This week I managed to chat to Susanne Valenti, author of the Cage of Lies Series. And today is launch day! Chained is now available on Amazon. To celebrate this awesome release I asked Susanne to answer a couple of questions regarding what inspires her and much, much more…
I was also lucky enough to get an ARC and will be posting a review sometime around the end of October.
I will also be doing a cover reveal for the second installment of this series on the October 5.
So much excitement!!!
Susanne Valenti lives in Kent, England with her husband and four fur-babies. She had worked with rescue animals and helped run the family business. In her spare time she likes to read, write, workout, watch movies and play video games (in that order).
When did you first realise you wanted to become a writer?
I can’t remember a day when I woke up and said ‘I want to be a writer’ but I always loved doing it. As a child I used to make my own picture books with monsters and magic hiding around every corner and as I got older I set my sights on writing novels.
Is this your first novel? If not, tell us about your other work.
This is my first completed novel! As a teenager I started and subsequently forgot to finish, more novels than I could count and then just fell out of the habit of writing all together. Chained just worked its way around and around the inside of my brain until I just had to get it out. I didn’t even have a working computer at the time so I saved up and bought myself an iPad and wrote the whole thing on there.
What inspired you to write Chained? How do you find inspiration?
I can’t think of any specific thing that triggered Chained into existence. I find that the strangest things will inspire me but they rarely have much to do with the story as such. For example I’ll see a spider in the corner of the room and think ‘that spider looks lonely, I bet it would be really lonely in the forest outside The Wall’ and that will help me to get the atmosphere right in the forest if that makes any sense. My brain is a fairly strange place to reside.
How long did it take you to write Chained? Tell us about your writing experience and process.
It’s hard to say how long Chained took from start to finish because I also wrote the other books in the series (in various states of completion) at the same time. I started the first draft in August 2013 and completed it in February 2014 but it has been edited to within inches of its life since then! I had beta readers looking at it for me and so decided to continue with the next book while I waited for their feedback and so on and so on until I’d done drafts and various edits of the five books and one novella. I definitely find it easier to write now and the first drafts of Chained make me cringe so much but I just knew I had to keep going and going until eventually I couldn’t find any more mistakes (not that I truly believe it will ever be totally type-o free). I just love writing so much that my whole experience of it has been positive.
What were some of your biggest challenges while writing Chained?
I had had Chained running around in my head for so long that I didn’t make any major
changes to the plot after the first draft (I can’t say the same for the other books in the series). But as I went along some things did turn out differently to the way I had initially planned. The biggest change would be Laurie. As in, she didn’t exist in my original plans. When I wrote the SubWar sections of the book it felt natural to add a sympathetic Warden which was how Laurie came into existence but she was never meant to be more than that. However, the more I wrote about her, the more I fell for her and when the time came I just couldn’t leave her behind! Now I can’t imagine how the story would have worked without her.
What kind of novels do you enjoy reading?
I have pretty broad tastes. Obviously I love sci fi and dystopia (write what you love). I’m also a huge fantasy fan and I’ve read quite a lot of historical fiction too. I’ll give pretty much anything a go though I tend to find that I guess the twists in thrillers and I don’t really like anything too close to reality. I love to read to escape into other worlds and lives and I find that if something is too close to my own reality it doesn’t provide the escapism I enjoy.
Are there any specific novels or authors that have influenced your writing?
I wouldn’t say that I’ve taken direct inspiration from any novels apart from the fact that I aim to emulate the feeling that they give me. I want to write the kinds of books that I love to read and while I’m writing I’m just as eager to find out what will happen in the end as I would be if I were reading the story! As far as inspiring me to just go out into the world and do it, I would have to say Amanda Hocking. She believed in her stories enough to make it happen regardless and I really admire her for that.
What are you currently reading?
I’m currently reading two books (really out of character for me) but I recently joined a book club through my blog so I didn’t have a choice because I wouldn’t have made the deadline. The first book I’m reading is A Clash Of Kings (the second Game of Thrones book) which is why I had to press pause because there was no way I’d have been able to finish the series before the end of the month and read another book. I know I’m late to the GOT party but I’m hooked on the tv show so I put off the books to avoid spoilers and now I’m hooked on the books too! The second book I’m reading is Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children. This is the book club one and I’m about half way in. I’m really enjoying the use of photography in the story and am intrigued to find out where it’s heading.
Are there any specific books on your TBR that you are especially excited to read?
My TBR is getting completely out of hand. That’s the only issue with writing – it takes away from my reading time. I really want to read the Legend series by Marie Lu but then I’ve still got the Infinite Sea sitting by my bed begging me to continue with that series. In fact the pile beside my bed is actually taller than my lamp now and I’ve got about fifteen books waiting in line on my kindle and Brandon Sanderson’s new novel is out in like two weeks which I might not be able to make wait… But first and foremost I must finish the Game of Thrones books!
It’s NaNoWriMo soon, will you be participating?
I’m not officially participating but I think it’s really great! I’m in more of an editing stage at the moment rather than an all out writing splurge. That said I have another novella rattling around in my brain that will probably force its way out any day now.
Any advice for aspiring writers and book bloggers?
I would just say that the best advice is write what you love. I truly believe that (whether it’s applied to novels or blogging or anything else). Readers want to feel the emotions behind what you have to say. If my character is sad then I’ll find myself crying while I’m writing about what’s happening to them. Likewise if they’re laughing I’ll be laughing and so on. I just think you need that connection for it all to flow and when you feel passionately like that then you won’t be able to stop until it’s finished. And then edit. Edit again. Edit it once more. And then edit it ten more times lol.