Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Interview with Susan Helene Gottfried

Welcome to Jagged Edge!
Would you like to tell us a little about yourself?
Eh, I'm boring. I'm a mom, I write books, I hang at the Hoity-Toity Health Club, and I foster cats for a local, no-kill Animal Shelter. Oh, yeah, and I'm a Boy Scout.

Wow. You look at all that and you wonder how on Earth I ever found my way to the music business! All I can say is that music came first, and the Scouts and the cats all came later, after kids. Hopefully, the music will come back around again.

What inspired you to write?
I was born this way. I call it my birth defect, and in terms of birth defects, it's a pretty good one to have, I'd say. At least I can make money from it.

What authors influenced you as a writer?
Mostly my professors in college and graduate school: Chuck Kinder, Lewis Nordan, Philip F. O'Connor and the amazing, amazing Reginald McKnight. (And apologies to anyone I'm forgetting in there, but those four really had an impact on me as a person and as a writer.)

What is your favorite quote?
I can't find the one from Cher that used to hang on my wall, back in college. It was all about living life with no regrets. So we'll go with this recent one from Steven Tyler: "Life is short. Break the rules: forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that makes you smile."

If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world, which would it be?
Definitely my own world of Riverview, USA, where the rock is always rolling and the people rule.

I can see how you'd accuse me of bias, but really. Why else invent a city if you're not going to covet living there?

What is at least one thing that every writer needs to have or do?
One thing? Good thing you used "at least" before that! Writers need so much these days -- patience, discipline, humility, a thick skin. Time management skills. We need to be marketing whizzes, accountants... oh, the list goes on. LONG gone are the days when all we had to do was write.

Are your books different than your personal favorite books by other authors?
You know, they are. Some of my personal favorite books have nothing to do with Rock Fiction! Hard to believe, I know. I also have a couple other favorites: real fun reads like the Sookie Stackhouse books -- the kind you can knock out in a few hours and can't put down while you're in the middle of them. I also adore historical fiction, and books with a more literary bent, but aren't quite the highbrow, snobby literature that spends entire paragraphs describing a character's fingers.

I do like to blog about the great books I read, so here's a reason for anyone to follow me at the Meet and Greet at West of Mars. I've heard from a lot of my readers that they've picked up -- and loved! -- books I've recommended.

What led you to writing in this genre?
I write Rock Fiction because it is what comes naturally. My passion for writing is equalled only by my passion for music. (Kids and family don't factor into this equation, clearly!)

In terms of my writing style, since I do have an MFA and it's not unreasonable to think I'd be a more literary writer than I am, I want to bring really good, solid writing that's got a kiss of the literary sensibilities to a more commercial audience. After all, most of us are reading commercial fiction. Why not strive to bring the best of everything to my readers?

What is your favorite part of the writing process?
I'm not sure. I love the creation of new characters. I love putting them in situations and telling them to find their way out of them. I love to revise. Love watching a book take shape as I change the words that make up sentences.

Least favorite part of the writing process?
The middle of the draft. And all the after stuff -- the cover art, the formatting. But that's not writing. As far as writing, yep. It's the middle of the first draft, when you start doubting your story, it seems to be going nowhere... you know. You've convinced yourself it's bogged down and you suck. And then you get to the end and start revising and go, "Hey, this isn't so bad at all." (but now we're back to favorite parts!)

What are you currently working on?
Two things: the follow-up to Trevor's Song. Called King Trevor, it'll come out on April 12, 2012. Then I'll turn my attention to The Demo Tapes: Year 4. And in the meantime, I'm drafting a new book, with new characters. Yes, we're taking a break from Trevor!

Where readers can find you?
West of Mars. Dot com, at Facebook, on Twitter... if it's West of Mars, it's most likely me. If you're not sure, look for the Orange S on a Red Background. That's what I use instead of a picture, and when you see it, you'll know it's me.

Was there a question you wish I would have asked but didn't?
I do like it when interviewers ask the fun questions: boxers or briefs, what we had for lunch...

Oh, that's a serious question! Sorry!

Nope, I'm good. I interviewed bands for years while at the radio station, so it's nice to have the tables turned and be interviewed. One thing I've noticed is that you learn more when someone else is in charge. I'm all for learning things as we move through this phenomenon called life.

Thanks for hosting me today! 

1 comment:

Shah Wharton said...

Great interview S. You made me laugh about snobby literary fiction :) And hey - I adore the Sookie Stackhouse novels too. And I totally agree regarding the worse bit of the write - the half-way point. But mostly its the endless revision. When the writing flows and the imagination reins there is no feeling like it - its everything else that sucks! :)

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