I met Sue through American Christian Fiction Writers. She has become a good online friend. I'm looking forward to meeting her in person.
When I first heard about her book, I didn't think I was interested in it because of the subject matter. However, the Lord showed me some things about the subject matter.
We serve a mighty God, a God who wants to redeem lives. He doesn't like for enemy to have a victory in any person's life. Sue's book is about redemption in a way that many of us never experience, because we don't need it. There are many people who need to understand the kind of redemptive power of God that is depicted in Sue's book. I'm praying that many of them will pick it up because of the cover and then hear gospel of truth in its pages.
I honestly can’t say whether I write myself into them. I would say there’s a little of me in each of them. Rodney and Richard are very skeptical, so am I. Cassie’s often too trusting. *raising hand slowly* Ceese is tenacious! Yep! Okay, I guess I do write a lot of myself into my characters.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
*Shock* I cannot go there! Okay, I will. I played foosball professionally for a while. A group of us went to a bar (sorry, the only place one can place foosball in Mississippi is in a bar. Oddly, I don’t drink or smoke.) We drove in search of a place called “Big Daddy’s” where they were rumored to have a table. We found it. It was a small place, with a DIRT floor. Motorcycles were the apparent mode of transportation as they were lined up in front. Us preppy folks proceeded to walk in amongst bearded folk and the like and proceeded to claim the table. We only got to play for maybe ten minutes because bars closed at 12:00 P.M. And this bar didn’t mess around. They actually shut the lights off! I cannot tell you how quickly I found our van!! I don’t know though, is that quirky or just dumb? LOL
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I think it would be more accurate to ask when did I first admit I was creative since I don’t really consider myself a writer. I have ideas that won’t stop coming. I used to express them with my art but it didn’t seem to satisfy quite as much as writing did. The first clue I had that I could actually hold my own as a writer was when the editor I hired told me I could. And then there was being short-listed for a Bram Stoker Award and being picked up by a publisher, all within the span of a year. Not even holding my first book in my hand convinced me. All I thought then was, “great now I’ve got to make the money back I’ve put out on this baby.”
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I USED to read a LOT of fantasy; Piers Anthony, Roger Zelazny. I absolutely loved the Chronicles of Amber. But now I’m a John Grisham fan, more or less and still enjoy a good fantasy now and again.
What other books have you written, whether published or not?
I have at least two stories complete. One is actually a modern day Western/rodeo type novel. (very good I might add) And the other is hard to describe. It would definitely fit into the fantasy/sci-fi category and one particular friend of mine is anxious for me to publish it. But HA! I’ll need a lot more help from any publisher to be encouraged to publish either one as I’ve expended about as much money as I can to get Never Ceese out there.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Hmmmm . . . did someone tell you I was sane? I’d like their name and number as they are sadly misinformed. LOL I ask you, would a sane person write a vampire/werewolf novel and submit it to Christian publishers knowing they’d probably be knocked back at every turn? I think not!
How do you choose your characters’ names?
That’s a good question. I usually let the characters pick. There was a guy in school named Richard. He was very pale and I often speculated about his being a vampire. You must understand, this was Jr. High and my speculating was based on my boredom. I wanted a unique nickname for my female main character and I knew a man once named Cecil. He was often called Ceese. He was also called Red because he had red hair. I usually develop the character first, then the name.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Of course, being on the preliminary ballot for a Bram Stoker award was a highlight. Being invited to the World Horror Convention at the request of Nicholas Grabowsky, author of Halloween IV, was another defining moment because this meant Never Ceese had been accepted into the secular market. And being book club choice for the month of April at the ACFW was also wonderful as this meant Never Ceese was also making its mark in the Christian market. But the accomplishment I’m most proud of, I’m claiming by Faith, and that’s being taken on by a CBA recognized publisher. Why am I so proud of this, by Faith, accomplishment? Because it opens the door for so many other good writers of speculative fiction who are Christians to be considered by publishers who are skeptical to take them on. Oh I can’t wait to see who gets Forever Richard!
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
Do not ask someone like me this kind of question as I will sit here all day and try to figure that out. Perhaps I’d like to be a Cheetah, because they run fast, or a bird, because they fly. Both of these things appeal to me. Elephants have great memories but I’m afraid all I’d remember is that I was big and ugly and smelled bad. See, I told you I’d put too much thought into this. :-)
What is your favorite food?
Before my fourteen year old became a vegetarian, I suppose a good hamburger. Perish the thought! Now I’d have to say mushroom quesadilla’s yum yum.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Wondering if anyone could enjoy my writing as much as I did. My editor helped me fix that. Oh, and it’s not fixed yet. I’m still working on that aspect. But making great progress.
What advice would you give to an author just starting out?
Oh I am not a good person to ask that question of. A friend of mine emailed me just the other day to ask me my opinion on sending query letters out to agents. I told her that if it was her debut novel she was referring to, she shouldn’t query agents at all. I told her to target small publishers and new publishers as no one knew who she was or what she was capable of. I told her a small press would take her long before an agency would. She e-mailed me back and told me that this logic went against everything she’d ever heard at all the conferences she’d been to. All I could say was, “well, it worked for me!”
What would you like to tell us about the featured book?
Oh, it’s gooooooddd! But don’t take my word for it. Get a copy and read it yourself. Or go check out all the wonderful, mostly unsolicited, reviews. I love vampire/werewolf fantasy but get tired of seeing it presented under the guise of the occult. So many young people flock to this genre . . . I just wanted to give them something different to read. It’s even good if it’s not your usual genre or so I’ve been told.
Your book is such a departure from what most people understand to be Christian fiction. How did you get the idea? Why did you write it?
I got the idea when I realized the other two stories I’d been working on required more research. I decided if I wrote a fantasy then I wouldn’t have to do so much research. That I could create things myself if I had to. (and I did!!!)
As to why did I write it, well, because I’m a writer and the story just came to me. Why did I write a vampire/werewolf fantasy? Because I believe God wants to take this genre back. This genre is too dark and good Christian kids are being drawn to it and potentially influenced. Of course whether they’re influenced is up to them, I just decided to give them something different to think about. And it seems Never Ceese has made somewhat of an impact in this area!
Thank you, Sue, for sharing with us today. Readers, you can get to know Sue more on her site at:
Remember, readers, the winner of a free book will be chosen from those who leave comments. If you love fantasy, or especially if you know a young person who is into this genre, leave a comment.
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