Monday, 30 August 2010

Inteview with Suza Kates, Author of 'Whispers of a Witch'

Suza Kates was born in Jacksonville, Alabama, the youngest of five children. Growing up surrounded by siblings and parents who were bookworms, she naturally developed a love for the written word. She attended Jacksonville State University, majoring in English and biology.
After receiving her degree, Suza pursued a lifelong dream to live abroad, teaching English to students from various countries. A long, cold, German winter caused her to pick up the pen and begin writing. Then she was hooked.
Upon her return home to the States, she taught at a local community college while going back to school herself for a degree in nursing. During the few hours that remained between classes, clinicals, and studying, she worked on her novel, She Who Is Hidden. This book opened the door to a world of romance fueled by history, adventure, and peril that developed into the She Trilogy.
Shortly after graduating, Suza moved to Savannah, Georgia. It is there among the moss-covered oaks and whispered secrets that she continues to find inspiration for The Savannah Coven Series and the various kinds of trouble her witches seem to conjure.

Welcome Suza to my House of Horror, probably a little different to your other interview locations huh?

Different, yes, but I feel right at home. I was a horror fan long before I discovered romance. The first movie I ever saw was “Bambi.” The second was “Jaws.” I’ve been warped ever since. Halloween is THE holiday, so…thanks for the change in venue!

Now, this book was vey forthcoming with details of the craft. Are you in fact a fellow Wiccan?

I don’t practice Wicca but have a great deal of respect for the basis of the craft. I embrace many of the same ideals in my life and find some similarities between Wicca and Native American customs. Having said that, I am fascinated by the idea of potions and spells and would love to find a little power in myself someday. Who wouldn’t?

Tell us a little about the book

“Whisper of a Witch” is the first of book of the series, so it introduces us to the coven as well as telling Shauni’s story. The nine women that make up the coven find themselves pulled to an island off the coast in Savannah, Georgia. There they discover something about themselves and a prophecy they are meant to fulfill. Oh, and there are a few “hot points” (as my mother calls them) between the hero and heroine, just to spice things up a bit.

What were your inspirations behind writing "Whisper of a Witch"?

I’ve always wanted to write a book about witches, and the opportunity presented itself after I moved to Savannah. The scenery here is gorgeous and mysterious, the perfect setting for my witches! The idea of a group of women banding together to fight evil surrounded by a rich, southern background seemed delicious, and I can hardly wait to start plotting each witch’s story!

I hear that there will be a sequel out next year. Can you tell us anything about this one and will it follow the trait of being centred on one member of the coven.

Yes, it will be another witch’s time to play her part, though I can’t tell you who it will be! I’ve gotten a great reaction to the coven, and some readers have written in asking for a certain woman to be next. I love these witches, and I’m so glad others do, too.

How long have you been writing for?

Technically for about nine years, but seriously writing for three. Something clicked inside me, and I realized I wanted to write full time. I’m not there, yet, but the response to “Whisper of a Witch” is very encouraging. My dream life is waking up every day to make coffee, fire up the computer, and have a cat in my lap as I write the next book.

Tell us about any other projects you have coming up or in the works.

“Conviction of a Witch” will be out in February of 2011, but a couple of other projects are slated for this fall. My first romantic suspense titled “She Who is Hidden” involves some history, adventure, riddles, and, of course, hot romance! I just found out another of my books will be released in e-book format in September. “Hallowed Eve” is also a romantic suspense and will be out just in time for Halloween. It definitely satisfies my horror addiction. Mua ha ha!

If you were to have a fantasy dinner party, who would be your guests - living or dead - and why?

Ooh. Fun question. Of the dead, I would pick River Phoenix, because he was just gone too soon. I would also love to have Joan of Arc, because c’mon, how cool was she? Mary Queen of Scots and Sir Isaac Newton because they are both supposed to be ancestors of mine. I’d like to know if that’s true or not. : )
In the world of the living, I would have M. Night Shyamalan. I love his twisted mind! Nora Roberts, to ask her how she writes so fast. And if I can play a little with this fantasy, I’d like to have Eric Northman from True Blood, because…well, isn’t it obvious?

Do you have any inspirational words of wisdom for those seeking to become a better writer to trying to get published?

Absolutely. Go to writer’s conferences and join a critique group, but try to stay in your genre. I have found that a sci-fi writer does not always understand romance, just as a romance writer might want to soften up a horror novel. Other writers in your genre will know the market you’re writing for and give more valuable feedback.
A new author might also want to submit shorter works to e-book publishers. Be open, and don’t hoard your works for that “big break.” Small presses are a great way to get started, and any editorial advice is worth its weight in gold. (Oops. That was a cliché.) Plus, it will get an author’s name out there and the sooner the better.
Words of wisdom? I tend to be a little bit of a rule breaker, so I would tell authors to write to please their readers, not agents and editors. If the story is there, the readers will be, too.

Thank you so much for being here today, Suza. Just because I like you, I am going to give you a free pass out of here. Just take this bag of past guests brains and throw it at the zombies as you near the door. If they get you, it ain’t my fault! Any final words?

If I don’t make it out of here, make sure someone feeds my cats!

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