The Another Saturday Night Poet 2015 AUTHOR SUZIE CARR


Welcome all. Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing the author (Suzie Carr) Hi I am Ocean C Poet, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background? A little about me… Well, I admire the beauty of life’s curves and enjoy writing books about some of the most interesting ones. My biggest motto in life is: To move forward, I need to shake things up and get out of my comfort zone. So, I am constantly looking for ways to grow and stretch beyond what’s comfy. What were you like at school? I was shy, self-conscious, and way too worried what other people thought of me. I wish I would’ve focused less on that kind of stuff and more on personal enrichment. Were you good at English? I like to think so. What are your ambitions for your writing career? To continue learning and growing. I love researching new topics and bringing them to life in my books. Which writers inspire you? Jeannette Walls because she’s brilliant and Paulo Cohelo because he makes me stop every other sentence to reflect on his wisdom. So, what have you written? (*Include books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest.) Novels: The Fiche Room, Two Feet off the Ground, Tangerine Twist, Inner Secrets, A New Leash on Life, The Muse, Staying True, The Journey Somewhere, and Sandcastles. Short Story: Snowflakes Audio Book on Audible/ITunes/Amazon: The Muse How-To: Writer’s Insights 5SUZIE CARR PHOTO 5 Where can we buy or see them? (* include American, European and any other relevant links. Free, free promotions or prices can be included) Best place to view all of them is on my site: I have links to all major online retailers from that page. What are you working on at this very minute? What’s it about? (*if relevant) I am researching for my next novel, The Dance, due out in November 2015. What genre are your books? Lesbian Fiction/Contemporary Fiction What draws you to this genre? I love writing about the twists and turns of life and watching my characters learn their around obstacles and triumph in the end. I also enjoy adding an element of romance to each story because I think the love between two women is beautiful. SUZIE CARR 2 PHOTO USE Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book? I’ll reference Sandcastles on this one: Lia: Evangeline Lilly Willow: Kaley Cuoco Dean: Adhir Kalyan How much research do you do? I enjoy hands-on research. For instance with Sandcastles I dove into learning about holistic healing by trying acupuncture, Reiki, and naturopathy. For my upcoming, The Dance, I’m delving into the world of bees. And the next one after that I will be intensifying my experience with scuba diving. These are all brand new experiences for me, so these stories are brimming with newness. No story line is alike, and thus the characters are unique too. The research and then the characters teach me about life, allowing me to see this new world through their eyes. Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers? No. I would not enjoy that, to be honest. 10SUZIE CARR PHOTO 10 When did you decide to become a writer? I decided I wanted to be a professional writer when I was in college. As part of my major, Public Speaking and Communications, I had to research topics and discuss them. A very tough college professor urged me to submit my writing to magazines. She drove me hard, and then lifted me in confidence. Call it a challenge, but I decided I would one day become that writer she saw in me. I wouldn’t rest until I did. It took me a few years to finally land my first professional writing job. Why do you write? I love the process of inventing and escaping into my characters’ lives. I enjoy delving into their past and figuring out their flaws, their triumphs, their motives. These characters take me on a ride. They often take over the keyboard and send me reeling on journeys I didn’t even think of in the development stage. This process is fascinating to me. They come alive on my screen and what I planned to write, sometimes gets crossed out and rewritten by an outside force that is far greater than my own creativity. I can’t imagine a life without writing. 9SUIZE CARR 9 What made you decide to sit down and actually start something? I’ll speak from my experience of writing a novel. I studied novel writing like I was studying for the bar exam prior to ever writing a single word of fiction. I wanted to learn everything I could. Then one day, a friend of mine brainstormed a story with me as we worked together filing financial statements. The idea of The Fiche Room was born. I’ve never stopped since. Do you write full-time or part-time? I run my publishing company like a true business. I work at it for about 5-8 hours daily, every day. This includes not only writing novels, but vlogging, blogging, financials, strategic planning, marketing, design, managing sub-contractors, recording audio books, editing audio books, and all the little things that are equally as critical as the bog ones to being profitable and effective. 11258690_10204360030829521_638020090_n Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured? My creative hour is early. I rise at 2:30 a.m. daily, and once I exercise and walk my dog, Bumblebee, it’s off to my home office to work for several hours before I go off to my day job as a marketing professional. Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when? At a minimum 6 days a week. 4SUZIE CARR PHOTO 4 Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day? When I’m in first draft mode, I aim for 2000 words a day. Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand? Computer, though I take many random notes on a notepad. That notepad is my companion for the 4-6 months it takes me to write my first draft. Where do your ideas come from? Real life. I take every good and bad experience, learn the lessons, and conjure up ways to turn it into believable fiction. 11258587_10204360030709518_572763549_n How do you think you’ve evolved creatively? One creative moment at a time. It’s taken me years to figure out a system of tapping into my creativity. That system consists of deep meditation. What is the hardest thing about writing? Having to stop mid-thought to deal with everyday life. When I’m in a character’s head, I want to stay there. What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? Sandcastles – Maintaining a comedic tone under the serious issues I uncovered in the book. 11225865_10204360030669517_282144465_n What is the easiest thing about writing? Getting into my character’s head. How long on average does it take you to write a book? Typically 4 months for a first draft, then another month or two in subsequent drafts. Then beta readers provide feedback and I refine for another month. And then my editor provides feedback and that’s another month. When it’s all said and done, about 10 months. 11257615_10204360030549514_116928059_n Do you ever get writer’s block? Most of us do. I rely on tested solutions to pull me through. Free writing is a big one. Meditation is the next. Journaling as my character is a third. One of those always works. Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block? I’ve got a whole book I’ve written that goes into great detail on this subject (Writer’s Insights). I’ve also blogged a few times on it ( The three I listed above are my go-to’s. 11281913_10204360030589515_1463755229_n Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors. I believe it’s important for a writer to be well-read. I have a non-fiction and fiction book going at all times. I set aside 15 minutes daily to read. It’s not much, but it’s something (smiles). Jeannette Walls and Paulo Cohelo are my favorites. For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books? E-books as my eyes don’t get as tired when reading, and I don’t have to fiddle with a book light! SUZIE CARR 13 What book or books are you reading at present? Mother by Gokey (brilliant) and Bee Time: Lessons from the Hive by Mark L. Winston (research for my novel, The Dance, and a fascinating look into the world of bees. A leading honeybee expert, Marla Spivak, recommended Winston’s book for research purposes. It’s an invaluable resource and bringing me major insights. Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit? I write my first draft, second draft and subsequent drafts all in a row, nonstop. Once it goes off to beta readers, I take that time to reflect on it and rework troubling areas. Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about. I design all my covers. (I’m a marketing professional with a background in graphic design.) I always try to capture the theme of the book in them, and I aim for a consistent look across each one for branding purposes. Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process? No doubt on that one. If a cover looks cheesy, I personally won’t buy it. It’s got to be compelling and appealing. 13SUZIE CARR 13 How are you publishing this book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both) I independently publish all of my books under my publishing company Sunny Bee Books, LLC. I prefer having full control over the process. That being said, I invest heavily in ensuring the process is professional. I am surrounded by a team of talented people who help get my books to the level of professionalism they need to compete. What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around? Advantages are that the writer has full control over every part of the process. She enjoys the full royalty payment and final say over editorial and design. She can set the release date herself, avoiding long lag times between book releases. She also retains full access to all records, sale insights, etc. Disadvantages: ALL promotions fall on her. And to form a readership, one must promote. Also, when not published with a traditional publisher, a writer does not have ability to sell in major brick and mortar book retailers such as Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, etc. It’s also difficult to attract popular book reviewers to read and review your book if not backed by a major publisher. How do you market your books? Why did you choose this route? What’s your views on social media for marketing? Which social network worked best for you? Any tips on what to do and what not to do? I am all over social media. It is my greatest marketing vehicle. It is relatively inexpensive (though, even if you’re not investing advertising dollars, you’re spending valuable time) and the most robust method of meeting and interacting with readers across the world. I am on all major social media networks, and I post often. I am very active. I also have ads running on targeted websites. I post videos, I blog, I create quotes, and offer writing tips to curate content that is valuable to my readers. I have a professionally designed website that is robust and capable of maintaining a blog platform and a lead generation tool to help build a contact list allowing me to stay in touch with readers. Twitter is by far my most effective social media platform. My Google Analytics report confirms this. I curate a lot of content and post it often to Twitter. I also enjoy Facebook, YouTube, Google +, Goodreads, Instagram, and Pinterest. I go into great detail about these platforms in my book Writer’s Insights. Biggest tip is you must maintain a consistent presence, and not just on one platform… but several. Create a posting schedule and stick to it. Use tools like Tweetdeck to schedule Twitter. Create a Facebook Fan Page to schedule posts and access strong marketing tools not available with just a personal account, and most important, curate content that is valuable to your readers. 70 SUZIE CARR What do you think of “trailers” for books? Do you have a trailer for your own book/s? (* please provide a link to trailer if you have one) I’ve created a few for my books, and I’ve gotten a couple thousand hits on them. That being said, I’ve received little interaction on the trailers (not many comments). So, it’s hard to gauge for me. It’s also hard to measure the effectiveness of them, as my trailers usually point directly to my Amazon page to purchase. So, I can’t measure whether someone is taking action on that trailer or not because Amazon doesn’t provide tracking data to its authors. They are relatively inexpensive to produce, so I say why not if you’ve got the skillset to produce them? Inner Secrets: Staying True: The Muse: 20SUZIE CARR 20 Do you think that giving books away free works and if so why? I think like any marketing strategic action, offering free giveaways works nicely as part of the promotional equation. I often do giveaways. I offer them in exchange for honest reviews. I offer them to generate buzz on my social media accounts. I offer them to generate awareness about a new book or to revitalize an older book. I also enjoy rewarding generous supporters with a free book. I’ve had wonderful success giving away free copies, and I will continue to do them on my social media platforms. Did you format your own book? Yes. I follow the style guides of Createspace, Kindle and Smashwords very closely. In what formats is your book available? Print, e-book, and The Muse in audio. How do you relax? Meditate, walking my furbabies, and cooking. What is your favorite motivational phrase. “It’s not over until I say it’s over.” Les Brown What is your favorite positive saying? No excuses. What is your favorite book and why? The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. This novel touched me on so many emotional levels. I learned a great deal about life and culture through the characters. The author had a special way of transporting me right into the story in such a way that I felt every bump, every moment of joy, and every taste of the bittersweet truths we all experience on one level or another as human beings. 40 SUZIE CARR What is your favorite quote? “Get busy living, or get busy dying.” The Shawshank Redemption What is your favorite film and why? The Shawshank Redemption. I’m fascinated with the strength and perseverance of these characters. Where there is hope, there is a way. That message is one I cherish and carry with me every single day of my life. Where can you see yourself in 5 years time? Living in a warmer climate! I’m tired of winter! Then, if all is in favor, I would like to travel to learn about the world and share my findings in future stories. What advice would you give to your younger self? To start learning my craft instead of wasting my youth on needless worry about fitting in with people who I won’t even know in five years time. That, and good vibes to others instead of waiting on others to spread it to me. 50M SUZIE CARR Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why? Paulo Cohelo. He’s my favorite author. I’d love to hear bits of wisdom from him. If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? The Zahir by Cohelo. I adored this book. I loved the life lessons and the spot-on characterizations and intense feelings. Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included? I have a free Writer’s Insights Video Series. I also am giving away free copies of my audio book, Inner Secrets, to anyone who signs up to receive my bi-monthly newsletters. These are both accessible via my site: How can readers discover more about you and you work? Visit my site and blog: Facebook: Twitter: Linkedin: Pinterest: Google +: Amazon Author Page: Smashwords: Book Links: Goodreads: Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to part take in this interview 30 S CARR

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