Please welcome Suzanne Crowley, author of two great books for young readers! Her latest is a fascinating Elizabethan novel with lots of romance! Suzanne loves oil painting, playing piano, reading, art collecting, and especially collecting miniatures and doll houses. Let’s hear from her now . . .
Kathy: Suzanne, can you tell us how your books came to be published?
Suzanne: My first book, The Very Ordered Exitence of Merilee Marvelous (VOE for short) came out in 2007. It’s a middle grade novel about a girl with asperger’s syndrome set in a west Texas town where mysterious lights appear at night. It’s semi-autobriographical, loosely based on a loved one. The town is based on Marfa, Texas where they actually do have mystery lights and I have seen them myself. It was a five year process to get the book published with lots of ups and downs, but ultimately I got a two book contract. My second book, The Stolen One was published June 30th of this year. It’s completely different than VOE. It’s an Elizabethan YA novel with lots of intrigue and lush detail of the era.
Kathy: I love your books but tell others why they should buy them.
Suzanne: You should buy the first book because of the humor, the quirky small town characters, the Texas sayings, and for the messages of redemption, love, and that it is is okay to be different. I think you will enjoy the second book because there is some fun romance, lots of romance in fact, and wonderful descriptions of sumtous Elizabethan dresses and Queen Eliabeth’s great wardrobe.
Kathy: Who or what has been the greatest inspiration for your stories?
Suzanne: For my first book, different family members, and other stories – tall tales – told to me by my grandmother. My second book was inspired by the legend I grew up with from my mother’s side of the family – that we are distantly related to the family of Lady Jane Grey, the tragic queen of nine days. This led to a life-long love of the Tudor era which led to a little mystery of the Tudor era that I was always curious about.
Kathy: You have the chance to give one piece of advice to teen readers. What is that?
Suzanne: I wish I was more confident in high school. The big secret is everyone has their own insecurities and problems.
Kathy: Why do you write, and why do you write for young people?
Suzanne: I have to write. It’s in my blood. Someone at a conference asked the panel I was on if it was hard to write for young people and said no, I still remember quite clearly what it was like to be a teenager. It’s something that stays with you forever. A reporter once asked Helen Hayes on the occasion of one of her birthdays (I believe she was in her nineties) what it felt like. And she responded that all women still feel like they are sixteen inside.
Kathy: Love that quote!! When do you write?
Suzanne: I wrote my first novel when my youngest was 18 months old. I wrote when he napped. Now he is eight, so I write when he is in school. I find I’m too old now to stay up late and write. My mind isn’t clear.
Kathy: I’m with you! Where do you like to write?
Suzanne: Sometimes ideas will come when I’m working on a manuscript when I am someone else and I will scribble them down, but generally I write at my computer in my study.
Kathy: What helps you write?
Suzanne: Lots of chocolate, silence in the house. Sometimes I have a movie playing on a small DVD player for distraction.
Kathy: Mmm, chocolate. How do your ideas come to you?
Suzanne: True writers have too many ideas. I have ideas for three or four more right now. Who knows if I will use all my ideas. David McCullough, author of one of my favorite books, John Adams, says he has ideas for twenty seven books, he just hopes he lives long enough to write all of them.
Kathy: I understand! How long have you been writing?
Suzanne: Since I was a little girl. I wrote stories and made them into hardback books, even illustrating them. Later I graduated to chapter books on my typewriter. I studied Journalism in college, wrote two unpublished romances, then finally had luck with VOE.
Kathy: What’s an embarrassing story about yourself that you don’t mind telling?
Suzanne: The time I fell down the stairs in high school wearing my high-heeled Candies. I believe they were the same ones Olivia Newton-John is wearing in Grease. Both my knees were scraped up pretty bad and bleeding so I limped to the nurse’s office where my embarrassment continued. There were four football players from our state winning team in there hanging out, charming the nurse. Their mouths popped open at seeing my knees and one of them said, “What happened to you?” He went on to be a NFL player and is now a famous sportscaster.
Kathy: :o) What are you working on now?
Suzanne: Nothing yet. I told myself I would start another book when my son went back to school, but that was last week! I’m an expert procastinator. The best of the best! But I’m also very busy with events since my second book just came out a couple of months ago.
Kathy: Why should kids read books when there are so many other things to do?
Suzanne: One of my favorite lines from Shadowlands – “We read to know we are not alone.”
Kathy: Nice! And thanks, Suzanne, for joining us. Please visit Suzanne’s website at http://www.suzannecrowley.com/.