Since I’ve missed a whole week, I got right on to getting this interview uploaded for you. Suzanne Rogerson kindly agreed to take part in the Q&A, and there are even some graphics with quotes from her novel Visions of Zarua at the end.
Hi, Suzanne. Thank you for taking the time to talk to me about your book Visions of Zarua.
Q: Had you always planned on becoming a published author?
A: I’ve wanted to publish books since I was about 8 years old. I even planned my own children’s book series about a little girl and her adventures with her pet lion. When I was 12 that lion morphed into an Alsatian and I wrote my first teen novel.
Q: What made you choose to write a fantasy novel?
A: I struggled for many years to work out what genre I wanted to write. Through my teens I read a mix of genres; romance, thrillers, horror, suspense and detective novels. Nothing inspired me to write until I discovered fantasy.
I love character driven fantasy, with David Gemmell and Robin Hobb being my favourite authors. They showed me that fantasy can encompass so much more than just magic and swords fights, and I haven’t wanted to write anything else since.
Q: What inspired you to write Visions of Zarua?
A: The main characters, Paddren and Varnia. They showed up one day and I had to write about them and learn their stories.
Q: What is your book about?
A: Paddren is an apprentice wizard who suffers visions. They’re horrific, but he’s learnt to live with them. Then his master is murdered and when no one wants to investigate, it falls to Paddren to find the killer. He soon learns his master’s death is just the start of a dangerous journey encountering secret sects and beasts conjured by blood magic. Paddren learns his visions are a link to the past, but also a glimpse into the future of Paltria. He needs to decipher his visions if he is to save the realm from the dark menace of Zarua’s past.
Q: Did you find it easiest to write with a schedule or with no time restrictions?
A: I don’t have a writing schedule, I’m too easily distracted. I do try to write during the day while the kids are at school, but I also grab every spare moment I can at my computer. It’s easy as my desk is in the kitchen, but it also means I have a tendency to burn the dinner.
Q: Was there ever a point while you were writing your book when you wanted to give up?
A: After rejection I find it hard to carry on, but I can’t stop writing. I get too agitated if I’m not doing something creative.
Q: What was the worst part of writing for you?
A: Writing takes over my life and sometimes it’s hard to shut off.
I also hate the limbo period between finishing one project and starting another. I’m there at the moment having just handed my latest book to beta readers.
Q: How much of your stories do you plan, or do you find it easier to make it up as you go along?
A: My stories normally come to me as a scene. I write around the scene and build up the story from there. I do need to plan at some stage though, otherwise they’d never get finished.
Q: Do you have a favourite piece of writing advice?
A: I’ve shared this before, but it’s so true – ‘You can’t edit a blank page.’
When I’m stuck I usually just start with dialogue. Once the characters get talking, you can add the action and set the scene. The boring bits can be cut later, but at least it gets things moving.
Q: Where can people learn more about your book?
Q: What have you learned since starting your writing journey?
A: That writing is hard work. You need to learn the craft by putting in the hours and being prepared to rewrite again and again.
I’ve also learned that I can’t do it all alone. I wouldn’t consider publishing without input from beta readers and an editor looking through my work.
Q: What’s next for you?
A: Once I get feedback from my beta readers, I’ll be working hard to get The Lost Sentinel ready for publishing in early 2017. It’s Book 1 in the Bloodlines Trilogy. Here’s a taste of the blurb I’m currently working on.
The island of Kalaya is dying along with its Sentinel. The exiles only hope of restoring its magic is to find the Sentinel’s successor before the enemy. Can Tei evade the Black Riders and help the exiled mystics find the lost Sentinel before it’s too late?