This post has been updated! The original was for a contest that is long gone, but I thought you might enjoy the questions and answers. Original post date was Independence Day of 2010!!!
Nathan (Susan K) – Why are there so many weird words (In Wynnewood)?
I wanted to preserve a little of medieval England, but I didn’t want to make them all talk in Old English, so I mainly used old English words for the names of places. Wyrm is the old English word for dragon. I didn’t want to call the dragon that, because it’d get REALLY confusing, so instead, I named the forest where the villagers had assumed he lived, “Wyrm Forest.” The same with Sceadu (shadows) or Ciele (cold). Words to describe the places in the old English. I mean, we get used to calling places in America by odd sounding names like “Appalachia” or “Monongahela” so I thought it’d work well. For Dove, I needed her to have a word to call her other than creature so it didn’t become redundant. By mixing ge-sceaft and creature, the words didn’t get over used. Brodor, Modor and Fadaer were all so close to the modern English words, that I decided to use them for flavor. I really did try not to make too many of them in the text.
Abigail (Susan K) – How long did it take you to type it in (Coaked in Secrets)?
Well, that depends upon what you mean. If you mean exactly how long did it take to type every word apart from writing the story, then I’d say about 17 hours. However, to write the story took me about three months. To edit it, took another month or so.
Nathan (Susan K) – What’s the main thing that is going to happen in the new book (Cloaked in Secrets)?
I would say it is that you are going to meet some new people that make the story very exciting in my opinion. Either that, or trying to capture the unicorn.
Nathan (Susan K) – Why did you make a dragon in it?
Because dragons are cool! Okay, well that and because I needed something that a little girl like Dove could do that Philip couldn’t do for himself. They needed to meet and he needed to feel enough gratitude to help him get over his natural resistance to her.
Bethany (Susan K) – Is there a unicorn in the second book? (Cloaked in Secrets)
Abigail (Susan K) – Is there going to be a third book in this series?
Yes there is! Our amazing illustrator and I hashed out the plot for Beneath the Cloak just recently, and I’ve already started on it. Let’s just say it’s going to be WAY too much fun for me.
Bethany (Susan K) – Is Cloaked in Secrets funny?
Well, I think it’s hilarious in places. In particular, I like the snowball fight, and Jakys.
Nathan (Susan K) – Is the second book (CIS) going to be full of action?
Why don’t you tell me? You have a village who thinks Dove is dead, Dove meeting people who want to kill her, having to go back to those people to help them, a double dragon rescue… And that is just a little taste… Action? What do you think?
Sean (Susan K) – What was your inspiration for this book?
I had been reading the Squire’s Tales and The Ranger’s Apprentice, as well as a delightful story by a friend of mine “The Third Wish,” and I think they all kidnapped my imagination and literally tossed me into the dungeon of fantasy until I agreed to try my hand at it. I really wanted a story about someone so unfamiliar with the Lord that the Bible and all of its rich stories were new. I wanted to show them through fresh eyes.
Sean (Susan K) – Why did you chose England (over say Germany – it could have been an angry book)?
Silly reason. I liked the name Wynnewood. It means “pretty” wood. Yeah, it’s Welsh, but close enough for me.
Olivia – Are you going to have a character named Olivia? (She can write on walls and play with everyone else’s Legos)
Well, actually, I have a perfect place where I can use Olivia. But, I can only do it if I can find the name on medieval name rolls, so get your mom hunting to find it near the middle of the thirteenth century! Note: Mrs. Sullivan in Aggie’s real name is Olivia.
Miriam (Susan K) – Do you have a character that giggles a lot? (like me)
Well, you don’t get to see it in this book, but Letty giggles a great deal. You’ll probably find her giggling a lot in the next book.
Bethany (Susan K) – Are there turtles in the book?
Caleb (Susan K) – Do you have any hippos in the book? If you do, what sound do they make? My hippo says Baroo’.
If you pretend that Bertha is a hippo, then I would say yes. Bertha doesn’t say Baroo`. Bertha says, “bah.” She’s a little rude sometimes, don’t you think?
Sean (Susan K) – Have you considered using the phrase, “I have a bad feeling about this?”
Actually, I have! I think I’ll make sure it’s in Beneath the Cloak. What thinkest thou? (2016: did I do that? I don’t know!)
Susan (Susan K) – Do you find yourself wanting to use quotes from movies in your books? Because as I read the ones I read, I found myself saying them. lol
I do! Movie quotes are such a huge part of my life, that I know they’re probably popping up in books without me realizing I even quoted them. If you read the sentence to me, I’d know it and what movie it was, but I don’t always realize I used it. I have made a conscious effort to look for them very carefully in Wynnewood. I can’t imagine inserting, “I’m blessed with work,” in a book set in a time long before people could even imagine movies.
Michele WV- How’s Cara coming?
Cara is actually in my tray again. I’m happy that she has decided to blow her ever-patient top. Things can happen now. The end is almost near. I’m kind of sad.
Christopher (Michele WV)- Can I have a copy of the next book you write? I can’t imagine why not!
Erin (Michele WV)- Can I be a character in your books? Well, since your name is Erin… I might have a way to include you…
Sean (Michele WV)- Mommy said you like trains? Can you write a book about trains…maybe with dinosaurs in it? Oooh… dinosaurs and trains. Let’s see… if a little boy named Sean went on a journey, what would happen if the engineer was a dinosaur who took him on the ride of his life?
Christopher (Michele WV) – What is Dove’s secret? (nice try, huh?) Dove’s secret is that she doesn’t know if she wants to trust the Lord to be who He says He is.
Michele WV – Will you finish Junie for me? Not on your life. I want you to finish it for ME.
Michele WV- Does your family ever give you input on characters? Hmm I think there have been a few suggestions, but mostly, no. I don’t even know if I have used any of the suggestions, but since they don’t read most of the stories, they don’t know enough to suggest. Oh, I think it was in Moore’s Code. I think I had a few suggestions there.
Michele WV – Are you enjoying working with Craig? I love it. To be honest, the books wouldn’t have been nearly as good without his input. He is a wealth of knowledge on fantasy, the area of England, the history, everything. It’s amazing. I’ll say something and he’ll say, “Oh, well you know this or that…” And I sit here, jaw agape, taking notes. He’s hilarious, he’s encouraging, and I really wish I could take him and his wife out to dinner. I have a feeling they’d be a whole lot of fun to watch. He is highly underpaid, though, and that produces guilt. Huge massive amounts of guilt.
Rachel in Indonesia – Where in your house do you write best? In my recliner, in the living room. It’s the most comfortable spot, my laptop fits perfectly, and I have a view of everything around me.
Rachel in Indonesia – Do you write because/when you’ve set aside time to write, or do you have to wait for inspiration to come? Both. I rarely have “inspiration” problems, but when I do, or when I don’t know how to do what I want to do, I just pull out another book to work on for a while. I set aside time AND I will sit down and pound something out when I think of it so I don’t forget it.
Rachel in Indonesia – How old were you when you wrote your first story? When I was twelve, I wrote my first “novel” type story. Before that, all my stories were in my head.
Rachel in Indonesia – What was your very first story about? It was an embarrassing load of self-righteous drivel. I don’t even think it had a plot– just a series of scenarios designed to show how spiritually superior the girl, her family, and another family was.
Rachel in Indonesia – Did you know as a child you wanted to write? At age twelve, I knew. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Just sayin’.
Rachel in Indonesia – Do you correct mistakes (spelling, punctuation, etc – easy stuff) when you see them as you write, or wait to go back later? If I see it, I correct it. If I don’t, then it gets fixed later. I’m not like Barbara Cornthwaite… I don’t perfect each section as I write; however, I do correct obvious muffs when I find them. OR, if I’m not sure how I want to fix something, I’ll leave a note, highlighted in yellow, that usually says, “Pathetic, fix this!!!” or “Oh, come ON Chautona… do something about that” and then when it comes time to edit, I do. Unfortunately, in Aggie, I missed one of those notes to myself and made a huge mess.
Rachel in Indonesia – Do you write on the computer or on paper? Computer always. I am convinced that I’d have written sooner if I had owned a computer earlier. Once it hit me how fast it’d be to write on a computer, I went crazy!
Rachel in Indonesia – Do you enjoy writing mushy stuff any better than you did a few years ago? No. Period. Exclamation point. However, I do think I’m better at it. It is a little more natural to read for me. I particularly do not enjoy writing anything physical. A kiss about does me in. EW! The book Michele asked about, Cara, is probably the most romantic book I’ve ever written and there is no touching, very little talking, and a lot of raw emotion. Mush to the core! It’s nauseating, but it did help me get over that awkward hump. Hope helped too.
Rachel in Indonesia – Did you ever finish your story of Ecnedaced(not sure I’m remembering that right)? Endecadec. It was “Decadence” jumbled. I changed the name to Kedwick (wicked jumbled) and I’ve completed more, but it’s not done. Suddenly I’m in the mood to work on it. Thanks a lot.
Kristi in AL- HOW do you find time to write? You know how some people sit down and knit or crochet, others keep a spotless house or garden, and others dash all over the countryside working taking their kids here, or shopping there, or running this or that errand? Well, instead of doing those things, I write. I might sit down, write five sentences, get up, go help a kid, come back, write five more, check HK, come back write another paragraph or three, go make a card, come back, finish the chapter, start a new one, etc. It’s very Biblical too. You know, “line upon line… here a little, there a little…”
Kristi in AL- What is your favorite of your published books? Argosy Junction. It is very dear to my heart. Between the message of the book, the poetry in it, and my father’s songs singing from nearly every chapter, how could it not be? (But in 2016, I have to say my favorite is Not a Word)
Kristi in AL- What is your favorite of your as-yet-unpublished books? That would be Ella. None so Blind.
Susan K- If any book you wrote could be made into a movie, which book would it be? Well, obviously Moore’s Code. I think that’s kind of a given. If any of the others could be made into a movie, I think I’d like to see it be Aggie. Can you imagine the hilarity???
Susan K- And who what actors would you like to see play the lead roles? Ok, if we’re talking Aggie (cause the other changes so fast depending upon years) then I’d want
Aggie- Amy Adams
Vannie- Hallee Hirsh
Geraldine- Glenn Close
Luke- Logan Bartholomew or Skeet Ulrich
William- David Boreanaz
Libby- Mare Winningham
Susan K- Is there any actor/actress you can see playing any of your characters? I always picture the little boy in Stuart Little as my Andy, but of course, he’s much too old now.
Susan K- Do you hear music in your head as you are writing? Meaning, if it was a movie, this is the type of song you want playing during that part. Sometimes, yes. I definitely did as I wrote Prairie. Obviously, I did when I wrote Moore’s Code and somewhat during Cara. I tend to hum Aggie’s hymns while I write her, but I suppose that’s not what you mean.
Susan K- Do you desire any of your books be made into movies, or would that lose the books “soul” for you? Well, again, definitely Moore’s Code It’s always seemed like a movie book to me. The other books would depend upon what they cut/edited/changed. I mean, take Wynnewood. If they stripped the Christianity from it, I don’t think I could handle it. I guess as long as it still felt like “my story,” I wouldn’t mind. If it just felt like it was influenced by mine, then it’d depend upon the story.
Wow! That was fun to read and see what has changed, what hasn’t, and so forth. I’m amazed at how many titles changed and what I didn’t write that I was so sure would be “next.” Some of the books referenced are still in that original format!