Twilight Times Feature
with Linda Suzane
Interviewer: Lida Quillen
1. Does your creativity express itself in ways other than writing?
I am working on a couple of murder mystery games. Designing mystery games has a lot to do with writing, but it is very different from writing a novel. Sometimes I think they are a lot more work than writing a book, since they are created in bits and pieces and you have to keep track of so many different details. The game I am currently working on is called Killers International and can have up to twenty-seven different characters (players). I am also trying to develop a game based on the murder mystery game that appears in my romantic mystery, The Murder Game. You can learn more about murder mystery games at www.playmurder.com.
The other area where I express my creativity is in web page design. I took a class on HTML and since then I have designed six different web sites, including one for my husband for his Christmas present. I am learning to create graphics for my web site. I recently designed a whole set of banners and buttons for one of my sites and one for Eyes of Truth. I also designed the cover for my book The Murder Game. I would like to take some graphics classes, but haven't had time yet.
2. Do you feel you were creative, even as a child?
Oh yes. I had a wonderful imagination as a child and a very creative fantasy life. I wasn't musical, but I was artistic. I was an art minor in college, although I never was really inspired.
3. Could you share with the story behind the story? In other words, how did your writing lead you to your first novel?
That is quite a long story. I started writing after I got married, some thirty-three years ago. I always enjoyed fantasizing, but I figured a married woman couldn't waste time doing that sort of thing, but a writer could. My first story was a Science Fiction story about an alien race of vampires. I wrote mostly for my own entertainment. It was only after my daughter was born in 1978 that I began to get serious about writing.
My first completed and published novel was a Star Trek novel that was published as a fanzine back before there was a Second Generation or Voyager. I explored many different kinds of writing, romance, science fiction, fantasy, screenplays, radio scripts, nonfiction, and murder mystery games. I even worked as a ghost writer, writing books about real estate.
When we moved to Oregon in 1990, I put my writing on hold and went back to work. In 1996, I was a full-time caregiver for my elderly mother-in-law. I needed something to do with my time, so I pulled out a book that I had started years before on spec for Harlequin and decided to finish it.
When I finished The Murder Game I sent out birth announcements, "It's a Book." I thought that was appropriate since it had taken me nine years from start to finish. Unfortunately, Harlequin rejected it, and my attempts to find an agent only brought out the scam artists. Back on the shelf it went.
Then in 1998, I had an experience which changed my life. I had a character step out of a short story and demand I tell the story of how he was first bitten by a vampire. The story literally possessed me and when I finished I had the rough drafts of five Darkhour Vampire novels.
After spending years trying to figure out exactly what I wanted to write about, I had finally discovered the magical formula. Murder, mystery, blood, and vampires. I started doing market research for my vampire series, and I discovered e-publishing, publishing on the Internet. I decided to submit The Murder Game. Within a week it was accepted for publication by Dancing Willow Publications. I was going to be a published author. To me being published in eBook format is every bit as real as being published in paper.
Needing a break from the intensity of my vampire series, I returned to a fantasy mystery I had started years before, determined to finish it. Eyes of Truth has everything I enjoy writing about, murder, mystery, blood, and vampires. I was very pleased when Lida accepted it for publication.
4. How did you prepare for the creation of your first novel? How much research was necessary?
I admit that I am not into doing a lot of research. I tend to create worlds out of my own imagination or experience. When I wrote The Murder Game I deliberately chose something I knew a great deal about already, creating murder mystery games. I set the book in a mansion on the flanks of Mt. Tamaplais in California, that was modeled very closely after the Ralston L. White Retreat Center, a real mansion where I had stay on several retreats.
When it came to Eyes of Truth, the Kingdom of Naj is very loosely modeled after early Japan, which I had studied in college, but is very much my own creation. The Kingdom of Naj has sort of developed over the years.
My Darkhour Vampires again came out of my own experience. The original short story was about a mother of two ordinary teenagers who just happens to be a vampire. It was set in Salem, Oregon and drew extensively from my own personal experiences. My daughter was a teenager at the time. It was a rather traumatic time for her mother and you can make what you will of the Freudian symbolism in the story of the mother who is an all powerful vampire.
5. What kind of reaction do people have to your writing?
So far the reaction has overwhelmed me because I am rather insecure when it comes to my own writing. The reviews of The Murder Game were very positive. So far I haven't gotten much response to Eyes of Truth except from my writing mentor, Walt Kleine. He had read the first drafts of the story and told me how much my writing had improved. Then he really paid me a great compliment. He said he hadn't planned on staying up reading it, but he couldn't put it down. Since he had already read it before, that really told me I had something.
I have also gotten some really great comments from the readers of Captivity. One reader said, "...It was an incredible work. I enjoy writing vampire pieces myself and I truly enjoyed the intensity and the realism of your book. It was riveting from the very first chapter and ran tough as nails all the way to the last sentence..."
That is enough to give anyone a swelled head.
6. Do you find anything difficult in the writing process, and if so what?
The most difficult part of writing for me is the copy editing. After you have worked out all the bugs, sitting down and reading it over and over to make sure that you have caught all the errors. It seems to take forever and I find it very hard to keep myself motivated.
Recently, I serialized the first Darkhour Vampires novel, Captivity, on my web site www.midnightblood.com. I found that worked really well for me. I had to focus only on a short segment at a time, but each and every day I had to post a new episode. It was great discipline.
7. Do you currently have any writing projects?
I am eagerly awaiting the publication of Captivity (Darkhour Vampires: Volume One) from Wings ePress July 2002. It will be available as an eBook and in paperback. I've started work on the second book in the series, Freedom, which will be published Spring 2003.
I am also working on finishing my murder mystery game, Killers International, which I hope to sell as a .pdf download from www.playmurder.com. I am also looking into finding a new publisher for The Murder Game since my original e-publisher closed her doors.
8. Is there anything else you would like to add?
If you enjoy vampires, be sure to check out Vampire eBook Authors where I profile Vampire authors and review their books.
And www.e-Vampires.net --Where to find the best bloodsucking fiction on the Web. Listings of vampire eBooks and zines, plus lots and lots of vampire links. And join the e-Vampires Newsletter for more book reviews and vampire news.
Linda Suzane is pursing her lifelong dream to be a full time writer. Her passions include vampires, murder, and mystery. Her first ebook is a romantic mystery about a murder mystery game designer whose mystery game goes murderously wrong. The Murder Game is available from www.playmurder.com. Linda enjoys designing her own mystery games and is currently working on three games, one based on the game in The Murder Game.
When not writing about murder and mystery, she is writing about vampires. Her vampire fiction can be found at www.midnightblood.com. She is currently working on a series of vampire novels.
Sometimes she combines her interest in murder, mystery, and vampires as she did in her novel, Eyes of Truth, a fantasy mystery which includes two different breeds of vampire the Wo-nur and the Dolzi, pitting mythical Wo-nur against the stark reality of the Dolzi, exploring how legends and superstition can terrify, but reality can destroy.
Linda considers herself something of an Internet explorer, seeking to know and conquer this new frontier as an eBook author, content provider, and web designer. She lives with her husband of thirty-three years on the beautiful Oregon coast with four domineering cats and an office full of dragons.