Friday, 14 December 2012

Author Interview with Susan Scott

Welcome to my author interview and many thanks to Susan Scott, 

Author - Susan Scott 
(In Praise of Lilith, Eve & the Serpent in the Garden of Eden & Other Stories)

1/  Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I'm a South African living in Johannesburg. I am married to Neil an ENT surgeon (self-employed) and we have 2 adult sons, Mike and David. Mike is an animator, Dave a musician, both also self-employed and following their bliss and on my side it is a joy to witness. I have an honours degree in Clin Psych. I love travel, reading, writing, hiking and walking. In spite of having quite a wide circle of friends, I lead a pretty introspective and quiet life though I place high value on my friendships.

2/  When and what made you decide you wanted to be a writer?

I've always kept journals and diaries. I've written newsletters for various organizations over the years. My interest in psychology (Jungian in the main) spurred 
me to putting some of those ideas out there.

3/  Can you tell us something about your books, genre?

My only published book is very psychological. Two of the essays are quasi-academic, 5 are very personal stories. The quasi-academic ones are on the myth of Lilith (first wife of Adam in the Garden of Eden according to the Midrash) which has relevance for us all in our contemporary world; the 2nd is on 'Dreams' and highlights the reality and value of our inner world. The other 5 essays/stories are personal as mentioned, yet they have universality I believe. 'The Opposites' is my experience of the opposites contained within me ... we each have a Mother Theresa and Medusa within, we each have a sinner and a saint, light and dark etc. We need to recognize those inner opposites and hold hem in balance or in a tension; we do not to act upon them but to give them their due. 'Gardening' tells of my experience in creating a secret garden at the bottom of my garden and getting rid of dead wood inter alia, and for me was analogous to clearing my mind, weeding out the dead wood and my ego attitude about many things and allowing space for creativity by unblocking. 'Mt Kilimanjaro' is about climbing and summitting it as both an inner and outward journey. 'Beyond Duty' tells of my picking up trash on the beach and elsewhere and how this led me to believe that there is life beyond duty and yet duty is a necessary something to uphold in our lives. 'Death's Beauty' recounts the extraordinary synchronicities around my mother's death which went beyond. 

4/  Where do you get your ideas from? 

Pretty much from everyday life as well as my own dreams. I carry a small moleskin notebook around with me and often jot down ideas even while driving. Or I hear something on the radio while at my computer and make a note. Daydreaming is productive. Walking in my garden and letting my ego take a back seat is productive.
5/  Are you working on a new book at the moment?

Yes, I am ... a novel.

6/  What are your ambitions concerning your writing career?

Well, I guess all writers hope and wish to be recognized for their writing. It is hard to say what my ambitions are. I am not ambition-less. I am extremely pleased about the reviews posted on about my book which I found enormously gratifying. It would be great if my books sold well and some lovely lolly came in.

7/  Which writers inspire you?

I love many writers and genres .. but off the top of my head I enjoy Margaret Atwood, Ayn Rand, Pat Conroy, William Horwood, post Jungian writers such as the late James Hillman.

8/  What book are you reading at present?

Cosmos & Psyche: Intimations of a New World by Richard Tarnas.

9/  What are your thoughts on reviews, good and bad?

Always great to get good reviews; I would probably sweat over a lousy one.

10/  What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Just write ... if that is what you love to do, then follow your bliss. It is hard I know, to get it down on paper or on the computer. I think it was Wilbur Smith who said writing is 10% inspiration, 90% perspiration. If necessary, join a writers' group, or make your own group with others who want to write, and encourage each other that way. Try to keep to a schedule of writing. If this seems impossible, aim for 100 words a day, then 200 and so on. Take your notebook or laptop with you on your lunch break and sit somewhere. Write about your surroundings if nothing else. Get into the flow - make a habit of writing. 

11/ Do you have any advice on how to market your books?

I wish I did. I am so not good about putting myself out there or doing any self promotion. Also I am still a bit of a technophobe but it seems there are good and useful ways of using the social media to market. Perhaps an idea would be to build up a blog and use that format to list one's book. This interview with you is an opportunity and I am grateful for it, thank you!

12/  What would you consider to be the worst thing about being an indie author?

The difficulty of using the social media effectively I guess? The hard and committed work that this would no doubt entail?

13/  What do you like to do when you're not writing, hobbies etc?

I love reading and getting involved in the plot. I like to take a walk around the block time permitting. I love my yoga classes. I sometimes pop into my secret garden and meditate.

14/  How long on average does it take you to write a book, what is your schedule?

I've written only one (published) book and it took me a long time. From start to finish I reckon 5 years. The novel that I'm currently working on and my schedule? I wish I could say I have a schedule .. I still have to incorporate that good habit into my life-style. It's all well and (not so)good to give that advice as I did earlier and not live by it myself, but I work on it when I can, snatching a moment here and there.

15/  What is your favourite positive saying?

Harm no one or thing ... a good tenet to live by.

16/  Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your books?

Who could play the daemon/demon i.e. Lilith? Jodie Foster, Salma Hayek? Our own (South African) Charlize Theron?

17/  Who did your fabulous book cover?

My son Mike did the cover.

18/  What is your favourite movie and why?

I didn't want to see the film 'The Prince of Tides' as I had read the book by Pat Conroy. I was convinced that the film would not do credit to the book but I was very pleasantly surprised. I loved the film even though many segments of the book were not included.

19/  Where can you see yourself in 5 years time?

Hard to imagine! Who knows? Maybe down in Plettenberg Bay on the south-west coast of the Cape of South Africa, one of the most beautiful spots in the world.

20/  Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?

Unquestionably Mr. Nelson Mandela, South Africa's past president. He was a beacon of hope and inspiration for us all following the death of apartheid 20 years ago. He is very elderly now, 94, and not in the best of health but he continues to inspire us all. His legacy will never be forgotten, not just here in South Africa but around the world. In his book 'A Long Walk to Freedom' he writes that if you want to change the world, start with yourself. This is so wise and what all wise philosophers in aeons past and contemporary wise people have always said. Start with yourself .. which is of course, the hardest of all but by no means impossible. Change yourself, your attitude, your own way of being in the world. Be kinder, do what you can when you can. Be compassionate towards yourself and you will find compassion towards others, easier.
21/ What is your favourite takeaway food?

Nothing like a good Thai chicken curry or chicken korma.

Thank you Tom I have enjoyed this.
Where can you be reached?
Facebook page:

Susan Scott

My thanks to Susan for a wonderful and insightful interview.

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