I started my first novel at age 39, a few minutes after my daughter climbed onto the school bus for her first day of school. Three years later, in 2005, I was published and I’ve been writing two books a year ever since. I live on a rainy island in the Pacific Northwest, which is the perfect environment for a writer because all the rain gives me a good excuse to stay indoors and work. I have two kids, some critters, and a rather handsome husband.
Jen: Tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Suzanne: The Sweetest Spell is my very first fairytale and it’s been a blast to write. The premise is this: A girl discovers she has the magical ability to make chocolate, in a kingdom where chocolate doesn’t exist.
The idea came one night when my daughter and I were searching the house for chocolate. We had that desperate craving, like addicts, wild-eyed, but nothing turned up, not a stale chocolate chip, not even an old piece of Easter candy. NOTHING! And we needed. NEEDED! So that’s when it hit me, if I could magically make chocolate… Hey, what a great idea for story.
Jen: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Suzanne: Well, I certainly don’t make outlines before writing. I sit down and start. I always know my beginning and I always know my ending, but the journey between is a huge mystery. It’s scary to write that way, to venture into uncertain terrain, but I have faith in the process. And for me, outlining is a waste of time. I enjoy the adventure of discovery.
Jen: Do you have any “must haves” when writing?
Suzanne: Doesn’t matter if it’s 100 degrees outside, I need a hot beverage by my side. A nonfat latte in the morning, Earl Grey tea in the afternoon. I also work best if I go to a coffeehouse. I like the white noise of conversation and music. Plus, it’s lonely working at home all the time.
Jen: Who has influenced you as a writer?
Suzanne: This is always such a tough question. I’m not really sure because I’m influenced by every story I read. I’ve always been drawn to fables and mythology. In terms of romance, I love historical novels by Sharon Kay Penman and I’m really enjoying the Game of Thrones series, though the gore is a bit hard to take. I’m really good friends with Susan Wiggs and I’ve read almost everything she’s written. She’s been a huge inspiration to me in terms of work ethic and persistence.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Suzanne: I have numerous children’s projects in line, but in the grown-up market, I’m working on a retelling of a Greek myth. It’s quite juicy.
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The author’s photo was provided by Suzanne for use on our post. The photo is credited to Kate deVeaux.