Hi, Suzanne! First of all, Thank you for letting me be a part of your blog tour and this is a wonderful opportunity!
I’m really pleased you’ve agreed to join The Lost Sentinel’s blog tour.
First question! Can you tell us why did you want to be a fantasy author and how did you become one?
I’ve always wanted to be an author, I just didn’t know what I wanted to write until I read my first fantasy novel at the age of 17. The genre encompasses everything I love in fiction, plus I get to create whole worlds, magic systems, races of people and their histories.
To get to the stage I felt good enough to self-publish took many years of learning my craft. I have completed online courses, attended evening creative writing classes, I’ve used critique services and made friends with fellow writers who are now my beta readers.
- You had the Visions of Zarua published and now, this is the time The Lost Sentinel to shine. Is there a big transition on writing or building another fantasy novel from writing Visions of Zarua to The Lost Sentinel? Which is harder to write?
It wasn’t a big transition to switch from writing Visions of Zarua to The Lost Sentinel; I’m too interested in telling the characters stories. But I would say that as Visions is a standalone it was easier to write. I knew I had to tie everything up in one book and give the reader a satisfying ending.
Creating a series has meant I need to keep story threads going through several books and focus on creating believable character arcs that stretches over the series. I still have it in mind that each book needs to reach some sort of conclusion, although I do leave each character in difficult or challenging circumstances that will hopefully encourage readers to pick up the next book.
- If you are not a writer today, what career do you think you’ll end up with?
I like gardening and often thought I could have taken that up as a career if I’d started young enough. By now I could be working my way up to being Head Gardener at a grand, stately home or royal park gardens (I wish). I also love photography, nature and animal conservation, so there is a recipe for a dream job amongst that mix. The other job option would have to be doing something involving books.
Unfortunately, I think the most likely job scenario would be following my previous job history of working in an office doing admin and accounts.
- If you are going to date someone, fictional or not, dead or alive, who would it be and why? What are the things that you are going to do on your date?
Well if my husband didn’t mind, I’d go on a date with Aragorn/Strider (played by Viggo Mortensen) from the Lord of the Rings films. His character is so heroic and humble, and he’s gorgeous too! We’d go horse riding through the beautiful New Zealand landscape and have a picnic and champagne on the beach while watching the sunset over the sea. (Note – I’ve never ridden a horse or been to New Zealand, they just seem like brilliant things to do.)
- It says in your author bio that you collect books, can we see us your books or bookshelf? And can you give us a little description on how did you arrange them or what they are all about?
This is a collection of my favourite books. I own every single David Gemmell book, most of Robin Hobb’s and collections of other authors, although I mainly buy books on my kindle now. I like to keep my own books on display too and pretend I’m in the same league as my favourite authors!
I also have lots of reference books on herbs, wildlife, history, the writing craft, photography and many recipe books. The house currently has 6 bookcases (including the kid’s ones) and several shelves dedicated to books. I also have many boxes of books stashed in the loft.
- Let’s say you have the chance to give an advice to your 10-year old self from the past, what advice would you give to yourself back then?
I would tell myself to try harder in my English Literature classes and exams, and not be bullied into taking A levels in subjects I didn’t want to study. If I’d taken A level English and stayed on at college, I may have had the opportunity to become an author sooner.
I would tell myself to follow my writing dream and don’t let others put me off. I would say don’t wait until you’re 38 to self-publish!
- Can you name some authors and their books that influence and made you a reader and a writer today?
I devoured books when I was growing up and there were so many authors that I went through phases of loving; Peter James, Patricia Cornwall, Sue Grafton, David Gemmell, Robin Hobb, Tad Williams, Jonathan Wylie and much more.
I’ve definitely been more influenced by fantasy authors, with David Gemmell and Robin Hobb being the most inspiring to me.
- Aside from reading, writing, eating, and gardening, what are the things that you do when time permits you to?
There isn’t much time for anything else! I enjoy going for walks and taking photos. I also like catching up with family and friends over meals and drinks. I love going to music concerts and watching films at home or at the cinema.
- What is the one thing you are grateful for being in the bookish community as an author and a reader?
From a reader’s perspective, connecting with other like-minded people is great as I don’t know many people outside my immediate family who are into books. Thanks to the book bloggers and reviewers I follow, I’ve found so many books and authors that I’d never have found on my own.
From an author’s perspective, the book community has helped me spread the word about my books; I couldn’t do it without them.
- Can you tell us how did you build your character’s personality from The Lost Sentinel? Are they broken? Or naïve? Or somewhat courageous but dumb?
I suppose a theme that runs through my characters is a sense of duty and doing what’s right. Tei, Brogan, and Farrell are all thrust into situations and forced to follow paths they didn’t choose.
Many of the characters are heroic and noble as well. I think if you are going to follow the path someone else has chosen for you, there is going to be an altruistic side to your personality.
- What was the hardest part of writing a fantasy book? And how many time does it consume you to write a full novel?
The hardest thing about fantasy is creating the world the readers can believe in.
Writing consumes me – I live and breathe writing. When I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing. I’m always trying to do things and go places that inspire my creativity.
I do feel exhausted with the whole business sometimes, but I have to dedicate myself to this wholeheartedly if I’m going to have a future as a successful author.
- Random Question: Top 5 favorite foods!
Risotto, jacket potatoes, vegetable stir-fries, cheesecake and my own carrot and courgette cake. Yum!
- If given the chance to go back in time to change something, will you change something or not? Why? I personally think that I will be more curious to what will happen in the future if I changed something from the past.
I think I would like to change the discovery of splitting the atom and the creation of the nuclear bomb. I think this could have been man’s most dangerous discovery and biggest mistake, though looking at our history something else would probably turn up in its place.
- Describe The Lost Sentinel in 10 words.
Only friendship, heroism and heartache will save Kalaya from destruction.
- What is your favorite quote or the quote that stays in your heart from The Lost Sentinel? Why did you choose this quote?
My favourite line in the book is right at the end and unfortunately, I can’t share it because it’s a huge spoiler!
Instead, this line of dialogue is from Gohan, the dying Sentinel, as he talks with his Confidante. I’ve chosen this because it highlights the trouble ahead for the new Sentinel if or when they are found.
‘A Confidante’s role is difficult, but the Sentinel’s job is impossible, heart-breaking at times. I have seen generations born and die, sometimes through my devising. You are all my children and I mourn every loss. But harsh decisions are necessary for the good of Kalaya…’
I’ve really enjoyed answering your questions. Thanks for having me on your blog.
HUGE THANKS TO YOU TOO, SUZANNE!
WHY AUTHORS NEED BOOK REVIEWERS?
Until I self-published in 2015, I didn’t really know much about book reviewers and book bloggers. I assumed you published your book and people would buy it, read it and review it.
I soon realized that members of the public are not in the habit of reviewing things. Even people you know who read your book and say they really enjoyed it rarely get around to leaving a review.
The only people you can rely on to leave these precious reviews are book reviewers. These wonderful people provide the means to bridge the gap between your book remaining unknown and it being discovered by browsing readers.
Once you have a few reviews on places like Amazon and Goodreads, book buyers are more likely to give your book a second look. If they like the cover and premise and see some thoughtful reviews have been written about it, they might just take a chance on an author they don’t know.
Book reviewers do this in their spare time because they love books. No money changes hands, only a copy of the book you want to be reviewed. For writers, this is a necessary investment, vital even for those indie authors like me on a non-existent budget. We owe a lot to these reviewers.
The book blogging community is so generous with their time and their support of indie authors. I’ve met some wonderful people over the last two years of blogging and connected with people all over the world.
Beware there is a downside to following book reviewers though… they introduce you to so many new books that your TBR pile will be heaving.
I really appreciate book reviewers and the service they provide to authors. I want to take this opportunity to thank you all, and I look forward to working with lots more of you in the future.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Silent Sea Chronicles
The Lost Sentinel – Book 1
The magical island of Kalaya is dying, along with its Sentinel. With the Kalayan people turning their back on magic, can Tei help the exiles find their new Sentinel before it’s too late?
Kalaya is controlled by the Assembly – set up to govern but now under the control of Rathnor, who is intent on persecuting those who have magic, many of whom have taken refuge in the Turrak Mountains.
Tei has been raised to hide her magic, until her father, Migil, is visited by an old friend who warns them that they must seek refuge in the mountains.
On the journey, an enemy attack leaves her father mortally wounded. He sees her into the care of two exiles, Rike and Garrick, and on his deathbed makes a shocking confession that changes Tei’s life.
Tei must put her trust in these strangers, especially when mysterious Masked Riders seem determined to stop her reaching Turrak.
Struggling with self-doubt, Tei joins the exiles in their search for their lost Sentinel. But the Masked Riders want the Sentinel too, and time, as well as hope, is running out.
Can Tei help the exiles save the island magic and reunite the Kalayan people before their ignorance destroys them all?
ABOUT THE BLOG TOUR
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Suzanne lives in Middlesex, England with her hugely encouraging husband and two children.
She wrote her first novel at the age of twelve. She discovered the fantasy genre in her late teens and has never looked back. Giving up work to raise a family gave her the impetus to take her attempts at novel writing beyond the first draft, and she is lucky enough to have a husband who supports her dream – even if he does occasionally hint that she might think about getting a proper job one day.
Suzanne loves gardening and has a Hebe (shrub) fetish. She enjoys cooking with ingredients from the garden, and regularly feeds unsuspecting guests vegetable-based cakes.
She collects books, loves going for walks and picnics with the children and sharing with them her love of nature and photography.
Suzanne is interested in history and enjoys wandering around castles. But most of she likes to escape with a great film, or soak in a hot bubble bath with an ice cream and a book.
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