The Writing Life of: Suzanne Rogerson
This week I am thrilled to be interviewing author Suzanne Rogerson, who will be sharing with us details of her writing life, telling us all about her new book ‘Fantasy Short Stories: From the worlds of Visions of Zarua and Silent Sea Chronicles‘, which was released on 8th April 2022, and answering a few fun questions. This post contains affiliate links.
Suzanne Rogerson lives in Middlesex, England with her husband, two teenagers, a crazy cocker spaniel and an adopted cat that thinks she’s the boss.
Her writing journey began at the age of twelve when she completed her first novel. She discovered the fantasy genre in her late teens and has never looked back. Giving up work to raise a family gave Suzanne the impetus to take her attempts at novel writing beyond the first draft, and she is lucky enough to have a husband who supports her dream – even if he does occasionally hint that she might think about getting a proper job one day.
She loves gardening and has a Hebe (shrub) fetish. She enjoys cooking with ingredients from the garden and regularly feeds unsuspecting guests vegetable-based cakes.
Suzanne collects books, is interested in history and enjoys wandering around castles and old ruins whilst being immersed in the past. She loves to escape with a great film, binge watch TV shows, or soak in a hot bubble bath with an ice cream and a book.
1) Did you enjoy writing when you were a child?
I’ve always loved writing. In junior school I created a series of books about a girl and her pet lion, and I wrote my first young adult novel at the age of 12. Writing was the only job I ever wanted to do.
2) Which author shaped your childhood?
Growing up I devoured books in a lot of different genres. I wasn’t fussy about what authors I read, though I particularly loved the Sweet Valley High series and The Animals of Farthing Wood. It wasn’t until my late teens that I discovered the fantasy genre and that’s when authors like David Gemmell and Robin Hobb made me want to create my own heroic stories.
3) What motivated you to begin your first novel?
I can’t remember what sparked my 12-year-old self to write that first novel, but the girl with the lion was now 15 and the lion had turned into an Alsatian. Now she was experimenting with boyfriends and alcohol and dealing with teen pregnancy rather than walking her pet lion in the park.
4) Do you plot your book, or are you a pantser?
I’m definitely a panster!
I enjoy the process of picking up pen and paper and seeing what turns up. I write myself into the story and get to know the characters as I go along. It might not be the fastest way to write and can lead to problems down the line, but it’s exciting to work this way.
However, I’m now trying to outline my novels to see if it makes the writing process run more smoothly. I want to release books quicker so planning them in advance makes sense. I will just have to wait and see if this new method works for me.
5) What is your average writing day?
I think about writing from the moment I wake up until I go to sleep, and that is when my mind finally decides to shut down for the day and let me sleep. I’m free to write most days after I have walked the dog, but unless I have some form of deadline I’m not as disciplined sitting down at my desk as I should be.
When I’m at the creating stage, I prefer to write long hand in beautiful notebooks and can write anywhere – in bed, in the car, in the garden or summerhouse. Then I type it up and start the second stage of editing on the laptop, where I add scenes and details. I’m one of those writers who builds up the word count, rather than cuts it. That is until the final stage where I need to weed out those crutch words that sneak into the prose.
Whatever stage of writing I’m at, I do have a bad habit of being inspired at the wrong time – when dinner needs cooking, the washing machine is beeping, or I should be going to bed!
6) What is the best thing about being an author?
I love those magical moments when the ideas are flowing and I can’t stop writing even though my wrist is hurting and I’m desperate for a wee!
Reading reviews is also a real high point for me – nothing beats that feeling of knowing a reader has connected with my story and loves my characters as much as I do.
From the worlds of Visions of Zarua and Silent Sea Chronicles
Pages – 85
Release Date – 8th April 2022
Format – ebook
A collection of stories featuring favourite characters from Visions of Zarua and ‘Silent Sea Chronicles’, plus a glimpse into the new series, ‘Starlight Prophecy’.
With an assassin picking off wizards one-by-one, Kalesh visits Cassima, a former student, hoping to persuade her to re-join the Royal Wizards and use their protection to keep her family safe.
Kalesh’s newest charge, Paddren, has strange visions which link to a past event known only to a select few. The knowledge hidden in Paddren’s visions is invaluable so Kalesh must guard the boy at any cost.
Can Kalesh keep his students off the assassin’s radar long enough for his order to stop the killer?
Garrick the Protector
Fifteen-year-old Garrick is helping at his uncle’s farm when his cousin’s illegal use of magic threatens the family’s safety.
Mara is in immediate danger from the Assembly who deem all magic as a threat. The only safe place for her is the Turrak Mountains where exiled mystics have found sanctuary alongside the island’s Sentinel.
Can Garrick get Mara to safety before the Assembly catch up with them?
Conscripted to fight off raiders, Calder finds the months of bloody battle unleash a sixth sense buried inside him.
Finally released from duty, he travels home and encounters a mysterious woman who insists his life is destined to serve a higher purpose. Calder rejects her claims, wanting only to return to a simple existence with his wife.
But can Calder pick up his old life when the powers within him have been stirred? And why does he feel such misgivings about his return?
All three stories give readers a tantalising glimpse into the fantasy worlds created by Suzanne Rogerson.
Purchase Online From:
Suzanne’s book, The Lost Sentinel – book 1 in the Silent Sea Chronicles is currently free on Amazon until the 3rd July 2022. Grab your copy quick!
7) How did you go about researching the content for your book?
My latest book, Fantasy Short Stories, is a collection of short stories based in the worlds of my fantasy novels so there was no research required – unless you count reading my own books to make sure I have all the facts right!
8) How long did it take to go from the ideas stage to writing the last word?
I have been meaning to write a collection of stories for several years, but I decided in 2021 to go for it. The draft stage was very quick but then I had several rounds of edits before receiving beta readers comments, which led to yet more edits. I’d say it was about a year before I hit publish in April 2022, but that was not working on these stories exclusively.
9) What made you choose the genre you write in?
I am a character driven writer and I love the heroic side of human nature, that’s what attracted me to fantasy. Characters are at their most heroic when they have everything to lose and face impossible odds. The fantasy genre lends itself to bringing out the best and the worst in people.
10) How did you come up with the name(s) for your lead character(s)?
I write down names I like the look of and play around with the letters to make them sound more like a fantasy character.
For The Guardian, Kalesh instantly sounded like a wizard’s name, while Paddren (the young boy he is trying to protect from an assassin) had a few variations before I hit the jackpot.
In Garrick the Protector I just happened to write down the name as I wrote a scene and it fitted my hero perfectly.
War Wounds main character Calder was another name I jotted down whilst writing the scene and it worked. His nemesis, Zelia, was a different story. She had many name changes before I settled on this one.
11) Can you give us an insight into your characters?
Each main character in this collection goes on a journey that’s both physical and of self-discovery.
Kalesh is a big influence in Visions of Zarua though he’s never seen. In this story readers get to know Kalesh as he learns what he must sacrifice to protect the future and follow his vows as a Guardian.
Garrick is a protector from The Lost Sentinel. He is one of my favourite characters, so it was wonderful to write his origin story and show how he became the ultimate hero all my readers love.
Calder plays an integral role in the Starlight Prophecy series and in this story we see the life changing affects war has on him and the choices that will shape his life later on.
12) How did you feel when you had completed your book?
I was so happy to finish Fantasy Short Stories and finally publish something again!
Over the last few years I’ve flitted between writing romance and undertaking a huge rewrite of my latest fantasy series, Starlight Prophecy, which has meant I haven’t had the opportunity to publish anything. I’ve really missed it, so the experience with this collection has been great.
1) Do you have a favourite quote?
I’m not that sort of person, but possibly ‘Life is what you make of it’.
2) Do you have any pets?
I have a crazy Cocker Spaniel. She’s adorable and likes to keep me company when I write, but only in the hopes that I’ll throw the ball for her.
During the lockdown we were adopted by a neighbour’s cat. She wasn’t happy living in a house full of kids and her owners were happy for us to take her in. Now she rules this place and chases the dog, who is not too thrilled with the new addition to the family.
3) What are you currently reading?
I’ve read a lot of romance over the last few years, but I want to get back into fantasy. I’m in the middle of some indie author series that I really want to finish; Talis Jones’ Fifth Sun urban fantasy series, Emma Miles Fire-Walker series and I’ve been wanting to read May Day by Josie Jaffrey since I came across it in the BBNYA 2021 competition.
My Goodreads TBR list has over 620 books, so after that I have plenty to choose from.
4) Your book has been made into a movie, you’ve been offered a cameo role, what will you be doing?
I’d be a young mystic swept to safety by the hunky and handsome protector, Garrick. His cousin Mara would show me around the magical Turrak Mountains where my magic would be celebrated rather than hated and feared. I’d walk around in a daze, enjoying the magic of the exile stronghold.
5) If you could travel to a fictional world from any book for the day, which would you choose?
That is such a difficult question but inspired by the last answer I would like to go to the island of Kalaya from my own Silent Sea Chronicles and join the exiles in the Turrak Mountains. I love the concept of the land and its people working in harmony and the magic being so integral to the world that even those without the gift can feel its specialness. If only such a place could exist.
6) There’s a penguin sitting in your chair, what’s the first thing he says to you?
“Oi, forget about the cooking and the washing. Get your arse back in this chair and get to work! I was just keeping the seat warm for you.”
A big thank you to Suzanne Rogerson for sharing her writing life with us and for a wonderful interview.