Susan: I can only write after gulping 2 cups of tea in the morning and checking my email. I ALWAYS have a mug of tea by the keyboard, even if it's 5pm. I need peace and quiet to compose anything decent, and since I'm very distractible to outside stimuli, I'm considering buying some earplugs.
Paul: If someone had the power to step into your creative mind what would they see?
Susan: One would see a kaleidoscope of vibrant colors and my thoughts swarming about like a hive filled with worker bees--there's always something buzzing around my brain.
Paul: In all the years you’ve been publishing your work, what is the biggest mistake you made that you could share so others can avoid making it?
Susan: I once wrote a rebuttal regarding a piece my brother submitted to our local newspaper. Essentially I publicly called him a hypocrite and told him to live and let live. This caused a rift between us lasting almost a decade, so I wouldn't do that again--ever. Even though I still believe my opinion was way more fair than his...
Paul: How do you find the time to write?
Susan: I'm not working a day job now, so writing time comes easier for me than most writers who still have 9-5's. When I was downsized from my job, I thought, Wow! Now I have all the time in the world to write! It doesn't work that way, though. I have self-imposed goals and deadlines, because, as I said, I'm very distractible and I have to be very strict with myself. (The vacuum cleaner is in the hall beckoning me, so I must get up and close the door… There, that's better!)
Paul: What is one thing you hope I do not tell the readers?
Susan: Yikes! (Blush) I have a little OCD going on. I won't use anyone's pen but mine, and if I have to shake hands with a stranger, I always retrieve a wipe from my purse and discreetly wash my hands when no one's looking. This won't stop me from trying to have a book signing at my local book store, though! (Without gloves.)
Paul: If you are self-published, what led to you going your own way?
Susan: I joined a few online groups of authors who publish independently, right after attending a writer's conference consisting of mostly traditionally published authors. I even won an award for a piece I submitted for a contest at the conference, but I was curious about the hoopla surrounding self-publishing, so I sat on the fence with how to go, for two years. I read posts, asked questions, and explored this fantastic avenue of having total control over one's work, which pushed me over the edge to self publish. Plus, I didn't want to publish posthumously…
Paul: Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Susan: The story I'm working on now is a rewrite from a manuscript I began about 8 years ago, so I will be just running with it, accompanied by my worker bees. Dinosaurs & Cherry Stems was born after I wrote an article about the woes of Internet dating services. (Hate outlining.)
Paul: Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Susan: I have a bad habit of editing as I go, which I'm trying to shake free from. I have a great editor now, so I'll be leaving the editing to him. (You can't see this, but I'm editing this interview as I go, tsk-tsk!)[Paul - I know, I had to edit a few pieces later, myself :-)]
Susan: Dinosaurs & Cherry Stems is the story of a jaded woman's quest to put her past mistakes into what she calls, 'her memory cemetery' and begin life anew on her own terms. She has plenty. Boy, was she in for some surprises!
Paul: Do you also write any poetry, non-fiction or short stories?
Susan: I've been published in a number of magazines over the years, regarding topics I'm passionate about, like disabled people, raising teens, that sort of thing. I contribute to my local newspaper , but poetry eludes me...
Paul: Do you enter competitions? Are there any you could recommend?
Susan: I enter the Writer's Digest contests sponsored every year. In 2009, one of my essays won third place for Inspirational--that meant my name was published in the magazine, I received a year's subscription free, some Writers Market books, and $250!
Paul: How much marketing do you do for your published works or for your ‘brand’?
Susan: Online, I'm working it via Twitter and Facebook. Now that my book is available in paperback, I'll be pounding the pavement and soliciting all over the place.
Paul: What do you do when you’re not writing? Do you have any hobbies or party tricks?
Susan: I love watching football, specifically the NY Giants, visiting my grandchildren, kayaking. Playing with Emma the Lab, and just being with my husband. Emma the Lab knows all the tricks. The only tricks I know are the trick or treat kind… ;)
Paul: That was great, Susan. Many thanks and all the best for the future.
Susan and her husband, Joseph, live in a little town in New Jersey near the sea. Together they have seven children and nine grandchildren. .
Susan's Website: Susan Jean Ricci
Susan on Twitter: @susanjeanricci
Susan on Facebook: Susan Jean Ricci
Susan's latest book: Dinosaurs & Cherry Stems (Amazon)
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