Author Interview: Suzy Vadori
We have a special guest author visiting Pandora’s Box Gazette today for an interview. Suzy Vadori is a YA author in Calgary who is being nominated for an Aurora Award as recognized by the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association for her novel, The West Woods—the second novel in The Fountain series. Her first book, The Fountain, was also nominated in 2016.
Why did you become a writer…was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?
I always knew that I would write a book, it was just something I assumed would happen one day. I didn’t sit down to write the book that would eventually get published until I had my third child. I’m not sure that I really thought through what it meant to “become a writer”, but now I know that writing the book is really just the beginning.
After 22 years working as a business executive, I feel very fortunate to now be able to bring my love of fiction and writing to my readers through WriteIt!’s school programs and through my books every day. I love it.
What was the inspiration for your latest work of fiction?
The Fountain Series was based on the idea that in today’s world, we want our kids to drive their own lives forward, and we give them access to everything they want, to build their own world. While I do the same for my kids and I want them to have everything they ever want in life… I wondered what ripple effect this shift will have on this new generation.
In The Fountain Series, a well meaning founder of St. Augustus boarding school has planted a magical fountain in the students’ midst. This fountain has unlimited power to grant wishes to the students. The chaos that ensues when the world changes around them from each toss of a coin is incredibly complex and fun to write as history gets written and re-written and the kids have to deal with the consequences of their wishes.
Are you currently working on any new book projects?
I’m working on two books simultaneously right now – Book 3 of The Fountain Series, called Wall of Wishes, and Book 1 of an entirely new fantasy romance series for young adults.
What’s your writing schedule like? When do you find time to write?
I wrote my first book, The Fountain, while on maternity leave with my third child.
Luckily, my kids were all good at taking naps, that’s when I got most of it written. In the next several years, after I returned to work, I wrote evenings and weekends to finish and edit The Fountain, and to write The West Woods.
My author career has taken over a bit, finally, and I now work from home, so I allocate a few hours per day to write. I also do contract work and founded the WriteIt! school program, which brings me to schools several times per week. I still have to fit the writing in around all that.
The worlds I build tend to have many layers, so it takes me time to think about all the facets of a scene. When I sit down to write, it’s usually fully formed in my head, so that helps.
How did you find your publisher? What was your journey to publication like?
I met my publisher through When Words Collide, which is a festival for readers and writers that happens each August in Calgary. I’ve been the program manager for Young Adult Fiction for the festival since 2013. 2013 was the first year I attended the festival as well, and I had the first draft of The Fountain that was looking for a home.
I pitched The Fountain to four publishers at the festival, and they all requested the full manuscript. Okay, so I proved I could pitch, but, could I write? After working with a few of them for nearly a year, I was offered a contract to publish the manuscript for September 2017.
Discouraged by the timeline (nearly 3 years from when I was offered the contract), I met with another author I’d come to know through the festival, Michell Plested. He shared with me that he and an editor based in New York, Jeff Hite, had started a small Young Adult Publishing House and were currently accepting manuscripts. The press was Evil Alter Ego Press, and they released The Fountain in December, 2015 – nearly two years before it would have come out otherwise.
It was the perfect fit for us both, as we’ve been able to grow together as they take on new authors and I keep writing books. I’m very grateful to Evil Alter Ego Press for taking a chance on an unknown author like myself.
Do you have any writing idiosyncrasies?
I’m a mom of three and am always taking on more than one person ever should, so it creates limited time for the actual act of writing. Because of that, I’ve allowed myself to write my books in any order I can manage on the day. I tend to write upbeat scenes when I’m feeling that way, fight scenes when my day’s not going so well… you get the picture. I end up with a collection of scenes that I weave back together. I’ve heard this called “quilting”.
My math-inclined brain knows this way isn’t the most efficient, but it definitely makes the feelings come through in my writing, which readers comment on all the time.
How have your friends and family received your career as an author? Are they supportive?
I have the most supportive friends and family on the planet. My favorite part about launching a new book is planning a party bigger than the last one, to thank them.
What’s the most challenging aspect of writing for you? ~ POV issues; using too much passive voice and not enough active voice; trouble creating active and engaging dialogue; using too many similar words in starting sentences; or something else?
After twenty years in the business world, and having technical writing principles drilled into me, my first drafts tend to be very succinct, sometimes lacking in richness. I used to try to correct this as I went along, but I’d end up getting stuck on a scene, not knowing if it was done.
With the books I’m working on now, I’m writing in my terse style, with eyes wide open. I’m trying to write to the end, then I’ll go back and add in the necessary detail to make the world shine a little brighter and bring the reader along with me. I know now that if I want to end up with 80,000 words, my first draft will only be 50,000, and that’s okay, because I’ll end up adding it all during revisions.
Suzy, thank you so much for stopping by Pandora’s Box Gazette today. I enjoyed chatting with you and learning more about you and your writing journey.
About the Book
The West Woods Courtney Wallis wants nothing more than to escape St. Augustus boarding school. After uncovering a well-kept secret about the school’s founder, Isaac Young, Courtney turns to the school’s magic to convince her dad to let her leave. Things take a turn when she meets Cole, who lives in the nearby town of Evergreen. He gives her hope that things might not be so bad. However, the school's fountain has other ideas, and binds Courtney to her ambition, no matter the cost.
As Courtney struggles to keep the magic from taking over, she and her friends get drawn into the mystery woven into the school’s fabric. Everything seems to lead back to the forbidden West Woods. Together, she and her friends seek out the spirits of the past to ask for help, and find themselves in much deeper than they’d bargained for. If they succeed, Courtney could be free of the magic. If they fail, she may never be the same.
About the Author
Suzy Vadori Young Adult Author
Suzy is the Calgary Bestselling Author of The Fountain, and The West Woods, Books 1 and 2 of The Fountain Series, published by Evil Alter Ego Press. This fantastical Young Adult Series has received two Aurora Nominations for Best Young Adult Novel, as well as Five Stars from both Readers’ Favorite and San Francisco Review of Books.
Suzy lives in Calgary, Canada with her husband and three children and is an involved member in the writing community. She has served as Program Manager, Young Adult/Children’s Programming for When Words Collide (WWC), a literary festival held in Calgary each August, since 2013. Suzy is also the founder of WriteIt! creative writing programs in schools, building young writers.