Blogs by L.T. Suzuki
Becka Sutton Interview
7/7/2012 8:59:35 PM
YA Fantasy author Becka Sutton discusses her novel and the writing life!
LTS: In my quest to feature some of the best writers I’ve had the chance to meet via social media, I found another whom I’ve been following for at least the past two years on Twitter. I’d like to introduce you to the wonderfully talented YA fantasy author, Becka Sutton. I’d like to begin by having you share a little information about yourself with our readers, Becka. What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?
BS: Like most writers I'm an avid reader, especially of speculative fiction, though I seem to have less time to read recently. I also enjoy gardening, especially growing my own fruit and vegetables as well as listening to a wide variety of music.
LTS: I know you’ve been writing since you were a teen. Was becoming a published author a life long dream for you?
BS: Sort of. I don't think I really understood the idea of publishing when I started writing, but I certainly hoped to see my name on a book at some point.
LTS: I had a chance to read the sample excerpt of your debut novel, The Dragon War Saga Arc One: Land of Myth and I loved how you were able to draw me immediately into your story. What was the inspiration behind this story and can you tell us a little bit about your protagonists, the Stevens siblings?
BS: The inspiration came from several places. I'm fond of reading books and watching documentaries about the paranormal. I don't know how much is true, but it's certainly a rich vein to mine for ideas.
The Stevens siblings are quadruplets – two girls and two boys – and that's possibly the least weird thing about them. They've been surrounded by paranormal events since they were infants.
As a result Andrew is obsessed with the paranormal – he's trying to figure out what's going on with them.
Lydia's interested as well, but she's distrustful of claims of the paranormal that dismiss science. She's also the most self-reliant of the quads with an interest in woodcraft and orienteering. Which comes in very useful when they find themselves in the other world.
Unlike Andrew and Lydia, Karen seems to show little interest in the paranormal, except when it intersects with their lives again. She also goes to a different school than the other three, having won a scholarship to an exclusive boarding school.
Daniel isn't with the other three when the door opens because he's at karate and apart from that, we find out little about him at first.
LTS: I love how they are quadruplets, but they are very much their own person; very different for each other! Without giving away too much, can you reveal what’s in store for the readers when they crack open The Dragon War Saga Arc One: Land of Myth?
BS: It's what I suppose you'd call the "dragged to another world" genre of Fantasy but I'd say it's not typically so though it seems so at first.
LTS: The road to publication is difficult at the best of times. What made you decide to self-publish this novel?
BS: I initially published the story in installments on my website and gained a small readership. It was a great deal of fun – which was the point. But, of course, it means that the story is previously published. So if I wanted to make it a book, it was always going to be a self-published one. I was lucky that I was able to crowdfund the production costs via a pre-sale to my online readers.
LTS: Would you recommend this mode of publication to others? Why?
BS: Sure! With the caveat that if you're expecting to be the next Amanda Hocking, you probably won't. Do it for fun and as a learning experience and take any money you earn as a bonus.
LTS: Great advice! So, what is the most important lesson you’ve learned on the road to publication?
BS: It sounds weird but the most important thing I've learned is that I can't punctuate very well, so I need a copy-editor.
LTS: 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.
BS: A little from column a and a little from column b I guess. I do tend to have a rough outline in my head, if not on paper when I write, but not one that's really detailed. Even if it is on paper, there will be gaps where I have no idea how the characters will get from plot point a to plot point b. Then when the moment is upon me, I find myself thinking 'oh, of course!'
LTS: 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?
BS: I don't really have any rituals. I have a full time job, so finding time to write can be challenging. As a result, I carry a notepad with me so I can write on the bus, break and similar. Writing in snatches doesn't lend itself to rituals though I suppose you could call it a ritual itself.
LTS: 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?
BS: My four main tricks when writer's block strikes are go for walk, have a bath, have a nap or write something else.
LTS: Who is your favourite author and how has he/she inspired you to write or influenced your writing style or choice of genre?
BS: I'm not sure I have a single favourite author. I'm fond of quite a few including Alan Garner who was one of my favourite authors as a child, Zoe Whitten who writes really gritty and sometimes disturbing dark fantasy and horror, M.C.A. Hogarth whose stories are just amazing and Meilin Miranda author of the Intimate History of the Greater Kingdom Series.
LTS: What are you reading now, and how did this particular book make it onto your to-read list?
BS: Right now I'm mostly reading gardening books to be honest because I've been doing a lot of work on my veg garden to make it better. I need to get back to my to read list soon. As to how I find books for the list – I find a lot on Twitter. I think the most recent fiction book I've read would be Spots the Space Marine by M.C.A Hogarth which is military SF with a female protagonist. It's an excellent story but stylistically not for everyone because it's written in script format.
LTS: 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 a sequel to The Dragon War Saga Arc One: Land of Myth in print or as an ebook in the near future?
BS: Well they can already read the penultimate draft of the second arc and part of the third arc on my website. I'm currently editing Arc Two: The Storm Child ready to send to my copy editor and hope to have it ready to release sometime this Autumn with Arc Three: The Lost Ones in Spring 2013.
I also hope to release the first book of my paranormal fantasy series The Haventon Chronicles in book form at some point next year and I'm also working on a more traditional fantasy and a series of science fiction shorts, but they are a long way from being finished.
I don't know where I'll be in five years time but hopefully it will involve a lot more books and a lot more readers.
LTS: Thank you so much for taking the time to discuss your works and your writing life with us, Becka! I’ll catch you on Twitter.
For more information about Becka Sutton and her novels, check out:
Follow Becka on Twitter: https://twitter.com/shutsumon
Where to buy the book:
Via my website or:
Kindle (Amazon US)
Kindle (Amazon UK)
(and the other Kindle stores)
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