Friday, August 21, 2015

Author Interview: Sue Searles

Sue Searles
author, Lucia's Web

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?

Hmm…where do I start? Any exotic island, a quaint coffee shop in Italy, the highlands of Scotland, or Ireland, or somewhere with a view of the mountains in Colorado… Okay, so maybe these aren’t all research-related, but they are places I’d love to visit. And I could always find an excuse to throw in a little research while I’m there!

What is your favorite genre to write?

I feel strongly about writing stories that are different to the norm. If I'm going to enter into the exhilarating (but sometimes exhausting) challenge of writing a book, it must be memorable and life-changing to my readers. There'll always be a touch of romance (what girl doesn't like a bit of romance?), but that isn’t always the focus of my stories. I tend to think outside the conventional box or, as I like to put it, write “sweet stories that defy convention.”

What is your favorite genre to read?

Probably historical fiction. I’ve read a few books by Lynn Austin and find myself relating to her style of writing. She’s taught me a lot about significant historical events that I never knew before.

What is one silly fact about you?

I’m completely and utterly besotted with PUGS.

What got you started on your writing journey?

From as early as I can remember, I’ve had a passion for writing. As a kid I was always tinkering with one story or another, and lengthy poems about the stories I’d written. I had notebooks filled with the stuff. Then high school happened, and writing was pushed to the back burner of my life. Tertiary studies and marriage followed, and then my son was born.

When I look back, it’s probably my son whom I can thank for giving me the courage to take that first step as a serious writer. As a six-year-old, his wonderful imagination led me to write my very first book about the delightful characters in his head…a children’s book which I called An Adventure With Little John and the Coaspies (the title’s long, I know).

Writing that book gave me a taste of what it would feel like to actually take my writing seriously.

What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?

For me, writing is a deeply fulfilling creative outlet; it's what I was born to do. Anybody who's written a book knows what a challenging but rewarding journey it can be. Writing involves elements that a casual reader can’t begin to imagine (to name a few: building interesting characters, creating a believable plot with twists and turns, sub-plots that blend seamlessly, remembering the nitty gritties of publishing rules—point of view, show vs. tell, dashes and ellipses, the grueling editing stage…), but there's little more fulfilling than reaching that last page, and the contentment of seeing the end result.

How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?

Without meaning to, I see bits and pieces of myself – my personality, my quirks, my ambitions – reflected in my characters. I’d say I’m a good mix of Ali and Sam in my latest book, Lucia’s Web. I didn’t plan for Ali to have a little OCD, or for Sam to not take herself too seriously, but they surprised me!

Please share about your book 

I’m super excited about my latest release, Lucia’s Web, that came out recently. It’s about three girls who share an apartment, but there’s something creepy and sinister about one of them. The genre is kind of mystery/suspense/romance with a humorous twist. The protagonist advertises for two tenants to share her upmarket apartment, but she’s such a naïve, sheltered thing that she isn’t prepared for the weird and interesting housemates she’s about to take on, or the series of cryptic events that unravels. (Okay, let me stop there. You’ll have to read it for yourself…)

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

Hmm, interesting question. Ali is the main character, and I’d say she’s naïve, privileged yet grounded, sociable, and quirky.

Why should we read your book?

If you enjoy suspense-filled stories with splashes of humor and heartwarming romance, you’ll want to read Lucia’s Web.

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