping up with them all is a time-consuming pleasure.