Monday, September 10, 2012

Walnut Springs Press Month: Spotlight on Susan Dayley and Interview

Spotlight on
Author Susan Dayley

Susan Dayley writes everyday; short stories, novels,, and her blog. She teaches whenever possible and is a former school teacher. She hikes mountain trails and is discovering slot canyons of the Southwestern United States. She loves gardening and rejoices everytime something grows. She also loves green smoothies, and her favorite companions are her husband, her granddaughter, and her children.

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Book Bug: Welcome to the Book Bug, Susan!

When and why did you begin writing?

Susan: Before I remember—by third grade I was turning reports into poems. Through the years I had teachers who encouraged me to publish, but never even attempted until my children were grown and I was an old lady—the eccentric type who sticks her tongue out at disjointed clouds and walks around the garden barefoot.

Book Bug: What book(s)/author(s) have influenced your life and writing?

Susan: I love the humor of Jane Austen, the passionate beliefs of Ayn Rand, the black and white / right and wrong of Sir Walter Scott and the brilliance of Tolkien. But this list morphs constantly.

Book Bug: I love Jane Austen and J.R.R. Tolkien is my favorite!

What is your favorite genre to read / write?

Susan: I love classics and romance. Only recently have I read more contemporary books, and I always go back to Dickens and company. 

My first book was the biblical story of Jonah. I am fascinated with the details of ancient times. I have shelved the story of Hezekiah, but have plans for it. By the time I researched these stories, I not just loved and respected the people who lived then, but in my head I could walk the ancient trade routes or streets of Jerusalem.

Now I write mystery / suspense filled with romance. I guess it’s a chick thing.

Book Bug: A woman after my own heart!

What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine?

Susan: I outline extensively and several versions. Then, research, write up characters, research, tweak, and begin writing. And research as I go. I rewrite a couple more times, send out to readers, rewrite, rewrite and stifle a scream into my pillow. Then I take a big breath and send to an editor. Then rewrite some more.

Routine? Definitely a good idea.

Book Bug: Do you ever suffer from writers block? If so, what do you do about it?

Susan: Not really. I don’t have time to not know what I’m going to write. When I’m not working on my works in progress, I am blogging or writing articles. One thing that helps is extensive outlining. Also, whenever I can, I’m thinking about what I’m going to write next. I go to sleep thinking about the next few scenes. I also think ahead to the next story. I have a trilogy in my head and another potential one that I pushed aside. I finally started to outline my next project (not the first one conceived) so that I could stop the mind chatter long enough to finish the rewrites on my current project. The only time I get stumped for what to write about is my blog. When I have a calendar, those come easy too. Last year I calendared a whole year of blog topics—3x’s per week—this year has been more difficult. Time to make my list again. 

Book Bug: I think you are the first author I have interviewed that said that! Good for you!

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Susan: Since it’s a multiple ending mystery—keeping track of all the clues and what happened in each possible plot line. Even with an outline I had to go back and reread often. 

Book Bug: What do you think are the most important elements of good writing?

Susan: Characters that the readers will become involved with so that they want to know what happens next in their lives. A good plot sequence is essential, as is bringing the setting alive, and a theme that touches the core of a person’s beliefs, but if the readers don’t like the protagonist, it doesn’t really matter.

Book Bug: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Susan: Hiking. In a perfect world, I’d hike every day. Or lie on my back in a meadow of wildflowers and find shapes in the clouds.

Book Bug: What book are you reading now?

Susan: Dr. Zhivago

Book Bug: What are your current / future projects?

Susan: Next year I have two multiple ending romance stories coming out. The first is a mystery and the second is suspense. I have begun outlining a trilogy that is also loaded with romance (single plot line), and filled with mysteries, but the twist is . . . wait! I’m not going to give it away yet! But it’s going to be intense!

Book Bug: I cannot wait!

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Susan: Keep learning. Don’t get discouraged. And it doesn’t matter how old you are, what you look like, or who you know. What matters are the words you put on a page.

Book Bug: Thanks so much for being at the Book Bug today! Looking forward to more great books from you!

Walnut Springs Press Book
by Susan Dayley
Title: Redemption: The Story of Jonah
Author: Susan Dayley
Release Date: January 2010
Publisher: Walnut Springs Press (Facebook | Twitter)
Genre: Historical Fiction
It is eighth century BC. No Hebrew will purposely venture into the Assyrian Empire, whose practice of barbarous slaughter casts a shadow of fear over all of Israel. But God calls Jonah, an Israelite prophet, to cry repentance to the evil empire's capital - the great and terrible city of Nineveh. Fearing the Assyrians and doubting the wisdom of the divine call, Jonah flees in the opposite direction. But in a series of miracles, God gives Jonah a second chance to obey.

Journey with Jonah in a wealth-laden ship of Tarshish, hear his prayers inside the belly of a great fish, witness his struggles working in a desert caravan, and feel his terror as he finally arrives in Nineveh. And while Jonah does eventually preach in the great city, the prophet still has some lessons to learn...

With historically accurate details, Redemption is a story of repentance, trust, and God's love for all his children.

Purchase the Book


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