Blogs by L.T. Suzuki
2/4/2012 11:04:55 PM
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YA author Sally Dubats discusses her debut novel and the writing life!
For today’s guest blog, I’d like to introduce you to Sally Dubats, YA author of The Grimoire Chronicles: Veil Between Worlds. I’d like to begin by having you share a little information about your self with our readers, Sally. You are one of the most fascinating authors I’ve yet to meet on Twitter. Can you tell our readers what you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
SD: Thank you, Lorna! And thank you for the opportunity to share on your website! I love running into you on Twitter, too! When I’m not writing? What is that?! Lately, writing and marketing are my life. I love reading, yoga, walking, and a dance/martial arts/yoga exercise called NIA. I also love cooking, and am very into a healthy, organic way of life. I also enjoy Full Moon and New Moon rituals, along with Pagan Sabbats, and hanging out with friends. My partner Neal and I spend time reading books to each other, which is a joy. Hemingway should always be read aloud with a glass of wine.
You have a diverse background, much of which has nothing to do with writing stories. When did writing fiction fit in and was becoming a published author a lifelong dream?
SD: I have been expressing myself through various creative processes for as long as I can remember and I think all creative processes have to do with writing! Writing fiction is an extension of my self-expression. I used to direct and produce theatre, and I’ve been working on several screenplays, and decided finally to focus on the fiction, which for me feels like coming full circle, coming home. Writing my character Cassie in novel form is far more in depth than within the confines of a script.
Your debut novel, The Grimoire Chronicles: Veil Between Worlds has been receiving wonderful reviews! I had a chance to read an excerpt and I loved your writing style and how you immediately drew me into your world! What was the inspiration behind this story and can you tell us a little bit about your 17-year-old protagonist, Cassie?
SD: Thank you so much, Lorna! I really appreciate that! My inspiration for Cassie came from a deep desire to create a young female protagonist who takes responsibility for her actions, who is a real Witch (not a Hollywood stereotype), and who solves her own problems. I also wanted to write something super fun and fast-paced that at the same time has meaning. I loved the book “The Da Vinci Code” and the film “The Matrix.” Both of these can either be a fantastic ride, or an incredible metaphysical experience depending on where you are in life. I hope it’s the same for “Grimoire Chronicles”. About Cassie: she is incredibly intelligent, but feels alone and different because of her religion (Wicca). She has preconceived ideas about what people think about her and her religion, and because of that she distances herself from people. And this is exactly the reason she feels so comfortable with Trenton who is not only ‘different,’ but actually a different species.
Without giving away too much, can you reveal what’s in store for the readers when they crack open The Grimoire Chronicles: Veil Between Worlds?
SD: Hopefully readers will experience a roller coaster ride filled with authentic witchcraft, love, betrayal, suspense and cliffhangers at every turn (sometimes literally!). I have had amazing feedback from readers and reviewers alike, and this is what their experience has been!
The road to publication is difficult at the best of times. What made you decide on self-publishing this novel?
SD: I am a published author (nonfiction “Natural Magick: The Essential Witch’s Grimoire”), and times are changing, so I decided to see what self-publishing felt like!
Would you recommend this mode of publications to other authors? Why?
SD: There are many, many reasons to self-publish, and I think it has to be the right reason for each individual. Self-publishing is a business with an ocean of information to learn, and I’m noticing more and more published authors going the self-published route. I’ve read some books that people I’ve met online have sent to me, both fiction and nonfiction. I think that self-publishing will garner them a fan-base and at the same time help them with their writing.
What is the important thing you’ve learned on the road to publication?
SD: The most important thing I’ve learned is something I still need a lot of work with: balancing between the business-of-being-an-author and the writing. I need to balance the marketing, answering e-mails, working on my web page, and when to say ‘no’ because I need to write. You get the idea. I haven’t learned yet how to have time for the business and the time to write. It can be hugely overwhelming (cue violin music). If other writers have found out how to do that, I would love to hear from them!
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?
SD: Hahahahaaa! I think I just answered that! I’m pretty bad at discipline because of the business side of writing, but when I do write I might be up all night, or I can’t sleep and get up at 3am. I usually have the last moment of what I’ve written in my head until I can get back to the writing, and it drives me crazy. It’s like a CD jammed on a track. There is a point in “Veil Between Worlds” where Cassie is in the rain running with her backpack thumping as she runs. It’s toward the end of Part 2 of the book. I couldn’t get back to the writing for a week, and so poor Cassie was in my brain like a minimized program, just running in the rain for a week - running and running and running and running with her backpack thumping - until I could return to the book and write the part where she could sit down!
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.
SD: Yes. Just kidding. Both styles are mixed for me because I leave myself a lot (a LOT) of leeway for changes. I have ideas in my head, but sometimes the characters have different ideas. So, I plot in large, sweeping strokes, and then I’ll have a huge Aha moment that takes me in another direction, and then I’ll re-plot. Very organic.
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?
SD: I like to write in different locations like the library or a coffee shop, etc. And I listen to music. Loud. With earbuds. My Pandora stations have every kind of music imaginable on them. I’m super into Tangos when I’m writing Cassie/Trenton scenes. I love, love, love “Assassin’s Tango” from the movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith. In fact, here’s the link: http://youtu.be/2KGvDnn8xwQ
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?
SD: I’m actually more prone to talker’s block. And, do you know, I’ve never talked to anyone about writer’s block! Is writer’s block an inability to come up with an idea, or is it that a writer has an idea and cannot write about it? Meaning, the words just don’t come? Maybe it’s laziness? I usually can write *something*. I’ll write total garbage knowing that nothing is permanent, and I’ll laugh at the garbage. It serves as a bridge to where the writing gets better, and then I will go back and rewrite the garbage or put it in the dumpster.
Who is your favourite author and how has he/she inspired you to write or influenced your writing style or choice of genre?
SD: Woah. I think my favorite author is whoever I’m reading at the moment! I absolutely fell in love with Paula McLain (The Paris Wife) last year to the point where it was really hard to find a next book worthy of reading! I couldn’t believe the brilliance! And I love different authors for different things. Dan Brown taught pace. My SciFi/Fantasy heroes are Margaret Atwood, Frank Herbert and George Orwell. I love Juliette Marillier. Of course Hemingway. I’ve also read a few thousand plays, and that has played a major role in my pace and dialogue.
What is the most profound discovery you’ve made in terms of your writing and how it has touched the lives of others?
SD: The writing process IS profound. My goal when I began was to write something that would represent Witches as we are, not a Hollywood stereotype, and I wanted to write about what real magick was all about. Since being more and more in touch with my readers, some of the stories would break your heart. There is so much prejudice, very much like the gay/lesbian community faces. People have lost jobs, friends, and family. I had no idea that I would be talking to so many people who have been through so much. I’ve been through it myself, and so it’s natural to relate. Being true to the Craft in my writing is now more important than I could possibly have imagined when I started. There isn’t much true Paganism or Wicca in literature. Imagine finally meeting a character who shares your beliefs and validates who you are.
What are you reading now, and how did this particular book make it onto your to-read list?
SD: I just finished “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” by Laini Taylor. She’s from Portland, and I love reading local authors who have pink hair. I heard about her book prior to publishing from a BEA discussion board. I’m also reading, “Excuse Me, Your Life Is Waiting” by Lynn Grabhorn. I read it years ago, and have recently been (strongly) recommending it to people, so I thought I should re-read it. I’m also reading “The Dove Keepers” and “The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer”.
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 sequel novel The Grimoire Chronicles: Winter Solstice in the near future?
SD: I have a private statement that I say daily to bring my future goals to the present a la Wallace Wattles. Look it up; it’s a fascinating process. The future looks very exciting. I do want to complete a science fiction piece I’ve been working on, but want to finish my “Grimoire” series first. “Winter Solstice” will be out toward the end of February!
Thank you very much for taking the time to discuss your novel and to share in your writing experiences, Sally!
SD: Lorna, thank you. And thank you for your service to the reading community and to authors. You’re a sparkly gem.
For more information about Sally Dubats and her novels, check out:
Follow Sally on Twitter: .sallydubats
Where to buy the book:
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