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January's FEATURED AUTHOR: Susan Helene Gottfried!

January 6, 2010
I'm so excited to have the inaugural issue of drey's Featured Author spotlight. Kicking us off with a bang is one of the nicest and funniest authors I know, Susan Helene Gottfried!

drey: Hello, and HAPPY NEW YEAR, Susan. Welcome to drey's library, and thank you for being drey's very first Featured Author. Thank you so very much for taking the time to do this Q&A!

susan gottfriedSusan: Well, thanks for having me back, darling! I was afraid after Trevor had stopped in awhile back, he'd scared you off. Glad to see that's not the case.

drey: When did you first realize that you wanted to be an author? What were you doing?

Susan: I think I was six. I was walking with my dad through the local mall and I saw the mass market paperback display of the best-sellers. Right then, I knew that was what I wanted to do: be a best-selling author.

drey: Who/what inspires your writing? Where do you get your ideas?

Susan: I get my ideas from EVERYTHING. The other night, I saw someone had devoted an entire blog to peanut-butter-free recipes. Somehow, that evolved into an entire character-building detail for one of the many characters who hangs out on my blog (and to whom I'm devoting a full-length novel).

drey: What do you like to indulge in, when not writing?

Susan: Good question! Reading, of course. Working out. I love to be outside -- although not as much in the winter. All those bulky clothes...

drey: Screen version of Shapeshifters The Demo Tapes: Who's your dream team? TV series or movie? *grin*

Susan: Oh, movie, definitely. But for cast? I don't know. I've spent years trying to figure that out and I keep coming up empty. No one's exactly *right* -- at least as far as I can tell. But then, I have such a definite picture of each character in my brain that I'm doomed to rely on the imaginary casting agents you've just given me.

drey: Good, bad, or indifferent: (Dark / Milk / White) Chocolate + __________________ (fill in the blank).

Susan: Dark chocolate. As for with it... peanut butter's good. So's caramel. It's best naked, though.

drey: Electronic readers are becoming more affordable and available. There's been quite a bit of discussion about their impact on paper books, the environment, people's reading & buying habits... What's your take?

Susan: I love the idea. I love the royalties I get -- they're MUCH higher than print royalties. I have friends who've built really nice careers as writers via e-presses only. I have friends who swear by their readers and won't read anything in print.

My only beef is e-readers. They're entirely too expensive for something that doesn't do more than read books. I bought myself an iPod Touch to be my e-reader and I'm in love with how functional it is. Life is a lot easier with it. AND I can read all the books I want!

drey: On the publishing side--what do you think publishers and authors ought to do about this side of the digital revolution? Jump in wholeheartedly, and blaze the path for others to follow? Watch from the sidelines till there's some consensus on what the new business model is going to be for the digital age? Cross their fingers that this is all just a fad & will blow over soon?

Susan: Look, someone's got to lead the way, right? So to sit back and wait ... that's both smart and stupid. Smart in that you get to watch all the others screw up, and you can learn from their mistakes. Stupid because you *could* be selling books and making a profit.

I've heard the complaints that e-books are just as expensive as print books to produce, and that's fine. No arguments about the need for art departments, editors of all variety, and that end of the industry. But when we're talking warehousing and shipping expenses (particularly in an industry that uses a returns model as its business model), that's where e-books become cheaper.

The publishers ought to be exploiting that. But... they've got a big hole to dig themselves out of -- namely the fact that most books are money-losers for them. Right now, they are stuck with needing a high retail price to cover their losses. They can't take proper advantage of this new electronic frontier. They're losing out.

drey: What's next? Will we have more of Trevor & gang? Or are you planning on dropping a surprise in our laps?

Susan: Some of both. I have printed off the first incarnation of what will be Demo Tapes: Year 3, but right now, there's not a lot of demand for it. I'm trying to finish off the follow-up to the book that began all this Trevolution stuff, and I'll put THAT out. Novel-length Trevor. With a story arc and all the things you're used to in a book. (No pictures, though. Not unless someone pops up to donate their talents to the cause.)

And yes, there's another character who's got her own novel. If you read the Meet and Greet with any regularity, you've already met her. And that's all I'll say about that. Part of me would like to see how agents and editors will react to her story, so maybe that, too, will be delayed (the process from when a book is sold to a major publisher until it hits the shelves is about two years). It's too early to tell.

Thank you for swinging by, Susan!! Find her online at West of Mars and check out Susan's bio and the Meet & Greet, among other things!


bermudaonion said...

This was fantastic Drey! Susan is fantastic and such an important part of the blogging community. I loved the questions about digital books.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Thanks again for having me today, Drey. I hope I won't wreck the place once I've been here all month.

Mind if Trevor and I put our feet on the furniture?

drey said...

Thank you, Kathy!! I LOVE Susan!! =)

Susan, you and Trevor can make yourselves comfortable and help yourself to whatever I have in the fridge... =) I never mind when sexy characters come to visit, lol!

Anna said...

I loved this interview because, well, I love Susan! She totally rocks!

Diary of an Eccentric

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