Friday, November 2, 2018

Author Spotlight - Susan Count on her award-winning book

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A WRITER? Grief. Grief inspired me to write. In my dark days, an adventure story filled my head and the writing process gave me great joy and re-established my equilibrium.

WAS THERE A TEACHER OR OTHER MENTOR WHO INFLUENCED YOUR WRITING - PLEASE ELABORATE: The first thing I remember writing was an essay on utopia, in middle grade. It came back to me covered in red-marks. Thoroughly discouraged, I decided then I was bad at writing and didn’t write my first novel until I was over 60. It turns out the ability to create a story is not the same as knowing where to put a comma. I use a brilliant editor for that.

HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK? Horses are a legacy in many families. My series reflects the love for horses passed from one generation to the next. I shared that love with my daughter and now my granddaughter – Selah.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SCENE FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK AND WHY? This little snippet of dialog always makes me chuckle.
“If I had a dream like that, I’d move out of my head.” Mary echoed a shiver.
“Want me to pray for you? Mrs. Tate prays for me all the time, so I know how to do it.”
“I guess, but I don’t see how it can help.”
“Let’s try it.” Mary brought her hands together, closed her eyes, and bowed her head.
Laura dropped her chin and rested her shoulder against Mary as she prayed.
“God? Please protect Laura from her bad dream. Amen.”
“That’s it?”
“He’s busy.”

WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE DO YOU BELIEVE ARE MOST LIKE YOU AND WHY? None are like me. The librarian in Mary’s Song is modeled after my very own librarian grandmother. She was dignified, elegant and beautiful in every way. She encouraged me to read my favorite genre – horse books, starting with The Black Stallion. I write at her desk.

WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL GLEAN FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK? First, I hope young readers will absorb that their families are to be treasured. Their parents are silver and their grandparents are gold. Also, to keep their eyes on their dream and pursue it with passion.

IF YOU COULD BE COMPARED TO A WELL-KNOWN AUTHOR WHO WOULD YOU MOST WANT THIS TO BE AND WHY? I’m in no way comparable to her, but the author whose work I most admire is Anna Sewell who wrote Black Beauty. She wrote the book from the horses’ point of view which is extremely difficult to do expertly. Plus, she bettered the life of working horses with the book by bringing attention to their plight.

WHAT INCIDENT HAS HAD THE GREATEST IMPACT ON YOUR LIFE? Writing the Dream Horse Adventure series has energized my life. It gives me great joy and purpose every day.

HOW DID YOU GET PUBLISHED? For about a week, I thought I had an agent. She swooned over the book, but left me at the altar. Her gushing gave me confidence in the book and the determination to publish it myself. At some point, I realized if I sold Selah’s Sweet Dream to a traditional publishing house they would own the book. They would make all the decisions about its development. How could I have ever thought I could sell a book I’d written for Selah?

IF A CLOSE FRIEND OR LOVED ONE WANTED TO WRITE A BOOK, WHAT GREATEST PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE THEM? Write the whole book. Get that your first draft is dribble. Find a critique group and change everything. Get it professionally edited. Decide the publishing route best for you. Don’t look up the long staircase, but take one prayerful step at a time to get it done.

CAN YOU OFFER ANY ADVICE FOR WRITERS ON HOW BEST TO PROMOTE THEIR BOOK? Lots, but that is a book in itself. I concentrate on writing the best book possible. Then I stack it against others in award contests. If your book floats to the top – you can assure it’s worth your readers' time.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT? Something I never expected! While my books have won multiple first-place awards, I’ve been most honored by a scene in Selah’s Sweet Dream being selected for inclusion in reading comprehension testing for fifth graders - worldwide.
WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ASPIRATIONS? That the work of my hands would be pleasing to the Lord.

TELL US SOMETHING PEOPLE MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU THAT THEY MIGHT FIND INTERESTING: If I’m taking notes while you're telling me something fun your child did, you can be sure it will find a way into my books.

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS? After you’ve read one of my books, come find me. I want to know what you think.

Selah’s Sweet Dream is the story of a girl who aspires to be an equestrian superstar and a horse with ATTITUDE. Selah is the granddaughter of Mary 

DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW BOOKS IN THE WORKS? Of course! Editing Selah’s Painted Dream - the third book in Dream Horse Adventures. And considering the publication options for a book for boys – The Firefly Warriors
Selah’s Painted Dream is the story of a girl determined to chase her horse dreams even when life tries to buck her off. Sign up on my website to be notified of updates

LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval

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