Will Clara save her nation and soul?
An Interview With Suzanna J. Linton, Fantasy Author
When I reached out to fantasy author Suzanna J. Linton to propose a newsletter swap(*), she had an even better idea in mind. (* Newsletter swap: "I talk about your book; you talk about mine.")
"Are you interested in an author interview?" She said.
Suzanna J. Linton grew up in rural South Carolina (really rural) and survived on her mother’s library, local ghost stories, and the tall tales her father spun for his children’s amusement. Books were her friends, and they nurtured her imagination until Suzanna began telling stories of her own. After reading Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series, she resolved to become an author. Years later, after the release of her first novel, Clara, Suzanna began writing fantasy full time. She continues to live in South Carolina with her husband, cats, and dogs.
I'd never done anything like that. Would it be an interview over the phone or Zoom? Was it for a podcast? Should I get rid of my French accent quick to allow her listeners to understand what I say? Should I meditate all week and make sure my voice wouldn't quiver out of control and my brain wouldn't shut down from too much nervosity? Was I overthinking this?
Besides, what did I have to say? Anything interesting at all?
Suzanna J. Linton made it easy for me. She sent me a few questions in writing. It took me a whole weekend to get my answers straight. She shared them with her subscribers. I was ecstatic. A number of them even went over to my landing page and subscribed in order to download my giveaway story, "Cradle".
It was my first ever author interview. It was awesome. I am planning to publish it later, with her permission. (You can read my first author interview here.)
But not just yet. (That was just a teaser.)
First, there is something else I want to do.
Today, I am the interviewer, and Suzanna J. Linton is the interviewee.
interview With Suzanna J. Linton
Clara: Book 1 of the Stories of Lorst By Suzanna J. Linton A mute and a slave, Clara's life extends no further than the castle kitchens and their garden. However, she carries within herself a precious gift: the ability to see the future. When a vision prompts her to prevent a murder, Clara is shoved not only into the intrigues of the nobility but also into a civil war. As events unfold, she begins to unearth chilling secrets about the war and her supposed friends. Driven to learn the truth, Clara embarks on a journey that takes her from her beloved mountains to the very Capital itself, Bertrand. There, she is confronted by an evil as old as the mountains--and it's using her anger and prejudices against her. If she is not careful, not only will the entire nation be lost, but Clara's own soul as well. This book is no longer available.
Suzanna J. Linton, what inspired you to be a writer, and to write your novel Clara?
SJL: When I was thirteen, I read Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey. I remember thinking how much I wanted to tell a story like that. Also, writing was a coping mechanism for the abusive household I lived in. My first novel was written in response to that abuse. It was this idea of a girl without a voice choosing to no longer be a victim. Years later, I went back to rework the story and published it under the title Clara.
How would you describe you novel Clara’s literary genre?
SJL: It’s hard to call it an epic fantasy because, while it has the same tropes and ideas of an epic, it doesn’t have the word count. While Clara is of an age most people would pin as young adult or new adult, its themes are, in themselves, too adult for the genre. The closest genre would be sword and sorcery.
What led you to write Stories of Lorst as a series?
SJL: There is a funny reason for that! Originally, Clara was supposed to be a standalone. She was supposed to die in the end. But the ending never felt right, no matter how many times I rewrote it, and what did feel right left things open for a series.
Why is your series Stories of Lorst 3.5 novels long?
SJL: When I began indie publishing, I made the commitment to publish a book a year. That’s what I did for the first three books. (The gap between two of the books in the series is when my standalone novel Willows of Fate was published.) But Book 4 has proven so difficult to write that I realized I wasn’t going to get it ready in time to meet my commitment. So, I decided to write a novella to satisfy my readers and it helped me to set up for Book 4 at the same time. The .5 is the novella, Calculated Magic.
What is the title of your current work in progress? Can you tell us a little about it?
SJL: Book 4 is titled House of the Seer. Lorst and the neighboring kingdom of Tier have been bitter enemies for centuries. Emmerich has persuaded the Tieran king, Precene, to meet with him to negotiate a peace treaty. However, there are those who wish for the summit to fail, and they’ll stop at nothing to get what they want. I really can’t say more than that without spoiling Secret Burdens or Calculated Magic.
What is the hardest part of being a writer or the writing process?
SJL: The answer to that question varies. Right now, I’m going to say the editing process because editing House of the Seer has been so difficult. There are a lot of moving parts! And the word count won’t stop growing!
What books have influenced you and your writing the most?
SJL: Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey; several works by Robin McKinley; a short story by Ernest Hemingway entitled “The Killers”. I used to keep Write Your Novel From the Middle by James Scott Bell on my desk and referenced it multiple times.
Do you have a writing routine or ritual?
SJL: Yes and no. I normally do my writing and editing in the afternoon, after I’ve answered emails and done some social media posting. But if I’m really into my writing/editing, I may start as soon as I reach my desk. I don’t always have a ritual before I begin unless you count making a cup of coffee. I have, on occasion, gone through the whole business of making a pot of tea (warming the pot and everything) before starting.
Where do you do most of your writing?
SJL: In my office. It used to be on the ground floor of our home. However, when my mother-in-law lived with us briefly, we moved my office into our attic loft. I call the stairs the Death Trap Stairs because they’re steep and slightly twisted. The landing overlooks the sitting room. The office itself has a sloping ceiling and the window looks out onto a dirt road that runs parallel to our house. The air conditioning doesn’t reach that space well, so we have a portable unit in place (a necessity in the hot and humid South). I’ve made it very cozy. It’s like having my own redoubt.
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