Tuesday 30 October 2018

Interview: Susanna Rogers

parallax-error, susanna-rogers, book

It's time for another author interview and this week, I'm welcoming Susanna Rogers to The Writing Greyhound! Keep on reading to find out more about Susanna, her writing, and her book Parallax Error.

Firstly, please could you introduce yourself?
Hello out there, I’m Susanna Rogers, here today because I write young adult books that kick butt. I’ve found a way to combine writing with one of the other great loves of my life – martial arts. I’m a kickboxer with a second-degree black belt and I teach as well as train. I’m a lot of other things too – wife, mother and copywriter by day – but I’ve found that mentioning kickboxing is definitely the best way to get attention at a party!
How did you first become interested in writing?
I always secretly wanted to become a writer but didn’t come out of the closet until well into adulthood. A lot of writers say they grew up surrounded by books, were always encouraged to read and that they became voracious readers. Not me. My migrant parents didn’t understand the importance of reading and I recall not knowing how to get my hands on enough books. At a later stage, I discovered the library and, in fact, became a librarian so things worked out quite nicely.
Tell me about Parallax Error.
This is the story of a girl who is bullied and ends up being thrown into an alternate universe where she learns to fight and, more importantly, to stick up for herself. Parts of the book are rooted in the sorts of real-life experiences that many young people go through, and other parts are complete fantasy. 
Inspiration for this book came from Canadian teenager, Amanda Todd, who told her own story in a Youtube video using a series of flashcards. The video is gut-wrenching because this was someone’s life and it’s too sad to be true. But it is. I couldn’t give Amanda a happy ending but I could empower Sasha in Parallax Error and help her on her journey. So that’s what I did.
susanna-rogers, author

Why did you decide to write for young adults?
Because I remember very well what it felt like to be a teenager, to want to fit in and feel on the outer, how much I needed my close friends, the rush of first love, the excitement and the scariness of the world. For me, one of the best things about writing young adult novels is that I can let rip in ways I can’t when writing ‘serious’ books for adults. Because of course, my teenage heroine can fight off hordes of attackers, finish her homework and save the world. I think this comes from the belief that teenagers are smart and savvy and can do anything.
Tell me about your aims for the book.
My number one aim for any book I write is to move my reader. I want to take the reader on a roller coaster ride, take them somewhere they’ve never been before, leave them breathless, and make them laugh and cry. My aim is to entertain people and, at the same time, I’d also like to inspire and empower teen readers so they think about bigger issues, take better care of themselves and to follow their dreams. So I’m aiming high!
What’s your writing process?
I start with the seed of an idea and scribble down lots of other ideas, emotions, dialogue, anything that comes into my mind. From there, I plan out each novel because I need a good idea where I’m headed in order to write. I change my mind all the time too, and that’s fine. Other people write with no outline and that works for them. For me, I would poo my pants in fear if I had to write that way. And I’m not joking. 
In terms of my schedule, when I’m writing, I need a big chunk of time to get into the story and characters and get on a roll. So I’ll usually have either a work day (for regular paid work) or a fiction writing day. And sometimes I need a family-and-doing-jobs-around-the-house day.
What are you currently working on?
I’m writing a series of rock ’n’ roll romances – for adults, this time. I live with my very own rock star, my guitarist husband. (He has a ‘real’ job too.) Music is a big part of my life. As a university student, I used to see bands every weekend and I always have the stereo playing when I’m writing. The first books I ever wrote were romances so in some ways, this new series is taking me back to my roots. Anyway, everyone needs a little romance in their life.
Have any particular books had a big impact on you?
At high school, I read Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange and it blew me away. The book made me think about the possibility of the state controlling people and the importance of personal freedom and other issues that were bigger than the book itself. Then there’s To Kill A Mockingbird, a novel that still resonates today because it’s so beautifully written from the heart. More recently, I found Emma Donohue’s Room to be one of the scariest, most tense books I’ve ever read. And The Hunger Games had a big impact because I wish I’d written it!
Parallax Error is available to buy now. For more information on Susanna and her writing, you can check out her website.

Will you be reading the book? Let me know in the comments below!

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