Thursday, June 27, 2013

Author Interview: Scott Southard

Give us a bit of your background (where are you from, your family, traveling adventures)

My name is Scott D. Southard and I am the author of A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM. I’m originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, but I studied writing while at the University of Southern California. I miss being in LA during the winter, let me tell you.  Other than DAYDREAM, I’ve also written the novels MEGAN and MY PROBLEM WITH DOORS and I have a website called “The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard” where I write on a wide range of topics. I like to think of it as a lot of fun… well, it is fun for me. So people can find me at Stop by and say hi.

Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go?

Disneyland. No, honestly, I love that place and miss it! I wrote my master thesis there if you can believe. I had a year pass while I was at USC, and I would go there with my notepad, find a secluded table someplace and just write; watching the people and families. It has a great vibe and I found it inspiring…. Oh, and I would also like to go to Paris. Let’s add Paris to the list too.  (That sounds more cool and hip, right?)

What is your favorite genre to write?

I’ve written a very diverse set of books so far. A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM is in many ways a historical fiction/romance, but MY PROBLEM WITH DOORS is a time travel/sci fi and MEGAN is fantasy/tragedy.  And those are just the books out right now. There is a thrill to me in doing something I haven’t done before.  It is my hope that because of this, readers will know that they will get something new from me with each of my books.  Yes, I like to surprise and there are a lot of surprises in DAYDREAM, but I won’t spoil them here.

What is your favorite genre to read?

One advice I give writers a lot (and I hope this is not seen as a cop out), but I think writers should read as many genres as they can, explore all possibilities. See, it is my opinion that the groundbreaking works in any genre, the ones people remember the most, are the ones that break the mold. To see new possibilities like that, a person has got to have an open mind not just of what to read, but of life in general. I like to think I did something like that with A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM, but time will tell.

What got you started on your writing journey?

This is a difficult question to answer because I think for each of my books and stages as a writer someone stepped forward to give me that needed push. When it comes to A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM it was my wife.  She aggressively argued for me to take it on. For many years, this book felt too difficult, too out-there a concept, but she believed in me and the story. It was her passion for the story that made it finally a reality. She definitely earned the dedication in the front of it. She is amazing.

What other things do you have planned with your writing for the rest of the year 2013?

I have a book I hope to have out later in the summer entitled MAXIMILIAN STANDFORTH AND THE CASE OF THE DANGEROUS DARE. It is a Victorian/gothic/thriller mystery, but it is pretty experimental (I like to say “genre breaking”).

It’s a lot of fun for me. Also, on my site last year I wrote a novel in real time; which means I was sharing chapters as I was writing them with no strong indications of where I was going in the book. It was a fun experiment and I am happy with the result of that. My hope is to edit that book, which is called PERMANENT SPRING SHOWERS, and find a publisher for it. It is a book about artists, creativity, and modern-day relationships (good and bad).

What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?

One thing I like to say to new writers is that you need to write for yourself first, and if you find it fulfilling you are already ahead. Everything that may happen after that is just a wonderful bonus. And I feel that when I complete a book. It is such an amazing high, holding a finished manuscript knowing that it is something I did, something I accomplished.

Whatever happens afterwards, that moment right there is solely mine.  I wouldn’t give up that feeling for anything.

Where do your ideas come from?

This is one of my favorite parts about being a writer. Yes, so much of it is work, with each part having its own high and low, but that initial spark is like a bolt of electricity and I never really know when they will hit. I’ve had books come to me in nightmares, in a passing thought, as a question, etc. A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM came to me as a joke, a giggle. It grew from there into my dream project.

Please share about your book 

Jane Austen never really lived the life of one of her heroines. In A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM I imagine an adventure for her, using her own stories (and snippets of reality) as a starting point for the fiction.  I like to imagine that this is the story Jane would have wanted for herself. And like a classic Jane Austen tale it is filled with suitors (both good and questionable), wit, and surprises.  Including one surprise that I think is truly a new idea for a book, but I won’t ruin it here.

If you could sum your main character into five words, what would they be?

Jane Austen, in my book, is in many ways all of her heroines combined. What that means is she is romantic, smart, witty, silly, obsessive, playful, argumentative, strong, introspective, etc.  Wait! That was more than five words, wasn’t it?

Sorry… Jane is… well… Jane Austen.

Do you have a favorite character you have written so far? 

Jane Austen… without question… Jane Austen.

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