Saturday, January 8, 2011

Interview: Author Suzanne Selfors (and a Book Giveaway!)

Today I have an interview with the talented Suzanne Selfors. She writes middle-grade and young adult novels, and she has a wonderful writing voice I truly admire. While she's a local author and friend, the praise I give her is well-deserved. She's been compared to Roald Dahl more than once, and her books are unique and super fun to read. MAD LOVE, which came out January 4th, is her newest book to hit the shelves, though SMELLS LIKE TREASURE, a middle-grade, will be out later this year.

Here's the blurb for MAD LOVE:

Writing her own love story could drive a girl INSANE!

As the daughter of the bestselling Queen of Romance, life for sixteen-year-old Alice Amorous should be pretty good. But ever since her mother was secretly hospitalized for mental illness, Alice has been forced to maintain a brave front--lying to her new crush, Tony; answering fan lette
rs; forging her mother's signature; telling the publisher that all is well. Now time is running out, and so is their money. The next book is overdue and the Queen can't write it. Alice needs to deliver a new novel for her mother--and she needs to come up with one fast.

That's when she meets Errol, a strange guy claiming to be Cupid, who insists that Alice must write about his tragic romance with Psyche--the greatest love story of all time. Only, Alice doesn't believe in Cupid...

* * *

Dawn: TO CATCH A MERMAID, your first published book, came out in the fall of 2007. Your sixth book, MAD LOVE, is now in bookstores. That's an impressive amount of books in such a short time! Can you tell us about your writing schedule? What does a typical writing day look like?

Suzanne: I wish I had a typical day but I don't. And I'm finding lately that I'm having trouble focusing. It may be that I'm a bit burned-out. My writing pace has been manic.

What I prefer to do is to write in the morning. To leave the house once the kids have caught the bus, and to sit in a coffeehouse. That's where I do most of my writing. I like the white noise. I can write for about 2 or 3 hours and then I hit a wall. I'm constantly processing my stories. I do a lot of revision in my head while I walk the dog. My story is always with me.

Dawn: When you were starting your career, what did you find to be the biggest challenge?

Suzanne: Figuring out where I fit. I started writing adult novels and they weren't that good. I still had a lot to learn about the craft so the novels were heavy with historical detail and long. But I had to go through that process because ultimately, having the adult novels fail led me to rethink everything. Writing for kids is the perfect fit for me.

Dawn: How much do you outline before you start writing your first draft?

Suzanne: I don't outline. It never works for me. I jump off into the void. Story, take me where you will.

Dawn: What do you like best about being an author?

Suzanne: Hearing from and meeting readers. Teens especially. I get letters and emails every single day. It's an honor to entertain. It's thrilling, really.

Dawn: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Suzanne: I have lots of advice. But for time's sake, here's one piece - write your first novel for yourself. Make it something that you love. Don't worry about the market. The first novel is truly your baby and it belongs to no one else.

Thank you, Suzanne, for the interview! I wish you continued success!

* * *

Now for the giveaway! One person will receive a free autographed copy of MAD LOVE! I've already read it (not your copy, of course--that's brand spankin' new), and I loved it. It's hilarious, fun, and charming. To view the book trailer, click here. To enter the contest, all you have to do is:
a. leave a comment on this post before
11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, January 12th
b. be a follower of this blog

c. have a mailing address in the U.S. (sorry, international bloggy friends)

Each person can enter only once. I think that's it as far as the rules go. I'll update if I realize I forgot something.

Have a great writing week, everyone!


storyqueen said...

I just popped over to Suzanne's Website. Wow! She's written several books I can't wait to read.

Thanks for the link.

....can't decide which one to start with......


Dawn Simon said...

Hi, Shelley! I'm excited you're discovering her--I think you'll love her books! She has these great, quirky characters, and her stories have a lot of heart. One of my personal favorites, other than MAD LOVE, is SAVING JULIET.

Faith E. Hough said...

Nice to meet you, Suzanne! And thanks, Dawn, for the interview! It was very inspiring....(I feel like I should be writing now...6 books in three years--incredible!)

Suma Subramaniam said...

Nicely done, Dawn and very nice to meet you, Suzanne. The questions and answers are very inspiring. I loved the last one in particular, about writing for ourselves.

I look forward to reading Suzanne's books.


Suma Subramaniam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jemi Fraser said...

Terrific interview! So nice to hear of a successful author who doesn't outline in advance!! :)

I'm in Canada so don't enter me - I'll have to pick up a copy for my classroom though! Sounds like a great read :)

Diane said...

This book sounds hilarious! Glad to see you back. Hope all is well. Thanks for the awesome giveaway! :O)

estrella8888 at roadrunner dot com

Anonymous said...

I also revise in my head when I'm walking.

Great interview, ladies.

kakihara said...

Very nice interview --thanks for the chance to win -book sounds perfect for me--Happy New Year!

Renee G said...

Would love to read this. I'm following as Renee G on GFC.

Dawn Simon said...

Hi, Faith! I know, right? That's a lot of books. Plus Suzanne's seventh book is coming out later this year! So impressive!

Thanks, Suma! I loved that answer too.

Jemi, sorry I have to put limits because of postage. Oh, one for your classroom! Great idea!

Diane, it's fun to be back! Yeah, the book really is funny! I loved it. :)

Hi, Medeia! I sometimes work things out while running or walking too. There's something nice about contemplating stories when you're out in the fresh air and exercising, isn't there?

Hi, Kakihara! Happy New Year!

Renee, it's a great book!

Stasia said...

Great interview, Dawn. Suzanne visited my 10-year-old's school last year and he really enjoyed it (went right out and got himself a copy of SMELLS LIKE DOG!). I'm looking forward to reading MAD LOVE.

Gail said...

Great interview! And guess what? I found you through a Google Alert! I'm now a follower and I'll be back! If you have a spare minute, maybe stop by my blog and give a read? Gail

HAHA, my verification word is peede!!

Hema Penmetsa said...

Great questions and answers! Thanks for sharing them with us, Dawn! I can only imagine what kind of talent it takes to be that prolific!! :)

Travener said...

I, too, want to write in a coffeehouse. I'm glad to see it works for someone.

julstew said...

Thanks for the wonderful interview. I have not read any of Suzanne Selfors' works, but I just put what they had on hold at my local library. I can't wait to go pick them up!

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

Fun contest, Dawn! Welcome back, too. :)

This book sounds so cool and I love Roald Dahl, so I'll have to check out Suzanne's other works as well.

I'm glad things went so well during your writing time!


Dawn Simon said...

Thanks, Stasia! That's great about your son. Love those school visits! :)

Hi, Gail! Thanks for the visit and the follow! Back at ya. ;)

Hi, Hema! Yeah, Suzanne really impresses me. She writes fast and she writes well. She's a hard worker and a very nice person.

Travener, a month or so ago, I started writing in coffeehouses on days I feel I might otherwise get distracted. I really like it!

Julie, that's great! Enjoy!

Hi, Amy! Thanks! You're always so sweet.