It’s my pleasure to welcome freelance editor, writer and author Susan Helene Gottfried today. She’s also a diehard Steelers fan, as am I! Today, she’s sharing more about the many hats she wears, her love of Rocktober and rock themed books, and her short story, Broken. Welcome Susan!
Please tell us a little bit about yourself, and how and why you began writing.
Thanks for having me today Rebecca! I’m happy to be here. Well. Let’s see. I’m a single mom of two. I used to play ice hockey but I broke (well, they told me it should be physically impossible for me to ice skate, which left us all staring blankly at each other because, well, I can ice skate, and not too badly), so now I cheer on my son’s Ultimate frisbee teams from the sidelines. I am a foster mom for cats and kittens through my local no-kill shelter, and the shelter recently awarded me the Presidential Lifetime Award for my volunteer work with them. Pretty slick!
Why I began writing? I joke that it’s my birth defect (hey, we’ve all got at least one), but the truth isn’t that far off. This is how I’m built. Even if it’s supposed to be physically impossible for me to ice skate.
Obviously, readers have a vast number of choices in books. Why do you feel readers will enjoy your stories?
My fiction, up to this point, has been Rock Fiction – what happens when music and fiction collides. The marital discord in my life and its fallout caused my muse to fall silent over the past few years, but I’ve been writing again recently and am going to head into new directions. Which doesn’t answer your question, except to say that my currently published works are all Rock Fiction, so if you like your bad boy rockers, you’ll love the works in the Trevolution.
What would you most like people to know about you, and your writing?
What I most want people to say when they talk about me is how good my books are. That seems cocky, even for me, but that’s what I aspire to. Being known for creating really good characters who resonate with you.
As an author, how do you pay it forward?
Lots of ways, actually! I pay the bills by working as a freelance editor for authors of fiction (look at that careful wording; I edit back cover copy and bios and newsletters… IF you write fiction. And you don’t have to have me edit your books, either, if your editor won’t do your newsletter.). But I do more than that! I have two promotional offerings on my main blog at West of Mars (http://westofmars.com), my author/editor website. They are free unless you want a certain date.
And for my fellow Rock Fiction fans, I run The Rock of Pages (http://therock ofpages.com), where it’s Rocktober all the time. My friend Jett and I cover nothing but Rock Fiction over there, so if you are a fan or a reader or a writer, come on over. We’re always glad to reblog reviews or interviews or guest blog posts, or write us something new. We do this because we love Rock Fiction and want to be THE site on the Internet for it.
What is the single best piece of advice you would give to another author about the craft of writing, about marketing, and/or the writing life?
Single best piece? Hire me to edit your book.
Oh, wait. You’re serious. Okay, then. DO hire an editor, even if it’s not me. Hire someone who will help you elevate your craft and who will partner with you to make your book its best. Yes, even if you’re going to submit to literary agents and publishing houses. You need that objective eye, and I need to pay my mortgage. So, yeah. Hire me.
The one thing we can all count on is change. How do you plan to continue to evolve as a writer?
I don’t think you can plan to evolve. If we could, wouldn’t more of us evolve lethal bacteria like the komodo dragon? Wouldn’t we evolve wings so we don’t have to sit in traffic?
Really, the goal is to always push yourself, even into uncomfortable areas. Open yourself up to criticism and really listen to what’s being said. It’s not always the words being spoken.
What do you feel are the greatest challenges facing authors today?
The greatest challenges? Being discovered. There’s so much out there right now, and so many authors game the system in order to pad their income. I’ve always believed that the cream rises to the top, but we’ve seen over and over that I’m an idealistic fool, at least in this regard.
One other thing I’d love to do in my copious spare time (ha!) is work on building a community for many of us writers who are also readers and who want to help each other out. I have only vague ideas right now, so keep an eye on West of Mars and join what’ll be fun. I only do things that are fun. And that others are free to join in with.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Can I be crass and promote my short story, Broken? It’s a 99c download and it’s one of my favorite pieces of my own writing. It’s edgy and angry and not for the faint of heart (or family friendly) among us, but if you like gritty, there. Blatant self-promotion. And see? It didn’t hurt you much at all. Not nearly as much as it hurts when I ice skate. Now if I could only figure out why that is…
For T and the rest of Ice Cubes in Hell, it’s a routine night backstage after their set, opening for the notorious Vanessa Kontempt. The party’s in full swing when T walks in, but she’s not in the mood. Not tonight. Things spiral downward when she finds some groupies raiding her stage clothes. One breaks the heel off her favorite boot, and as T confronts the band’s tour manager about the destruction, secrets are revealed. Secrets which might tear the band apart … or bring them closer.