Thursday, October 11, 2012

An Interview with Suzanne Crowley

Q. Patty Campbell talks about the germ for a piece of writing being like the sand in the oyster. What is your grain of sand? Do you begin with character or setting or something else?

A. I usually begin with a character and go from there.  I might have a few plot points in mind but otherwise I just start writing and see what gloriously enfolds.  Stephen King in his book "On Writing" says he also writes from the seat of his pants because if the writer is not surprised, how is the reader going to be?  For my second book, The Stolen One, I was inspired by a historical mystery - although I was bound by the framework of history, once again, it was a character that drove the narrative, thankfully, "surprising" me the whole way.

Q. What do you hear from your readers?

A. For my first book, "The Very Ordered Existence of Merilee Marvelous" about a thirteen year old girl with Asperger's Syndrome, I once received a one line email that said, "Merilee is just like me quiet with no friends."  That says it all.  I've heard from dozens of other kids, although not autistic, related to Merilee's inner struggles.  I think deep down we all struggle with something.
Q.  Do you have a pet (pets)? Tell us about it (them) and how they help/hinder your writing.

A. My cat Amber used to sleep on my lap and while transferring to her other favorite position, lying across my revisions papers on the desk, would walk across the keyboard causing all kinds of interesting typos.  Very helpful indeed.  I finally bought her a blinged-out furry cat bed and placed it next to the computer and she has hardly it left since. PPPPPPPPPPVVVVVVR(((((((((.
Q. Why do you write for young adults or children?
A. I don't think we ever forget what it is like.  I recently went to my 30th High School reunion, and it didn't matter what I've accomplished, what I've made of myself and experienced since - I was reduced to my teenage self when I walked through that door. When she was well into her nineties, the famous stage and film actress Helen Hayes was asked by a reporter if she felt her age.  She responded that she still felt sixteen inside and always would.  Writing about teens and pre-teens who are coming of age, discovering themselves, and dealing with the complex world around them provides the richest and most fulfilling material.

Q. How often do you dream about the writing you are working on?

A. Very often, I think we all do. And it is usually the very much needed answer to a plot point.  But I've learned if I don't get up and write it down, no matter how vivid the dream is and no matter how strongly I feel I will remember it, it is gone by the morning.  I've also had great ideas while driving and have had to pull over and write things down.

Thanks so much for your time, Suzanne. We look forward to seeing you at the festival!

Find out more about Suzanne Crowley at her website

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