Canadian born Suzan St Maur (a.k.a. “Suze”) was transported to the UK when a child and despite resultant cultural challenges managed to leave British secondary school with a couple of “A” levels and no talent for anything other than writing, so her career options were fairly clear cut.
After serving a full journalism apprenticeship on a provincial newspaper, she attended and graduated from the then-famous Watford Art School advertising writing course and worked in London ad agencies as a copywriter for a few years, before deciding she was far too bolshie to be an employee and so became a freelancer.
While comfortably paying her mortgage and bills her work took off into the areas of business theatre and corporate video, in which disciplines she became the Grandma Moses of corporate script and speechwriting for many years.
Suze also developed useful skills as a conference and video producer, largely in emergencies caused by the actual practitioners’ bunking off through illness, drunkenness, excessive use of recreational substances, etc. It’s amazing how fast you can learn to do a job if the person who should be doing it is in la-la-land …
These days Suze concentrates on delivering unique written content and editing across most business and nonfiction genres, in both digital and print media. She enjoys consulting, writing, editing for and coaching clients in addition to running her other business interests, writing her own books, blogs and articles, plus giving blogging workshops, radio interviews, etc., on how to make your writing more successful. (For more about Suze’s services and how she can help you, please click here.)
“It was this work which inspired me to create
HowToWriteBetter.net, so I could share my experience
and skills – plus those of some talented colleagues – with an even wider audience.”
Suze’s published books include:
- The Jewellery Book (with Norbert Streep) (Magnum)
- The Home Safety Book (Jill Norman Books)
- The A to Z of Video and AV Jargon (Routledge)
- Writing Words That Sell (with John Butman) (Management Books 2000)
- Writing Your Own Scripts and Speeches (McGraw Hill)
- The Horse Lover’s Joke Book (Kenilworth Press)
- Powerwriting: the hidden skills you need to transform your business writing (Prentice Hall Business)
- Canine Capers: over 350 jokes to make your tail wag (Kenilworth Press)
- Get Yourself Published (LeanMarketing Press)
- The MAMBA Way To Make Your Words Sell (LeanMarketing Press)
- The Easy Way To Be Brilliant At Business Writing (LeanMarketing Press)
- Wedding Speeches For Women (How To Books)
- The Country Lover’s Joke Book(Merlin Unwin Books)
- The A to Z of Wedding Worries (How To Books)
- How To Get Married In Green (How To Books)
- Planning A Winter Wedding (How To Books)
- How To Write Winning Nonfiction (Publishing Academy/Bookshaker)
- The A to Z Of Wedding Wisdom (How To Books)
- The Pony Lover’s Joke Book (Kenilworth Press)
- Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them (HowToWriteBetter.net)
- The English Language Joke Book (HowToWriteBetter.net)
- How To Smile Through Cancer (HowToWriteBetter.net)
- Business Writing Made Easy (Bookshaker)
- English To English: The A to Z of British-American Translations (Bookshaker)
- How To Write About Yourself (HowToWriteBetter.net)
- Super Speeches (HowToWriteBetter.net)
- How To Write Brilliant Business Blogs (HowToWriteBetter.net)
- How To Write Brilliant Business Blogs volume 1 (Business Expert Press, USA)
- How To Write Brilliant Business Blogs volume 2 (Business Expert Press, USA)
- Mischieverse: rude humour that sort-of rhymes (Corona Books UK 2017)
- English Business Jargon: how to use it and what it really means (Business Expert Press 2018)
Photos of Suze numbers 1 and 2 by Kathryn Hardman Photography, and with pony (“Merrylegs”) and Pony Lover’s Joke Book, by Aaron Wood Photography.
As mentioned above, Suze has lived in the UK since she was a child. Her parents settled near Milton Keynes, Bucks and although Suze lived and worked in London for some years she returned to the Milton Keynes area in 1990.
Suze’s London days were “work hard, play hard” and Fulham, where she lived, will never be quite the same again. While there, for two years she had her own chat and music show on Charing Cross Hospital Radio and enjoyed that thoroughly. She also got involved in politics and helped with communications for one of the major parties at Westminster, as well as standing as a candidate in a London borough council election.
Her son Tom was born in 1992 and after a “gap year” working for a major bank, attended The Leicester Business School/De Montfort University (UK) reading business management, economics and econometrics – from which he graduated in 2014 with First Class Honours. He is now working as a Major Accounts Manager for DHL Express and is really enjoying the experience of being in sales, which is pleasing as it’s such good training for anyone in business.
Until Tom went to Uni he was a drummer in various heavy metal rock bands, most of which would rehearse at the family home … noisy but good fun.
Apart from work, Suze is a keen horsewoman and helps at horse shows – specifically, dressage competitions – on weekends. Unable to ride for some years due to health problems (see below) she is now planning a horsey comeback – it’s just a matter of finding a horse that’s quiet enough, strong enough and stupid enough to carry her.
In 2003 Suze developed cancer of the bladder which was treated “conservatively” (i.e. with chemotherapy and immunotherapy and only minor surgery) until 2010 when her bladder, along with various other bits and pieces, was removed.
Not long after nursing her mother, who had terminal cancer, at home for 7 months while still running the business and parenting son Tom on her own, Suze developed a cancer of the breast – unrelated to the bladder cancer. She had a mastectomy in 2005 and underwent chemotherapy which resulted in a number of funny stories about wigs, prostheses and much more which Suze wrote about extensively in her eBook, “How To Smile Through Cancer“ from which a percentage of sales goes to Macmillan Cancer Support, her favourite UK cancer charity.
These days Suze is Chair of the Milton Keynes Cancer Patient Partnership which consists of volunteers like her, as users of cancer services, working with the healthcare professionals and National Health Service (NHS) managers to improve the services delivered locally, regionally and nationally. Suze works on written communications, as well as peer review, environmental audits, training, and other projects. Allied to this Suze lectures on cancer survivorship to nursing and other medical university students.
In addition to this, Suze’s other interests include working as a volunteer speaker, writer and editor for the Medical Detection Dogs project – which is making incredible progress in the olfactory detection of and alerts to disease … participating as a local business leader in Career Work Out sessions for Milton Keynes secondary (high) school students with the amazing Worktree charity … and regular guest lecturing for Milton Keynes Executive Action, a job club for managers and executives which has the highest rate of re-employment of any similar job club in England.
Apart from her son and her family in Canada and Belgium (her mother was a francophone Belgian, hence Suze speaks French fluently) Suze’s great love is animals – particularly horses (see above), dogs and cats. She has had various rescued dogs and cats over the years and as many of her friends know, she’s a soft touch for a “hard luck” story. However she did turn down one recent rehoming request – for a rabbit. With four dogs and two hard-hunting cats, its life expectancy would have been very, very short…
Thanks for reading!