Interview with Susan Vaught
Susan Vaught is a well-known author of many novels for young adults. Two of her notable books, Trigger and Stormwitch, were named Best Books for Young Adults by the American Library Association. Chicago Public Library was lucky to host Susan as part of the 2012 Summer Reading Program, Rahm’s Readers: You Are What You Read, focusing on health and books. In her programs, Susan read from and discussed her novel, Big Fat Manifesto, and talked about issues surrounding teen body image. Susan also read from her latest novel Freaks Like Us.
Jia Jia (JJ), a Chicago Public Library Teen Advisory Council member, interviewed author Susan Vaught (SV), and wanted to share what she learned.
JJ: I've noticed all the books that you have written are spread across in a wide variety of genres; which genre did you enjoyed best writing about?
SV: I really love writing fantasy and horror, so those would have to be my favorite stories; however, the voices of the characters in Trigger, Big Fat Manifesto, Going Underground, and even the newest Freaks Like Us, made writing the books soooo easy! They more or less wrote themselves.
JJ: Could you please share what inspired you to become an author?
SV: I always enjoyed writing and felt called to it. I sometimes joke that I tried dance first (stunk at it), then painting (ha ha ha ha HA--no talent there at all), then figured out I could put sentences together--but really, it was always writing where the magic happened.
JJ: Who are some of your favorite authors? How have they inspired you in your writing?
SV: I love the scifi and fantasy masters like Ursula Le Guin, Andre Norton, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Tolkein, and so many more. I wanted to write engaging characters and stories like they did, where readers could get lost and explore new (and even scary) worlds, and discover strengths they never knew they possessed. Their world-building skills were so incredible--settings became characters in the tales, and I loved them all.
JJ: Do you find being a psychologists helpful in writing books?
SV: When I tackle unusual or less well-hashed subjects like brain injury and schizophrenia, yes I do. I feel confident in the symptoms I portray, and the quirks in the voices of those characters.
JJ: Some authors find it helpful to write in complete silence, and some find sitting in a closet stimulates their imagination. Do you have a special routine or habit for when you are writing?
SV: I write to music to the point that each book has a soundtrack, and I can end up playing the same song over and over. I have a writing cabin I can retreat to when I do this, so my family doesn't go completely insane.
JJ: If you were a jelly bean in a jar, which one would you be and why?
SV: Hmmm. Like the ones with the wild and wacky flavors? I'd be chocolate! Chocolate is always my favorite or if you mean Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans like in Harry Potter, I'd be pepper to make everybody sneeze, or maybe bogey or rotten egg, to make everybody run away screaming.
For more information about Susan Vaught, visit her blog and/or follow her on Goodreads.