Suz Korb is a writer whose first published work of fiction was for the Boston Literary Magazine in 2010. It won a place in the Spring issue as the top story, launching her fiction writing career. She is now a British/American author writing in many genres. In 2001 Suz relocated to England from North America where she now resides in the picturesque countryside with her children.
For more books from author Suz Korb visit her website: suzkorb.com. Her novels and story collections are available globally in paperback and ebook.
So Suz, what was the funniest mistake you’ve made as a writer?
Funny? No mistakes are funny. As a perfectionist even one typo makes me break out in a rash of self-loathing!
Have you done any projects that took you way out of your comfort zone?
I tried to write in the 2015 trending dark chick lit suspense genre known as the ‘Girl’ book phenomenon. You know? Books like Gone Girl and/or The Girl on the Train. In the end I wrote something that interested me and stuck the word ‘Girl’ into my title anyway.
Who’s your favorite character you’ve written so far and why?
Zar. I didn’t even have to think about that. He’s an alien character in my book Superstellar and he’s uber hot. His personality suits the role he plays in my book, but I can’t give away his secret because it’s a surprise. I can reveal that he has tentacles and they are handy for kissing and stuff.
What about your most recently published work?
Some might say my most recent novella is crazy. It’s different. There hasn’t really been anything like it published since The Island of Doctor Moreau. That’s the vibe I was going for with my novella: The Girl in the Woods.
What project are you looking forward to next?
I’m always writing so I’m looking forward to what happens next in my current WIP. It’s a teen adventure novel and it involves magic.
Who are your writing heroes and why?
Michael Crichton because he wrote fast and had a brilliantly imaginative mind. My favourite genre is genetic fiction. Stuff like that. I would have been a geneticist in a previous life.
Any basic writing philosophy or tips?
When you’re not writing don’t think about what you’re writing. Let your imagination take full control of your brain by writing without outlining. Write fast. Finish what you start.
How do you develop your characters?
My characters develop as the story unfolds. They change, like we do in real life, when their environment and interactions affects them.
Where do you come up with ideas for new characters or stories?
Anywhere and everywhere. I never brainstorm for ideas or characters. I’ll just be sitting around and an idea will pop into my head. I’ll write it down for later when I’ve finished the current WIP I’m working on.
How do you come up with character names?
Google helps. If I’m writing something otherworldly, I get to create character names that no one’s ever heard before. Fun.
Have you ever done an interesting interview to get background information?
I love doing character interviews after I’ve written the story. Maybe I should try doing character interviews before, just to see what happens.
How do you decide where to set a story?
That’s always tricky for me. I’m from America but living in England. Lately my books have been set in England. I don’t feel very American anymore.
How do you manage world-building? Is it all thought out ahead of time, or do you make it up as you go?
I make it up as I go! It’s great fun. I try not to envision different worlds in my mind when I’m not writing, but I can’t help it, my imagination always runs wild!
How much do you structure your stories before you write them?
I think about character names, personality quirks, and setting and then I start writing.
Do you use a particular story structure, or do you pick and choose?
The only structures I follow are practicing different chapter organisations now and then. With my last few books I’ve not had scenes, only chapters.
Do you find it more difficult to write your first draft or to revise?
Neither. I don’t mind revising and fixing spelling errors, plot holes, typos, and copy edits, etc. I’m a perfectionist. I like things to be nice and proper as much as is possible.
Do you have any revision tips to share?
Don’t stress too hard about typos, errors, and plot holes. Not even top bestselling books can avoid those things! Actually, I don’t think plot holes exist because authors can make up a fictional explanation for any supposed plot hole. After all, we do know how to write our characters out of the sticky situations we’ve gotten them into.
What has been the hardest thing about publishing for you?
Formatting. Hate when digital interior book files go wrong.
Any advice for aspiring authors?
Keep writing and practicing. Add in a new technique with each new work. Always be learning and honing your writing skills.
What’s the best part about being a writer?
I’m doing what I love when I write. I’ve always loved writing. When I do things that I hate doing I’m miserable and so I know how good it feels to do what I like! Obviously, lol.
Do you have a writing routine?
I don’t, because I have young children. I write when I can find the time. At least once every day. Even if it’s only for fifteen minutes.
What do you do when you get stuck writing your story?
I pull my hair and cry! And then I sleep on it. Well, I lie down anyway. Then the idea comes to me instantly! I should remember to skip the crying part, but I never do because sticky situations are so frustrating!
Do you write with a word count goal? If so, what is it?
Sometimes. I’ve written fiction of all lengths though. A story will be as long as it needs to be. The last book I wrote was novella length. I don’t think I like novella length, it tries to tell a story too fast. I prefer my books to be 80K words long because then even I’m surprised with the fiascos and scenes I’ve created between the pages, by the end.
How did you decide on your genre?
I don’t. I’m a mult-genre author. Whatever idea pops into my head that I feel passionate about, gets written. It’s freeing and fun. I try to fit my books into genres after I’ve written them, but that doesn’t actually work completely. My stories are what they are. They are adventures that happen to my characters based on their personalities and struggles. Genre lumping is for sales and that can’t always be predicted.
If you could instantaneously master one writing skill, what would you choose and why?
How to write to market. I’d love to be able to write in a specific category, but my imagination runs wild and my stories stem from whatever my characters get up to.
What author’s style do you admire the most?
Suzanne Collins. First person, present tense. Brings the reader into the immediate action right now. Also makes a reader able to be the main character themselves.
I love Suzanne Collins, too. What is the most memorable writing comment you’ve ever gotten?
That my books made someone choke with laughter because what I wrote was THAT funny. I love writing comedy, it’s been hard not writing comedy lately.
What is the next big thing you want to write about?
I don’t know, I haven’t started writing it yet! I’m passionate about a project while I’m working on it. I pour my all into the immediate story.
What is the single most important quality in a novel–what must an author do to win you over?
That depends on what type of book I’m reading. If it’s an adventure it must have elements I’d never suspect. Twists I’ve never read before. If it’s comedy, it has to make my gut hurt from making me laugh so hard. I love to laugh!
If your writing suddenly made you rich and famous, what would you do with your success?
Pay off debts, of course! And I’d finally be able to take care of my family members, financially. That would be the best thing ever. I’d donate to charities that help children too. Kids are awesome. I’d also open a book store. I’ve always wanted to run an independent cosy book shop. It would have amazing reading nooks and a café.
Do you have a favorite quote you’d like to share?
“Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.”
― Robert A. Heinlein
What is the best part about being an indie author for you?
I like the freedom it gives me to write whatever I want. When I think about writing what literary agents wants it brings me out in a rash of worry and stress!
Besides writing, what are your favorite things to do?
Dance. I love dancing. All forms. Anything new too. Even Squidward type expressive dance. HAHAHA!
If you have a blog, how did that start?
I always have a blog. My most recent blog is about writing, my books, and other writer’s guest posts. I started with a family blog in 2006 and have blogged almost every day since. My blog after that was an expat blog about being American in England. Then I had a political blog that ruffled way too many feathers, so I got rid of that one. I like Beauty Blogging too, but never really got into that. Maybe in future.
How do you decide on a title for your book?
Oh, I’m terrible at deciding titles, so when I do figure something out I’m usually very happy and excited about it. It’s such an excruciatingly difficult process for me. Especially if I’ve written the book first.
What do you do for cover art? Do you do it yourself, hire an artist (you can name names if you liked them), or purchase premade?
All of the above. I’ve made my own covers and hired out. My favourite cover artist is Amygdala. Here’s a link to their pre-mades: http://shop.amygdaladesign.net
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
When I was six years old and I started keeping a journal. Before that I was keen to learn reading and I’ve read like a maniac since the age of zero when my parents read wordless baby books to me. I just remember always having loved books!
You can find out more about Suz Korb’s books at her website, and she also has a video of them for your viewing pleasure.
These author interviews are fascinating. I’m so glad you’re doing them. Suz Korb is one of today’s best writers. Kudos on getting her to open up about her writing technique!
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Loved reading this interview — it brought up so many interesting points. Korb mentioned being a ‘multi-genre author’ — I am too, but someone recently suggested this could have a negative effect on ‘the brand’.
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