Blogs by L.T. Suzuki
Suzy Turner Interview
11/13/2011 8:50:30 AM
Journalist & fiction writer, Suzy Turner discusses her paranormal saga and the writing life!
If you’re a fan of YA paranormal fantasy, then you’ll love to meet my next featured author! I’d like to introduce you to journalist and fiction writer, Suzy Turner! I’d like to begin by having you share a little information about yourself with our readers, Suzy. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
ST: It's an absolute pleasure to be here with you Lorna. Thank you so much for inviting me. When I'm not writing, I love to read... especially on my Kindle which I am now totally obsessed with! Otherwise, I really enjoy going online and chatting with fellow writers on facebook and twitter. I'm also a bit of a TV addict, and at the moment I love watching British property programmes as I'm trying to convince my husband to move to England, the country where I was born and miss terribly.
You began your writing career as a journalist for an English newspaper in the beautiful Algarve region of Portugal. When did fiction writing become a part of your life and was becoming a published author a life long dream?
ST: I remember writing a few short stories at school and thoroughly enjoying the process but it never occurred to me back then that I should write books. That happened in the late 90s after I read an interview with chick lit author, Jenny Colgan. I remember having a bit of a light bulb moment and realising writing fiction was something I could do.
I noticed your Raven Saga has been receiving wonderful reviews. Can you tell our readers what was the inspiration behind these first two novels in this series, Raven and December Moon, and can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist, Lilly?
ST: The inspiration came from a combination of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight and a holiday I had in Canada in 2009. I loved the underlying eeriness of Twilight as well as the paranormal aspect of it and there was a moment in western Canada where I could just imagine a whole host of paranormal characters hidden among the trees. Lilly didn't actually appear in my mind until I began writing several months later when I suddenly had a vision of a young girl sitting in a small bare room watching a couple of ravens tapping on her window.
Without giving away too much, can you reveal what’s in store for the readers when they crack open the first novel in this Saga?
ST: Of course! It begins with Lilly living a lonely, loveless life with a cruel mother and a father she barely ever sees. She's not allowed to have any friends and there isn't even a television in the apartment where they live. But one day, when she returns from school, she discovers her parents have mysteriously vanished. After spending some time with her sweet elderly neighbours who take her in, Lilly is forced to move to Canada to a family she never knew existed.
You’re on the other side of the world from where I am now, so I find it fascinating that you chose the setting of a small community on the west coast of BC for your story. How did this come about?
ST: It was during my visit in 2009 when we stopped to stretch our legs and have a picnic near a town called Powell River. We parked our car and walked down to a small beach where we sat on a massive piece of driftwood. It was there that my mind just went into overdrive. It was the most beautiful spot where I could imagine paranormal beings hiding in the trees behind me as well as in the Pacific in front of me. There were little islands off in the distance too. It was so inspiring. I just fell in love with it!
What made you decide to go indie than to seek the traditional route in publishing your stories?
ST: After receiving so many standard rejection letters, a friend told me about someone he knew who had uploaded his book to Amazon. I had no idea this was even possible so I decided to check it out. I was so impressed by what I saw that I knew it was the right thing for me to do at that time. I've since sold a few hundred copies and received some amazing reviews and positive comments... this wouldn't have been possible had I waited to be picked up by an agent. In fact, I'd probably still be waiting now!
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned on the road to publication?
ST: That provided I work hard to produce a great story, there is a market for my books. It's given me much more confidence.
I’m curious about your writing style. Are you one of those disciplined writers who must dedicate a certain time each day to producing so many words, or are you more relaxed and tend to write when it strikes your fancy?
ST: I have to give myself deadlines otherwise I'd never get anything done! I usually give myself a particular month to get it completed by and then I work out how many words I need to write per week and I tend to to stick to that.
Still on the subject of writing styles, are you a plotter or pantser? The readers would like to know if you tend to plot out your story line in great detail or if your writing is more organic with the characters and events unfolding as you write.
ST: I'm definitely a pantster! I have a rough idea in my head and I might jot down a few notes but I find I'm much more creative if I just let myself flow. The words tend to just come easily that way.
Some authors meditate, others need to fuel up on coffee or listen to music. Do you have any rituals, ones that can be shared with the readers, that you must do before you hunker down for a writing session?
ST: Unfortunately, I'm really quite boring in this respect... a cup of tea in the morning, perhaps but otherwise, no, I don't have any rituals! Although, if I'm writing spooky scenes, I do like to listen to music that will match.
At one time or another, most writers hit the wall and their work stalls because of the dreaded writer’s block. What do you do to get around or over this mental wall to resume writing?
ST: I think the best thing is to get away from where I write for a day or two. Shut down the laptop and go out shopping or something like that! Or I try to forget all about it and go and read a great book by someone else. The ideas soon return.
Who is your favourite author and how has he/she inspired you to write or influenced your writing style or choice of genre?
ST: That's a tough one as I have so many. JK Rowling is a particular favourite though as I was captivated by the Harry Potter series the second I picked up the very first book. I love JK's history... the fact that she lived in Portugal, a single mother who struggled to write in coffee shops while her baby slept by her side. She's just such an inspiration. It wasn't until I read Harry Potter that I realised I had such a love for fantasy books so I do believe she has influenced me to delve into that genre myself.
What is the most profound discovery you’ve made in terms of your writing and how it has touched the lives of others?
ST: Simply the fact that I AM capable of producing a complete book was pretty awesome, to be honest! And then to be told by people I don't even know that my story had such an impact was amazing. A few readers have told me that I am now among their favourite authors... it makes me want to weep with joy!!
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned on the road to publication?
ST: Not to take negative criticism too personally. Naturally, my writing is not going to be enjoyed by everybody and there are plenty of nasty people out there who just don't care about an author's feelings. I've had one bad review and it was very hurtfully written. My husband, friends and fellow authors have encouraged me to take little notice.
What are you reading now, and how did this particular book make it onto your to-read list?
ST: I'm reading Elemental by Alexandra May. I bought it after falling for the cover. It's so beautiful! I'm thoroughly enjoying it too... I love the fact that it's set in Wiltshire, England, a region I am particularly fond of.
What do you foresee in your future over the next five years and do you hope to branch out from YA into other genres? Can your fans expect the next novel in the Raven Saga in the near future?
ST: I've always been very ambitious and so I hope to have lots more books out there... perhaps some bestsellers?! My next book, the third and final installment in The Raven Saga, will be out in March 2012. It's going to be called The Lost Soul. I also hope to have completed a number of Chick Lit books, another of my favourite genres. I'm halfway through Forever Fredless, which I have (admittedly) been writing for years! It's time I got it finished!
Thank you so much for taking the time from your hectic schedule to share in your writings and in your writing experiences, Suzy!
ST: Thank you, Lorna! It's been an absolute pleasure!
For more information about Suzy Turner and her novels, check out:
Follow Suzy on Twitter: .suzy_turner
Where to buy the book: http://www.amazon.com/Raven-The-Saga-ebook/dp/B004ZZJ462
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