Suzanne Kelman is a fellow author in Amazon’s Lake Union Publishing group, the “Lovely Ladies of the Lake” as she has christened us. The Rejected Writers’ Book Club will be released on March 29th and I can’t wait to read it.
When you read Suzanne’s work her humour shines through and when you talk to her it’s contagious. She and author KJ Waters have a regular podcast, Blondie And The Brit and I was delighted to be a guest with them last month. There was a lot of laughter!
PS ~ Congratulations on the upcoming release (March 29th) of your first novel, The Rejected Writers’ Book Club! I’ve pre-ordered my copy! Please tell us a bit about the story and how you came to write it.
SK ~ The Rejected Writers’ Book Club started out as a screenplay. I began writing the script but the more I worked on it, the more I realized I needed to delve into the characters in a much deeper fashion than is possible in 110 pages of a movie script. So, I decided to play with it, and for fun, I took on the 2013 Na-Na-Wri-Mo challenge. On a dark, stormy, November, night the Book Club was born.
The story came about because I had noticed there was a lot of shame around writers and rejection. I went to a book signing once, and the author started the reading by tipping all his rejection letters from publishers onto the table to demonstrate the length of his path to publication. I was very impressed, and it was liberating for the writers around me. After that, I always had the hankering to write about celebrating rejection. It is a part of the path to publication, and each letter proves a writer was brave enough to send their work out into the world.
PS ~ You have an impressive background in screenwriting, Suzanne. How did you get involved in that?
SK ~ Another interesting story. My background is originally in theater, and similar to my novel writing career, I became a screenwriter by accident. I was writing a stage play that wouldn’t lie down and be staged. Are you beginning to see a pattern? Anyway, the longer I worked on it as a stage play, the harder time I was having staging it, as I kept visualizing it on a movie screen. I was talking to my writing mentor about my frustrations, and he said, “why don’t you just write it as a screenplay, instead?” And I thought, why not.
I knew nothing about screenwriting, so I started from the bottom. I literally went to “Utube University” and typed in “How to write a screenplay” and went from there. What happened after that was love at first draft. I realized something vital about myself on the pages of that first script; it was that I wrote in pictures. The jump from the page to the screen was a wonderfully freeing experience for me. After that, I devoured everything I could about screenwriting, and I have gone on to write many more.
PS ~ Do you have a preference between writing screenplays or novels?
SK ~ They are such different animals it is hard to compare, and I love the variety they both bring me. Writing a book for me is like sitting down to an 8-course meal in France with three types of wine, a fish course and assorted sorbets in-between. You take your time, enjoy the company, and every flavor is revealed slowly along the long winding journey which is the meal.
On the other hand, writing a screenplay is not unlike being served one of those $100 gold leaf desserts all the enjoyment is packed into a few mouthfuls, but every bite is so exquisite with the intensity of the flavors. That is the difference for me, I just get up each day and decide what I want to eat before I start work.
PS ~ It was great fun chatting with you and KJ Waters on the podcast program the two of you host, Blondie and The Brit. How did the two of you begin this undertaking and how on earth do you manage to find the time? You are both fabulous interviewers, so relaxed and entertaining!
SK ~ I really enjoy podcasting, everything about it. I think it feeds my theater roots. First, I get to hang out with the author of Stealing Time, KJ Waters every week. We met four years ago, through Twitter, and she is an absolute hoot. Secondly, my world can be very isolating in my little studio as I beaver away creating invisible characters and make-believe worlds. But then the solidarity I feel connecting with other writers through podcasting is world stretching.
Once the interview is over we normally all feel like old friends. As far as time goes, neither KJ or I had any idea how long it would take to book guests, talk to guests, plan interviews, edit podcasts, etc. But, somehow we have managed to swing it because we both love doing it so much. It is one of the things I’m doing right now that I feel is not only of great value to our audience but also to our authors in their career. We are very excited to see where it all goes.
PS ~ You have made quite a transition moving from the U.K. to Washington State. Did your writing career begin before you moved or after?
SK ~ I have lived in America for 20 years and only started writing seriously in the past six. Having decided to homeschool my son I had to find a creative outlet that could be achieved easily from home. With my creative background, being a writer seemed to fit the bill. It’s funny I write every day now, and it seems strange to me that I haven’t done this for the whole of my life because I love it so much.
PS ~ I have great admiration for writers who bring laughter to their readers, and you do that brilliantly! Do you ever see yourself writing a serious novel or screenplay or will comedy always be your focus?
SK ~ Some of my screenplays have been serious, as I was finding my voice, but comedy is what I always seem to come back to. Over the last three years, I have been intentionally branding myself as a humor writer.
I grew up in a home where comedy was used as a pressure valve to deflate the volcanic eruptions in a family of five children. So, it is natural for me to see the world from a very comical persuasion. To make the whole world laugh is my goal because the value in that is so high. I have a couple of projects on my schedule at the moment that aren’t comedic, but somehow I always managed to sneak it in when I can.
PS ~ What plans do you have next to share with us?
SK ~ I have just finished a mid-grade comedy novel called “The Misadventures of Horace Higginbottom”, which I’m about to start shopping to publishers. Originally, I wrote it because my son was a voracious reader and he liked to read books that were funny. When we found a comedic series, we would order the whole set from the library so he could binge read them all. So I was sure there were other parents out there with the same problem. I wrote “Horace” to help encourage mid-graders to read chapter books.
I am also halfway through my second Southlea Bay Series book that I am hoping to complete by the end of May.
In my screenwriting career, I’m working on a T.V. series pilot and a feature film that are both in development. I know it all sounds like a lot, but I am a pick and mix kind of writer and find having more than one project helps stimulate the others. I may work on a screenplay on a Monday and a chapter of my book on Tuesday etc. subsequently I have never suffered from writer’s block and my days can be very adventurous as I navigate my waters.
PS ~ Suzanne, thanks for stopping by so we can all celebrate your new release. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you these past few months. Thanks, also, for having me as a guest on your podcast. You are offering a wonderful opportunity on that platform to other writers and it’s a great example of how authors support each other. Kudos to you and KJ Waters for that!
To discover more great information about Suzanne, please go to these links:
Spend more time with Suzanne on some of the other stops on this entertaining blog tour!