Moving on, welcome, Suzanne, and thanks for treading the boards with us today!
1. Are you inspired most by places, people or experiences and how do these work their way into your writing? Definitely places would be my main source of inspiration with experiences coming a hot second. I've travelled throughout Australia, Asia and have visited the US and there remains quite a few countries still on my bucket list. For me the visual experience impacts the most on my imagination and I often find myself staring at the scene beyond my window (or the landscape beneath my feet) and wondering...this would make a great setting for or I could use this when...
2. How do you come up with your characters’ names?
Naming my characters is important to me and usually something I can’t get past in the initial stages of a new story. A name can give me not only a visual 'feel' for that character but also an insight into their main characteristics. I like to research names and find out their meanings and can spend quite a bit of time doing this until I find one that really resonates with me.
3. If you could pick a soundtrack to match your main character’s life, what would it be? With my current ms I'm writing, I would have to say the theme song for Madagascar. Don't ask me why...it seems to give me a real link with my main character for this story. She's determined, positive and quirky. I often play it when I'm writing her scenes.
4. Do you read reviews of your books? What do you do when you read a not-so-nice one? Being very new to the publishing aspect of the world of writing, I must confess to poring over my first reviews and agonising over the comments. The good ones made me euphoric for the day, and yes, there have been a couple of bad ones too, which floored me at the time. I like to think I've grown a thicker skin since my first story was published on 1st December 2012. Plus now I try not to read reviews. For anyone new (like me) remember : Everything is subjective and you can't please everyone.
5. What is your favorite book of all time that you can reread a hundred times, and it still feels like the first time? There is actually two favourite books which I can re-read over and over: Pride and Prejudice (I just love the gentle cadence of this Regency life Jane Austen portrays) and the other is JJR Tolkien's The Hobbit.
6. What do you need to set the mood for you to write? I often read over the previous chapter and sometimes I skim read the entire story to get me back into the flow. The later also helps me to pick up on a scene or important point I've failed to mention or need to develop further. Music is a great creative inspiration for me. I often associate a particular song (or songs) with a particular story. For eg Legend Beyond the Stars would have to be Short Stack's What Planet Are You From, my current ms is the theme song from Madagascar and Lana Del Ray's Born to Die.
7. If there is one genre that you have not written in yet, but would love to try writing a book in that specific genre, what would it be? I'd love to write a thriller (not a romantic suspense) but a gritty, dark story that explores the scarier issues of life. And I do have a couple of ideas!
8. How many blurbs did you have to write before the final one? I find blurbs quite a challenge to write. To capture the exact words which will describe the essence of your story plus excite a potential reader is not an easy feat. So I can write quite a few before I'm happy and even then, I tend to go back and fiddle with the wording.
9. What are you working on now? I'm working on the second single title book which follows on from Legend Beyond the Stars. Another sci fi / futuristic romance, this one reveals more of the battle for control of the Seven Galaxies, contains more action scenes and one of the traitor's is unmasked (or not ???). Working title is : Star Pirate's Justice.
Would you like to share an excerpt from your writing or a photo or music link that inspires you? A sneak peak / excerpt from my current wip, Star Pirate's Justice :
Her hands flying over the panel, she tapped in the sequence to bring up the star map. She checked the coordinates before coding them into the nav system. Her throat closed up when she glanced again at the screen which depicted the action taking place several clicks behind the flyer. The Lexion could be seen firing upon and receiving fire from one of the Elite cruisers. She had friends on board that ship, knew the captain and crew members. Carly dredged up a half–remembered prayer from her childhood, chanting the words under her breath as another stream of pulsar vapon fire zipped across the screen heading for the Lexion.
“This is Volkar, hailing the Commander of the Lexion. Break away.”
Only white noise answered him. Perhaps their comms were damaged? Carly could only pray they had heard and would obey the missive.
Smoke now billowed out like storm clouds and rose up to obscure their vision. Carly squinted through streaming eyes and raised her arm to press her sleeve over her mouth.
She exhaled loudly, hugged her body tight and yelled, “Pulsar burst, incoming directly to us.”
“Hold on,” said Volkar. He closed his eyes, gripped both arm rests, rigid chin aimed towards the stars, jammed his body into the captain’s chair, the muscles in his thighs bunching beneath the material of his pants. The air surrounding him vibrated, an orange-yellow glow like an electrical energy surge.
Beneath Carly’s feet, the flyer shook as if in the throws of disintegration. The stuttering whine of the engine changed tune, deepened, purred into a steady rhythm and the flyer rocketed forward. Carly, coughing and spluttering, feeling the burn in her lungs as they struggled for oxygen, snapped her gaze to the front viewing screen. She felt the pull and flex of her body as they hurtled towards the vortex. Warning alarms split the air.
“Pulsar strike, imminent,” flashed red across the screen filling with the wide rippling black void of the vortex entrance.
It was so hard to breathe. So hard to see the schematics through the swirling smoke. The flyer shook from bow to stern. The rattling of metal and fulon plastic barely heard over the pumping of her heart.
Was this it? Am I about to die? Her chest ached as if a vice had her in its punishing grip. Unable to move she sat petrified in the nav chair. The screens revealed flames rolling over the hull of the ship. Sparks zapped and the lights failed as the flyer flipped over and over.
And plummeted into the vortex.