Conversations With Colleen: Meet Author, Susan M. Shuman
Hello everyone! This week, I’m thrilled to bring you author, Susan M. Shuman. I asked her to pick three or four questions from my huge list HERE. We all aspire to be successful authors, and the best way to learn some tricks of the trade is to ask questions.
First, please meet my guest, Susan Shuman:
Susan Marie Shuman is a freelance writer and editor who currently resides in the wilds of Birmingham, AL. She shares her life with four spoiled cats, several friends (not all of them imaginary) and one husband. When she’s not working, Susan enjoys horseback riding, reading, taking her cats for a spin in their pet stroller, and taking naps.Amazon.com
An ex-bartender, recovering crash test dummy and all-around late bloomer, Susan graduated from the University of South Alabama in 2004 with a BA in English. She minored in Russian.
Long-range goals include visiting Israel, the Czech Republic and Liechtenstein. Susan is also planning to launch a micro-nation which would be called either Suzannistan or Eastern Suzanorovia.
Hi, Colleen. Thanks so much for this interview. I’m looking forward to our chat.
Hello, Susan. Great to meet you. Tell me, how do you select the names of your characters?
Character naming is one of the most important aspects of writing in my opinion, as well as the most fun. First, I get an image in my mind’s eye of the character, then I assign certain attributes & personality traits.
Next, I get my character naming sourcebook and look for a name that matches my character and his/her attributes. Or sometimes, just the sound of the name as it rolls off the tongue makes for a good fit.
For example, in the story In Pursuit, the main character’s name is Dagmar Bezhumanka. My intention was to provide the reader with an image of a woman searching desperately (dangerously?) for true love.
Now, that’s an unusual name. I have to ask, do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes, and I’ve developed a healthy respect for it. In my case, it usually happens when I try to avoid writing something that I know must be written.
Other times, I think my muse simply gets lazy or wanders off. To goose her into action, I find that finger painting is a great way to get back on track. You use the other side of your brain, which somehow gets the creative juices flowing again. Plus, it’s fun.
Also, I find that when I wear bizarre color & pattern combinations, mismatched socks, and/or wild make-up, it helps me tap into parts of me previously unknown. Some of my best writing happens when I’m wearing plaids & polka dots and blue metallic eye shadow.
No, I don’t leave the house like this.
That’s ingenious! I love that idea, Susan. Which character(s) created by you do you consider as your masterpiece(s)?
Without a doubt, it would have to be François and Sebastian Limbourg of The Wild-Ass Series. These are two adolescent brothers, a year apart in age, who have extremely high IQs and wild wild imaginations.
It all starts when their grandmother sends them a Homunculus Hero kit for Christmas. The boys incubate a homunculus, name him Pendragon and present him to their mother for her birthday. In another instance, they transform their cat Phydeaux, into a dog, and then back into a cat after remembering that their father is allergic to dogs.
I’m thinking of turning the series into a novel. As it is now, The Wild Ass Series begins in Gutter Ball: A Collection of Short Stories. It continues in Eddie’s Underwear & Other Shorts. I then continued it in Humannequin, but I unpublished the book because I wasn’t happy with it. My latest effort, Bad Meringue & Other Stories, doesn’t include The Wild-Ass Series.
Sounds like a fun series, Susan. Have you ever written a memoir? How does that differ from other forms of writing?
Yes. I am in the midst of writing one right now. It’s called Belles Lettres to my Damn Self.
Writing a memoir differs from other writing because it rips my guts out. This memoir forces me to be brutally honest with myself, which is much easier said than done. For me, it means poking at painful memories and reliving them to convey the absolute essence of the experience to the reader.
Why write it if it’s that painful? I’m hoping to circumvent someone else’s devastation — nip it in the bud. If sharing my story helps just one person, then it’s all worthwhile.
Plus, I find it to be cathartic in a Roto-Rooter-ish kind of way.
Thanks for stopping by, Susan.
Thanks for the invite, Colleen. I had a great time.
How to Contact Susan Shuman
Amazon Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/Susan-Marie-Shuman/e/B06X9ZY4D2
Thanks for stopping by to meet Susan. I’ll see you all again!