Interview with Susann Julieva

What is your writing process?
It starts with a vague idea. Maybe it's a character, or a certain setting. Maybe it's just a story title. Then I try to work out who the main characters are. I spend a lot of time on that, because to me the characters are at the centre of every story. The plot comes second, and it's determined by what motivates the characters. Once I know where I want the story to go, I just write, and see where that takes me. I've found that mapping out every chapter first and going into too much detail before I start to write limits the creative process. I often let my characters take me down different roads than originally planned. It can turn out to be quite an adventure!
What's the story behind your latest book?
The story behind For Me, It's You is that a friend and I talked about how sometimes, no matter how much time passes, there will always be that one guy you never really got over. Maybe ten years have passed since you last met, and things didn't work out between you then. But you just know that if he showed up right now you'd be willing to give it another shot. That made me want to write a story about two people reconnecting and falling in love again, and that's what this book is about.
What do your fans mean to you?
So much. So, so much. Triangle for example would never even have been written without all the wonderful feedback and support I got from my readers. I'm a fan myself, a fan of movies, books, authors, actors and actresses, musicians... I love being a fan. It's a unique experience, and I have a lot of respect and love for everyone who likes my work enough to call themselves a fan. One of the best things about writing is getting to talk about your work with others. I love to interact with my readers.
What do you read for pleasure?
It may seem strange that I love to read about strong, interesting female characters when I mostly write m/m, but that's what I do. I love some of the heroines of urban fantasy. There's a lot of great stuff that's been published over the past few years. And Jane Austen is and always will be one of my favourite authors. I admire her so much. No matter how many times I read her novels, they always give me such joy and strike such a chord with me.
Who are your favorite authors?
In no particular order: Jane Austen, Steve Kluger, Ilona Andrews, Patricia Briggs, Sarah Addison Allen, William Shakespeare.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love, love, love to read. But I go through phases when I hardly read at all, mostly when I've got my head full with ideas for the story I'm currently working on. I'm a fan of a lot of TV shows and movies, so I can spend quite a bit of time on that. And then, of course, there's Tumblr, which eats half your life while you're not paying attention. But fandom and being a fan brings a lot of joy to my life.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Frustration with traditional publishing! *laughs* Isn't that why everyone gets into indie publishing? I got tired of my work getting turned down by publishing houses when I knew (having published Triangle on the internet on my website) that people really loved my work. I just needed a way to get it out there somehow.
Like every author, I was still thrilled when a publishing house finally wanted to publish one of my novels, and I'm proud of that and very happy. But the sad truth is, as an author, you get a better deal and a larger cut if you self-publish. So what I want to do from now onward is to use both routes, self-publishing and traditional publishing, depending on the project.
How do you approach cover design?
Covers are so important, so I spend an awful lot of time on that. Usually I design the covers myself because I happen to be a graphic designer. It takes hours and hours trying to find faces to match your characters. It's difficult because I usually have a pretty clear idea of what my characters look like! So that's the hardest part. Then I play around with the pictures I decided on. That can take hours too. I usually try to get feedback from as many people as possible before I decide on the final cover. Then I spend a lot more time on making finishing touches. It's a time-consuming process, but so worth it.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
A lot of stuff gets recommended to me by other people. And then there are sites like Goodreads that are always good for finding new books. While I love ebooks, I still think nothing beats being in an actual bookstore, just browsing. I often find books I want to read there, and I take a note and buy the ebook later. Unless I can't help myself and just have to have the actual paperback to cradle in my arms and love forever. It's a thing.
What are you working on next?
Right now I'm in the unusual position of working on two projects at the same time, on a Triangle Christmas short story and on my upcoming novel For Me, It's You. Normally I focus on just one. But I already have an idea for another novel after that, one that I'm really excited about. It's going to be a story about family. I'm going to explore what makes a family a family in this day and age, and how decisions of one family member can impact the lives of the rest of them. It's a story of love, loss and friendship, and (as always with me more than anything else) of hope.
Published 2013-10-26.
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