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Please introduce yourself. Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Sue Perry and I am a novelist. I've also enjoyed a number of noteworthy day jobs, including disaster scientist and low budget TV producer.
What first inspired you to start writing?
I responded to praise about school writing assignments. It wasn't just the positive words but also the discovery that I could share and influence thoughts and emotions. Then and now that makes me feel connected - no longer an isolated organism.
Your books so far have covered a variety of genres, why is this?
I have many interests and I like change. Repeating a genre seems more difficult than trying a new one. With one (somewhat) exception, I've never set out to write any particular genre. I happen upon ideas that intrigue me and proceed where they take me. The somewhat exception is my current novel, FRAMES. For some time I had thought that it would be fun to write a fantasy and was on the lookout for ideas with fantasy underpinnings. And I was right. It is fun to write a fantasy.
If you could spend a day with anyone from history, who would it be and why?
You wouldn't believe the struggle I've had with this question. Over the years, I've encountered many brilliant, talented, or famous people so I know that having a gift doesn't guarantee that you will be interesting or fun - or pleasant. And I want this day to be truly special. So first, I nerded out. (What if we don't speak the same language? What if they take longer than a day to get to know? What if they're heroes who turn out to be jerks?) Eventually I broke out of this spiral by reminding myself that this is the dream sequence part of the interview. Then I couldn't decide my motivation. Did I want to learn something (the Buddha), be inspired (Thoreau), meet a hero (John Lennon), solve a mystery (the Shakespeares), have a great conversation (Einstein), have some laughs (Mae West), share an adventure (Michael Connelly)? Next I paused, troubled, because I didn't have enough women on the list. I paused again because so few of my personal heroes made the list. Then I realized that maybe I could select someone living, which changed everything! Finally, I wished that the question included fictional characters.
At last I forced myself to make a damn choice, with two runners-up in case we have scheduling conflicts.
First choice: Beatrix Potter. We would wander her country estate, while chatting and observing stuff; and I would watch her draw.
Second choice: Thelonious Monk. We would have conversations I mostly didn't understand while walking around New York; and then I would sit in on a gig.
Third choice: Tolstoy during his last, visionary and/or crazy days when he lived at the train station. He would talk and I would take notes.
What was the last book you read?
The last book I read was a mediocre piece of fluff that merits no mention. Let me instead rave about the book I am reading now. I first read it years ago and it is even better than I recall: THE BLUE EYED SHAN by Stephen Becker, an historical adventure set in Burma (now Myanmar) before during and after WWII. Romance, action, intrigue, tragedy. Remarkable dialog that conveys politics, history, exotic milieu, and character secrets in brief, witty exchanges. This novel should be famous not obscure. And I wish Peter Jackson would film it.
What do you find most rewarding about writing?
When I'm alone at the screen or page, I am rewarded by the moments of unexpected discovery: unplanned and unbidden, suddenly there is an insight, idea, or turn of phrase that is really good and I can't say where it came from. More generally, I respond to the times when my words connect me with someone else.
And the most challenging?
To write something that is honest and that matters - which I believe is possible no matter what or whether the genre.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am in revisions with the first book in a fantasy detective series called FRAMES. In it, a self-appointed detective gets in way over her head - although she would never agree! - with beings from other dimensions. FRAMES Book 1 should be available in early 2014.
Tell us about your latest work and how we can find out more.
I have recently published WAS IT A RAT I SAW as an ebook. RAT is a psychological thriller involving split-brain research, animal rights, and a love quadrangle. It was previously published by Bantam-Doubleday-Dell.
At one time, a treatment for life-threatening epilepsy involved severing the membrane that connects the two sides of the brain. The operation isolated brain functions that were previously connected. Scientists studying split-brain patients learned startling and amazing things about how our brains work - and spawned various pop-psych fads regarding left brain vs. right brain abilities. (The brain reality is more complicated.)
Split-brain research is the foundation for WAS IT A RAT I SAW. In RAT, Tommy Dabrowski, a split-brain patient, witnesses a murder - with the half of his brain that no longer has access to language. He has been working with brain researcher Dr. Clare Austen, who now redirects her experiments to figure out what Tommy knows, before the killer comes to stop them.
All my books are available as ebooks at Smashwords, Apple's iStore, Kobo, and elsewhere. On Amazon you can get them as trade paperbacks as well as ebooks.
I've got a blog where I write about whatever's on my mind each day. On my blog there are links to reach my books, as well as various promotions and giveaways. Or just stop by to say hi.
Books by Sue Perry on Amazon