About the author…
Susan lives in the Midwest U.S. with her husband and two children, transcribing and editing as a WAHM by day and writing by night (and any other spare moment). She’s had a love of books her entire life and has been writing since age 7. In 2nd grade, she was so excited when her family adopted a dog that she studied up on the breed and wrote a short research paper for show-and-tell.
Yep. She was a word nerd, all right.
If there’s one thing she has learned, it’s that when a story wants to be told, there’s nothing to do but write it. Whether you write something completely original, retell a well-known story, or play with existing worlds as fan fiction, if you want to write it, you should. Today, college students can take courses on writing fan fiction because it’s become such a common genre in and of itself. But decades ago when Susan was in college, FanFiction.Net had only just come online, and creative writing instructors considered it near-plagiarism. The fact that there were licensed Star Trek and Star Wars novels (among other franchises) on the market was overlooked–now there are seminars at fan conventions on how to write “existing worlds.” So when her first university-level creative writing instructor told Susan to “be her own George Lucas,” she found something else to write instead.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, that story never went far, because in the back of her mind the story that she really wanted to write was still percolating, and trying to fit a second-choice story to someone else’s idea of how it should be structured ultimately saw her switching concentrations from creative writing to professional writing — research, non-fiction, editing, etc., i.e., more “useful” writing.
About five years after college, that same story idea still tumbling around her brain, Susan came across a new writing method and gave it a try. Within a week, the story she had been wanting to write finally began coming to life. Yes, it was fan fiction, and yes, she knew she wouldn’t be able to publish it, but what mattered was that she was finally writing it down. Four or five years later (interrupted by a hiatus of pregnancy and new-mom life), she finally called it finished.
She was a writer, and she had finished what she started (to paraphrase Chuck Wendig).
Most importantly, having a multiverse crossover with a couple of original characters now under her belt gave her the confidence to follow the advice she had been given years ago by that creative writer instructor. She let friends talk her into participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), but a family emergency hijacked her efforts. Once the drama calmed down again, she began working on a fresh story, inspired by a dream she’d had. After five or six months (and a LOT of words), she realized she didn’t know very much at all about one of her main characters. To explore his life, she again entered NaNoWriMo and spent the better part of September and October structuring and plotting and planning it out.
A few days before November 30, she had her 50,000 words (the Nano finish line) and a completed story about that character’s early life.
That story was Blaze.
Over the next three and a half years (with another intervening pregnancy), Blaze underwent three revisions–including a full rewrite–to become the first book in Susan’s series, The Guardians of Blydhek.