Today I had the pleasure of interviewing author Susan Abel Sullivan who writes speculative fiction, predominantly Young Adult and Urban Fantasy with a smattering of horror, magical realism, and science fiction, usually with a wicked sense of humor. When she is not writing she gets her groove on by teaching Zumba Fitness classes and actually holds a B.S. in Exercise Science and Dance from Auburn University and she is a certified fitness instructor. She also collects cats, or rather, they seem to collect her. She is like a cat whisperer or something.
Books & Writing: Do you remember the first story you wrote? Were you inspired by someone or something?
Susan Abel Sullivan: I didn’t start writing actual stories until Basic Composition class in the 10th grade. I think my first story was titled, “Sometimes They Die,” and was a Radio Mystery Drama. I was a big fan of the CBS Radio Mystery Theater at that time and would fall asleep listening to the shows every night.
Books & Writing: Can you tell us a bit about your book “Cursed: Wickedly Fun Stories”.
Susan Abel Sullivan: CURSED is a collection of stories and a poem for the young and the young at heart. The pieces feature werewolves, witches, killer kudzu and limericks that can change fate. Every character is cursed in some way.
Books & Writing: What inspired you to write this book?
Susan Abel Sullivan: Since this is a collection of stories, no one thing inspired me, but some of the individual pieces were inspired by such things as a record album remembered from childhood, a talent show accident, a real-life train covered in kudzu, and vacuuming.
Books & Writing: What attracts you to short fiction and poetry?
Susan Abel Sullivan: I’m actually a novelist. *laughs* But when I attended the Odyssey Writing Workshop in 2005, we were encouraged to work with short fiction as a way of improving our skills in a shorter time frame since short stories take much less time to write and revise than novels. Now and then, though, I’ll get an idea that I know will be a short piece or a poem or even a song. I don’t argue with the muse; I just go wherever she leads.
Books & Writing: I understand that this is you first publication and that the book is being published by the new publisher “World Weaver Press”. How does it feel to be the first published author for this new publisher, and how does it feel to have your first book published?
Susan Abel Sullivan: CURSED is actually not my first publication, but it is my first published book. Every piece but one in the collection has been previously published in a variety of publications, both online and in print. I’m absolutely thrilled to be the first author for World Weaver Press. It’s exciting and a bit scary to be the lead horse out of the chute. I’m tremendously honored that they were willing to take a chance on me.
Books & Writing: Are you going to celebrate it with a big party, or just with family?
Susan Abel Sullivan: My husband and I went to dinner to celebrate. Once one has traveled the path of professional writer for awhile, each success is seen as a milestone of a longer journey.
Books & Writing: How does your family feel about you publishing your first book?
Susan Abel Sullivan: To use the vernacular, they think it’s really cool.
Books & Writing: Are you working on something new at the moment?
Susan Abel Sullivan: I’m writing the discovery draft of a YA novel about the supernaturally challenged and will be starting revisions on an urban fantasy I just finished titled: THE WEREDOG WHISPERER.
Books & Writing: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Susan Abel Sullivan: Join or start a local writers’ group to get feedback on your writing. Be willing to take constructive criticism from more seasoned writers. Attend a writers’ workshop. (If you write speculative fiction, the Odyssey Writing Workshop is the best of its kind.) Write regularly. I don’t believe you have to write every day, because I don’t, but you do have to write regularly. Set goals. Revision and revise what you write. Read books and magazines. Don’t let rejection deter you. It’s all part of the process.
Books & Writing: Which author inspires you?
Susan Abel Sullivan: Many authors inspire me. Listing them all would take up too much space, but here are a few: Stephen King, Peter Straub, Janet Evanovich, Carrie Vaughn, Sue Grafton, Phyllis Curott, Richard Adams, Allen Steele, Charlaine Harris, Clive Barker, and J.K. Rowling.
TV writers include: Marc Cherry, Chris Carter, and Shonda Rhimes.
Books & Writing: What is the last book you read?
Susan Abel Sullivan: I’m currently reading, HELL ON HEELS, a collection of paranormal romance stories. I’m not a big romance reader, but was curious about this sub-genre. I tend to like romance when it’s woven into a larger story in another genre like Joan Vinge’s THE SNOW QUEEN and THE SUMMER QUEEN. These books are Science Fantasy, but the romance is a component of the larger plot.
Books & Writing: Where can people go and read your work?
Susan Abel Sullivan: Back issues of Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine and ASIM Best of Horror Volume II, Beyond Centauri, Writers’ Journal, and archives of New Myths eZine. AlienSkin is sadly no longer being published. This is why I’m excited to have my stories published in CURSED: WICKEDLY FUN STORIES. Readers won’t have to try to hunt down back issues and archives to read my work, which is both costly and time consuming.
CURSED is available from Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and Smashwords.com. Visit : http://worldweaverpress.wordpress.com for more details!
Books & Writing: Where can people find you on internet?
Susan Abel Sullivan: My website: www.susanabelsullivan.weebly.com
Books & Writing: Is there anything else you want to share with the readers?
Susan Abel Sullivan: I am currently shopping my first novel around. It’s a quirky mash-up of urban fantasy, mystery, romantic comedy, and Southern chick-lit titled: THE REAL HAUNTED HOUSEWIVES OF ALLISTER, AL. Think DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES meets THE X-FILES. So stay tuned . . .