INTRO: Susan Sizemore is the author behind the Laws and Bloodseries, and she is now also releasing her first Science Fictionnovel, Gates of Hell.
Q: When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?
A: I think I can blame Lewis Carroll for my wanting to be awriter. I can remember my mother reading Alice in Wonderland tome when I was four, and embroidering on the story as my mom readit to me. My grandmother was a writer, so writing seemed likethe most natural thing in the world around my house.
Q: How has your background as an anthropologist and former chefaffected your writing?
A: I'm not sure my cooking background has been too influentialin my writing, but cultural anthropology and a love of historyhas come in mighty handy, especially for fantasy writing. Forexample, my vampire series, LAWS OF THE BLOOD is not a seriesabout continuing characters, the element that continues in theseries is the vampire culture. Each book features differentcharacters and is set in a different location, but the story isabout people who happen to be vampires trying to adapt to amodern world when they must also function within the culture ofthe Strigoi. The series is about culture clash, and mybackground in anthropology helped me create the Strigoi culture.
Q: Can you tell us a bit about your current projects?
A: I'm currently working on the second book of THE LAWS OF THEBLOOD series. Truth is, the second book should have been done inJuly, but the first idea simply didn't work and my editor and Iagreed to scrap it and for me to start the second book a secondtime. Another project that I'm very proud of is my work for andwith a new small sf/f house, Speculation Press. I've written ascience fiction book for Speculation Press, GATES OF HELL whichwill be available in tradesize paperback format (order from theSpeculation Press website at http://speculationpress.com andI'll make sure you get an autographed copy! It's cheaper fromtheir home site too!) in December. GATES OF HELL is my firstofficial foray into the sf genre and quite a dark and edgystory, full of politics and space pirates and power plays. It'sgot telepaths and evil aliens and space battles and cultureclashes and a hot romance, weird religious cults and all sortsof stuff that I had a wonderful time writing.
Q: What is the most challenging aspect of writing a story?
A: The middle. Beginnings are a joy, the end comes in a rush -but writing the middle third of a novel is an endless, ploddingwasteland when I'm in it. Plotting and characterization arealways a challenge, of course, but I've been lucky in mycharacters. I tend to come up with these elaborate plotoutlines, but when I let the characters loose in the world ofthe story they tend to find shortcuts for me and simplify myconvolutions into faster paced more believable ideas. I'm verymuch a character-driven author and fitting the right charactersto the right story is always part of the challenge.
Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
A: Finish the book (or short story or whatever). Don't worryabout how good it is. Worry about getting published later. Thefirst thing you have to learn how to do is to finish. Manypeople start to write. Finishing a story is what's important.Write what you want to read.
Q: When you're not writing, what do you like to do to relax?
A: I have a young, active, part greyhound dog. When I'm notwriting I'm walking my darling Nefer. Then there's basketball. Iam a complete basketball bore. Can and will quote statistics atthe drop of a hint. I go to as many games as I can - both NBA &WNBA, and watch a lot of televised games. I love to read, ofcourse, and to cook and to travel.
Q: What has the Internet meant for you as an author?
A: It's been both an immense help, and quite a hindrance. Iadore the internet! It allows me to communicate with readers andwriters, to do research, and to publish books (I have threebooks in electronic publishing format) that might not find ahome with print publishers. I know people from all over theworld because of the Internet. I've contributed articles toelectronic magazines and am a member of numerous chatty andsupportive email loops. I have my own webpage. I have sentmanuscripts to editors via file attachments and have gotten backedits the same way. All these things are wonderful, but the downside is that I spend way too much time online! I can usehaving to check my email or go looking for a posted book reviewas an excuse not to write. I tell myself that it's part of myjob when it's really an excuse not to do a difficult scene.Still, I adore the Internet and wouldn't give it up foranything.