Suzanne van Rooyen is a freelance writer and SF author. Her debut cyberpunk novel 'Dragon's Teeth' published by Divertir Publishing, LLC is currently available from Amazon and other major retailers.
Her short stories have appeared in Golden Visions Magazine amongst others, and her non-fiction articles are scattered throughout the Internet.
Although she has a Master's degree in music, she prefers writing strange tales of the mythpunk persuasion and playing in the snow. She can be found at suzannevanrooyen.com
When and why did you begin writing?
When, as soon as I could hold a pencil. I'd draw the pictures and narrate the story to my mom. Before I could write, my mom would transcribe the stories for me then as I got older I started writing them for myself. Why? I'm not sure, it just seemed like the most natural thing to do. Stories in my head just needed to be told. After ditching stories in favour of angst filled poetry in my teenage years, I think I returned to stories again because I have this head full of characters that need a means of expression and the written word is it for me.
What was the hardest part of writing your book? What is the easiest?
The hardest part was definitely the research, getting all the details correct for the military portion of the book. I had to read the US Marines patrol handbook just to write 2 sentences, but it all goes towards creating authenticity in the writing which is so important especially in writing SF. The easiest part for me was shaping the characters. I had a very definite idea about who they were, particularly my MC and how he would change, what would cause the changes and where he'd end up. He was a very real person in my mind so I just kind of tagged along for the ride as he lived out the scenarios in the book.
What music do you listen to while you write?
While writing first time round, I need music the puts me into the mood or vibe of the scene. Since I write SF, I tend to listen to a lot of soundtracks like the soundtracks of Gattaca, Sunshine, Inception, X-Men, The Fountain etc. Anything without lyrics is good. When I'm editing then I'll listen to just about anything since lyrics don't interefere as much with my creative process. When I'm stuck in a scene or with a character, I lie on the couch and listen to music I feel is appropriate to the character or storyline. Other favourite writing-bands include God is an Astronaut and Tides from Nebula.
What inspires you?
Moments in real life. I'll see a person in the street and think, 'I need to cast him as a character and write his story' or I'll experience something like say surviving a blizzard while travelling in a bus from Finland to Russia (Real event, happened November 2006) and translate that into an SF scenario. Music inspires me a lot. I often hear a song and a character forms in my mind embodying that song. Movies, TV series and books also have an impact, often inspiring me to ask 'what if?' Artworks too. I regularly troll through DeviantArt waiting for a piece to jump out at me and demand a story be written. Same thing tends to happen with music videos.
Do you have any hidden talents?
Hidden talents? I'm not sure. I've played piano for two decades now and flute for almost 15 years. But since I studied music to a Master's level those 'talents' aren't really hidden. I think if I do have any hidden talents, they're hidden even from me.
What are your current projects?
Finished a YA novel (my first foray into YA). It's a cyberpunk/mythpunk story set in a post WWIII America. I'm also working on a follow-up novel to my debut Dragon's Teeth which is set in the same world but a couple of decades later. I write short stories too when I get the chance, when I'm not working on the non-fiction articles that I actually get paid to write.
What book are you reading now?
I'm reading Hounded by Kevin Hearne. It's a Celtic urban fantasy story and lots of fun. Good writing, smartass MC and all the nasty creatures out of Celtic lore – absolutely love it. I've always been a bit of a Celtic mythology nut myself.
Quick: Vampires or Shapeshifter? Why?
Vampires. I like the romance of the vampire, the allegory of these beings, of these beautiful but deadly creatures preying on our fears and dark desires. They're an exaggeration of the human psyche, the darkest recesses of that human psyche that normal society labels taboo. Vampires have a licence to do as they please uninhibited, free of social mores. I love that freedom in them, that self-indulgence, the hedonism and aesthetic snobbery inherent in the vampire (of the non-sparkling, I'm-redoing-high-school-a-gazillion-times-over variety).
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Stop listening to all the advice people will happily give you at every opportunity and go with your gut. Read, learn and be aware of the writing 'rules' so you know how to break them.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Just a huge thank you to all those who are reading and enjoying my works. Without the readers, there'd be no writers, so thank you and I hope to be providing you with more sometime soon...