AB: I understand that Dragon’s Teeth started out as a short story for Divertir Publishing and morphed into a novel, aided by NaNoWriMo. Tell me a little bit about how you began your relationship with Divertir Publishing, and when you decided that your cyberpunk/detective noir short deserved to be expanded into a book-length story?
Suzanne: Divertir had a submissions call for 'noir' stories. I approached the editor and asked if they'd accept tech-noir (films like Equilibrium and Strange Days). The editor said why not so I started writing. I actually started writing what later became Part II of the novel. It was never really a conscious decision to turn the short into a novel, it's just that the story demanded more, so I went with it and only stopped writing 70 000 words later. Dragon's Teeth is really more like two novellas entertwined to tell one long story.
AB: Did you enjoy the NaNoWriMo experience, and would you do it again?
Suzanne: I found it extremely stressful. At the time I was embroiled in my Masters studies and November is a frenzy of assignments and exams which of course got in the way of my fiction writing. I wanted so badly to make the 50k and I also needed to pass my semester. In the end I only made it to 32k by the end of November but it really forced me to write under pressure. I'm not sure I'd do it again. Maybe if I caught a wave of inspiration at the end of October.
AB: After finishing the NaNoWriMo challenge, how long did it take you to hone your writing into a workable manuscript?
Suzanne: Another three months. I only submitted the story to Divertir at the end of January I think, and it still took another 6 months of revisions and edits for it to become the published edition.
AB: It’s a rough climate in the publishing industry these days, and a debut novel with a small press is easily blown away by the winds of self-publishing and ebooks. What are you doing to actively promote Dragon’s Teeth, and what has shown the most success?
Suzanne: Here's where I could have done a lot more had I not been so green going in. I really didn't know anything about the industry at the time, only that I submitted more on a whim that actual expectation of being published. So far, social media such as Goodreads and Twitter have been really successful, more so than Facebook. I've also since joined blog tours and that has helped me connect with many other writers and readers of my genre. Networking is definitely the most important aspect of marketting. For my next book, due out early 2013, I’ve already started promoting it through Pinterest and Twitter, by joining indie author and book sites and by following blogs that actively promote indie authors in my genre. Getting your indie work noticed is definitely the most difficult part of the writing job.
AB: Your life has taken you from South Africa to Australia and now to your home in Finland. Do you feel that your travels have helped you add depth to your scenes and characters?
Suzanne: Hm, maybe. My travels have definitely had an impact on the type of stories I write, the characters and how they relate to the world around them so maybe traveling does add depth. Traveling certainly inspires new settings, scenarios and characters which is always good for a writer.
AB: Outside of writing, tell us about some of your passions and hobbies.
Suzanne: Music. I'm a musician first and absolutely live for music. I couldn't go a day without it. Although I don't have a piano at the moment, I love playing piano and flute and have taught myself a bit of guitar. I love film - the darker and stranger the better - and devote a substantial amount of my time to my pooch. I'm a crazy dog person who one day wants a big house just so I can have a pack of malamutes running around. I also try to stay active with tennis, swimming, cycling, walking/hiking or ice skating.
AB: Finally, tell us a little bit about your upcoming novel with Etopia Press.
Suzanne: My new novel now officially titled Obscura Burning is a YA science fiction novel with LGBT themes. It's a strange story that pretty much wrote itself. I had an idea, a character, and the story just unfolded from there. It's set in New Mexico (having never been there, I had to do a lot of research) and dabbles in both Navajo mythology and quantum physics. It's dark, but I think upper teens and adults with a penchant for the poetic and apocalyptic will probably enjoy it.
Dragon's Teeth on Amazon
Suzanne on Twitter
Suzanne on Facebook
If you enjoyed this review, you can subscribe to the Underground or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.