TA: First, for those not familiar with your work yet, tell a little about yourself.
SR: I’m a new, self-published author literally stepping out onto the literary scene with nothing under my belt; meaning no awards, accolades, articles, collaborations, or prior works to list. Sadly, I am a late bloomer but better late than never, right? I would love to be a full time writer/author (in my own mind I am), but real life, bills, being able to eat, and being a single mother demands a full time job in order to support my family, as well as my own writing and reading habits. I’ve planted my roots in a little suburb town on the outskirts of the Live Music Capital of the World; Austin, Texas. I currently work in Law Enforcement support, as I possess a Bachelors in Criminal Justice and Forensic Psychology. Yes, I know, where in the world does the urban, dark, and gothic fantasy creativity come from then? Shouldn’t I be writing crime novels or who done it mysteries? Nope! Actually, aside from my urban fantasy and paranormal literary interests, my all-time favorite genre to read may surprise many. I absolutely LOVE horror and splatter-gore… just READING it…NOT the movies. I know, I’m very backwards. Some of my favorite authors in that genre are; Edward Lee, Jack Kilborn, Brian Keene, Jack Ketchum, and Bryan Smith.
All that being said, I have been writing for many, many years. I just never had the guts to actually put something out there for the world to see until January 2013 with book one of my debut four part series: Divinity the Gathering. It’s a very frightening and intimidating step, being that there is an enormous amount of talented authors out there within the same genre of demons and angels, both independent and well-known traditionally published. I’m definitely hoping to change the obscurity of my name as an author with my first series. I’m fascinated with the possible existence of the supernatural and paranormal. I do my best to put a unique twist on myths or common knowledge about beings that many people are already familiar with, while weaving reality into it in some way, shape, or form and then adding something that provokes a deeper level of thought in the background. When I say weaving reality into something, I mean that I tend to incorporate things that many people either have heard about, experienced, wondered about, or have known to be true and make it fit logically into my fictional worlds. Though I don’t want to close a box around myself and limit where my interests lie, urban, supernatural, and dark gothic fantasy is what I specialize in and gravitate towards. When you search for books about supernatural warriors or hunters, Demons, Angels, Vampires, or any normal everyday human being with some sort of unique and awesome power or ability, you’ll find my books!
TA: Now, you've released a series called The Divinity Saga. Can you talk a little about that (without giving away too much, of course)?
SR: Absolutely! The Divinity Saga consists of four books but there will be a total of six books in all, meaning that there will be a fifth book, which will be a prequel to all four of the books and a separate companion novel. In the prequel, we will get to meet Starling for the first time as well as her parents. Many remaining questions will be answered and revealed in this book. It will be in the dual first-person voices of both Starling as a child and then a teenager, and her mother. Following thereafter, I do plan for a companion novel, which will be the book of Cam`ael, told through his eyes and his experiences before his fall, afterwards when he was condemned as a demon (Incubus), and when he first took notice of Starling.
They say that when one has a recurring dream, it means that the subconscious is trying to resolve or work out something or some problem that one hasn’t quite figured out in reality. The Divinity Saga, or more so the character of Starling was derived from a recurring dream that I kept having several years ago. To this day, I still have no idea what those dreams were trying to tell me except that the world was going to end and we were all going to be killed by spaceships, tidal waves, and demons. When I finally began to write down what I was seeing in my dreams, I looked at it and saw a story. From that point, the character of Starling was born and the story took off from there, taking three years to write and finish. Needless to say, once I began to pen the book, the dreams stopped. I’m guessing that Starling and Cam`ael were both begging to get out of my head and into a book for the world to read!
Divinity the Gathering was only meant to be one book at first but the more I wrote, especially after incorporating the first-person voice of Cam`ael, the fallen angel who is second main character, I couldn’t see how it would all fit into just one book. Divinity Immolation, is the third book that I have just completed and it is currently in the editing stage. I’m pulling for a hopeful release by the end of this month! Super excited about that.
TA: Who and/or what would you say influences or has influenced your writing?
SR: That’s actually a hard question for me because there are many, many things that influence my writing. I’d say it comes from 60 percent my own dreams and imagination, 10 percent what I watch and read, 20 percent music, and the last 10 percent from simply people watching. A lot of my characters are reflected from the personalities of other people and my own personal issues and experiences that I’ve had in my life time. All in all, I guess I could say life in general definitely influences my style of writing. I’m not the religious type but I am very spiritual and I have many of my own personal beliefs. I definitely do not try to influence, justify, judge, or impose those ideologies onto anyone in my stories on any level. The Divinity saga is definitely a fictional series for entertainment purposes only. I preface in the acknowledgments in book two that if a reader does get something out of the story, then it was totally intentional. I have been asked before if I’m a pastor based on my Divinity Saga novels by a reader, so just for the record, I am not nor have I ever been (I have absolutely nothing against pastors or any religious persons at all in that statement.). I strive to be realistic but as entertaining as possible, while I covertly insert subliminal messages and themes. You’ll find that to be a common denominator with all of my work no matter the subject or the characters.
TA: Do you have a specific writing ritual or process?
SR: I am a fly by the seat of my pants writer to a ‘T’! The only thing I rely on and run with is an idea…and as soon as one hits me, I have to write it down. I have a whole library of ideas on my computer, which means I plan to be around for a long time with many more exciting new novels coming! I typically start with an idea, then I begin to build with an outline of where I want to go with it all the way to the end. From there, I do the research, and then lastly…I select what kind of a character would best fit the main character role. When I research, it always includes how many major stories are already out there about this topic, type of character or being, and what are they about? Whatever I find, I do the opposite. I’m all about trying to think outside of the box in the creation of my characters, and doing something that people will find, unique, different, intriguing, or “I never thought of that, how cool!” I try to get in at least a chapter a night but I never force myself to write anything if I don’t feel the creative juices churning. I’ve found myself having to delete many scenes time and time again when I do. Music is a huge integral part of my writing and a really big influence, so I have to have it playing in the background when I write, especially during the action and fight scenes! When I’m writing any sensual or as close to erotica scenes, without being pornographic (I have no prejudices against erotica, I do read them), I find that a couple glasses of wine or sake really can really come in handy!
TA: As an independent author, what are some challenges you face?
SR: There are two major ones for me but I think many can side with me on this one….MARKETING!! If you’re a struggling indie writer with very limited funds, such as myself, meaning you can only devote so much time and your own money to the writing, creating, editing, and the formatting process, it can be both overwhelming and frustrating. Getting your name out there, competing with so many other amazing indie authors, and trying to establish a fan base is extremely hard work. I’m not particularly tech savvy or a social media butterfly (I’m actually quite shy) so that makes it even more difficult for me. I also don’t have anyone or staff behind the scenes per se, with the exception of editing, everything you see and read regarding my books were all done or achieved by yours truly, however my talented 17 year old son did help me with the covers of book one and book two. That may or may not be a good thing but it has its advantages. I’ve learned a lot and I’m still learning, it’s on ongoing process. Getting beta readers, networking, being hosted on blog tours, getting reviews and the attention of reviewers, have all proven to be quite difficult for me too. I’m sort of lying under the radar where no one can see me, knows my work or who I am right now. With all the avenues of social media and advertising, it’s almost impossible for me to keep track and keep up but I am definitely trying to catch up and catch on, as they say.
TA: What's coming next for you? Plug away. :)
SR: I have been keeping all of that under wraps for quite a while until recently. As I mentioned before, book 3 is currently being readied for release soon. In addition, I am actually already a third of the way into book 4, the final installment of the Divinity Saga, which will be shocking, and epic if I do say so myself. Everyone wants a happy ending right? That wasn’t a hint of the ending by the way. J
**I will say this though, nothing is ever set in stone with me. I may rely on the fans to speak up after the end of book 4.**
Books One and Two of the Divinity Saga are currently available in both ebook and paperback formats. Digital copies are available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, Sony, Apple, IBooks, and many other online book stores. Subsequent books will follow after their releases as well. Paperbacks are available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Createspace, Ebay sellers all over the world, and many, many other retailers. All you have to do is Google The Divinity Saga by Susan Reid and voila!
H.U.M.A.N.S, which will be a supernatural fantasy. It will put a few twists on just about every mythical creature you may or may not be able to think of and some new ones as well. I haven’t decided on how many books will be in that series yet, I think the characters will decide that for me. My goal is to get the first book out this summer before the release of the final book in the Divinity Saga, which I have set for a Fall release of this year. I don’t have any blog tours planned though I would love to be featured if anyone has a spot.
What does H.U.M.A.N.S stand for really? Well, it will be on the cover if anyone would like to do a cover reveal when the time comes! (hint hint). Facebook page for H.U.M.A.N.S will be up soon!
***Many people may not know this or haven’t thought about it, but currently both books one and two of the Divinity Saga are also available for an electronic autograph through Authorgraph.com. It is truly me, and I will personally sign all digital copies, so don’t hesitate to make the request. I get right on those as I get them!***
At the same time, I am working to complete the first book in my newest series, I can be reached by several methods and I do respond to ALL inquiries or comments!
For Digital Autograph: www.authorgraph.com/authors/BabyNewt38
My Twitter handle: @BabyNewt38
Facebook: Author Susan Reid
Facebook for the Divinity Saga: www.facebook.com/DivinityTheGatheringBookOne
My Blog page: http://divinitysagabooks.wordpress.com/