When Su Williams first lays eyes on the HOT SEAT, she begins to whimper and cry. It’s almost as if she’s having an extremely bad dream. But this ain’t a dream, Su. This is real.
Let the games begin.
What genre(s) do you write, Su?
Well, considering Dream Weaver is my first book, I write in YA paranormal fiction. I went to my first conference about 4 years ago and people were throwing around all kinds of genres I had no clue what they were…steam punk, high fantasy, space opera. Boy, did I get an education. I really didn’t know what genre I wrote in other than YA fiction. I recommend conferences to beginning writers as well as self-published writers. Conferences are a great way to make connections and learn the craft.
[CJ: I agree. I've only gone to one conference but I got heaps out of it.]
Tell us about Dream Weaver in 25 words or less!
[CJ: Oh no! Tell us more.]
Seventeen year old Emari Sweet has lost her parents in a horrific car crash. Night terrors stalk her sleep and she teeters on the precipice of life, and death by her own hand. Her flesh screams for the razor’s edge, if only to exorcise her inner pain.
Most of us write part time. How do you spend your time when you’re not writing?
When I’m not writing or working I like to read. We go camping during the summer up at my parent’s cabin. There’s always something new to see up there. Baby raccoons, hunting osprey [a bird of prey], beavers, bear, a swarm of butterflies or a nesting duck or robin. I love to take pictures of the wildlife we encounter. Some of my favorite pics are posted on my Pinterest page.
Tell us a little about your writing process.
LOL. I love this question. I keep telling people I’m a puker…as opposed to a pantser or planner. Random scenes come to me at random times inspired by random events. Then I have to write them down on whatever piece of paper I have available. I’ve been known to use register tape (I work retail.) Once I have my scenes, I tie them all together. And then, I edit, re-edit and edit again. I can’t afford a real editor, so I’ve worked hard at learning as much as I can about writing in general and novel writing specifically. There’s a lot of great books out there. I even used a college writing text book. Two books I suggest are: Manuscript Makeover by Elizabeth Lyon; and Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino.
[CJ: A puker, hey? Nice!]
Who or what are your biggest writing inspirations?
I LOVE vivid, original imagery. I love it when writing is beautiful and poetic and heart-wrenching. The authors that I believe do this for me are Lisa McMann, Maggie Stiefvater, Annette Curtis Klaus and Richelle Mead.
[CJ: My to-read list just got even longer...]
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a writer?
Without a doubt, I’d have to say promotion and marketing. It takes a great deal of time to get the word out on your book if you’re self-published. There’s no one to set up interviews or reviews or create ads. It’s all me. The biggest piece of advice I’ve gotten lately is ‘do what you can without sacrificing your creativity. Don’t forget that writing is what you love most and you can’t lose focus on that. ’ (Thanks A.L.!).
[CJ: That's excellent advice. And I totally hear you about promotion and marketing - it's incredibly time intensive.]
Time for the HOT SEAT questions!
Wow! This is a bit like being on the couch in the psychiatrist’s office. Delving deep into my psyche. Are you sure you really want to know this?
Yep, there’s no getting out of it now! Here we go…
Which fictional character are you most like and why?
Definitely Emari Sweet. She’s a bit quirky, a bit dark. Emari is kind of a compilation of myself, my daughter and every goth/emo girl I’ve met or read about. We call people who know who they are and aren’t shy about sharing it ‘characters.’ There aren’t enough ‘characters’ in the world these days. Everyone wants to fit in and becomes a cookie cutter of everyone else. I don’t mind being called ‘weird.’ Good, that means I’m not like you. And my daughter, Sarah inspires me too. She is not like every other teen girl. She’s Sarah. A bit of a geek with a quirky sense of humor and a side of dark. I’m so proud of her just for being herself.
[CJ: 'Weird' works better for me than 'normal' too. Normal = boring!]
Finish this sentence from your character Emari’s perspective.
I’m embarrassed to admit this, but… I’m a big wuss. If it weren’t for Nick, I’d be a hotter mess than I already am.
Now finish the same sentence from your own perspective.
I’m embarrassed to admit this, but... despite not minding people thinking I’m weird, what other people think of me matters more than it should..
[CJ: Someone wise once told me that 'what other people think of me is none of my business'. Easier said than done though!]
Cally, thanks so much for hosting me on your blog.
[CJ: You're very welcome. It was great having you, Su.]
If you’d like a turn in the HOT SEAT, let me know in the comments and I’ll schedule you in for a buttocks burning.