Issue 4.1 – Interview

At the Same we love connecting readers with authors, and, today, we interviewed author, Susan Kite. We’re excited to introduce her books, My House of Dreams, The Mendel Experiment, Blue Fire, and Power Stone of Alogol, with readers around the world!

the Same: Tell us about yourself!

Susan Kite: I grew up all over. My dad was in the Army (making me an Army brat) and was given new assignments about every 4 years. When you are a kid, seeing all those new places was fun. Someone else got to do the packing and moving. Dad retired when IKite,Susan (1) was in high school. That was a totally new adventure. He wanted to go rural and there was nothing more rural than Paradise, Utah. I attended Utah State University and received degrees in education; secondary English and Instructional Media. I married while I was living in Wyoming and after a few years we moved to Tennessee. Pretty much been here ever since. Our children (boy and a girl) have grown, married and moved to distant climes. I am happy to say that I retired last May and am loving it.

tS: Tell us about your journey to becoming an author. How did you come to be a writer? Have you always wanted to write?

SK: I think I have always enjoyed making up stories, using my imagination. I would play with toy cowboys and Indians outside a lot, making up adventures. I tried poetry when I was in high school, wrote essays. I did enjoy writing new “episodes” for some of my favorite TV characters as I was raising my kids. When I got my first computer, I discovered fan fiction and never looked back. I have written consistently in four fandoms with excursions into several other shows. My website (www.bookscape.net) kind of proves just how prolific I was in those days.

tS: Have you ever had to struggle for your voice to be heard? Tell us about that.

SK: Oh, yes. The transition between fan fiction and publishable fiction can be very 36737_132912030071024_7379799_ndifficult, at least it was for me. (Unless you do Star Wars or Star Trek, fan fiction isn’t very marketable.) In fan fiction you are using the original characters that someone has already made up. Sure you give them more depth, most of the time, but it was hard for me to come up with viable, living and breathing characters that people would want to read about and feel empathy for. I still struggle with that.

tS: What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

SK: I had written my first book, My House of Dreams. It was based loosely on real events. 4727cvrI set it aside, thinking I could never get it published. I gave it to my computer teacher to read. She came back and told me that if I didn’t get that book published, she would be very disappointed in me. At the same time I did a little more research and found a lexicon of Luiseño words. I had randomly picked the main Indian character’s name a year or two earlier, but found that Noki meant ‘my house’. That was a very powerful moment; something that told me what I had written was very important.

tS: What was your favorite book as a young girl?

SK: I loved to read all sorts of things, but loved the Black Stallion books. Exciting stuff! One thing I will say is that there wasn’t as much choice as there is today.

tS: Which female authors have most influenced you as a writer?

SK: That’s easy. Andre Norton, her sixties and seventies science fiction. (Alice Mary Norton was her real name; hard to sell books with that name in the late forties and fifties). Her Beastmaster, the Janus books, Time Trader books. All wonderful. Anne McCaffrey was another terrific author. Her Pern novels were terrific. (And they were science fiction, not fantasy, as some would claim, despite having dragons.)

tS: Tell us about one female author we may not have heard of whom you think we ought to read.

SK: Again, Andre Norton is one most people have not heard of. If we are talking about more recent and for younger kids, then I would have to nominate Judy Schachner. Her Skippyjon Jones has been everywhere his closet has allowed him to go; Egypt, space, old Mexico, time of the dinosaurs, etc.

tS: Tell us about your books.

SK: My House of Dreams is a fictionalized account of the beginning of the Mission San MENDEL EXPERIMENT 3D BOOK COVERLuis Rey and the interaction between Father Antonio Peyri and an Indian boy. The Mendel Experiment and its two sequels are about a group of mutant young people who were genetically created human beings (or are they?) sent to live on a world that is deadly to normal humans. Mendel and Blue Fire are more about Corree finding her own identity and obtaining freedom for her fellow mutants on Mendel. Power Stone of Alogol has Corree traveling off Mendel to find out why someone wants one of the members of her family so badly they are willing to kidnap him.

tS: Tell us about the process of writing your books.

SK: My House of Dreams started after a couple of visits to the mission (for Zorro reunions) and researching. It pretty much told itself based on a few vague historical accounts. The setting was established, history was pretty established. Even one of the characters (Fr. Peyri) was a real person.  Mendel began as the remnants of a dream. It was harder because I was creating something unknown; world building. Again, the stories kind of told themselves. I am pretty much a “pantser”. I have a basic idea of where I want to go, but when I actually sit down to write, the characters may demand I travel a different path. That was the way Mendel was. I knew I wanted a freedom resolution, but most of what came in the middle came as I was writing. I have tried doing outlines, but most of the time that doesn’t work for me.

tS: Did writing your book change you as a woman? What did you learn?

SK: I realized that this was something I could actually do! When I started writing fan 2015-06-24 07.46.13fiction and people emailed me telling me they thought the characters had new dimension and the stories were riveting, I was amazed at the power writing could have. After several years I wanted to have that same experience writing new, original characters because I felt these people would have a more original voice than those from a TV show. Most women writers in the early years wrote male characters (Norton did). I started out that way as well, but I have found great satisfaction in my character Corree in the Mendel novels. She is tough, flexible, and very, very caring about her friends and their freedom. I guess you could call her a kick-butt woman.

If you enjoyed getting to know Susan as much as we did, make sure to connect with her on social media and online!

Don’t forget Susan’s books as you are shopping for the holidays. They make great holiday gifts. You can find them here!

 

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