Author Interview: Susan Dennard, Author Of Something Strange And Deadly

Here’s an interview with the lovely Susan Dennard, author of Something Strange and Deadly (see review here). Aside from the fact that Something Strange and Deadly is a brilliant book, ergo the author must be equally brilliant, her favourite book to screen adaptation is Lord of the Rings which makes her doubley awesome in my opinion

1. When did you decide that you wanted to become a writer?
I’m not sure when exactly…it must have been when I was in the 12/13-year-old range. I was deep into the epic fantasy/sci-figreats (Ursula K. Le Guin, Anne McCaffrey, Tamora Pierce, Orson Scott Card, Piers Anthony) and I knew that I wanted to create stories like THOSE. I wanted to share all the dramatic daydreams in my head. 🙂

2. Which writer, if any, would you compare yourself to?
Oh my! What a tough question!! I’d love to say I write in a similar vein to Libba Bray or Gail Carriger or even Rachel Hawkins, but those ladies are leeeeeaaaps and booouuunds more skilled than I! However, if readers enjoy their books, I think they might enjoy mine too.

3. If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you be? 
Well, I was in marine biology/ecology before I became a full-time writer–so I would without a doubt go back to that! I love science and exploring the world’s creatures.

4. What’s your all time favourite book and why?
Erm…only ONE?! I can’t choose only one! But, if I had to pick the one book I’ve read and reread more than any other on my shelf, it’s definitely E.M. Forster’s A ROOM WITH A VIEW. I just…well, words can’t even express how much I adore that book. All the pages are falling out, they’ve been doggy-eared a trillion times, and practically every page is underlined/highlighted like crazy. In fact, on my website, the text within the “Susan” on the header is from A ROOM WITH A VIEW. 😉

5. Do you have any advice for budding young writers?
Don’t give up…but also do the other things you need to do! I’m honestly glad I didn’t write to get published when I was younger (I wrote purely for fun and for the love of the story). Why am I glad? Partly because I was a know-it-all and wouldn’t have handled criticism, but also because I wouldn’t have gone into marine biology and traveled all around the world!

If you want to be writer now, then DO IT!! But at the same time, remember it isn’t a race. The best novels take years to simmer and stew before they even land on the page. Dream big, work hard, and eventually you can reach your dreams. I truly, truly believe that.

6. What inspired you to write Something Strange and Deadly?
I always blush when I answer this question because it’s so cliché… SS&D came from a dream! A lot of my inspiration does, actually (I have very plot-driven, vivid dreams!). In this particular dream, my brother was missing and the only people who could help were a ragtag group of outcasts. The dregs of that dream haunted me for days, so I finally sat down and fleshed it out into what it is now. 🙂

7. What’s your favourite film adaption of a book?
LORD OF THE RINGS. Those films are just spectacular. From FELLOWSHIP to RETURN OF THE KING, they do an amaaaazing job of bringing Tolkien’s world to life–the scale of it, the stakes, the emotion. I cannot WAIT for THE HOBBIT!!

8. Which character from a book, if any, would you most like to trade lives with?
Uh, I always loved Vesper Holly from Lloyd Alexander’s series. Obscure reference, I know, but she was a teenage Indiana Jones livin’ it up in the 1870s! She went all around the world, stopping bad guys and finding treasure. As a kid, she was my hero!

9. What are you working on next?
In addition to the third book in the SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY series, I’m working on an epic fantasy called SCREECHERS. It’s set in a desert world with 1920s-ish technology and uber-creepy monsters called screechers. I adore this story so much, but when I say “epic”, I mean EPIC. I’m >200 pages in and not even halfway finished…with the first book!

10. And lastly, if you could be any sort of paranormal creature, which would you be?
Does a shapeshifter count? I’ve just always wanted to become a dolphin for a day…or a wolf. Or a hawk. So many different perspectives to be seen!

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