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Author of Hurry, Wife Sleeping, Susan Pamela Brooke

Readersvoice.com aims to collect a few good reading tips. Susan Pamela Brooke once found herself between jobs, then decided to answer an ad for a receptionist at a brothel in Tweed Heads. Ms Brooke later managed the brothel and then another legal brothel at the Gold Coast. Hurry, Wife Sleeping tells the tales of the many clients she met.

All sorts of people pass through the doors of brothels, and Hurry, Wife Sleeping would be a good historical document about what people were like at the Gold Coast in the early 21st century. Susan Pamela Brooke entered the bizarre nocturnal world of brothels when she took a job as a receptionist then manager of Gold Coast brothels. And she kept a journal.

The Gold Coast is the beach tourism section at the south-east corner of Queensland, Australia, on the Pacific Ocean. It’s a place full of beachside motels and high-rises, surf culture, a casino, other entertainment venues, and residential suburbs. And as in any city, the sex industry has always been a part of it.

Susan Pamela Brooke’s memoir Hurry, Wife Sleeping (Zeus Publishing) is packed with tales about the men she encountered in brothels, and some of the women who worked there. The clients at the brothels included entertainers performing at Twin Towns nearby, football stars, plus many other people from all walks of life, all of whom Ms Brooke was discreet about. It’s a sometimes sad, but always interesting slice of life, and it treats people fairly, too.

READERSVOICE.COM: When did you used to write in your journal about your life managing brothels? Did you write every night or morning after work, or write at a cafe the next day?

SUSAN PAMELA BROOKE: The stories I wrote about in, Hurry, Wife Sleeping (and many more that didn’t make it to the book) were jotted down during a lull (if there was one) on the night of happening, but more often than not when I got home from work in the morning while winding down before bed.

The recording of stories of sighting clients outside of work were from memory when I began to put the book together.

RV: There are so many tales, and I was wondering if the book just fell together easily or was it a difficult process?

SPB: Because of my journals (and the scraps of paper holding stories) and because it was a factual account I found it relatively easy to put it all together. The only parts I agonized over was making sure I didn’t give too much away in terms of recognition with regards to the more celebrated clients without ‘dulling’ their stories. Unfortunately some didn’t make it to the book for this very reason.

RV: Did writing this memoir about your time in the brothel world put the experience behind you, or do you find yourself still thinking a lot about that world and its people?

SPB: Interestingly enough – well for me anyway, my time as brothel manager turned my life around. I learned so much about men, about what makes them tick and about understanding their wants and needs. The whole experience helped me enormously in my personal life and as a consequence, and with the benefit of hindsight I’ve come to the conclusion that at any given time we are where we are because that’s where we’re meant to be for that period of time.

RV: Hurry, Wife Sleeping really captures the Babylon aspects of the Gold Coast, and was that one of the main reasons you wrote it:to paint a portrait of the Gold Coast or that side of it. What do you think of the Gold Coast?

SPB: I can honestly say I’ve never considered the ‘Babylon’ aspect on the Gold Coast to be any worse than any other place on earth and I certainly didn’t write Hurry, Wife Sleeping with that thought in mind. I have thoroughly enjoyed living on the Gold Coast. Australia has been very good to me and I consider myself fortunate to be here.

RV: What’s your daily routine these days?

SPB: My partner and I have been lucky enough to purchase that remote getaway in the hills I dreamed of and wrote about in chapter 7 (while chatting with one of the taxi drivers) and this is where I am most of the time, at our getaway – writing. I divide my time between the Gold Coast, up north in a mining town with my partner where he works or at our getaway.

My daily routine regardless of where I am is spent writing. I aim for five/six hours a day but sometimes that isn’t possible if I’m traveling, however I make sure I write for at the very least a couple of hours a day, four/five days a week.

RV: What made you choose to write a memoir rather than turn your experiences into a novel?

SPB: Originally I began the book as a novel, but after about six chapters I decided that the stories held far more impact when written as the truth rather than making them out to be fictional.

RV: Did you base your memoir on the style of any others you’ve read and if so, which ones have you enjoyed?

SPB: I have always enjoyed reading memoirs and biographies but I wouldn’t presume to liken my writing in the same sentence as acclaimed authors.

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