I am delighted to have a personal friend and member of my lovely Crit group UCW on my blog today with her brand new YA release North: The Lycans.
Riley Olssen is a born and bred Lycan who lives in the quiet suburbs of Valdez, Alaska. Her life is simple: she goes to school, comes home, and shifts in the forest behind her home. When her father receives word that his brother has died, they must return to his home in Sweden to take care of the pack Davin left behind.
Soon after they arrive, Riley realizes there is much more to the small town than she'd ever expected. She discovers that the Lycans are not the only creatures to hide behind a human façade. Falling in love with the wrong Lycan is only one of the problems she encounters. In one day, her life is forever changed, and she must discover her own inner strength because all signs seem to point to a war heading her way.
Please give a warm welcome to Suzanne Fuller!
Hey Suz, great to have you here J
Hiya Doris! It's great to be here! I'm very excited.
Make yourself all comfy like.
Oh dear, I needed permission? *quietly places feet back on floor from being on table*
Q. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I sure can! I'm a 26 year old author and currently living in Central Scotland. I've been married for 2 ½ years but have been with my husband for 8 ½ years! We have three mental cats, which always make for an interesting day. I lived in the U.S. for ten years, where I discovered my love for Creative Writing.
Q. What made you write ‘this’ story?
I had a dream about the Series, which is entitled "North". A group of kids aged between sixteen-eighteen, stranded in a winter wasteland with only the aurora to light their way in the dark. I could feel an evil presenting itself to them, but I could not see what that evil was…when I woke up I had Riley Olssen, a sixteen-year-old Lycan from Valdez, Alaska demanding I write her story. I tried to ignore her as I had other things going at the time, but she was relentless, so here I am!
Q. Did you always want to write YA?
No. Not because I don't enjoy YA. In fact, I read quite a lot of YA books, some of which have put themselves on my favourites list. I only didn't attempt because of the strict rules and guidelines you have to follow. I'm not one for staying inside the box. But as you read above, I didn't have much choice. Pesky characters… ;)
LOL, I hear you. Those characters have a mind of their own, for sure.
Q. Tell us about your cover.
Ohhhh! My cover! *squee* I LOVE my cover! Anyone who knows me knows how picky I am…to the point of being just a plain nuisance (don't roll your eyes at me Mrs O'Connor!). Victoria Miller from Lycaon Press has truly outdone herself. When I look at it, I can see my dream all over again, and Riley is perfect. Also, pay close attention to the Aurora in the background. You might see something you didn't before. ;)
Q. Describe a typical day’s writing for us
I'm a creature of habit, much like many other authors out there. I wake up, do my morning stretches as I recall my dreams (to see if there's anything worth jotting down…you just never know!), make myself a nice tall cup of strong tea with a splash of milk, enjoy my morning cigarette (nasty habit, I know…) and sit down at my Mac. The daily calls of life unfortunately knock me out of place more often than not, so I write whenever I can. As long as my characters haven't gone silent on me. They can be buggers like that!
A trick to get you going quickly is to stop mid paragraph. NOT at the end of a chapter or chapter-break. It pulls you back in much faster than having to come up with yet ANOTHER good first sentence, when you're not quite in the right frame of mind, yet.
Q. What inspires you?
Everything! When I'm forced to leave my Mac and the house I love to people-watch. Everyone is different and it's the perfect way to pick up habits you may never have thought of. I also cannot write without music. If I have a story in mind, characters there, setting there, I make a playlist that would suit the atmosphere I want to create. It puts my brain in the right place. I also make character playlists. It might sound sad but when a character shuts up, put on some of their favourite music and you'd be surprised how quickly they come out of hiding…well…some of them, anyway.
I also find inspiration in images. The two sites I visit most would be Pinterest and deviantArt. Be warned, they contain what I like to call 'the-writers-blackhole-of-death'. You'll lose yourself very easily if you're not careful.
Q. If you weren’t a writer what would you be?
A zoologist. Definitely. I love animals. I think it'd be incredible to work with primates, especially Lemurs. They're so fascinating! Take a look at an Aye-aye and tell me that is not a mystical creature!
Q. Do your characters ever surprise you?
All the time! In fact, I'm currently working on the second story in the "North" Series, "The Wardens". Arabella is stubborn and around ten-thousand words into the Manuscript she decides that she's not going the way I'd planned. She'll do what she likes or she'll shut up forever. *facepalm*
We might create these characters, but we certainly don't have control over them. Once they're there, they're there. But, thanks to Ara I've realized that I'm a panster, not a plotter.
Yeah, with you there.
Q. What could not do without when you’re writing?
Coffee, tea, music in my earphones, and no disturbances. If I look like I'm in a trance, it's for a reason!
Q. What words of wisdom do you have for the aspiring authors out there?
Never give up! I know the whole thing sounds terrifying. You're sending your child into the world for others to judge. It's never easy, but I promise it's all worth the hard work and stress.
I'd also recommend you find a good and truthful critique group to work with or a good friend (not spouse…unless you want an early divorce) to read your work. None of us ever like our own work, for the most part. It's your own words and you'll find things you hate everywhere if you look too often. A fresh pair of eyes is the best solution.
Q. Where do you see yourself in ten year’s time?
Well, in my dreams I see myself at a beach-house in Northern California or a cabin in the woods somewhere in Sweden. Or both, why not, right? This is MY fantasy after all! And of course, my nose will still be stuck in my Mac, writing til the day I die.
Q. Do you have a favourite quote?
" Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before." – Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe is a legend anyway, but this quote is beautiful and really…perfect.
Q. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?
Unfortunately. But more often than not it's a silent character. If I have more than one story on the go I can usually work on the other while the previous starts speaking again.
Q. What other books can your readers look forward to?
Well, as I said before I'm working on the next North Novella "The Wardens". I hope to see that coming out soon, too.
Myself and fellow YA author J Lilley have just signed a contract for our Scottish-Mythlore Series entitled "The Daihlredhe". Look for the first "Myth" sometime in the Autumn/Winter of this year.
Q. And finally can you share an excerpt with us?
I'd be delighted to! J
The line began to move, and once I handed my ticket to the flight attendant to rip, I barreled down the Jetway, making a few passengers uncomfortable as it swayed under us, and practically fell in the door of the plane. Two men were checking seat numbers. One of them giggled at me, the other rolled his eyes. I beamed as brightly as I could at them–the most fake smile I have–and ran to my seat. 32F, window seat behind the wing. The seats were well cushioned and there was a sufficient amount of leg room, although I wondered how my six-foot-four father would fare for nine hours.
I strapped myself in, kicked my backpack under the seat and waited for mom to give me my book, a new Jeff Lindsay thriller, and sit down next to me. Dad always took the aisle so he could stretch out. The engine roared to life and mom held my hand, knowing that my nerves would be racking up by then. I might be eager, but take off always terrifies me.
I see a red door, and I want it painted black.
Singing a song in my head always seemed to calm my nerves. We were on the runway now, moving forward. The engines roared again and my heart kicked into overdrive. Sweat seeped from everywhere, and I gripped mom's hand even tighter.
No colors anymore, I want them to turn black.
We were moving fast, the seat belt sign blinked a few thousand times, and I scrunched my eyes shut. The plane tipped up, the floor beneath us shook, and I could hear my breath echoing in my ears. Midnight woke up, her whines turned to growls, and soon I was struggling to keep her in. My chest burst into flame as I sensed her trying to escape. I looked at mom, who had been watching me from the moment we took off. She looked worried, and I panicked. I unbuckled and shuffled past mom and dad and, clutching my chest, my nails already in transition, I ran to the bathroom.
"Hey! We're still in takeoff! You can't get up!" The flight attendant said and tried to grab me. I ripped my arm from his grasp. Midnight growled, the flight attendant cowered, and I locked myself in the bathroom. Sliding against the door, I pushed Midnight down and tried to tell her to stop, but she wouldn't listen.
I shifted. 10,000 feet in the air, a black wolf squeezed into a tiny box.
Shit! Midnight, stop! Not now, dammit!
The plane began to shake and jump, and with my paws outstretched I slammed into every wall at least a dozen times. I tried to turn, but my head just got wedged between the door and the sink.
This has to be the smallest damn bathroom ever!
"Are you all right in there, miss?" A man said from the other side of the door and knocked.
Double shit! Now what am I going to do?
The seat belt sign went off with a ding. There was a rustling outside the door and muffled voices. Mom was coming to our rescue. We could smell her, and then her motherly voice spoke to us.
"Riley? Are you all right, darlin'?"
Midnight whined but I managed to muffle most of it and force her to sit back.
"Think of the snow between your feet," she whispered so only we would hear. "Think of the lands you can run wild in when we get there."
Midnight latched to that thought and started to let me regain control over my body. She retracted slowly, and I curled in a ball next to the door, naked as the day I was born and staring at my torn clothes as if I could mend them together with my mind. I slid the lock along for mom, and she sneaked inside, a change of clothes and shoes at the ready. She smiled sweetly and rubbed my shoulder.
"Don't worry, honey. You'll gain control of her soon." She kissed my forehead and helped me clean up.
I would like to take a quick second to talk about the Interactive YA Blog, Dark & Dusk, myself and J Lilley have put together. We are launching this week and are still looking for young (14-18 years old) writers, reviewers to join our ranks! If so please contact myself and J at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lycaon link: http://www.lycaonpress.com/index.php?main_page=product_free_shipping_info&cPath=1&products_id=6
My website: http://suzannefuller.weebly.com/books.html
Dark & Dusk Interactive YA Blog: http://darkanddusk.blogspot.com
Thanks for stopping by Suz!
Suzanne has kindly agreed to hold a giveway. Just leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of this great story!