Interview with author Susan Stec

Recently, I've had the honor of interviewing, Susan Stec, the author of the recently released The Grateful Undead: They're so Vein. They're so Vein is not your typical vampire story. Susan writes with humor and originality, using real life family members as the characters in her novels. In doing so, she gives the reader wonderful characters with big personalities, drawing us in and giving us a laugh all at the same time. Her writing is fresh and original. There's no one out there quite like Susan Stec. She's a true original and I encourage readers to pick up a copy of They're so Vein, the first of her trilogy. Check out the book trailer above.


Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer

I love fantasy, especially urban fantasy. And even more so if it's humorous.

When I turned fifty, I started to have this crazy dream every night: Sexy vamp waltzes through the French doors of my bedroom balcony, and after an erotically charged interlude, he fangs me, which just happened to clock me back about 30 years. Then the rest of the zany non-estrogen producing women in my family burst into my bedroom asking for a piece of the action. I woke laughing, and got out a pad and a pen.

After I cut the girls loose in my world there was no dragging them back out again! My dreams became filled with fanged fiascos and they mentally pushed me toward the computer every morning, fighting to get out.

Tell us about your novel

First off, They're So Vein is NOT your teenaged daughter's vampire story. It starts out when a cheeky, potty-mouthed tyke takes a bite out of the protagonist, Susan, in a public bathroom. Vanity being the mainstay in this zany family of senior citizens, they all want a piece of the action. Susan looked twenty-five…they looked…well…old.

A domino effect quickly ensues, leaving only Jeni, Susan's oldest daughter, the sole voice of reason. The amateur vampires, with only dime store literature to guide them, swiftly find out feedin' ain't easy…not with five new immortals on the loose.

Susan's Bible-toting sister, JoAnn, inadvertently turns a raccoon into a ‘vampoon’ — talk about screwing up the whole eco-system. PETA would be so pissed. Fanged critters start parading around the neighborhood like a conga line in front of a buffet at the Golden Coral. The day the Jehovah witnesses show up at the door…well that wasn't pretty, everyone felt so bad…

 
Then Susan's vamped-out eighty-three-year old mother, mixing blood with pleasure, begins to seize, with gusto, the moments she'd missed in her sexually-deficient life. Problem is, she loses a few warm bodies along the way.

That's when the Morizzio Cartel pulled out the big fangs, mailed out rules and demanded a meeting. And although the girls were ready to stomp their new stilettos right over their 1,500-year-old rules, they end up paying for their infractions, big time.

Being assigned to Critter Control for an eternity wasn't what any of them had signed up for. Especially with the protagonist's six-year-old nemesis, Christopher, as a partner.

Tell us a little about your road to publication. Was it a long one? Do you have an agent? In your opinion are they even necessary?

I do not have an agent— queried a few— but it didn't pan out. Couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong so I started following agents on twitter, and personal blogs. At the time, all I heard in my genre were agents and editors saying, "If I have to read one more query with vampires or werewolves I'm gonna puke! Come on people! Can you say, 'original'?"

I queried during the 'Twilight' craze, when the market was flooded with vampire books. I was about to give up. Instead I put the book aside, waited a year, bucked up and wrote two more books in the series. Then I began to query again. Only this time I bypassed the agents and went right to small press publishers. Black Matrix Publishing http://www.blackmatrixpub.com/ offered me a contract about three months later in July 2010, and it has been an absolute pleasure working with Guy Kenyon. The novel was released in April 2011. I was very impressed with the edits, communication was easy, personal input with regards to cover art, marketing, and edits were promptly addressed, all questions were answered. I'm very pleased with my publishing choice so far. Guy is now in the process of marketing the book.

Where do you get your ideas for your books?

I dream them. I wake up with an idea, and then start typing. The characters fill in the pages one night at a time. I've tried to do outlines, but after tossing so many attempts I just sit back and let my characters do the work for me. Not like they aren't gonna do that anyway. Not like I have any real control in the situation. They've even changed the plot mid book, like when the legendary blood countess shows up in the second book! That was not the story I had in mind at all. I woke up and there she was, wreaking all kinds of havoc from inside her freakin' mirror!

What are you working on right now?

I'm working on a young adult book, unFAIRYly Marked. It's about fairies who are being humanized with teen-toys. Cell phones, computers, video games, bug vehicles, etc. My poor main character drives a darner moth— it's a predator— and he eats the other vehicles (which are also insects), as if she doesn't have it bad enough being the only half-breed in Terra Fae Nova. But things aren't what they seem to be, the elders have a plan for this generation of children. The story brings up issues with drugs, bullying, friendship, trust, interracial families, sexual tension, and of course being the underdog.

How much of the marketing do you do?

I blog, FaceBook, get on Twitter occasionally, and work a site called BookBlogs. I leave my Amazon page, blog address, and a few other addresses on everything I send or do over the Internet. If I review a book on Amazon, I add my addresses at the bottom. If I respond on a blog, I pop in the addresses. Email, yep, you got it. I've gone out locally and handed out business cards, got some local book stores to order, the two small libraries in my area also have a copy. I told my family I was getting indelible markers so I can hit the restroom at Wal-mart next week. Sandwich board in front of the local retirement homes, too much?

Anything youve found to be particularly helpful in marketing your book?

Persistence.

Is your book available as an eBook?

Yes, every major online eBook retailer for numerous devices such as Amazon's Kindle, the Nook from Barnes & Noble, Apple's iPad, pdfs, Android phones and many others. The process was easy for me — Guy did all the work. He had them up within days of the release of the book. I would definitely go ebook! I believe they are the future.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Write for you, not for the market you think will be available when your work is completed. Have patience, try new ideas. Join a local writing group or one on the Internet like The Next Big Writer http://www.thenextbigwriter.com and be open minded about critiques because those readers help you not only understand your market, but help get your book ready to query. If you think two heads are better than one, try 20.

As a writer we all face rejection, any advice on how to deal with it?

All I can say is that I grew a really hard layer of skin that first year with all the rejections. It's a tough market out there, and although I really wanted to see my books in print, I think holding on to the fact that I write for me and the women in my family is what got me through it. However, there is nothing like seeing your name on Amazon! Makes you feel special.

Whats your writing schedule like?

I try to write at least a chapter a week now that I'm published. Used to be able to crank out two, three a week, but marketing is taking up more than half of my time now. I'd say I write about 12 - 24 hours a week and market or build relationships the remainder of my work week which is usually around 40 hours during the summer and lots more in the winter.

Whats your favorite thing and least favorite thing about writing?

My favorite would be typing away and laughing out loud as my characters go all wonky on me. They crack me up with their outbursts and constant surprises. Like who would have thought my Bible-toting sister would have a child with a demon????… Ooops… spoiler for the third book! Dang, maybe you want to edit that out?

My least favorite — writing a damn query! I'm a wordy bitch. One or two paragraphs? Come on!

Where do you hope to be in 5 years?

On the cover of Rolling Stone. Ha!

What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your books?

That I have five women, a fairy, troll, werewolf, demon, and several sexy immortals living in my brain! And they won't go home!

Any suggestions to help someone become a better writer?

I think writing what moves you, what you have a passion for, what makes you smile, adding personal experience to breathe life into your work makes it easier. Better? Learning from others makes it better.

Where can readers find you? (Include all links you want, facebook, twitter etc....)







Comments

  1. Good interview. I added the Ungrateful Dead to my Amazon wishlist. I'm buying them as I go along and know this is a hilarious one that I will enjoy. Wishing you every success with this book.

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  2. Thanks for reading the interview, Joy, and for the post :)

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  3. Testing. There are problems with me trying to post. I hope you get this.

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  4. Jeanne, I haven't been able to properly thank you for the interview with my computer problems over the last week, and wanted to do so now. I so much enjoyed answering your questions and being in your spotlight - as usual, you make me feel special.

    Thanks Friend,
    Susan
    http://thegratefulundead.blogspot.com/
    Visit Amazon's Susan Stec Page
    http://thegratefulundead.blogspot.com/
    http://productsearch.barnesandnoble.com … amp;ugrp=2

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  5. Yay! you were able to post. I'm sure your frustration levels have dropped, lol. Thank YOU for allowing me to interview YOU. It was entirely my pleasure :)

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  6. I interviewed Susan Stec on my show and love her energy. Her sense of humor and enthusiasm will take her a long way.

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  7. Great interview! It was really fun to read.
    ~Rebecca
    www.bendingthespine.blogspot.com

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  8. I listened to the interview, Candance and I couldn't agree more. Susan is great.

    Thanks very much, Rebecca :)

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  9. What a great interview. Lucky you. Donna

    I am a new GFC follower and would love for you to visit my blog. I have a book give away this week. Please enter. Donna

    http://mylife-in-stories.blogspot.com

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  10. Hi Donna,
    I've already joined you blog. I will have to go back to join your contest :)

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  11. Just stopping by to make sure I am following you on my blog Jeanne. Also wanted to toss this on Facebook and Twitter again. Then it's off to snag Candy's blog too. Weeeeeee! I can post!
    Susan

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  12. Very inspiring interview for the up coming writers.

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  13. What a great title for a book. And an informative interview. Awesome job, Jeanne.

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  14. Good Interview ..would love to buy this book !! thx for this post

    http://www.travelnlife.com/

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  15. That was a great interview!

    Nikki

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