Jun 2, 2010
Welcome to Day #16 of JoJo's 30 Day Birthday Bash. Today We have the Wonderful Author, and one of my fav. Twitter peeps Lorna Suzuki. So help me Welcome Lorna, and lets get to know a little bit more about her!!!
~Can you tell us about your favorite/strangest fan experience?
I had a person who saw my interview on MTV and after buying & reading my novels, she wanted to fly across the country to meet me in person to attend one of my readings at a library. I was flattered she loved my books, enough to fly out here, but at the same time, it was rather bizarre. Of course, I didn’t want her making this cross-country trip just to meet me, so I told her there was a chance I’d have to cancel at the last minute to dissuade her from flying out.
~Can you tell us about your favorite/strangest fan letter?
I can’t say I’ve received any strange fan letters yet, but I do keep all the letters and cards I’ve received. I’ve been very fortunate that I have fans who love my fantasy series enough to take the time to send letters, cards, wonderful reviews and yes, even a beautiful gift basket of gourmet foods (that I donated to charity because I didn’t feel right about accepting it).
~Do you read any reviews on your books?
Absolutely! So far, I’ve had only one scathing review from a person who didn’t even bother reading my books, but all the other ones have been wonderful! And I read them not because I’m looking to have my ego stroked, but because it’s important for a writer to know if the story is striking a chord with the readers. I feel if the readers are going to take the time to write a review, good or bad, I think it’s just good manners to take the time to read them. I’ve found those who have written reviews have put a lot of thought and consideration in letting me know what they thought of my books. In a way, reviews keep me focused on writing and these fans inspire me to make the next story as good if not better than the last. In fact, if the reviews were not positive and the readers didn’t like my stories, I would have stopped writing after the first novel!
~Do you read your own books after they make it to final print?
I’m so busy writing the next story the only time I have to read my books is when I need to refer to prior passages for consistency.
~ How did you get into writing?
To make a long story short: One day I had a job, the next day I was let go. I started writing my first novel the next day, writing Imago Book One: Tales from the West. I was able to write the first draft in one month.
~Did you always want to be a writer?
If you told me 10 years ago I’d be writing an epic adult fantasy series and a fantasy series for a YA audience, I probably would have been rolling on the floor laughing.
~How old were you when you began to write?
I was about a decade older than you are now when I wrote my first fantasy novel.
~Is writing your full time job?
When I’m not writing fiction, I’m writing biographies or voice over scripts for a TV series called West Coast Adventures. This series is airing season two on KCTS-9.
~What’s a typical writing day for you like?
After I drop my daughter off at school & take care of any errands that need to be tended to, I write until it’s time to pick my daughter up from school. Of course, the fantasy writing has to be juggled with the script writing. And as the scripts for the TV series are always on a specific deadline, it means dropping the fiction whenever the producers hand over clips requiring voice overs. I also write at night after my daughter is in bed and I usually write seven days a week.
~Are there any processes you use when writing? Do you keep journals, sticky notes, chicken scratch on the back of receipts?
Because my mind is like a sieve I have to write things down as soon as I can. Sometimes I’m in the midst of writing one scene, and then another one pops in my head. It’ll have absolutely nothing to do with the one I’m currently working on, but if it’s good, I quickly type it out to cut and paste later when I know where the scene will work. With the last 5 novels in the 9 book Imago series, I’ve written the ending first.
~Do you prefer to write on a computer, typewriter, or paper and pen?
Definitely my laptop. I’m too slow with the handwriting and I can touch type as fast as I can image the scenes and create the dialogue.
~What is the hardest/easiest part of writing for you?
Writing the stories are fun and easy. The hard part is editing, looking for typos, missed words, grammatical errors, etc. This is the work part of writing.
~What’s the best thing about being an author?
I’d have to say it’s when people tell me I had them laughing out loud at the funny scenes or moved to tears in the sad passages and that for a while, I was able to transport them to another world, these are some of the best things.
~How long did you write before you became a published author?
I’ve always written in one capacity or another, mostly non-fiction educational material, biographies, etc. but writing fantasy just started on February 7th, 2002.
~Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Find a critique group. Learn to take and use constructive criticism to hone your skills. Attend writing conferences to learn about character development, story arcs, and to understand the publishing industry. Have realistic expectations when it’s time to query agents or submit to publishing companies.
~How many books/series have you written?
The ninth and last novel in the Imago series (epic, adult fantasy) will be released this October, as well as the first novel in my new YA fantasy series, The Dream Merchant Saga. I’m especially proud of the YA novel as I collaborated on it with my daughter.
~Can you tell us about some of them?
With 9 novels in the Imago series, I wouldn’t know where to begin. I suppose the easiest thing to say is that if you’re into epic fantasies that deviate from the standard of this genre, this might be the series for you. If you enjoy a strong female character, but one who lacks supernatural powers to survive in the world, relying on her wit, skills and yes, even her feminine wiles rather than magic to overcome danger, you might find my books intriguing. I’ve had a film producer describe it as ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘300’ meets ‘The Last Samurai’.
~Is there a Genre you have always wanted to write in but for reasons you have not been able to?
When I finish writing the final book in the new YA fantasy series, the Dream Merchant Saga, I’d love to try my hand at a historical fiction set in ancient Egypt. This will be my last novel that I plan to write.
~Do you have a new release, or a new release coming out soon? Can you tell us about it?
My latest release will also be my last in the Imago series. Due for release this October, it brings the characters, especially the female protagonist Nayla, full circle. It is the biggest novel in the series, it is action packed and is a regular emotional roller coaster ride for the characters caught up in a series of mysterious deaths when they are faced with a killer unlike any they’ve ever encountered. It is, in my opinion, one of the best books in the series and it brings closure to the characters that survive to the end, especially for Nayla.
~Do you set the mood to write? Listen to music, have a favorite chair, pen, coffee mug, etc?
Time is such a rare commodity for me that I write whether I’m in the mood or not! I’ll listen to music or I’ll have the TV on, as I can’t write in silence. Also, I always start a new novel on the 7th day of the month. Other than that, all I need is a good cup of mocha latte to get going!
~Do you have a website or blog that your readers can keep up with you and your books?
I do have a blog on my official website http://web.me.com/imagobooks I tend to write about the business of writing and I like to feature indie and debut authors as they need the most help to get the word out about their novels. I also Twitter: @LornaSuzuki
~How do you come up with character names?
One of my fans once asked me this question. When I revealed my ‘secret’ about name selection she was so disappointed there wasn’t something magical about the process! For this reason, I won’t reveal it again so others will not be equally disappointed! Lol
~How did you come up with the idea for this book/series?
The big thrust in creating these books and in particular, the female heroine Nayla Treeborn, was from talking to women attending a martial arts seminar I was teaching at. I was the only female instructor at the time and after I did my demo, I had women approach me later, telling me they never thought a woman could really fight until they saw me take on the biggest guys at the seminar. When I asked these women why this is what they believed, they said it was in their upbringing, their culture and the books they read. I thought: “Damn it, I don’t want my daughter reading about women needing to be rescued. I wanted her to read about women doing the rescuing!” Lo and behold, fantasy novels in the local bookstore featured females reminiscent of Xena Warrior Princess/Buffy the Vampire Slayer, boasting supernatural powers. I wanted to create a female heroine my daughter could see was just a normal woman challenged with extraordinary situations, rising above adversity using her smarts and years of training in the warrior arts. I wanted my daughter to see that you don’t need to have superhero strengths to do heroic things.
~Did you have to do any type of research before writing this book?
I didn’t do any real research, but having 25+ years experience in martial arts helped me to create what the fans call “very intense, realistic battle scenes that put them in the middle of the chaos”. Those who are practitioners of martial arts have also praised me for creating combat scenes they can actually recognize as real techniques.
~Who’s your favorite character and why?
Nayla, the half-human/half-elf protagonist I definitely have a connection with. We both know what it’s like to deal with racism, sexism, chauvinism, physical abuse and we’re both vertically challenged! But as far as my favorite male characters go? I’m like the female fans. They all seem fascinated by Joval Stonecroft, the elf who had so much influence on Nayla’s life. He is the kind of guy every woman should have as a friend: loyal, non-judgmental, chivalrous and yet, he is somewhat emotionally damaged because of a death he could not prevent and yet, feels responsible for.
~Are any of your characters based on people in your life?
Many have assumed Nayla is based on me. I’ll be the first to admit she has many qualities I wish to aspire to. We have some shared experiences, but she is not me. The principle male characters are all based on the personalities of men I’ve known and worked with through my life. They look nothing like the characters, but they have some of the qualities that made these men stand out in my mind.
~Did the overall book turn out like your original idea of the story?
Yes, it did! However, I only intended to write three books tops. When the reviews and fan letters started coming in asking for more, I just kept writing.
~Was there any part of this book that was harder for you to write than the others?
Imago Book Three: A Warrior’s Tale was hard to write from an emotional standpoint because much of the hardships and abuse Nayla endured in her childhood was based on personal experience. Imago Book Four: The Tears of God was hard too. This story is every mother’s worst nightmare come true. The emotional devastation and crushing guilt when Nayla’s daughter is abducted was really hard to write. And even more so because when I came to this episode in the book, the top news story that summer was about a young girl who was abducted, and later found murdered and dismembered in Toronto. I’ll never forget the poor mother in absolute tears begging for the perpetrator of this crime to return her daughter. It was so heartbreaking and I think I captured this mother’s grief when Nayla is faced with the devastating thought of never seeing her daughter alive again.
Pizza or burger: Burger (with mushroom, bacon & extra pickles, please!)
Dress or jeans: Dress
Highlander or vampire: Highlander
Fire or water: Fire
Up or down- Up
Black &white or color: Techni-Color
Half full or half empty: Half full of champagne
Day or night: I tend to be crepuscular (most active at dawn & dusk).
Star trek or star wars: Star Wars (Oh yeah! love those inter-galactic ninja!)
Sword or gun: Sword (preferably a katana)
Eyes or mouth: Eyes (They are the portal to the soul while the mouth is the portal to my stomach!)
Strawberry or cherry: Cherry
Old or new: New
High or low: High
Shower or bath: Bath
Paperback or hardback: Hardback
Desktop or laptop: Laptop
Coke or pepsi: Pepsi
Winter or summer: Summer
Dog or cat: Cat
Movie theatre or movies at home: Movies at home with big bowl of popcorn
Thanks for the thorough grilling, Jojo! It was fun. *snickers* hehehe your welcome!