*So your book is not just your first published collection but also the debut release from new publisher World Weaver Press, how does it feel to be the debut author for a publishing company?
It’s quite an honor. I’m thrilled that they took a chance on me.
*Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired to write in this particular genre?
I loved the horror genre as a kid. I grew up hearing my aunts tell delightful ghost and spook stories and I lived at the foot of the hill from a haunted house (or so all the kids in the neighborhood said). I currently live in an old Victorian house in Alabama with a husband, two dogs and way too many cats. When I’m not writing, I teach Group Fitness classes including Zumba.
*What is it about the paranormal that fascinates you so much?
I love the mythic quality and other worldliness of the paranormal. And it’s fun to suspend disbelief, which takes a really strong imagination.
Since the book is a collection of stories, no one thing inspired it, but the individual pieces were inspired by such things as a talent show accident, a train smothered in kudzu, and vacuuming, of all things.
*Do you have a special formula for creating characters' names? Do you try to match a name with a certain meaning to attributes of the character or do you search for names popular in certain time periods or regions?
No set formula. Sometimes a name will pop into my head; other times I’ll do some brainstorming. For comedic pieces, I like the name to reflect something of the character’s personality and/or background like Bernie Lludd, the school nerd.
*Was one of your characters more challenging to write than another?
Characterizations are one of my writing strengths. It’s like being a method actor for me, something I immensely enjoy.
*Is there a character that you enjoyed writing more than any of the others?
I could really relate to Bernie Lludd because I was a nerdy, geeky, awkward kid in middle school and played clarinet in the band. I always had crushes on boys who had no idea I was even alive.
*Do you have a formula for developing characters? Like do you create a character sketch or list of attributes before you start writing or do you just let the character develop as you write?
No formula for that, either. I let my characters come onstage and speak and act. They inform me of their characters rather than me forcing them into a preconceived mold.
*What is your favorite scene from the book? Could you share a little bit of it, without spoilers of course?
My favorite scene involves a talent show accident that has a basis on a real life event that happened to my sister in high school. But everyone will have to read the book to find out what happens. *laughs*
*Did you find anything really interesting while researching this or another book?
I had to do extensive research on Elvis when writing THE REAL HAUNTED HOUSEWIVES OF ALLISTER, AL. I discovered Elvis thought he could make contact with spaceships and that he scarfed down fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches on a daily basis.
*Do any of your characters have similar characteristics of yourself in them and what are they?
Oh, sure, almost all of my characters have part of me in them. I say almost because I’ve written about a sociopath and I am definitely not one myself.
*Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? How do you deal with it?
Yes. Almost two years ago, a series of major life events occurred in rapid succession and I was unable to write for more than a year. I just weathered the storm and the desire eventually returned.
*Do you have any weird writing quirks or rituals?
I wish I could say yes, but I don’t. *laughs*
*When did you consider yourself a writer?
I’ve been a writer since the summer I graduated from high school.
*What are your guilty pleasures in life?
I collect cats, and by that, I mean, cats collect me. We have eight of the furry beasts. They just show up needing homes, although we are currently at our limit. I love watching TV on DVD like DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, GREY’S ANATOMY, and SEX AND THE CITY. I love silly little Annalee collectible felt animals. Their happy faces balance the dark side of me that is drawn to all things weird and spooky.
*Other than writing, what are some of your interests, hobbies or passions in life?
I teach group fitness classes and am a licensed Zumba Fitness instructor. I actually hold a B.S. in Exercise Science and am a certified instructor and personal trainer. I collect artist-made teddy bears made from real mohair. And I am a dancer/singer and have performed in several community theater productions.
*What was the last amazing book you read?
I’m currently reading THE MERMAID CHAIR by Sue Monk Kidd and it’s an engrossing tale that’s part mystery, part romance, and part women’s fiction.
*Where is your favorite place to read? Do you have a cozy corner or special reading spot?
I used to have a special reading chair, but then our puppy chewed it up and that was the end of that. I love reading outside when the weather is nice.
*What can readers expect next from you?
I’m shopping an urban fantasy novel to agents and publishers—THE REAL HAUNTED HOUSEWIVES OF ALLISTER, AL--and am revising the sequel while writing the discovery draft of a YA novel about the supernaturally challenged. I like to work on multiple projects.
*Where can readers find you on the web?
My publisher: www.worldweaverpress.com
My website: www.susanabelsullivan.weebly.com
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