Interview with Susan Firman

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born in England and when I was nine, my parents immigrated to New Zealand. Life was difficult for children who were from immigrant families, especially at first because other children did not accept your differences. At that time, there were also many European families who had settled and those children had the difficulties of language as well.
The area my parents first settled in was predominantly Maori and they had different cultural aspects from the other New Zealanders and from what the government of that time expected. In some respects, those children also had to find their way between two ways of living and sometimes two languages.
Those early experiences have allowed me to share in some of the difficulties when one is "an outsider" and the time and effort required to become accepted.
When did you first start writing?
At school. I wrote serial stories when was ten and read them each morning to the class. But those were never kept. I wrote a few poems which I kept in a special book, just for me. They were my secret thoughts. The two novels began as stories I had drafted when I was a teenager.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The weather. If the sun is out, I'm ready to go.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Volunteering by helping immigrants, walking, gardening, trying to learn Mandarin and reading in many different genres.
How do you approach cover design?
I do a quick sketch on paper first as I think about a theme or some part of the story that becomes important.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Through Smashwords I have been able to share my stories with others. Some may not like my stories but I hope those of you who do, will think about the things that have happened to my characters and try to understand others who may have had similar experiences. How successful I have been, I really do not know as I have had no feedback, good or bad. I just hope I have given pleasure to those who have taken the time to read them.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Painting a picture through words and watching the characters develop.
What effort goes into writing your stories?
As both stories are, in some way, connected to real events within a historical environment, I have had to do many hours of reading and research to try to create some feeling of reality. Then, I have to put myself in the minds and emotions of each character to think how they would have reacted and what each one could have said. It is rather like eavesdropping on conversation but once the framework of dialogue has been constructed, I can begin on the descriptions associated with each scene. Then, there are many reviews where, sometimes entire chapters are thrown away, until I have something I consider satifactory. There are several checks and re-checks to do before the text is ready for publication. This takes many years as I only have the time to write during the wetter, cooler winter months. So, dear readers, I hope you will appreciate what I have offered you, for. like many new writers today, we put in much effort and work and often seek nothing in return other than an appreciative reader.
Published 2014-11-17.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Opposite Sides
Price: Free! Words: 178,550. Language: English. Published: November 14, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Action/adventure
A love story, spaning three decades to the end of the war, explores the difficulties of friendship and acceptance. However, duty to one's country dictates how one has to live and behave but one young man has a secret, even his own family does not know.
Time to Remember
Price: Free! Words: 79,390. Language: English. Published: March 6, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Historical
Encouraged by her grandfather, Jenette makes a trip to Norway where she is drawn into an experience beyond her control. Plummeted into the nineth century she is forced to rediscover herself and come to terms with another culture in another time.