Author Interview: Suzanne van Rooyen

THE AUTHOR

Music was my first passion and I dedicated more than twenty years of my life to the study of music from piano and flute to music technology and music therapy. I became an author by happy accident. I’ve always loved to write but never thought it would become my career. I had grand delusions of playing first flute in the Vienna Philharmonic but that didn’t pan out so I started writing out my fantasies instead, which lead to a publishing deal for my first book before I really knew what I was doing. Since then I’ve had numerous short stories and another novel published. I now work in the publishing industry as a publicist for Entranced Publishing and I even have an agent, Jordy Albert.

My writing tends towards the dark and quirky and might not be everyone’s cup of tea. I enjoy exploring the darker sides of the human psyche in science fiction settings where there are few bounds on my imagination. Although I grew up reading sword and sorcery fantasy, I’m happiest when writing quiet science fiction stories.

Suzanne van Rooyen is an author of YA, LGBT, and SF/F novels and short stories including Dragon’s Teeth, and Obscura Burning.  Visit her website here.

Suzanne-van-Rooyen-

THE INTERVIEW

What is the best part about writing stories for young adults?

The potential for growth, the need for change and the constant state of flux. Being a young adult is such an exciting, terrifying, amazing time of life where we are shaped by our experiences as we search for a sense of identity and our place in the world. This state of flux can lead to all sorts of challenges and discoveries. Writing for YA really is a voyage of discovery both for my characters and for me as an author as I immerse myself in different worlds.

How would you describe your protagonists’ fashion styles?

Oh that differs depending on the character. I’ve written a Goth Navajo character, a scruffy couldn’t-care-less type, a dancer who saturates herself in pink and of course there’s Cyrus who’s all about 1940s chic. I do tend to write about styles I know though so most of my characters borrow from hippie, goth, and punk fashion.

What style of dance best describes Cyrus? Kyle?

Cyrus revels in everything 1940s so he’d get down to some jazz and might even do the jitterbug after a few drinks. As for Kyle, he doesn’t dance, but his boyfriend Danny does so Kyle would get dragged onto the floor for some romantic slow dancing.

What drew you to choosing male protagonists for your two novels?

I’ve always preferred reading male POV in novels and I tend to identify and relate to boys more than I ever have to girls. Writing male characters just comes naturally to me. I also enjoy being able to play with stereotypes and gender constructs when it comes to societal expectations of boys and men. And really, I just love boys and have so much fun writing them.

Has your background in music influenced your approach to writing?

Definitely. No matter what the premise and setting of a novel, I always manage to weave in something about music. Music is vital in my life, I couldn’t live without it and I definitely couldn’t write authentically if my characters did’t at least acknowledge music in some way.

How is the process of writing a short story different from that of writing a novel?

Since I started writing novels, I’ve struggled to go back to short stories. A short story is a snapshot, the entire construction is different. You have so few words to get across a story and therein lies the challenge. You still need plot, character development, a struggle and a resolution but instead of 50 or even 100k words to do it in, you’ve often got less than 5k. I sometimes find writing a short story far more challenging than writing a novel because every word has to be significant.

What are you working on next?

I’m currently embroiled in revisions on a YA science fiction novel about robots and music. This is my first novel dedicated to the theme of classical music and I absolutely loved writing it. I really hope people will get the opportunity to read it sometime soon.

What important question have we forgotten to ask?

Just one…

Would you survive the zombie apocalypse? Yes, I have an axe-wielding husband and a fearless shiba inu. Also, I live in Finland where the zombies would just freeze in Winter thus ending the apocalypse.

THE BOOKS

Dragon's TeethDRAGON’S TEETH: You can never outrun your past…After years of war ravage the globe and decimate humanity, civilization is revitalized in the city of New Arcadia, a cybernetic playground where longevity treatments promise near immortality.Detective Cyrus, fond of fedoras and narcotics, is hired by Benji MacDowell, heir-apparent to an eugenics empire, to find MacDowell’s long-lost biological father. Employing his network of shady contacts within the underbelly of the city, Cyrus uncovers a murderous web of corporate corruption and political conspiracy with ties to the old Order, a tyrannical organization whose sole intent was perfecting the next generation of genetically engineered soldiers.Now Cyrus knows too much and finds himself caught in the cross-hairs of super-soldier assassins while the dark secrets of his past snap at his heels, forcing him to confront the truth he’s been running from… and discover his own terrifying purpose.

OBSCURA BURNING: The world’s going to end in fire…and it’s all Kyle’s fault.Obscura Burning

Kyle Wolfe’s world is about to crash and burn. Just weeks away from graduation, a fire kills Kyle’s two best friends and leaves him permanently scarred. A fire that Kyle accidentally set the night he cheated on his boyfriend Danny with their female friend, Shira. That same day, a strange new planet, Obscura, appears in the sky. And suddenly Kyle’s friends aren’t all that dead anymore. Each time Kyle goes to sleep, he awakens to two different realities. In one, his boyfriend Danny is still alive, but Shira is dead. In the other, it’s Shira who’s alive…and now they’re friends with benefits. Shifting between realities is slowly killing him, and he’s not the only one dying. The world is dying with him. He’s pretty sure Obscura has something to do with it, but with his parents’ marriage imploding and realities shifting each time he closes his eyes, Kyle has problems enough without being the one in charge of saving the world…

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