1. Please tell the readers a bit more about you.
I’m Susan Helene Gottfried, also known as Susan at West of Mars. I’m a writer, a reviewer, a Rock Fiction expert, and a freelance editor. I’m also a mom and a cat wrangler, and some other things, too, but they are boring compared to my literary exploits!
2. What types of books do you write?
I write Rock Fiction, a much under-served genre of literature. It basically encompasses anything that features music in some capacity, even if the music in question is country, hip-hop, or opera.
3. Who's your main audience?
Definitely adults, as there’s that whole sex-drugs-rock and roll thing happening, even though most of the sex and drugs in my books happen off the page. The rock and roll and the language that goes along with the culture… that’s on the page. You’ve been warned.
4. When it comes to writing- what are your strong points? What are your weaknesses?
My strong points are definitely creating living, breathing characters and their dialogue. Another strong point is creating a vivid, real fictional world. As for my weakness, well that’d be creating a book that mainstream publishers want to publish and get in the hands of millions of bookshop shoppers.
5. What do you think of this term- Writer's Block? How do you overcome it?
I’m one of those people who believe Writer’s Block isn’t real. When I get stuck in a manuscript, I’ve learned that if I delete a paragraph or two, I can get myself back on track just that easily.
6. How many books have you written?
Oh, I have lost count… I’ve been writing my whole life.
7. How many are published?
I have three collections of short stories and a novel out, with a second novel to come on April 12. All are related, and you can read them in any order, although readers have said that they tend to warm up to Trevor faster if they read any of the short story anthologies first.
8. Are you self published or traditionally published?
Self-published, by the encouragement of many in the more traditional ends of the industry. Rock Fiction may be my beloved genre, but historically, it doesn’t sell very well. That’s both unfortunate – the good stuff is REALLY good – and not – the bad stuff is REALLY bad. The world of the music business is so easy to stick a cliché on, it’s almost scary. Another of my strengths has been to create a project and a band that doesn’t fall into those cliches.
9. What's the hardest part of the writing process for you?
First draft, definitely. That discipline of allowing myself to write garbage – believe it or not, there’s discipline in there!
10. What type of books do you enjoy reading?
I have to laugh at this, because a better question is what do I NOT like to read. That’s mostly CBA fiction and most non-fiction, including most memoirs. My book club’s been known to talk me into a few memoirs (none that I’ve adored, I’d like to note). But, of course, memoirs, biographies and autobiographies about musicians are always fair game.
11. Who's your favorite Author?
I actually had to fill out a form that asked this and I was crass enough to say myself. There are a ton of writers out there whose work I adore, but I can’t put my finger on any one writer. Not without slighting so many others. We are lucky enough to live in a time when good writing abounds.
12. What's your all time favorite book?
Same problem. I don’t have one. It’s too hard to pick simply one. For the record (ha – hold on. The pun’s coming), I have the same problems picking favorite bands and songs.
Links to website: http://westofmars.com
Links to books (including buy links): http://westofmars.com/west-of-mars/the-books