Friday, November 11, 2011

Feature: Author Interview and GIVEAWAY with Sue Santore, A Singular Gift

It is Adopt an Indie month, and being the kind soul that I am, I adopted not one but TWO fabulous Indie authors, Sue Santore and Vicki Johnstone

This week, I'm featuring the author of A Singular Gift, Sue Santore.  Sue is a beautiful lady with some amazing talents, namely writing!  You can go HERE to see my review of A Singular Gift.

So, without further ado, let's get to know more about Ms. Santore's world...and don't forget to enter to win a copy of her book!!!  Details below...

Author Interview
Sue Santore
A Singular Gift

GL:  Please introduce yourself to all the fabulous Gathering Leaves readers.

Sue:  Hello to all you wonderful readers.  It seems like I have always been a reader.  As soon as I learned to read, I started devouring books.  Since we lived far out in the country and my sisters were several years older than me, reading was a fun way to spend lots of my leisure time.  We made weekly trips to the local library and brought home stacks of books.

By the time I was in junior high school, I was writing: poems, tiny stories, essays, but I never even dreamed of being a WRITER.  They were those mysterious creatures that filled the shelves of books in libraries.  It wasn’t until I was in my late twenties that I said to myself, “I can do that.”  It wasn’t quite that easy, though.  The second complete book I wrote was published, but not the first, or the third, or--so, let’s skip over those long ago years and get on to modern times.

I have been retired from working full time for three years now and am enjoying have more time to do creative things, such as writing.

GL:  Tell us about A Singular Gift.

Sue:  A Singular Gift is a magical realism fantasy suitable for all ages.  The main character is a 14-year-old girl who struggles to learn to use her recently inherited magic gift.  As she learns how to use her magic, she skirts a dangerous edge.  Does all power corrupt?  Learning to use her magic, forming a teenage magic circle, combating evil adult magic users. Jean must use all her wits and the magic her grandmother has left her because as she solves one problem, another pops up. At the end, she faces an evil she never dreamed of.  I planned this book as a stand-alone novel.  However, since then I’ve written a sequel.

GL:  Yay!

GL:  What inspired the story?

Sue:  The idea of magic being a gift that could be passed on, or inherited, popped into my head one day.  I started with that small idea and the book grew from there.

GL:  Are your characters based on anyone in real life or are they all imaginary?

Sue:  My characters are always imaginary.  Tiny bits and pieces of their personalities and things they do may come from real people.  It’s always hard to separate what is based on real life and what is made up, because everything that happens to a writer is buried in the subconscious and becomes a part of their writing.

GL:  Who was the easiest character to write? The most difficult?

Sue:  Jean was my easiest character in this book.  Since she is the main character, and the story is told in first person from her viewpoint, the others were not difficult either. 

GL:  What other work have you published or are you planning to publish?

Sue:  The first book I had published over twenty years ago was a light contemporary romance, titled A Man For Sylvia.  I now have my rights back to that book and will be publishing it on Amazon within a couple of months. 

Last week I finished the rough draft of a sequel to A Singular Gift.  The sequel is titled A Singular Chance.  In A Singular Chance, the story is told from both Jean and Wayne’s viewpoints.  Wayne has a much more important role to play in the second book.  I plan having the revisions done and the book on Amazon by the end of December.  A third book to finish the series is in the first planning stages.  I’m also working on a short prequel to the series, which will be free of charge.

GL:  This is SO exciting!  I love Wayne…  I am really looking forward to this!

GL:  Some other readers have said that A Singular Gift is geared more toward children/middle grade readers. (I actually disagree. I think it is a perfect younger YA read; a great coming-of-age tale that teaches a lot of lessons and sets a great example.) Who were you writing for specifically?

Sue:  I taught in middle school for over twenty years.  The ages of the students ranged from around 10 to 15.  I’m sure being around young adults for so many years has greatly influenced my writing.  I asked three seventh-graders to read the rough draft of A Singular Gift.  They were so enthusiastic about the story that I decided to self-publish and make my book available, hoping my target readers would find it. Even though I did not write specifically for adults, many adults have enjoyed reading A Singular Gift.  So, I would consider anyone from 10 up who enjoys a good, clean fantasy story to be my reader.

GL:  What typical YA patterns were you trying to avoid?

Sue: I see so many young adult books that are very dark. Teen books don't all have to be full of dark, angsty stuff to have a good story. Another theme I find repeated in young adult novels is alienation from parents. Yes, teens are struggling to become more independent, but for the teens I know, their parents are still strong influences and very important in their lives. Many books get rid of the parents in some way. I had the parents out of the way in part of the story, but they still play an important part in Jean's life and that is reflected in the story.

GL:  What is your favorite genre to write? 

Sue:  Fantasy and science fiction.  In fact, I like to blend elements of both.  I have about five more book ideas lined up in either of those two categories after I finish my Singular series.

GL:  What lesson(s) have you learned since you started writing?

Sue:  The book won’t write itself.  :D  If I want to be a writer, then I have to put the words on paper, day after day.  (Or the computer screen, these days!)

GL:  What types of books do you enjoy reading?

Sue:  I read all kinds of books.  I have boxes and boxes of books tucked away in the attic and in my den.  I enjoy a witty romance without sex.  I like cozy mysteries.  Sometimes I will pick up and read a western.  I like Christian-themed books.  My favorite genres to read are fantasy and science fiction.

GL:  Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?

I used to make baskets and enjoy making them, but haven’t done that in a while.  I am an intermediate beginner in playing the mountain dulcimer, a sweet sounding old-time stringed instrument.  I make quilts.  I do the patchwork and the quilting both.  I enjoy doing other things, but my time is very limited.

GL:  Three things I love! :-)  I can’t do any of them, but…  I bet you have some beautiful, cozy quilts!

GL:  What is your favorite meal to prepare for your children/grandchildren?

Sue:  My very favorite meal to serve has to be the Sunday dinner meal my mother made while I was growing up in Oklahoma: Southern fried chicken, mashed potatoes, cream gravy, green peas, biscuits, and green beans or corn.

GL:  Sounds absolutely perfect and yummy! 

GL:  Do you have any special traditions centered around the holiday season?

Sue:  We love Christmas and have many family traditions which we observe.  The first one is the Advent wreath.  On the four Sundays before Christmas, we light first one purple candle, then the next Sunday, two purple candles, etc. We read some bible passages and recite a little ceremony. 

On Christmas Eve we have another reading and reciting.  Then we each take a nativity figure and a candle and have a procession around our house, singing Silent Night.  At the end of the procession, we each place our nativity figure into the manger, take a seat at the dining room table and sing Christmas carols.  Each person gets to choose a carol for everyone to sing.  We have special homemade books with the ceremonies and songs so everyone can follow along.

GL:  What a special, beautiful tradition…  I love it…

GL:  What is the best piece of advice that you have ever received?

Sue:  Edit, edit, edit.  Get help with editing, especially if you are thinking of self-publishing.  No matter how good at grammar you are, one person can rarely ever catch every error that creeps into your manuscript.

Thank you so much, Sue, for sharing your book with me and being a guest on my blog.  I am truly looking forward to all your future work.  Please come back and visit soon!

Where to find Sue:

Buy the book:


Here's your chance to snag this lovely book for FREE!  Who doesn't like free stuff?!?!  All you have to do is answer the following question in a comment and leave your email address so we can contact you if you win:

Given a choice, would you prefer to fly like a bird, walk through walls, or be invisible?

That's it!  Good luck!!! :-)