Format: Hardcover, 336 pages
Publisher: Random House Canada
ISBN: 978-0-679-31381-6 (0-679-31381-8)
Pub Date: June 7, 2011
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20 Writerly Questions for Susie Moloney
1. How would you summarize your book in one sentence?
Normally I wouldn’t try. But if I had to, I might say … The Thirteen is about the underside of life as a witch in suburbia; naughty, naughty little witchy, Devil getting you kinda bitchy.
2. How long did it take you to write this book?
Every book you write, every story you write, took your whole life up to that moment to write. And if that isn’t vague or zen enough, then how about … um, about 3 years because of illness in the family. Usually, a book doesn’t take as long to write. I wrote The Dwelling in just a year, for instance. I wrote A Dry Spell in about 11 months.
3. Where is your favorite place to write?
Paris. I’m assuming, but I’ve never been there. If I can’t be in Paris, I have to be in a smallish space, and it must be dark. I like to write in very low light. I have black out curtains in my current office.
4. How do you choose your characters’ names?
I go to junk mail and find appropriately bland sounding last names so that when my characters axe murder someone, no one ethnic group is totally offended.
5. How many drafts do you go through?
Everything I write goes on to the page perfect, like the day we’re born (about 3, on average).
6. If there was one book you wish you had written what would it be?
How I won $100 million in the Lottery, an autobiography. Also Black Water, by Joyce Carol Oates. And Blond by Joyce Carol Oates. And Room by Emma Donoghue. And Salem’s Lot, by The King. And Jaws, by Peter Benchley, still a once-a-year read. And The Incredible Shrinking Man by Richard Matheson. And We Need to talk about Kevin, by Lionel Shriver. And anything by Kent Haruf, who is a master of the understated. The man could pull tears from rocks.
7. If your book were to become a movie, who would you like to see star in it?
I think I get paid twice if I star in it, so … you know. Otherwise, Jake Gyllenhaal. Playing EVERYONE.
8. What’s your favourite city in the world?
New York, New York. A city so nice they named it two times. There’s something about the pulse of this city that keeps me awake. A big city seems to feed me, like a bucket o’ brains to a zombie.
9. If you could talk to any writer living or dead who would it be, and what would you ask?
I would find a writer who smoked. I would ask, do you have a smoke? Also, if I ever got to meet Stephen King, I would ask him to please stop writing the same books I am writing, a year before I write them.
10. Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what kind?
I used to listen to opera. You know when my son was very young he used to think that opera was sung by dead people. I assume that’s why I like it so much. Apple doesn’t fall far from the horror writer.
11. Who is the first person who gets to you read your manuscript?
My partner, the alarmingly talented playwright, Vern Thiessen.
12. Do you have a guilty pleasure read?
True crime. Preferably with 8 pages of shocking photographs.
13. What’s on your nightstand right now?
Freedom, by Jonathon Franzen and an ARC copy of Forgotten, a YA by Cat Patrick.
14. What is the first book you remember reading?
The Secret World of Og!! Pierre Berton’s under-appreciated masterpiece. When I met him, it was the first things out of my mouth after, “Your Highness.” He told me everyone tells him that. He also told me that the only way to get through a book tour was to drink a bottle of wine every night on the publisher. Even if you didn’t finish it. A great man.
15. Did you always want to be a writer?
Well, I really, really wanted to be a princess.
16. What do you drink or eat while you write?
COFFEE!! I eat sunflower seed, which have taken the place of the demon tobacco.
17. Typewriter, laptop, or pen & paper?
I wrote the first draft of my first novel, never published, on a manual typewriter! Electrics had been invented, but what was I, Donrock Cavetrump?! But I wrote my second draft on a computer and have never looked back. My grandfather – a happy-hobby writer – told me it was imperative to learn to compose “at the keyboard.” It took me a long time to get the hang of it, but now I could NEVER compose by hand. I use paper and pen for copious notes on the subway and in coffee shops.
18. What did you do immediately after hearing that you were being published for the very first time?
Well, I took the phone outside because my kids were screaming. Then after that, I went back in the house and made breakfast for them. I do remember a wild party in there, too, but not really well.
19. How do you decide which narrative point of view to write from?
I’m old-school third person for the most part, although I’ve been moving into first person this year. I find it very intimate and sometimes overwhelmingly so, and for that reason, I think it’s refreshing me creatively.
20. What is the best gift someone could give a writer?
Ten hours alone in a room and then a nice French red.
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