Author Interview: Suzanne Kelman
Today I have an author guest by the name of Suzanne Kelman!
So, you’re here to promote your book ‘The Rejected Writers’ Book Club’ and I’d love to hear about it. What’s the storyline? Is it as funny as you are?
Thank you so much for having me in your little corner of the blog-asphere. It’s a comedic story about small-town life seen through the eyes of my protagonist Librarian, Janet Johnson. She gets pulled into a “kaleidoscope of craziness” when she gets dragged to a meeting of The Rejected Writers Book Club. They are a group of quirky authors who have no desire to be published but celebrate every rejection letter in style and flair. She eventually ends up on a crazy madcap road trip with them to save the club which is but in jeopardy when the leader of the group gets an acceptance letter from a publisher. And is it as funny as I am? I guess you will have to read it to find out :-) But seriously, it was a whole barrel of laughs to write, and I love bringing joy to people. My favorite reviews are from women who read it in bed and wake their husbands from a dead sleep, bursting out laughing.
That sounds entertaining! What would you say you’ve learned about yourself as you wrote this book?
I think my biggest lesson was that I could actually do it. I had attempted to write books in the past but always got bored or ran out of steam and gave up halfway through, but for some reason I persevered with the rejected ladies, and we made it limping and breathless over the finish-line together. It was my version of a 25-mile marathon. I was very proud of that accomplishment.
You cohost a podcast, ‘Blondie & The Brit,’ with a friend and fellow author KJ Waters. Does that cut into your writing schedule or do you find it nudges you along to talk with other people in the writing business?
The most challenging thing for both of us about the podcast is the effect running another business has on our writing time. There are many things we have to do to keep the whole B&B machine oiled and moving. But you are so right about how the interviews help me also. Our favorite part of the job is meeting and learning new things from our authors; we get such a thrill from that experience. K.J. and I always have a debriefing call right after an interview and nine times out of ten, one of us will talk about one aspect of the podcast and comment, “I’m going to go and do that right away!”
Is this novel going to be the first in a series or do you plan to make it a trilogy or a stand-alone?
This is a trilogy, and it will also have a Christmas Novella to compliment the series. I am working on the second book right now and hope to have that to my publisher by June. I have already written a rough first draft for book three as well.
Now to a less serious question, coffee or tea? I live in Texas and most people look at me like I have two heads when I want hot tea with milk and sugar instead of over ice in a tall glass.
And being British, tea is my drink of choice, too. In England, we think a cup of tea solves everything it is the first thing people give you for shock, illness, death and dismemberment. You could be there with your arm hanging off and the first thing someone would say to you is, “let me get you a nice cup of tea.”
What genre do you read the most?
Historical fiction. I love the idea of swanning around in crinolines fanning myself and having the Mr. Darcy's of the world picking up stray handkerchiefs when I drop them.
If you had to pick the worst on-screen adaptation of a novel, what would it be?
Ok, so there are a lot I could choose from, but my least favorite was, Message in a Bottle. I have no idea if the book ends the same way as the movie, I have been frightened to find out, but if that is the case, I think they made a huge error in judgment killing of one the main character when the made the film. That should have been changed as it was that way in the book. Books and films are very different animals you have to write what the audience expects. Otherwise, you end up with viewers like me shouting “What! THAT’s how you're going to end it!” at the screen, I still hate what they did with that movie. I always try to read a book first, if I can, because I know what a screenwriter is up against. Taking a 500-page book and paring it down to 110 script pages (that is about 30 full novel manuscript pages) is a challenge. Adding to that the fact they often have to create peaks and troughs at a different point in the story as well it only makes the job more difficult. A screenwriter has to take the essence of the novel and create a story. So, I always like to, whenever I can, read the authors words first and then see how the screenwriter interpreted them.
As we discussed before, I’m a fan of rum. I don’t drink to excess, but I have heard some authors take the expression, “write drunk, edit sober” a tad too literally. Have you ever imbibed before writing to disastrous results? How do you feel about that whole tortured artist label that comes and goes in popular culture?
I think grammar is torture enough! I think there can be some truth in the adage just because of the fact writing is as much an emotional journey as a creative one, especially depending on the genre you right in. Memoir writers, for example, tell me how hard that can be as the relive painful moments from their past and even mainstream writers have to dig deep. I wrote the last chapter of my book in one full whole day, all 8000 words of it, crying through most of it. Sometimes that’s what it takes, and rum, or in my case a little Baileys is how we make it, through :-)
Writing tends to make us observers of the world. Have you seen or experienced anything of note you think you might one day incorporate into a story?
I’m always thinking in storylines; I live in the land of “what if”… I don’t have anything right this minute that I am in that place with, but I do have a screenplay on the back-burner. It is still in the process of being creating. I love that when a project is in the place that everything you read and see somehow filters into the melting pot, and may easily become a part of the storyline.
And we’ll wind this down with a fun game of ‘caption this.’
“Now, what was it they said about water and cell phones? Is it rice or flour?”
Suzanne, thank you so much for being my guest, and I look forward to reading more of your work in future. Should anyone else be interested in Suzanne’s upcoming release of ‘The Rejected Writers’ Book Club’, I’ve got all of her links posted below.
Suzanne Kelman’s links:
Suzanne Kelman is the author of “The Rejected Writers’ Book Club” and an award-winning screenwriter and playwright. Her accolades include The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences – Nicholl Fellowship Finalist, Best Comedy Feature Script - L.A. International Film Festival and Gold Award Winner – California Film Awards.