AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: SUZAN BATTAH
My first Aussie interviewee Suzan Battah has agreed to let me pester her with questions about her debut novel and writing.
What is your most current work out?
My debut novel Mad About the Boy published at Createspace and Smashwords.
Tell us a little about Mad About the Boy, what inspired you to write this contemporary romance?
Well it was my love of the romance genre that got me into this business. I discovered my love of romance novels through Johanna Lindsey’s Once a Princess when I was about 14 or 16, and my passion for reading and writing evolved. Mad About the Boy was born when I discovered the Australian College of Journalism had courses for Professional Romance writing. I was so excited, I begged my parents to enroll me in the course for my 18th birthday present. My first novel is so special to me and has grown and been rewritten a minimum seven times. I’ve been writing for so long it’s been so much a part of my life. You can read more about my journey at my website.
When you start writing, do you already have the story plotted out or do you let the characters dictate what will happen?
I generally always plot a general outline of what is supposed to happen in the book, chapter by chapter but as I begin to write there are times where the characters will most definitely take me in a completely different direction as I get to know them more and understand their personalities that I’ve created which is surprising even for me.
What inspired you to write in your genre? Is this the genre you started writing in or have you morphed to this one?
I love romance, helpless romantic that I am. Anything that involves the relationship between a couple is a joy to read, including the novels with hardship but I love romances that go above and beyond this. So in my writing, I love to explore the fun, the rough, the passionate love between couples and how they bump along the windy road. I don’t think I could ever truly write anything that didn’t involve some sort of romance.
Do you have a favorite character you have written?
My favorite character in Mad About the Boy is most definitely Boric. He is the best friend I never had and an awesome fashionista, I wish I could understand how to dress. He’s also blunt, caring, self-centered but has a heart of gold and says the truth without inhibition.
Who was the toughest character for you to “get right” that you have written so far?
For me, Julia was a real challenge but in the end she is exactly as she should be a little crazy, focused, illogical, fun and infuriating all in the same breath that’s why Christophe is absolutely in love with her because she’s not like anyone he’s ever met.
Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life? Any fun stories you could share?
I’m very fortunate that people, strangers I mean, love to chat to me most of the time and so I meet some extraordinary people. I use a combination of people I’ve met or hear about or have known and a character is always there ready to be developed. I do however use some of my own silly experiences, exaggerate, change a bit and make them into something interesting.
What do you find the hardest part of writing?
For me, being a fulltime Executive Assistant is the hardest part. I wish I could write fulltime. At the moment chasing my dream is exhausting but I’m hoping one day it will be my fulltime career.
Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
I’m really scared of heights and a single woman looking for Mr Right.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Ohhh, I’ve got two True Blood and Gossip Girl – seriously can’t help myself.
What do you need before you start writing? Anything that is just a must have or the creative juice don’t flow?
I always need music, really loud music and a bottle of water.
Does music influence your writing? If so, do any of your stories have a theme song?
Music is a big part of my writing! I especially love to listen to a variety, pop, classical, gothic rock, easy listening and when writing certain scenes have a playlist to go along with the chapters. It’s a lot of fun and can make the chapter very emotional at times. Mad About the Boy is very much based around a lot of fun, passionate, a couple of soulful and happy songs. I’ll be putting up a playlist shortly on my website and blog. However, if you don’t already know I named my book after the 1940’s hit by Dinah Washington – Mad About the Boy, check it out on youtube beautiful song.
If your story was optioned for a movie, who would play your characters?
Julia – Vanessa Lachey (nee Minnillo)
Christophe – Joe Manganiello
Ben – Kellan Lutz
Boric – Matt Dallas
Randy – Neil Patrick Harris
Michael – Ricardo Antonio Chavira
Andreena – Kate Winslet
What author causes you to “go fan girl”/ squeal over/anticipate upcoming books?
Stephanie Laurens, Jennifer Cruisie, Richelle Mead
What are you currently working on, and what else is in the wings?
I’m currently writing a YA Urban Fantasy novel the second in a series about a girl with cursed blood. It’s full of romance, adventure and lots of twists and turns.
How do you pick your characters names?
I think I pick their name by visualizing their features and from their personality; I choose a strong aspect and search for names that have similar meanings. I also very often name characters after special people in my life.
Do you prefer the love at first sight approach or a steady growth throughout?
I prefer both, anything that is loving is fun to write and read. But it’s always that first moment when the characters realize truly how much they feel for each other that is the icing on the cake.
What is your reaction to people who say one of the following…”Oh you write romance, I thought you were a real writer”, “Romance isn’t a real writing career” or the ever popular “Oh, one of those books”.
I just laugh! Of course romance is a real writing career. More people should read it and fall in love again and again. Appreciate their loved ones more and remember how much we should live life with passion.
Where can readers find you Suzan?
And for the silly side – What is your favorite type of chocolate?
TimTams we have the lucky chocolate here Down Under, it’s melt in your mouth and absolutely divine!