Firstly, I know todays guest has her birthday some time this month so I want to start by saying Happy Birthday to her. Then I would like yo invite you, my lovely readers to delve into the mind of Susan and check out her interview;
1. What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I have two books I've been working on for the past few years that I would love to have published one day. For my first book, Hearsay, I got to the point where I was too close to it to make any measurable progress in my rewrites, so I shelved it and started working on Haunted. The plan is to finish Haunted by the end of November and then get back to Hearsay. After I'm done with those two books, there are some pieces of story ideas I'd like to take the time to explore.
2. Where do your ideas come from?
My story ideas come from what-ifs and weird dreams. I let my mind wander on random little everyday things until I've come up with an elaborate story that's completely different from the original thought-sparking what-if. They are always story endings. Always. Then I craft a premise around that ending.
3. Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I love outlining, but I don't get to that part until months into a new story. Most of my first written scenes are from the end or the middle of the story. Most of them aren't even scenes, but slices of dialogue and ideas for plot points. Once I've gotten enough fragments to start putting together an actual story, then I outline. Even after I have an outline, I rarely write chronologically.
4. How did the idea for your current WIP (work in progress) some about?
This was one of those what-ifs -- What if all of my HS/college crushes were figments of my imagination? From there I created a mystery, a death, and shaped a story that became something different along the way (though that original what-if still has a bit of a presence in the current draft).
5. What is your writing routine like?
I'm still trying to nail down the perfect routine. I try to make as much time for writing as I can, but that's not always every day.
As I'm coming towards the end of Haunted, I've stumbled upon this routine that seems to be working pretty well:
- Before I leave for work, I read the last scene that I worked on.
-During the drive to work, I think on that scene and let some story ideas roll around in my brain.
- Before I go into the office, I email myself some quick plot and dialogue ideas that came to me on the drive.
- When I get home from work, I paste those ideas into my project and have a leaping pad to start that evening's writing session.
I hate the idea of having all the story ideas floating around and escaping while I'm doing other life things, so this has been a good way to trap those ideas and close the thought process off while I'm busy. Also, having the leaping pad to start off the next writing session helps to cut down on all of the time I'd spend trying to get back into the story zone.
6. If you had to pick a real life actor/actress to play your main character who would it be?
I'm still trying to figure that part out for Haunted. When I was working on Hearsay, I printed up pictures of all the actors who I wanted to play my major characters and taped them up above my desk. Vera Farminga as the woman who adopts her best friend's daughter, Annie, after Annie's mother is murdered. Liev Schreiber as the crooked small-town cop and father figure to Annie.
7. Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
When I'm brainstorming and plotting, I definitely prefer pen to paper. I do most of my creating in a notebook. The ideas just seem to flow so much better that way.
Staples has a brand of notebooks called Arc which I love because the pages are detachable, so I can write in the random order that I do and then organize the scenes in the notebook later on. And I love sticky notes!
When I get to melding the story together, I type everything into Scrivener and flesh out the story from there. I'll still go back to the notebook for new content, but I do most of the story shaping on the computer.
Imagery tends to be my weakest point and most of that I write on the computer. I love writing dialogue and almost all of that I create in my notebook.
8. For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
I definitely prefer old school books. I love bookmarks, I love book covers, I love being able to see the physical progress I've made in the book, I love being able to flip back to re-read something, I love being able to flip forward to see how many pages are left in the chapter.
I do read e-books from time to time -- usually on an occasion when I want to get my hands on a book quickly. I used to ride the subway to work and for that e-books were fantastic because they only required one hand and they weren't heavy.
9. What book/s are you reading at present?
I'm currently reading Stephen King's IT! When I was a kid my sister told me never to read IT because it the most frightening story ever. As I got older, I realized my sister's fear of clowns is not necessarily my own -- but maybe that's because I haven't read IT. It was one of those books I kept planning to read soon, but was a bit daunted by the 1K page count -- and now I'm finally reading it. With all the clown stories recently, thought now should be the time.
10. What do you think of “trailers” for books?
I like the idea behind them, but I don't watch many book trailers myself. Mainly, because I like to know the least amount about a book before reading.
11. Whats the best advice you’ve received that you would give to other writers in your position?
This advice wasn't given to me personally, but I love this quote by Toni Morrison - “If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.”
I love this one! It shows that writing can be fun, adventurous, accessible. Don't worry about what everyone else wants, just write what you want and go from there.