Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Interview with debut novelist Susan Spence

Today's guest is debut novelist Susan Spence to share a bit about her writing of A Story of the West.

Susan Spence has always been intrigued with life in the west in the 1880s. She researched historical accounts and first-person narratives as she prepared to write A Story of the West. A lifelong resident of the west, she currently lives in Montana on an old sheep shearing station that she shares with lots of furry critters, some domestic and others wild. This is her first novel, and she is busy working on a sequel due out in late spring.

Welcome, Susan. Please tell us about your current release.
A Story of the West is about a father and son who come to Montana driving a herd of cattle in the 1880s. They decide to settle on the frontier and start a ranch. With little law on the vast prairie, it was a free for all as speculators tried to claim as much land as possible to make money in the exploding cattle industry. Greed ran rampant and the little guy was frequently pushed aside. Some people who stood in the way were even killed during this time.

What inspired you to write this book?
I had never considered writing anything, but then I thought up the pivotal event in my hero’s life and decided to attempt writing a book around it. It was a decision about whether his life was worth living any longer, as he couldn’t see a way out of the situation he was in.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am currently finishing a sequel to A Story of the West. A fourth generation Daly is now running the ranch. With this latest generation comes new complications as the times “they are a changing.”

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I didn’t consider myself a writer as I was attempting to put A Story of the West on paper. It was just something I decided to try on a whim. As I was finishing it, I realized the story wasn’t complete. I guess I became a writer when I began the sequel.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I don’t write full-time. I live on a ranch, and there are always plenty of other things that need doing. Finding the time to write is definitely a matter of setting priorities and it’s really easy to get distracted. I finally just have to sit myself down and start writing.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
The fact that I can’t sit at the computer for extended periods of time, I guess could be considered a quirk. I take frequent breaks to move around and also to ponder.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
After watching Westerns on tv, my sister and I wanted to be ranchers because, to us, it meant galloping around on horses all day. I also wanted to be a ski racer.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I don’t know if anyone knows who is penning next best seller, but to me it’s about more than making money or being famous. When I’m sitting at the computer and I really connect with the story and feel like I nailed a part, it’s more than worth any aggravation.

Thank you for joining us today, Susan. Keep writing!

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