Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Author Interview - SUZANNE SELFORS

I'm back interviewing again - with sparkles - because our special guest today is Suzanne Selfors! Her new YA fantasy novel COFFEEHOUSE ANGEL just came out (published by Walker)! I hope you plan on reading it this fall because it sounds like the perfect cozy and inspirational read.

The illustration is of Malcolm, the angel! He's sweet and gets into a lot of trouble because he is curious about people. For the drawing, I tried to incorporate coffee and some misty-dawn type of feel. (You like my art-speak there?) 



1) What is COFFEEHOUSE ANGEL about?

It's about a sixteen-year-old girl named Katrina who feels totally lost. She's got these two friends with clearcut goals and amazing talents, but she has no idea what she's going to do with herself once high school is over. She works every day in her grandmother's coffeehouse and basically that's her life. That's why people call her Coffeehouse Girl.
 
It's about an angel who also feels lost.
 
It's about how we choose to define ourselves. Do our feelings of self worth come from the outside or the inside?
 


2) I'm sure a lot of teens can relate to that. What inspired you to write the story?

This conversation I had with a friend whose daughter is also 16. The mom was basically freaking out because she thought her daughter didn't have enough stuff scheduled for the summer, and that she wouldn't be able to get into a good college. This girl's summer itinerary included swim club, sailing lessons, Spanish lessons, a volunteer church project, and a bunch of other things I can't remember. I felt stressed out just hearing about it. And I realized that this generation of teens is under a ridiculous amount of pressure to succeed. Somewhere along the way, our priorities got really messed up.
 


3) What is your writing process like? 
 
I've been under contract with two publishers for a couple of years now so my deadlines can be very tight. I write mostly from 10 to 2 but usually not on weekends. I prefer to write outside the house, at a coffehouse or library. After 3 my kids are home and then my life as a mom takes over.
 


4) Can you describe your journey toward getting published?

My first novel got me an agent and 12 submissions to publishing houses, and 12 rejection letters. I wrote a couple more books but nothing clicked into place. Rejection almost got the best of me. I came very close to quitting but then I decided to try a different type of story. I wrote a middle grade novel called To Catch a Mermaid, got a new agent, and it went to auction in 2005.

And here I am.

 

5) Now, for some hints about your next project! You named a secondary character in your work-in-progress book "Realm." Can you give me a preview of what she's like? 
 
Ah yes. Well, I met you last year at an event at Barnes and Noble in Bellevue. Your name really stuck with me. I'd never heard it before and loved it. So in my next teen novel, which I'm currently revising, there is a girl named Realm. She's darker than my usual characters. She struggles with an eating disorder. 



Ooo, a dark character named Realm! I think I'm going to have a lot of fun reading this book. *g* Thank you so much, Suzanne!

Want to read COFFEEHOUSE ANGEL? You can order it here!

_____ 

If you're an author, editor, agent, or illustrator and would like a five question interview and a drawing of your character (or of yourself), email me at rtlovejoy (at) yahoo (dot) com. Check out the FAQ page for more info.

15 comments:

  1. Great interview and illustration, Realm! It's so great to read about authors succeeding after years of writing!

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  2. Cool! And great post! Walker puts out such fun books :)

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  3. Thanks for stopping by, LiLa and Jo! It was inspiring to read about Suzanne's process. And Walker is so perfect for her!

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  4. It's interesting that even after Suzanne got an agent, she didn't have initial success selling her work. Great post!

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  5. Congrats on COFFEEHOUSE ANGEL - it sounds so interesting :) Great interview and illustration Realm!

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  6. Hi Suzanne & Realm :)
    Thank you for the great interview.
    I hadn't been aware of Suzanne Selfors or Coffeehouse Angel before. It sounds interesting!
    Is Suzanne Selfors on Twitter?
    All the best,
    RKCharron
    xoxo

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  7. Can't wait to read it! Sounds like a great book that the YA crowd will really be able to relate to.

    And as always, the illustration rocks. :)

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  8. "And I realized that this generation of teens is under a ridiculous amount of pressure to succeed. Somewhere along the way, our priorities got really messed up."

    Amen to that. Sounds like this book might help some teens put all that "stuff" in perspective - I really coulda used a book like this when I was going through all that! Can't wait to read it.

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  9. Thanks for the visit, everyone!

    Lauren -- I thought that was interesting too. It's a tough road! It's inspiring because she stuck to it and achieved success.

    RKCharron -- I don't think Suzanne is on Twitter. You should join the fun, Suzanne!

    Cassandra -- Yeah, I hear about a lot of teens not knowing what to do after high school and being pressured and stressed. I hope teens with this struggle will find books like Coffeehouse Angel!

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  10. Sounds like a fantastic read! I can't wait to dive into it. And the upcoming project Suzanne's working on sounds amazing. Dark characters are always really intriguing to read about.

    Also, the illustration is great! I can't help but believe all angels have piercing eyes like that. Swooon!

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  11. I think Coffeehouse Angel sounds like a great read. You've also made your next book sound very appealing because SO many people struggle with eating disorders or at least weight issues. I guess the key is finding an important theme to write about that will resonate with your potential audience. I think you've done it.
    Great post and great insight into getting an agent and a book deal :) Very inspiring!

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  12. This sounds really good. Though the main character of the novel is female, it sounds like it's applicable to both boys and girls. I remember my high school years: going to class, running from play rehearsal to play rehearsal and then on to soccer practice, only to get home at 11 o'clock at night. Went to bed. Then started the whole thing over again. This is too common for people who are that age.

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  13. Thanks Anna, Rachel, and Mitch! I agree that the theme for Coffeehouse Angel is really important for teens and it's going to be neat seeing what the inspiring Suzanne does next!

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  14. I am always interested in an inspirational story. It sounds like a great book!

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  15. Hello, I I have a blog here in Brazil and I wonder if you would like to trade some bookmarks with me? I send you some Brazilians and some Americans are interested?
    If you want to send me an email.
    raah_varella@hotmail.com

    Thank you.

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