Indie Interview: Sue Rovens

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It’s time for another Indie Interview, and this week, Sue Rovens stopped by to talk about her new novel Track 9.

Alexander IRL action scene director alexanderirl

Hi, Sue. Welcome to Read A Lot.

Thanks for having me!

Q: Had you always planned on becoming a published author?

A:  I don’t know if “planned” is really the word for me. I always hoped to be. I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was about six. Since that time, I’ve pretty much been writing something or working on something.

Q: What inspired you to write Track 9?

A:  The novel was initially inspired by a trip to Germany (back in 2006). However, there are a number of “adult” and difficult themes that run through the story. I gave the characters these types of backstories because I feel that a person with these kinds of flaws and issues are more realistic. I also think that these particular traits and problems (found in Track 9) are seen as “taboo” or “edgy”. I never shy away from subject matter like that. I like to explore those topics – set them out, front and centre.

Q: What made you choose the genre?

A: I’ve always gravitated to horror and suspense; the dark and edgy. You wouldn’t think that to look at me…or even during a normal conversation. But there are layers…

Q: What is the book about?

A: Track 9 (the new novel coming out in spring 2017) is about a couple who gets trapped in a haunted, defunct train station in Rain, Germany. What transpires over the next 12-15 hours runs the gamut from uncomfortable situations to horrific and nightmarish.

Q: Did you find it easiest to write with a schedule or with no time restrictions?

A:  I wrote the entire “story” during a Nano (National Novel Writing Month) in 2014. So, I had a base to work from. I reworked about 95% of it over the past two years. You really wouldn’t even recognise it from the first draft to what it finally became. So, the only “schedule” I followed was the initial “write a novel in 30 days” back in ’14. According to Nano, a novel is 50,000 words.

Q: Can you choose a favourite character?

A: Not really. I can “understand” some characters better since I’ve given them more of a backstory and wrote more dialogue for them, but I don’t necessarily “like” one over the other.

Q: Was there ever a point while you were writing your book when you wanted to give up?

A: Pretty much every day. Writing is a difficult and solitary practice. It can be draining. But there is something to be said for perseverance and completing an enormous project. When I finished my first novel, Badfish, I knew it was good. Not that everyone will like it, but I felt confident that it was a solid piece of work.

Q: What is the worst part of the writing process for you?

A: Editing. Going back, draft after draft, trying to make sure that your vision and story arc makes sense to others. Many times, when I am discussing what I’ve written with my editor, I’ll say “well, I know what I meant…” And they’ll say, “Well, the reader isn’t living in your head.” J

Q: How much of your stories do you plan, or do you find it easier to make them up as you go along?

A: With Badfish, I had a good general outline. There were some parts of the story that even surprised me as I was writing it. I’d be typing a conversation between two characters and suddenly go, “OMG! I know what would be cool here!”  In Track 9, I had a completely different vision when I started. I think it’s so much better and more interesting now, though. Sometimes, a first draft is pretty bad and convoluted, but it gives you a starting point.

Q: Do you have a favourite piece of writing advice?

A: Don’t write for an audience – write for you. If you write in order to sell books, you’ll be sorely disappointed. (Unless you’re famous already)

Q: Where can people learn more about your books?

A: They can visit my blog OR hop on to Amazon OR find me on Facebook.

Q: What have you learned since you started writing?

A:  Oh, my. So, so much…  It would take far too long to list everything, but these would probably be some highlights:

  1. Write what you enjoy. If you like a certain genre, don’t force yourself to write what might sell “commercially” because the process will become a chore.
  2. Market, market, market – take any opportunity to publicise your writing. You never know who will be listening/reading/taking note.
  3. If someone doesn’t like what you wrote, see if you can understand why. If it’s just a personal preference, there’s not much you can do, BUT if it’s because of poor phrasing or weak writing, then you can work to change that.
  4. Don’t give up. In the end, you’ve created something that will last long after the critics are gone.

Q: What’s next for you?

A: I’d like to begin work on a third novel. I have a very basic idea revolving around a hoarder who lives next to a funeral home. Hilarity ensues…. (Just kidding).

If I didn’t write suspense and horror, I’d write comedy. J

————————————————————————–

After a catastrophic railway accident that leaves a trail of carnage and devastation in its wake, the train station in Rain, Germany closes.
 
Six months later, Gary and Grace Wolf, an Illinois couple celebrating their belated honeymoon, find themselves trapped inside the terminal, having mistaken it for the correct station. What they discover within the walls of the defunct station leads them to make harrowing decisions. What they find out about each other during their brief entrapment is even more shocking.
 
Back in Bloomington, best friends Mike and Sarah Waverley await their return. With only hours before the plane is scheduled to land, Mike becomes tormented by troubling premonitions and is driven to find out the truth. Instead, he finds himself fighting mysterious and inexplicable obstacles that plunge him into his own personal hell.
 
Meanwhile, the fate of Gary and Grace hang in a precarious balance.
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