Recently I joined the YA Indie Carnival, a group of wildly talented Indie authors. Each month the YA Indie Carnival will be bringing us news from the frontlines and introducing us to fabulous YA authors for you to check out. Today we welcome author Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga.
Suzy Turner has worked as a journalist, assistant editor, features editor, magazine editor and has even been the Script Supervisor for a full length feature film. Early in 2010 however, she began writing full time and has since completed a trilogy for young adults, The Raven Saga (the first of which is FREE) and started a brand new series, The Morgan Sisters. The first full length novel in this series, The Ghost of Josiah Grimshaw is now available, as is a shorter novella, Daisy Madigan’s Paradise which is FREE!
Although Suzy is a Yorkshire lass at heart, she left her home town of Rotherham, UK, to move to Portugal with her family when she was ten. For now, the Algarve continues to be her home, where she lives with her childhood sweetheart and husband of 14 years, Michael.
We asked Suzy a few questions about her writing. Here’s what she had to say:
1) What is your all-time favorite book and why?
Ooh it’s so tough to just have one book. But I’d probably go with The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I studied the book at college and totally fell in love with it. I guess it was because it was so different to anything I’d ever read. Perhaps the dystopian side of it also appealed. I’m not sure. Strangely though, I’ve never read anything else by Margaret Atwood. Not sure why!
2) Is there an author you could be compared to or popular fictional characters your book’s characters could relate to and why?
Recently, my newest series (The Morgan Sisters) was described by a book blogger as ‘possibly the next Harry Potter’. Clearly this made my decade and I’d love to be compared to the Great Almighty JK, but I would never compare myself to another writer. I’d like to think my writing is my own… kind of unique, you know?
3) Can you give us your favorite quote from one of your books and explain it?
My favourite quote? That’s a toughie, hmmm. How about this…
‘She could hear her heart beating, feel it thudding in her chest. She couldn’t open her mouth; it was too dry. All she wanted to do was scream but she couldn’t even do that. Please God don’t let me die, she thought.
A sudden massive gust of wind took her feet from beneath her and she was forcefully pushed from the top of Carlton Point, falling silently and peacefully to the rocky hills below.’
The reason I like this scene so much is because I have such a vivid image of it in my mind. When you read on to the next chapter, you’ll see that she didn’t actually fall. That image of Lana slowly floating, almost in slow motion, reverberated with me. Almost like a scene from Alice in Wonderland.
4) What types of things/people/music inspires you and makes you want to keep writing?
I am particularly inspired by places. For instance, my first series (The Raven Saga) was inspired by the awesome mountains and forests of Western Canada. My new series (The Morgan Sisters) was inspired by places I’ve been to in London (as well as by a London actor I met last year).
I think the UK is perhaps one of the most inspiring countries I’ve ever been to. Every time I visit (although I’m English, I currently live in Portugal), I am blown away by its capacity to inspire me… with its historical buildings and heritage. I’m actually selling up and moving back to England. One of the reasons why we chose England is because of its hold over me with my writing. I can’t wait! (Anyone wanna buy a villa in the Algarve?)
5) Describe your typical writing day or week.
When I have deadlines, I write every morning until I’ve reached my target (if I’m in the zone, I’ll write a lot more) and then I chill out with my favourite TV show and a nice cup of Rooibos tea 🙂
6) Is there a food or drink do you have to have when you’re writing?
Just Rooibos tea and water.
7) Can you tell us what you’re working on right now (& possibly provide an excerpt & cover)?
I’m about to start the second novel in The Morgan Sisters series but it doesn’t have a title yet!
EXCERPT – THE GHOST OF JOSIAH GRIMSHA
Lightning shattered the darkness. Not even Emma’s thick purple quilt could shut out the light as it filtered through to her closed eyelids. A low echo of rumbling thunder made its way across the North Sea towards Andilyse Island and she shivered. Suddenly something landed on top of her head and she shrieked.
The sounds of laughter emanated from the bed across the room.
‘Lana, you cow,’ shouted Emma as she threw back the covers and tossed the pillow back at her sister who just shook her head and giggled.
‘It’s only a storm. There’s nothing to be scared of.’
‘There is everything to be scared of,’ she replied as she cowered beneath the quilt again.
‘Oh come on, Sis. We’re quite safe in here. This house has been standing for hundreds of years, it’s not like it’s going to collapse is it?’
‘It nearly did the last time,’ Emma croaked.
‘That was like sixty years ago, Em, and none of the houses collapsed. The only thing that took the brunt of the storm was the pier.’
‘And the church.’
‘Exactly. None of the houses. Stop being such a coward. You’re fifteen! It’s a storm, it’s rain, it’s not the end of the world.’
‘It was for all those poor people.’
‘Oh stop being so dramatic. Things were different back in the 50s, Em. We’re safe, now stop worrying.’
The sound of the front door slamming downstairs made both girls jump. Emma glared at Lana before they both hopped out of bed and ran to their bedroom door which they opened, looking down over the banister.
Peering up at them from the bottom of the stairs stood an attractive grey-haired man in his early 50s, taking off his soaking coat.
‘Shhh, we don’t want to wake Greg and Lucy,’ he said as he summoned them downstairs.
‘Oh Patrick, they should be in bed too,’ whispered a voice from the kitchen as the two girls skipped down to find out what was going on.
‘You know what they’re like, Audrey,’ he said as he hung his dripping coat on the stand in the hallway. Tutting, his wife promptly removed it and placed it in the sink in the downstairs cloakroom before going back to give him a kiss.
‘What’s happened, Dad?’ asked Emma as she sat huddled up to her sister on the bottom step. A clap of thunder made her jump and she shivered, her eyes wide open with apprehension. Lana rolled her eyes and put her arm protectively around her sister.
‘Let’s have a cup of cocoa,’ Audrey said, recognising the look on her husband’s face. There was bad news.
While they waited for the milk to heat up on the stove, Lana went into the lounge looking for candles as the lights continued to flicker, constantly threatening to go out for good.
‘I’ve found some,’ she said, setting them down on the kitchen table with a box of matches, ‘just in case,’ she smiled. ‘So what’s going on, Dad? Why did you have to go out so late?’
‘He’s the Chief Constable… it’s his job,’ answered their mother as she poured steaming milk into the four mugs, before stirring them as quietly as she could.
Lana stood beside her, adding a spoonful of sugar to her own mug before passing the calming drinks to her family, who stood sipping the chocolatey goodness silently for a moment.
Rubbing his forehead, Patrick put his cocoa down on the table just as the rain began to clatter loudly on the roof tiles.
‘Oh no,’ whispered Emma as she pulled her feet up towards her bottom and rocked back and forth in her seat.
Patrick put his hand on her shoulder, ‘it’s okay sweetheart. It’s just a storm, it’ll pass. Everything will be all right.’
‘Well then why did you have to go out in it, Dad?’ she asked.
‘I was called out to the old Grimshaw farm… Josiah was seen wandering close to the pier again.’
‘What? In this weather? Does he have a death wish?’ said Lana without thinking as her mother tutted, glancing towards Emma. ‘Did you find him? Is he okay?’
‘I’m afraid he’s nowhere to be seen. And in these conditions, it’s impossible to send out a search party. We can’t send out the lifeboat without risking the lives of everyone else, I’m afraid. He’s a silly old man, he should never have been left alone in this storm. Everyone on the island knows how it affects him.’
Audrey patted her husband’s hand, ‘there’d be no stopping him, love. He’s just looking for her.’
‘Well, maybe he’s finally got his wish.’
‘Daddy?’ said an innocent child’s voice from the stairs.
‘Oh we’ve woken the kids,’ said Audrey as she stood up and went to check on her two younger children.
‘Hey sweetheart. Sorry we woke you. Come on, let’s go back to bed,’ she said to her family. ‘There’s nothing we can do now. We should all try and get some sleep.’
More from Suzy Turner:
After the inexplicable disappearance of Lilly Taylor’s parents, she has no choice but to move to Canada where she unravels some frightening yet intriguing family secrets… Her whole life had been based on a lie. Lilly had grown up in a loveless home with a father who she had barely ever seen and a mother who was… well, not very motherly. After they mysteriously disappear without a trace, Lilly is sent to Canada where she finds a whole new way of life. A life filled with love and people who care for her. But that’s not all she discovers, Lilly also finds out that she isn’t who, or what, she thinks she is. Lilly has a very special ability and it’s just a matter of time before her true self starts to shine. And when it does, her life will never be the same again.