I’d like to welcome Susan Battah to Reviews By Molly in this awesome interview for her CLP Blog Tour! Welcome, Suzan, and thanks for taking the time to chat with me!
Tell us about Suzan Battah. Who are you when you’re not writing? I wish I could say something pretty cool, like I fight crime at night when I’m not writing. Unfortunately I don’t. I’m a simple lady, 31 years old, who loves to dance Latino and Ballroom, spend time at the gym, play with my 15 year old Boxer dog, find fun new ways to spend my time and still looking for Mr Right.
Do you have a day job as well? Yes I work fulltime as an Executive Assistant with four very diverse male bosses.
How did you choose the genre you write in and where do your ideas come from? Contemporary Romance is such a fun genre to write in but I don’t stick to one genre as such. I write where the story takes me. Mad About the Boy was developed while I was studying at the Australian College of Journalism when I was 18 years old. It’s been written and rewritten at least 3 times until here it is published. I use some of my own experiences and turn them into situations that may happen to my characters. So the story becomes their own rather than something that happened to me that I’m retelling and ask the questions to develop the character and plot eg – What would Julia do in this situation?
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published? I was shredded to pieces by my peers in writers competitions, which in fact made me work even harder. I’ve worked with professional editors and I’ve managed to develop the book into an awesome read. I’ve had over a hundred rejections, about ten almost acceptances and many not there yet. Unfortunately, I happened to disagree. When I was 17 and first sending out a YA Fantasy manuscript I received the longest and nicest rejection letter from a top editor Sandy Webster. Her encouragement in the letter and advice has stayed with Suzan always: “I’m sorry that we can’t give you a more positive response. However, I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed reading your chapters, which have such a fabulous energy… I trust that you will continue to develop your writing, and to read widely. It is important, at this stage, that you continue to enjoy writing rather than worrying too much about the opinions of publishing houses… I hope you keep it up, and I wish you the best of luck.” This is what kept me going and Mad About the Boy didn’t deserve to go dusty in a drawer, it deserved to be read by people all over the world. I took a flying leap and independently published on my own terms. This is my art form out there. I didn’t need a middle man (publisher) to buy it and sell it, I skipped that part and went straight to the readers. I’m very proud of my achievement and proud to take ownership of my business as a writer.
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change? I wouldn’t have waited so long and wasted too many years for hoping publishers/agents would be interested. I would have published independently sooner. Now I am out there and ready to prove myself and hopefully be recognized.
Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published? Betrayal of the White Rose was partly written five years ago, a thriller/romance and drama all in one about infidelity and betrayal. I will be revisiting this script to publish shortly.
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre? I try to be social on Facebook and Twitter, though it is really hard sometimes working fulltime. I also network online GoodReads etc. I read many books on marketing, read blogs, find reviewers to give credibility to my work and now since I’m very exhausted having a fulltime job, I’ve brought on the Team at Author Marketing Experts to begin a Publicity Marketing Campaign. I also obviously with the lovely help of Samantha Robey @ ChickLitPlus started a blog tour. Spreading the word and interacting with people that enjoy reading romance is the most fun but more exciting when they love the book and share with others.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why? I loved writing the ending, and you’ll know why when you read it – sorry I don’t want to give away any spoilers. But another ‘moment’ that was my favorite was when Christophe tells Julia he loves her for the first time, very intense moment. Hearing a man say I love you with such passion is a very exciting moment for any woman and so was writing it. The last chapter is self explanatory, when you read it 🙂
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? I was seriously shredded to bits in writer’s competitions and it really was hard to take. I was taken apart for my punctuation and grammar (ironically I had two professional line editors fix all errors spending thousands of dollars) so I’m not sure if that was an accurate criticism or not. Nothing is very critical for me, I do my best to be the best writer and happy to hear criticism on board as this will make me a better writer. However, I won’t compromise my voice to suit someone’s taste. I remain true to the story and if I see improvement with change it’ll happen. It honestly doesn’t bother me if someone doesn’t like my work, whether you love it or hate it, I’m honored that it was read. I don’t like every book out there but I’m sure my tastes aren’t everyone’s cup of tea.
What has been the best compliment? The best compliment is when I received my first review on Smashwords by a complete stranger who said how much they loved the book. This really warms my heart.
Here’s a couple of quirky questions for you,(Suzan Battah)….
What’s your favorite movie? Ooooh, that’s a hard one but for the moment it’s Love and Other Drugs- love this story it makes me cry every time.
Cake with or without ice cream? Can I have both, with or without… sorry without ice cream.
Date night out, or date night in? Hmmmm, I’m loving this interview. Date night out and than bring him home for date night in.
Thanksgiving or Christmas? Christmas, in Australia we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving but I’m happy to send out well-wishers to my USA friends when it comes around in November, check out the Thanksgiving scene in my book Mad About the Boy.
Physical copy of a book or eReader?? Physical book, what can I say I’m a traditionalist and still working out how to use technology.
Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans? My second Novel BaSatai: Outside in (YA/Urban Fantasy) is being released on April 14th 2012. I love to hear from readers or even writers, feel free to contact me details via my website www.suzanbattah.com
Thank you for having me Molly, and enjoyed the fun interview questions.
Julia Mendoza is driven by the success of her business. Since her husband Carlos passed away at such a young age, her business By Design is her number one priority. In her late twenties she works too hard and doesn’t take time out for fun. Annoyance with a pesky ex-friend has her begging one of the local surfer’s with a cheeky smile in the grocery store to pretend he’s her boyfriend. Suddenly, life takes a sudden detour from her business plan; much to the delight of her boisterous Latin American family. Christophe Augustine is groomed to take over his father’s successful chain of luxurious hotels. With a wealthy French-American background, Chris has been given privileges that not many have. He works hard, plays harder but seeks approval and recognition above all else. Family is a top priority for him as he fights for custody of his young brother. His parent’s divorce has not diminished his faith in romance. When a gorgeous Latino woman changes one boring morning into an interesting game of role play, though reluctant to help at first, he soon realises she’s not like the string of other women he’s known. A romantic first date ending dramatically doesn’t stop Chris from wanting to know Julia more. And for Julia, she’s all for a bit of fun but when things get too serious she’s running the other way. Too alike, in some ways and complete opposites, in other ways, Julia and Chris fumble through fun moments, annoying confrontations, passionate times and heartbreaking revelations. Love has no boundaries when soul-mates meet but when one is ready to love and the other one isn’t….
About Suzan Battah:
Suzan Battah is a proud Australian born author who has loved to write since her teenage years. In 2011 she published her first novel a contemporary multicultural romance – Mad About the Boy. In her spare time she weaves magical tales to entertain. Suzan writes YA Fiction – Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance, Regency Romance and Contemporary Romance. Other fun things you can find her doing is training at the gym and Latin/Ballroom dancing. Suzan is afraid of heights, loves most things that are sweet, has no clue about fashion and one day hopes to speak Spanish fluently.