Hey there everyone.
Happy Writers Wednesday 🙂
I’ve got another excellent Author Interview for you all, this time round with a very talented author and editor.
Please welcome Susan Marie Shuman, as we chat about her fantastic Short Story Collection that dives headlong into such topics as mental illness, relationships, loss, death, and life on the fringe of society.
Enjoy the show and keep writing folks! 🙂
Hi there Susan, thank you for being here, it is a real pleasure to be chatting you today about your writing, passions and influences.
Thank you for inviting me. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Let’s start with your debut collection of Short Stories called “Gutter Ball: A Collection of Short Stories”. Can you tell us more about the themes that link this particular collection together, along with the topics that you have explored in the stories and their emotional cores that drove you to write them.
I like to create strong female characters; women who have been through hell but then dish out the revenge. I’ve had my share of dangerous relationships and writing “happier endings” for my characters is my way of dealing with it. It’s cathartic. Other Women, Marnie’s Guts, The Palindromic Bubbae, and Dead Dolly, are a few examples. Mental health is also a recurring theme in my writing too, as I’ve been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, PTSD among others. With One Eye Closed is probably the creepiest thing I’ve ever written.
What are your favourite genres to read and which ones do you think directly affected the creation of your book?
I love Kafka. Love him! In college, I tried to emulate his style but couldn’t come close. Could anyone? I like the way Hemingway wrote, which inspired The Welcome Wagon.
My favorite genres are short stories and flash fiction. I think what really did it for me was the first time I read Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery. Pure genius. It still gives me chills! I also am in awe of a good sestina and/or villanelle.
If your stories were to be made into films (or even a TV series), who would you cast in the lead roles?
That’s a tough one. Let’s see…For In Pursuit, maybe Johnny Depp as Stanley and Minnie Driver as Dagmar. If Chasya & Samar were to be made into a movie, I’d want Sarah Jessica Parker to play Chasya and Rosie O’Donnell would make a nice Samar.
What do you find the most difficult thing about writing? And what do you find the easiest?
I find that dialogue can get me through just about anything. Telling stories through a conversation is the easiest for me. The most difficult thing kind of depends on the story, itself. When I start second-guessing myself, I know I’m screwed.
Who are some of the authors and historical figures that inspire you?
Kafka, Hemingway, Kate Chopin, Flannery O’Connor, Willa Cather…and many more.
What sort of research did you do to write your book?
I read everything I could get my hands on about the history of Homunculi for The Wild-Ass Series. There are five or six stories toward the end of Gutter Ball that are about two prepubescent brothers and their homunculus. It’s a blast to write.
Why do you write? What inspired you to become a writer?
My mom read to me a lot, even when I was a baby, and I always loved to read. I like the way it sticks with me for a long time when I read a well-written story or book. I want people to have that same feeling when they read my work. If I can do that, then I’ve accomplished my goal.
What keeps you motivated during creative slumps? How do you deal with Writers Block?
Finger-painting helps. I also find that wearing clothes that clash gooses my creativity. The more bizarre, the better!
You have access to a time machine. What advice would you give to your younger self?
Interesting. I’ve had a LOT to say to myself over the years. It’s funny you should ask that because I’ve begun my memoir. Right now, it’s called Letters to my Damn Self, but that may change. It hurts like hell to write. It requires poking around in some pretty painful places. I hope I have the guts to actually write it and make it count.
How do you spend your free time when you are not writing?
I finger-paint and create “art” with MS Paint. I also have four cats whom I love to spend time with. I have a full-time “real” job, in addition to my freelance writing business—SusanWritesPrecise.
Tell us more about your upcoming projects. Are you working on anything specific or have plans in the pipeline?
In addition to the memoir I will probably publish another short story collection. I’ve certainly got the material.
Finally, are there any nuggets of wisdom that you can impart to other aspiring writers?
Write what you are most afraid of. Write what hurts. I think the one way a heart can tell its secret truths is through the written word.
And that’s a wrap! Thank you for stopping by Susan, we can’t wait to check out your entertaining, thrilling and eclectic story collection soon 🙂
Susan Marie Shuman is a freelance writer and editor who currently resides in the wilds of Birmingham, AL. She shares her life with four spoiled cats, several friends (not all of them imaginary) and one husband. When she’s not working, Susan enjoys horseback riding, reading, taking her cats for a spin in their pet stroller, and taking naps.
An ex-bartender, recovering crash test dummy and all-around late bloomer, Susan graduated from the University of South Alabama in 2004 with a BA in English. She minored in Russian.
Long-range goals include visiting Israel, the Czech Republic and Liechtenstein. Susan is also planning to launch a micronation which would be called either Suzannistan or Eastern Suzanorovia.
You can connect with Susan on the following Social Media channels:-
You can buy her books here:-
If you too would like to be interviewed on my blog at TooFullToWrite and you have a book or a series of books that you would like us to chat about then fill out the Contact Me form here with your details and we can arrange a future interview slot.
Still want more? As writers we tend to procrastinate and ruminate a lot on what has happened in the past, which can end up fueling our writing for many years to come. For more article on the theme of ‘Ruminate’ then check out the links below:-
1. shame – Bedtime story
2. MUGURO – Kalongolongo Uncovered
3. Ruminating…part 2 (continuation of last week’s daily prompt: ‘Quicken’) – Tamara Neuman
4. 15 Tricks For Better Sleep – Whole, Hearty, Happy
5. Monochrome – Black ink & white words
6. Ruminating and Swarm – Nomadic Adventurer
7. There Are More Poets than Stars in the Firmament – burgers tomorrow
8. Ruminate – Bonkers Away!
9. Ruminating on ruminate… – Mums the Word Blog
10. Invisible Illnesses – Pattern – Daily Prompt
11. It’s All in Finding the Right Words – To Join Or Not to Join?
12. Narcissism and Masochism – My Web of Pain
13. Epiphany – What to do with our VOC heritage?
14. sonja benskin mesher – . one thought .
15. Ruminating on a prompt.. – Random Thoughts and Musings
16. My Lifesaver!!! – My Struggling Heart
17. Monsters Go Away – Patches of Light, Pieces of Grace
18. These Dates – awesomeloopy
19. Elsewhere – KhaoticEuphoria
20. Leaving Me – Debbie Gravett
21. missed prompts… – erintypes
22. Midnight Musing of Sunflower Girl and Miss Xin – stitches and poems
23. A Small Writer’s Desire – Inside a Shell of Memories
24. Our Existence – sparksbeforetheblaze
25. The Future – thehouseofbailey
26. Where I Am – Dandelion Fuzz
27. Time to ruminate – Words in verse
28. Eileen On – Ruminate – Who has time to ruminate?
29. Dirty Laundry for Dinner – Girl Writing
30. Sagesse :|: Oblige – Casa Reap
31. My Personal Blog – Tired of Ruminating
32. Le Drake Noir – Busstop
33. Can’t Surf with a Cardboard – Beach Books Blog
34. Job – The Chaos Within
35. chrysalis – Tiny Fawns Writings
36. GRACE, FAVOR & FAITH – Own your narrative
37. GRACE, FAVOR & FAITH – Misunderstood
38. QWERTINAPIE – Catwalk To Remember
39. Snake, wall, or spear? – The Happy UFO
40. Thoughts of Words – 3(Haiku/Senryu): Rain, Cloud & Dilemma
41. Kalongolongo Uncovered – THE HUNK GUY
42. Success Inspirers World – ‘Victim’ of Your Own Vices
43. ‘Victim’ of Your Own Vices – atrangizindagieksafar
44. Diamante// Ruminate – /Suzhalgal
45. Baguio City Panagbenga Fireworks 2017
46. mylocalweb – Matruvandana
47. Beyond the Black Sea – RUMINATE – Making a Prompt Personal
48. Issa Brain Monkey Brain – Things we Grow up Hearing as Children
49. New York Stories – Compass & Quill
50. Take time to ruminate! – More words & pics @ patriciamcgoldrick.com
51. The Wise Squirrel – Leigha Robbins
52. Laurel Grove loves… – I don’t think so….
53. IN LOVE FOREVER…. – Site Title
54. March 7 – My 365 Life
55. MY ENDURING BONES – Wolfgang’s Garden
56. Vivid Dreamer – Useless Existence
57. Moonlight Reflections – Ruminate
58. Samantha Linda – Seize it
59. Netdancer’s Musings – Little Cowboys
60. Your Breakthrough is Coming – Keep On Moving
61. Chew on This – What is Qat? – America For Yemen
62. Ruminate: Living Peacefully in Hasty America–Day 13 of Getting Dressed – Shelby’s Starlit Crossing
63. Madeline Scribes – Do you like yourself enough to date yourself?
64. MISPLACED PEACES – Ruminate Rain
65. Sascha Darlington’s Microcosm Explored – Sinking
66. I don’t want to live this way (song to be) – A mad Belgian
67. manvsloneliness – Day 242: The Man and the Clash of Collaboration; ‘Ruminate’
68. My Mixed Blog – Routine Ruminations
69. Ruminating over slaves as “immigrants” – Your Nibbled News – 2017 YNN
70. Everything and anything – Ruminating
71. Untitled – samanthaalexia
72. Don’t hide! We need you! – CD-W, Author Flawed to Perfection
73. Ouch!! My back hurts!! – Ruminate?
74. Pottering around – thinkinkadia
75. Ruminations of a Woman – aroused
76. Ruminating – The Bag Lady
77. Betcha Didn’t Know! – Forgive yourself already!
78. Getting Smart with Ruminate – On a mission
79. simply.cindy – Dinner With a Philosophy Student
80. To ruminate or not to ruminate – I think, I say, I do
81. To be or not to be content – Just me and us blog
82. alexjwise – Ruminate
83. A Bright Past – a mile in my shoes
84. Southern By Design – A Place Of Peace
85. Writing and Works – #IWD – What It Means To Me
86. Am I a Ruminant? – Why Weight?
87. Spiritual abuse and my fallout with religion
88. Faith Unlocked – Chewing the Cud
89. What Rhymes with Stanza? – pastorale
90. dying to be – Quietly Ascending
91. Harcourt 51 – Ruminate
92. LadyLebz – TO SHOWER OR NOT TO SHOWER WHEN YOU’RE LATE FOR WORK
93. Man, I’m glad I’m not a cow! – As I was saying…
94. Knowing what you want, but not knowing at the same time… – Truer than true
95. Saving Money Tips with Coffee with Megan – Coffee with Megan
96. Ruminate. – impossiblejourneyblog
97. The View From My Window – I Think We Think Too Much
98. Ruminate to Rumi – Ancient Beauty
99. Uneven ruminations of an employee – WazirNama
100. A Caregiving Marriage – A Cow and a Giraffe
101. Peanut Gallery 24/7 – Is he all that?
102. To Wonder Why? – Progressing into Solitude
103. Rickey Dobbs – 7 steps to keep the wolves at bay.
104. Light & life – Stuck in the Kitchen Again…
105. Tanka: The Dancer – whippetwisdom.com
106. DADDY’S LITTLE MAN – Grief Poetry
107. Flowers and Breezes – Ruminate
108. Covert Novelist – Ruminate
109. debooWORKS – The Silence of Others
110. THE ETHEREAL NOW – Rainbow
111. My Art & Me – The Wall
112. kStan(ly) kSays – them sheep
113. The Other Stuff – Ennui
114. SERENDIPITY – YEAR ZERO, A NOVEL BY ROB REID – RUMINATING ON THE WEIRDNESS OF REALITY
115. New Ideas And Inspirations – Ruminate
116. Nature’s Perfect Getaway… – Nomadchasingwaterfalls
117. Sure Scribbles – This old bench.
118. Life with Jess – My Own Book
119. The Cat Chronicles – Daily Feline Prompt: Ruminating Feline
120. The Romantic Quill – WEDNESDAY REFLECTION #10: Lost in Austen
121. Exploring the World around us – Mysterious Travel
122. Something To Think About… – Success Strategies
123. Na’ama Yehuda – Think Deeply
124. Daily Post – Why This? Why That?
125. Shine – Yuhu
126. The love testimony – Impossible, the greatest impossibility
127. Things to consider for daycare search – Settle in El Paso
128. On Thinking #1 – Cozy Light
129. Ruminations about Feedback – Mindflight
130. Now – Inner Whispers
131. Ruminate–Daily Prompt – Fearless
132. Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss – I no longer ruminate
133. Rumination Activation… – A Place to learn and grow together
134. The Flittering Soul – The slow poison
135. Ruminate – The Mind of Nox
136. The Ubiquitous Burrito – On Putting Your Thoughts to Sleep
137. Stop Ruminating (Daily Word Prompt is Ruminate) – My Loud Bipolar Whispers
138. Ruminate – wordsareallihavesite
139. Musings of a Random Mind – Whenever I Don’t See You
140. LadyLebz – COLORISM: BEING A LIGHT SKINNED BLACK WOMAN
141. Let’s Begin – Plugged.In
142. The Anonymous Life – Ruminations into the Soul
143. Frank Prem – contemplation in the heart
144. Jury Duty – Change of Mind – So It Goes
145. let’s ruminate – resarf poetry
146. Unrequited Love – Pinda Pineda
147. I had time to ruminate… – Run and Travel
148. Ruminating…part 2 (continuation of last week’s daily prompt: ‘Quicken’) – xversusz
149. MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO – Ruminate
150. That’s Mental! – Rumination – Who I Was
151. Telling the Truth – Chewing My Cud
152. Light Words – Daily Post Ruminating on Ruminates
153. Ruminate… – Swa-Mikosho
154. Ruminating on God – Lilly’s View
155. Apartment Living. – Elaine’s Life and Apartment Living
156. Passed at Repast – Rhyme In Time
157. Ruminate – psychedelicwizard
158. Are You a Ruminant? – Just Writing!
159. First Day of School Take Two – Pizza and Peonies
160. You say ‘Ruminate’ I say ‘Illuminate’ – They Once Called Her Pumpkin…
161. lifelessons – a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown – Back Seat Driver
162. Rekindled love – Oh, border!
163. in 25 words more or less – #tuesdayuseitinasentence: jab
164. Zachary W Gilbert, Author – Life is a quick sneeze, (Hii Ku!) bless you
165. andsoitisborn – Too Much Liking
166. juantetcts – Daily Post
167. Suddenly Single in Marin – Nate’s Room
168. Do one thing! – stbarbebaker
169. La Tour Abolie – How many legs has a three-legged stool?
170. Seasonal Changes – a moment teller’s
171. Hot Dogs and Marmalade – More Croatian
172. La Tour Abolie – MetempsyCOWsis
173. Forward – Reactionary Tales
174. debooWORKS – The truth about Intolerance
175. Indian Chinese tea – Don’t hold your breath
176. Ruminate – Daily Prompt
177. WOTD: Ruminations (poem) – In the Abstract
178. Hot Teacher 2 – writemebad
179. Hot White Snow – I’ve Been Thinking – International Women’s Day
180. Why? – Zeckrombryan
181. Color Your World – Pacific Blue – travel387
182. I Have Pretty Strong Convictions, I Guess – Ruminate
183. Ruminate – Faramuthia’s
184. Relax – Tastes like chicken (somewhat)
185. Narc-ish – Narcissism and Masochism: The Origins of Eternal Victimhood
186. Ruminate (Grasping the essence of a wordsmith) – Write Ally! Write!
187. the15thday – life?!
188. If all goes well – Poetry, Fiction, Politics (PFP)
189. Need a kick in your workout pants to get moving? Youâ€™re not the only one! – art of being fabulous
190. Turn That Radio Up – Think Too Much
191. Episode 25 – Talking w/ Brandon Elrod @brandonelrod About Sho Baraka, Lifeway, and #Christian Thought – Jerome Danner
192. Scarlett Sauvage – 50-Word Story: Too Much Time To Think
193. LifeBlog – RUMINATE OVER IT!
194. Susie Lindau’s Wild Ride – My Crazy Mind and Eating Without Inhaling
195. 83 Unsung Heroes – Feminist, Anti-Feminist Or Actually Neither?
196. perfectlyimperfect32wordpresscom – Ideals of Grandeur
197. mycreatorscreation – Don’t Stop To Ruminate
198. Pixelesque – Devoke Water
199. Go Ahead … Make My Day! – jansten56
200. Devil Doll Musings – Don’t Wanna Think About You
201. All Could Be Easy – emotionsoflife2016
202. Madame Magritte Ruminates on Syntax – Scattered Showers in a Clear Sky
203. Ruminate – Allison’s Written Words
204. Zombie Flamingos – This is all I got…
205. The Slouch on the Couch – Image & Word
206. Ups, Downs & Deviations – Thoughts
207. Return to Innocence – Jajabor, The Nomad
208. Uitwaaien aan de IJzer – @Peter’s Blog
209. Taking The Bait – Pete Gardner Psalms
210. Memories – wordsonwings
211. Motivate don’t ruminate – Back On The Grid
212. Life is what it is… – Pauline Njah
213. Ruminate… – Emotions That Matter.
214. Apartment Living – Elaine’s Life and Apartment Living Blog
215. Ruminate on this: Long-Leggety Chaos in the Classroom – Chronicles of an Orange-Haired Woman!
216. Thinking too much – fades in…
217. Wotd ruminate – Kimo’s Den Of Iniquity
218. Ruminate(100WordStory) – LAW OF THE LETTER
219. Isabel Caves – Vignette: Golden Eggs
220. B_ live – A Breath turns Page
221. I wrote a book. Now what? – Individual Arcs
222. jotNrot – ruminate
223. Lantern Words – Ruminate Less
224. Lost Property Repository – Asylum: Alone In A Room