Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Susan Niz Author Interview + Giveaway

   Susan Niz Author Interview + Giveaway
     Welcome Booksnob followers.  Susan Niz is February's Author in the Spotlight and she agreed to answer some questions about her life and her book, Kara, Lost.  Welcome Susan!

1.       Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I live in Eagan and my favorite thing about it is being near parks where I can go for nature walks.  I love the peace and quiet.  I enjoy being close to nature, while still close enough to civilization that I can get a latté!  My favorite meal ever is curried mock duck with steamed vegetables and white rice.  My guilty pleasure is a certain reality TV series and I will break out dancing with my daughter anywhere that music is playing.

2.     What inspired you to write to Kara, Lost?

I was still haunted by my experiences of running away as a teenager.  It was a life-changing decision at critical, formative time of my life.  I wanted to make sense of that course of events.
3.     Can you tell us why or when you decided to become a writer? 
   I’ve been drawn to writing for as long as I can remember.  When I was three, I would    staple together scrap paper, scribble on the cover, and call it a book.  In school, I loved writing stories.  It was in second grade when I declared that I would publish a book someday.

4.     Usually an author puts some of his own life experiences in the book.  Did you do    that? 

My book has many of my own experiences in it, but it is definitely fiction.

5.     Do you like to read?  What authors or books influence you?

Of course!  My favorite books are ones that have a strong, intimate, narrative voice—like when you feel like the story is being whispered in your ear by a friend.  Wally Lamb and Frank McCourt are favorites.  Earlier, I really enjoyed Tom Robbins and Barbara Kingsolver.  I also like Alexander McCall Smith and David Housewright. Recently, I’ve been reading more young adult and Sara Zarr and Julie Schumacher are a couple favorites in that genre.

6.     How do carve out time in your day to write?  Are you writing another book?

It’s difficult.  Before my daughter, I would just write all weekend.  But now, I have to do it very early in the morning, late at night, or catch an hour here and there.  I am writing another book.  It’s a more traditional YA novel about a fifteen-year-old named Chelly who is struggling with her parents’ divorce, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and behind the wheel practice.  She gets better through exposure therapy, a type of cognitive behavioral therapy.

7.     What is the most important lesson/idea you want readers to take away from your book?

I hope that Kara, Lost is open to multiple interpretations and that it doesn’t aim to teach a lesson.  That being said, I really want readers to feel what Kara feels on her journey without judgment of what came before or after.  I have come to realize that my book does not fit neatly into the YA genre and therefore needs to be read with an open mind.

8.     Do you have any advice you would like to offer teenagers who are struggling at home or on the streets?

Be open to help.  Going outside the system and isolating yourself makes life extremely difficult and is also very dangerous.  Be brave and find strength within yourself to make decisions that will not be self-destructive.

9.     In one sentence tell readers why they should read Kara, Lost?

You should read Kara, Lost because Kara is complex, flawed, human, resourceful, well intentioned, and messes up a lot and you can go along with her on her journey rather than ever having to live it firsthand.

Thanks Susan

If you like to win a copy of Kara, Lost please click the link:  Kara, Lost Contest

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