Name: Susy McPhee

Books: Husbands and Lies (UK 2008, Spain,  Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Holland 2009, Germany 2010), The Runaway Wife (UK 2009, Germany 2010, Spain 2011), The Perfect Man (Germany 2012)

Credentials: Author, publications and training consultant, occasional freelance journalist.

Useful practical skills: milking goats and tiling bathrooms.

Favourite quote: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

Susy McPhee           

Susy was an IT manager with responsibility for the technical authoring, training and deployment departments of Scotland’s largest software house before setting up as an independent business consultant advising senior foreign government officials on corporate re-engineering and change management. In between times, she wrote a semi-autobiographical novel about her mother’s upbringing in Liverpool that caught the attention of Curtis Brown. Her new agents saw the potential for Susy to develop her writing through the commercial fiction route and hence her first novel, Husbands and Lies, was born. Today it has been translated into five foreign languages and its successor, The Runaway Wife, was named Heat Magazine’s summer read for 2009.

‘I think I’ve really been very lucky,’ she says. ‘I was able to kick-start my writing career whilst still working in industry. Then in summer 2006 Iain and I decided we wanted to foster, so it made sense for me to take a step out of the rat race and focus on developing my writing whilst looking after David, who was just thirteen when he came to live with us. The past four years have been light-years away from my former life, when I could be in Hong Kong one week and Amersham the next. Having that kind of career at my back gave me the confidence to take a leap of faith into the world of fiction writing, not to mention some rich pickings when I’m working on character development! I dip my toe into the murky waters of freelance writing periodically, and have a blog on my web site that I update monthly. But writing novels is where my heart lies. The idea of helping someone else find this kind of fulfillment through one of our courses is tremendously exciting.’

Find out more about Susy at


Name: Helen Lewis

Credentials: Associate Editor, Stirling University, Publishing consultant.

Useful practical skills: plumbing bathrooms and fitting kitchens.

Favourite quote: “A ship in the harbour is safe, but that’s not what ships are for.”

Helen Lewis              

Helen began her publishing career as an intern for the prestigious McKernan Agency in Edinburgh, representing literary fiction and high quality non-fiction and working in association with the Capel and Land agency in London. After completing her Masters in publishing at Stirling University, where she was appointed Associate Editor for the University’s ‘Unbound’ project, she joined the team at Canongate Books in Edinburgh.

‘We’re in the middle of a digital revolution that is turning traditional publishing methods on their heads,’ she says. ‘Writers need to be smart about marketing themselves and developing an online presence, and knowing the ins and outs of how to do that can be the difference between being a firework and a damp squib. New technologies such as e-books and partnership publishing are having a phenomenal impact at every level in the industry, from the author working at home to the giants in the publishing world.  Keeping abreast of the changes means you can exploit the technology rather than letting it overwhelm you, and for aspiring authors there are opportunities to get their work out into the public arena that have never previously existed. Stylo’s great advantage is that as well as teaching writers to hone their craft it equips them with the tools to capitalise on those opportunities.’