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Saturday, October 1, 2011
Author Interview with Suzi Davis
The Long and the Short of It is pleased to welcome Suzi Davis, whose debut novel Amber Frost is out from ireadiwrite Publishing and is the first book in The Lost Magic series.
Her books are definitely character driven. In Amber Frost, the idea for the character of Sebastian inspired the plot. Suzi had originally planned to write the book from his perspective, but as soon as she developed Grace's character, Grace took over.
"It was just so much more interesting to write things from her point of view and to see Sebastian through her eyes," Suzi explained. "There is no doubt that the characters shaped the story though."
She's busy completing the second book in The Lost Magic series and told me that it's been fun revisiting her characters and taking them on new adventures.
"The second book in the series has a slightly different tone than the first," she said. "There is more urgency, more excitement and of course, more romance. I’m really happy with where the story is going so far and can’t wait until it’s time to share it with my readers."
"How do you come up with the titles to your books?" I wondered.
"Very slowly and painfully or perhaps I should say, painstakingly. I think titles are very important and the process of selecting one should never be rushed. I want my books to have titles that are not only interesting and original but also titles that provide a clear image or representation of what the whole book is about. It can be a very challenging process for me and typically takes me months to come up with a title that I’m fully satisfied with (most works-in-progress are untitled until I near completion). I came up with the title for Amber Frost as I was falling asleep one night. I was panicked in the morning when I couldn’t initially remember my idea but luckily it came back to me. Up until that point I’d been playing around with 'Frozen Amber', 'Amber Ice' and similar combinations. I knew I was getting close but the title didn’t feel quite right until the words Amber Frost fell into my mind and everything clicked into place. When I was still excited about the title a few weeks later, I knew I’d found the right one."
“Why did you choose that particular title?”
"There is an amber necklace in my book that plays an important role in the story and the story is also set (for the most part) in the winter-time. There was a lot more to my decision to entitle my book Amber Frost than just that though. The words 'Amber Frost' created a clear and vivid image in my mind of frost-tipped blades of grass, just beginning to thaw and transform as they are pierced by amber rays of dawn. For me, Amber Frost means change, transformation, an awakening, a timeless moment, a transition between night and dawn, cold and warmth, the last melting symbol of the night’s forgotten cold, the lost magic of yesterday. The title represents so much to me that I find it funny when people who haven’t yet read the book assume that the main character’s name is Amber Frost – it’s not!"
When Suzi was young, it wasn't a question of what she wanted to be when she grew up, but more a question of what didn't she want to be. She wanted to be a veterinarian until she realized, at seven, she would sometimes see animals die. She wanted to be an actress until she realized she was much too shy. She wanted to be an artist until she realized that she would most likely be broke. She wanted to be a lawyer until she heard how long you had to go so school. She wanted to be a nurse until she remembered that book and needles make her dizzy and nauseous.
"At one point in my childhood, I announced that I wanted to become a writer," she remembered, "but I was discouraged and told that it wasn’t a dependable career and it would be better to train as something else and write as a hobby. Sometimes, we should just listen to our hearts."
She had written as a hobby with no real intention of ever letting anyone other than herself read it. She started blogging, however, and began to take ownership of and pride in her writing.
"I was basically saying I’m a writer. I think what I have to say and how I say it is interesting enough that my writing deserves to be read," she told me. "It was actually very scary for me to do but it set me on the right path towards writing professionally."
She admits that her writing space is "embarrassingly disorganized," with papers everywhere and for or five different note pads with plot outlines, character details, research, time lines, etc. filling them.
"My computer desktop is a lot more organized though and I have a good system that keeps my documents separate and makes a reasonable amount of sense – to me at least!" she said.
On a personal note, she doesn't want a dog--she has a toddler and a newborn at the house.
"I like my friends’ dogs because I get to play with them, take them for walks and love them without any of the responsibility of owning a dog myself," she explained. "People kept telling me when I was pregnant with my first child that it was the perfect time to get a puppy and I would answer, 'Are you kidding me? Dogs are waaaay too much responsibility and commitment.'"
"Do you have any strange handwriting habit?" I asked her.
"Not really. I hold my pencil wrong (with three fingers and a thumb) and so I feel like a bit of a hypocrite when I correct the pencil grip of my students. My handwriting is deceptively neat and precise, until you actually try to read it and realize my r’s look like n’s, my v’s look like u’s and my m’s have three or four humps, depending on what kind of mood I’m in. I also find it difficult to handwrite certain uppercase letters (like F, Q, G, R & S) so I’ll just cheat and print them while trying to 'blend' them into my handwriting."
One habit she does have is ending sentences with "You know?".
"My husband and I made a bet once – he couldn’t swear and I wasn’t allowed to say 'you know'. He won within minutes. It’s actually quite embarrassing. Thank goodness I don’t write the way I talk!"
You can keep up with Suzi on her blog, http://www.ReadNowAskLater.com