Thursday, September 3, 2009

5 Questions with... Suzanne McLeod

This week, our ‘Five Questions with...’ features British writer Suzanne McLeod, author of the series of urban fantasy books, which so far includes The Sweet Scent of Blood and The Cold Kiss of Death. Besides her website, Suzanne also regularly writes on her blog.

1: What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on The Bitter Seed of Magic, Book 3 in my urban fantasy series. Genny Taylor, the main character, has got an eighty-year-old curse to crack; a couple of relatives who turn up and present her with a challenging (and blood-splattered) problem; and at least one murder to solve. My books are set in London, and some of the most fun I have when writing (apart from devising interesting, magical ways to kill people, and putting my characters in difficult and horrific situations) is choosing which parts of the city to set my stories in. Of course, then I have to have a day out in London to do the research – my next trip will be to the Tower of London, with maybe a detour via the shops... It’s a hard life being a writer sometimes :- ).

2: Who’s the best new writer you’ve come across recently?

Sadly, I’m not reading a lot of new authors just now, as most of my free time is given over to my own writing. And when I do read, I tend to choose authors I love and am familiar with – I have quite a long list – and catch up with their newest books. But the one book which hooked me recently is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. By about two thirds of the way in, I ended up desperate to know how the main character was going to get out of the problem she was in. I’m eagerly waiting to find out what happens next in Catching Fire.

3: Do you have any peculiar rituals you do before you start writing?

I make a cup of tea, bow down before the writing gods and ask for inspiration, and plug my brain directly into the computer... OK, no just kidding. I do start with a cup of tea, then I have a tweak and edit of the previous session’s writing to get me back into the story, and then slowly make more words. I work either on the computer or the laptop, depending on where I am – I’ve written on trains and in airports from necessity – but I prefer to do most of my writing at home, where it’s quiet, and the kettle’s handy for more cups of tea. But if anyone knows where I can get that direct brain/computer link, please get in touch.

4: Who’s your favourite literary character?

I think it’s a close call between Bram Stoker’s Dracula (as if you couldn’t guess that from someone who writes about vampires) and the Phouka – a shapeshifting faerie – from Emma Bull’s War for the Oaks. He’s a wonderful character full of contradictions and internal conflicts who grows and changes along with a great fantasy story.

5: If you could be anything else in the world, besides a writer, what would it be?

I’d love to be able to play the saxophone and sing. Unfortunately, I never got to grips with music, and I can’t carry a tune. Luckily for everyone else, I know it, so no one will ever be subjected to my – really embarrassing – musical attempts.


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