Neat fact: In MAD LOVE, there's a character named Realm. Here's what Suzanne said about her character Realm in the 2009 interview, "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."
It was trippy and cool to see my name in a book.
For the illustration, I drew Tony Lee -- a character from MAD LOVE. He has a skateboard with a dragon on it. I'd love to have such a skateboard myself.
1) What is about?
It's about love in all its crazy shapes and sizes. Motherly love, neighborly love, burn-a-hole-in-your-gut yearning love, eternal love, lost love. It's all in there.
It's about a girl named Alice who tries to write her mother's next romance novel, with the help of a boy named Errol who claims to be Cupid.
2) What inspired the story?
I'm really into mythology. In my last book, Coffeehouse Angel, I reimagined Hermes, turning him into a modern-day messenger. Years ago I wrote a book in which I reimagined Cupid. It was for adults and I never did anything with it. But I really liked the idea of bringing Cupid to a contemporary setting so I rewrote the book, changing the main character to a teen.
3) Can you tell us about your outline or drafting process for the story?
I never outline. It just doesn't work for me. I've tried it and I ended up changing the direction of the story almost immediately. My process, if you can call it a process, is this - I always know the beginning and the ending of my story, but the journey inbetween is a mystery. That's the fun and terrifying part of the writing. I discover the story as I go.
4) How did you apply your research to the story?
I did some research on bi-polar disorder. I personally know a lot about depression, having suffered a serious, clinical bout in my early 20s that knocked me out of the world for a good year. And I knew a bit about the manic side from my father. But I still needed more research. Since my books tend to have touches of magical realism, I played a bit with the illness. That's what a fiction writer gets to do.
5) What kind of lesson does the heroine of MAD LOVE learn?
Alice wants desperately to be loved. She's grown up with a bi-polar mother and there's been a great deal of neglect and lonliness. As a little girl, she blamed her mother's illness on herself, as young children tend to do. She's felt unloveable and this effects everything she does. What she learns is that she won't be open to love until she learns to love herself.
That's a great lesson. Thanks for joining us again, Suzanne! Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!
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 information!