Name Susan Faw
Where are you from
Born and raised in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada, but have lived in many places since then. Currently, living in the Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I am the mother of three nearly grown children, two high school age, one at college. By day I am a business professional, but my true passion is all about books and writing. My favourite past time is curling into a chair with a great read. It’s all the vacation I need.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My debut novel, entitled “Seer of Souls” is about to be released by my publisher, which is Booktrope out of Seattle, WA, USA. It is a young adult fantasy novel about a pair of godlings who divest themselves of their divinity in order to save the world. They are reborn as humans, all memory of their true heritage erased. It is book one of what I see to be at least a trilogy, possibly four books.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I have always written and have avidly read my entire live. I was the “Hermione” stereotype who spent every waking minute in a library or with a book tucked under my arm. Corporately I have always written, but creative writing I began about five years ago for my own pleasure and sanity to help me get through a rough spot in my life. As with many authors, I think, writing became my outlet for self-therapy and expression.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
As soon as I finished Seer of Souls, I knew I was a writer. First I had to prove to myself that I could finish a story. But then the real work began, as I had no clue as to what to do with it. Consequently it sat on my computer for about a year while I tried to figure out what the next steps were in this process called publication.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I am a very active dreamer and I woke one morning with this concept in my head that wouldn’t go away. I am very much a discovery writer, so I wanted to see where it would lead me. Fascinating journey, really, with me typing frantically to try to keep up to what my characters were doing on the page.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
No, and anytime I try to “format” or “categorize” or “organize” it shuts down my creativity. I have tried multiple outlines in the past and I always end up tossing them out because they are artificial constructs and my story is always something different. I cook the same way. I know my starting point (“I’m hungry!”) and my end point (“Dinner is ready!”) but what is going to happen between A and Z is anyone’s guess!
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
It was the only title that ever occurred to me. The title is the book. And yes, it’s a pun!
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Greatness, or the ability to be a hero is found in the smallest, most unassuming of people, and sacrifice is a part of life.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic ?
Realistic? All fantasy is real. It’s the hero’s journey over and over, something that is hardwired into the human experience. The story is the same story, only spun in different ways to appear new. We are born, we live, we die. I firmly believe everyone has a hero inside of them. We are certainly the heroes of our own journey.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Other than a few graphic death scenes, no…and even there I changed the names to protect the guilty!
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
My children consider me a rabid Harry Potter fan, and refer to my collection of Harry Potter memorabilia as my “shrine”. I do rather have a lot of it, but my prize possessions are my signed Harry Potter first editions. I was never fortunate enough to meet JK Rowling in person, but she would be #1 on my bucket list. Not only has she been successful as an author, beyond any in history, she is also a hero. My personal hero. She is a true rags (abusive husband, infant daughter, writing on the floor of her furniture-less apartment) to riches story. She is everything I aspire to be, when I grow up!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
My current reads are “The Olive Picker” by Kathi Brettell and I am always rereading Robert Jordan’s “Wheel of Time” series. I am a fan but also studying his craft as I read.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I read an amazing free book that was a download from Nook, called A Dance With Dragons by Kaitlyn Davis. She has wonderful talent and it is a highly recommended indie fantasy read. It is also available on Amazon as a free download.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I am currently writing the sequel to Seer of Souls, entitled Spirit Shield. I am also working on a Zorro fantasy with a female protagonist. It was my Nanowrimo novel, which languishes at this point while I concentrate on the launch promotion for Seer of Souls.
I am also participating in an indie charity children’s anthology, which hopefully will see publication sometime this year.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My main supporters have been two very dear friends, who have encouraged me to do this, and had faith in my abilities. Without their support, who knows if I would have finished it? I think that I would have, but you never know! Writing is a solo journey in so many ways.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely. It is my five year plan, to retire from my day job and write full time. Between now and then, I hope to have a minimum of six novels and two series published and more to come. My goal is a minimum of two books a year published between now and then.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
There is always room for improvement, but as this was a learning novel for me, I believe it should stay the way it is. It’s good for your readership to see the growth in your craft. They grow alongside you! Other than a couple of minor editing errors that are present in every novel, there is nothing else I would change.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I remember as a child reading a children’s series that were called “The Silver Brumbies” about wild horses in Australia. I was an avid reader of the Hardy Boys series, but not Nancy Drew. I didn’t like how ‘girly’ she was, and now, in retrospect, I would say she was not a strong female protagonist J My father used to read a lot to us when I was a child and I think that was what made me a lover of books. I have always loved stories.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
“A bare chested apprentice, with only one eagle feather bound to each tattooed arm, dipped a hollowed gourd into a basin of potion warming on hot rocks at the edge of the fire pit. Carefully, he carried the gourd, brimming with liquid, over to the naked woman staked out spread eagle on the ground at the edge of the flickering light.
With one hand, he pinched her cheeks so that her mouth was forced into an “O’ shape then tipped the contents into it. He plugged her nose, forcing her to swallow convulsively, while she thrashed in her bonds. The blindfold slipped and the woman’s eyes stabbed into the apprentice, then with the last of her strength, she spat the remains of the potion back at his face. With a scream, he stumbled away from the woman, frantically wiping it off. Everywhere the potion landed, it bubbled and hissed. Blisters erupted, large red swellings bubbling the skin. They popped and oozed, drying instantly and within seconds the skin withered, curling into drifts that feathered to the ground, even while the woman’s eyes rolled back in her head.
Blood bloomed under the curls, to run in rivulets that joined larger flows. The high priests crowded around the corpse and caught the blood in gleaming bone vessels and began a rhythmic chant, waving a hollowed rain stick carved with runes over the bowls, seducing the spirit of the blood sacrifice, binding it to the blood for transfer into a new vessel.
The woman’s heart pumped valiantly as the last of its life force seeped to the surface. With a final shudder, she relaxed in her bonds, sagging limply in the ropes suspending her body.
The priests turned their backs on the empty shell and the chanting rose in pitch, calling forth the spirit of the dead woman. Wisps of movement danced on the surface of the bowls of blood, thickening then dissipating, and formed once again, a shadowed impression of a red face floating above the surface of the bowls.
They walked past the line of shivering men, kneeling at the edge of the fire light, arms bound behind their backs, awaiting their turn to serve the High Priests. All averted their eyes, hoping to not be chosen, hoping that they would be executed in the normal fashion. Beheading was preferable to being bled to death in their eyes. A whimper escaped the mouth of one of the deserters, as his courage failed once again. With a jerk on his bindings, he was hauled to his feet by two burly apprentices, howling as he was dragged towards the sacrificial pit.
The High Priests paid no attention to the commotion, transfixed on the process at hand. Their chanting grew louder once again, as they approached a small animal tied to a metal stake driven deep into the ground. On closer inspection, a bear cub peered up at the approaching priests, licking its lips hungrily. The priests placed the bowls before the cub, chanting in a sing song voice that soothed the bear cub.
Once the priests backed away, the cub sniffed at the offering, then began to lap up the blood thirstily. The priests’ song shrieked assailing the ears of the watchers and the bear drank until all the blood was gone.
Suddenly, the song ceased. A gong was sounded, once, twice, three times. As the sound faded from the third gong, the cub roared.
A vortex formed around the cub, spinning and swirling, dragging soil into its maelstrom as it arose, faster and faster, tiny bolts of energy sparking within the cloud, which grew into a funnel then into a tornado, which picked up the cub and whirled it about.
Bolts of lightning now stabbed the ground and the priests stepped back, hands covering their faces as the sand stung their skin, whipping their eagle feathers until they mocked flight.
With a great clap of thunder and a blinding flash of light, everything stilled.
As the dust cleared, a body was revealed, curled into a ball on the ground. Slowly it unfurled, and rose to its feet.
A muscular woman stood before them, ten feet tall, with the face of a bear. Long brown hair curled past her muscular shoulders. She was clad in a tight fitting leather jerkin and leggings, a great sword strapped to hip.
Artio sniffed the air and with a feral toothy grin, rumbled “BOW TO ME.”
As one, the primordial clansmen and high priests fell to the ground, faces pressed to the earth.
Artio drew her lips back and bared her long incisors in a parody of a smile, then roared her pleasure.”
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Being a discovery writer, I find it difficult to stick to a structured outline. Frustrating is more like it!
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
JK Rowling. She has a way of bringing out the humanity in her characters. They feel like real people. And don’t even get me started on her world building!!! The woman has amusement parks built round her books!!!! Need I say more?
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not at this time but I am not opposed to it!
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My cover was designed by Greg Simanson, who is simply amazing. His website can be found here: http://www.simansondesign.com/
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The conclusion. I find it hard to wrap up a book. I guess I know the story isn’t finished, so I want to keep writing!
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I continue to learn constantly. The writing of that book was to learn everything about the craft of writing a book. I had been following writing podcasts and my favorite by far is “Writing Excuses” by Brandon Sanderson. I learned so much from him as a fantasy author. If you write fantasy, horror, sci fi, dystopian or even historical fiction, this podcast is for you, they are only 15 minutes long but jam-packed full of goodies! http://www.writingexcuses.com/
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write. Write. And write some more. You can only get better by practicing your craft. Keep writing. Always.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for taking a chance on a debut author and joining the quest! It’s going to be a fun journey!
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Dick and Jane?
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Cry: Someone who will sacrifice all for love, even to the death. Laugh: Puns and play on words 😀
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
JK Rowling. I would love to have high tea with her. Please?
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
“The last true adventure is death.”
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Gardening, reading, some photography.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
The BBC series Merlin was my last obsession, and The Big Bang Theory
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Mexican, Thai / Reds and Blues / Any kind of music but love Hedley, Adam Lambert and Adam Levine
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Be a jet airliner pilot
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Seer of Souls book blurb:
“Cayden Tiernan loves to carve flutes. Magical flutes. His twin sister Avery also has magical abilities but magic is outlawed in the kingdom, the penalty for which is death.
One day, the Queen’s recruiting legions arrive in the sleepy town of Sanctuary By The Sea disrupting the peaceful lives of two young twins. Primordial seekers also arrive at the village with a mission to find two magical children prophesied to have special powers, capable of bringing peace to a world at war.
When a scout for the legion is accidently killed during a prank gone awry, Cayden volunteers to serve in the very legion that hunts him. Avery is whisked away by a Primordial seeker, separating the twins physically, although they are bound by their birth and their magical abilities.
A mysterious force calls to Cayden, pulling him towards a destiny he can only guess at. Cayden is drawn inexplicably towards the capital city of Cathair. Certain death lies in going to Cathair, yet the pull is beyond his capacity to ignore.”
Susan’s love of stories began before she could read or write. Her earliest childhood memories are of a make believe game she played with her sister, creating and telling an epic story inspired by a picture chosen at random from a National Geographic magazine. Susan spent her summers reading and writing sometimes serious, sometimes humorous works of fiction, imagining the worlds beyond her bedroom walls. Susan is an avid reader of literature, especially science fiction and fantasy. She loves to bring new worlds and fantasy adventures to young adults and inspire them to join her on her make believe journeys. You can find Susan at www.susanfaw.com, on twitter @susandfaw or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/SusanFaw.