Today on Make-Believe Mondays Susan Kearney is visiting with us. I met Susan last year at the RT convention at the belly dance class she sponsored and I can tell you that Susan is a lot of fun.
Susan, first, tell us a little bit about the manuscript you're working on now.
Susan: Right now I'm working on POLAR HEAT, the sequel to ISLAND HEAT. And I'm taking the series into space, to other worlds. Usually I hate writing the beginning of a book but this one is actually working well from the start. I believe it's due to the set up - lots of conflict and tension. The heroine is a spy and the hero is suspicious. She must repress her power to dominate, but as her feelings emerge, she begins to lose her ability to stop herself from dominating him. Oh, yeah. This one's fun.
Debra: I'm looking forward to reading it. The fun you have writing your stories spills over into the fun we have reading them. :)
Ray Bradbury said, "We are cups, constantly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out." How do you keep your creative cup filled?
Susan: I keep my creative cup filled by enjoying life. I figure skate and belly dance and take lots of vacations. In addition I spend time with family and friends. And since my daughter is a book cover artist, we often work together on covers. In fact, she shot the people on the cove of ISLAND HEAT. You can see her photograph on my website.
Debra: It's a beautiful cover. Your daughter is very talented.
Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?
Susan: Yes, but it's different in every book. I'm lucky when they talk to me right from the start. But sometimes, its like sculpting, I have to keep chipping away layer by layer until I figure them out.
Debra: What a wonderful image. It makes me think of how we have to let some things go to get at the stronger features beneath.
Some very famous authors have played with language, creating words for people or places that no one has ever heard of. Have you ever played with words in that way and if so how?
Susan: Well, this is what I do. I write futuristics. So I am always making up worlds, and filling them with new words. In my Rystani warrior series, everyone had to tap into their psi to make their suits work. These are suits that clothe and bathe and shield the people both in space and under water. In my heat series, the Firsts, firstborn, have Quait. Quait is the ability to dominate others. And in ISLAND HEAT I used Quait to explore what would happen when a former slave learned he has the ability to dominate. In POLAR HEAT, I gave the heroine the ability to dominate and it's proving . . . interesting.
Debra: Now you've intrigued me. :)
For some writers, dreams play a role in creating fiction. Has this been true for you? Have you ever dreamed a scene or an image that later wound up in one of your books?
Susan: Only once. I dreamed about giant kangaroos that carried people around in their pockets. I used the idea in a short story.
Debra: As a child did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?
Susan: I loved Robert Heinlein. He wrote Starship Trooper and several other books for kids. He started me on my SF kick.
Debra: If there were no categories for books, no reader expectations to meet, and you could create the wildest work of imagination that you could think of what kind of story would that be?
Susan: Exactly what I write right now. I'm so lucky Tor lets me write what I want and how I want to write it. It's a freedom I've never had before . . . and I'm taking full advantage.
In THE CHALLENGE, I wrote about a man who stimulates a woman sexually to make her psi poers come out.
In THE DARE I wrote about a 300 year old computer who wants a body so she can make love.
In THE ULTIMATUM I wrote about a woman scientist who has to make love to regenerate her cells or she dies.
And THE QUEST was about a man who had every power at his disposal, then loses them all but still must combat the greatest enemy his people have ever known.
In ISLAND HEAT, an alien falls from the sky. He's on a mission to tap into a volcano's powers to open a portal between Earth and his world. And the heroine must stop him at any cost.
And when I want to write a book that's not quite so far out there, TOR lets me write romantic suspense. KISS ME DEADLY, about 6 women who win the lottery and then are being killed one by one will be out in July 07.
Debra: TOR's ability to publish authors who write with wild imagination brings us a much richer variety of books to choose from. And for that I am very grateful.
Susan, is there anything else you would like to add about the role of imagination, and dreams in creating fiction? Any other message for our readers?
Susan: I like to write books about people. No matter how imaginative we are in worldbuilding, the story is always about how people react to their worlds. And what fascinates me is how we take our good qualities and our weaknesses with us where ever we go . . . even into cyberspace. And I'd like to invite readers to visit my site so they can watch my book trailers. I'm at http://www.susankearney.com
Susan, thank you for joining us here on this Make-Believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing here with our readers.