Susan Vaught’s latest release, Freaks Like Us, recently hit store shelves. Susan stopped by the virtual offices for a chat. Check out what she has to say!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
[Susan Vaught] Long hair, pacifist, likes chocolate, reads a lot, has parrot, too many dogs, three cats, loves writing, likes football, works in an asylum.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Freaks Like Us?
[Susan Vaught] Freaks Like Us is a fast-paced mystery, with most of the story taking place in the 24 hours after Jason Milwaukee’s best friend and sort-of girlfriend disappears. To find her, Jason has to battle his mental illness, his self-doubt, and prejudice from other people involved in the search.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
[Susan Vaught] I have been wanting to write through the eyes and voice of a character with schizophrenia for many years, but it took me a long time to develop just the right personality so readers could relate to Jason. The other characters came more naturally, and they all contend with issues I have either faced in my own life/family, or treated in my years of practice as a psychologist. The mystery element of the story unfolded as the story moved along, surprising me at the end of the first chapter!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Jason?
[Susan Vaught] Brave, Loving, Determined
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will Jason leave the house without?
[Susan Vaught] Three things he wouldn’t leave the house without would be Sunshine’s locket, his house key, and Agent Mercer’s private telephone number. If it’s really supposed to be what he WOULD leave the house without, then the answer would be . . . just about everything else. Jason can get pretty distracted and forgetful. Lunch money, his phone, his homework—all of that might get accidentally abandoned on any given day.
[ED – oops, yes it was a typo. Thank you for the wonderful answer ]
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Jason had a theme song, what would it be?
[Susan Vaught] Possibility, by Lykke Li. I think the haunting sound and the words/emotions have real meaning for him.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Jason’s most prized possession?
[Susan Vaught] Sunshine’s gold locket. It means more to him than anything other than Sunshine herself.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?
[Susan Vaught] Life, music, and other people’s brilliant art. Whenever I read a great book, hear a wonderful song, look at an amazing painting or sculpture, watch a good film, or encounter good art in any other format, it inspires me to make more of my own—not copy what I experienced or encountered, but try to come up with something brilliant, beautiful, and lasting, to pass on that gift of inspiration.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?
[Susan Vaught] A clean house or writing cabin, no distractions, and the exact right song. I absolutely cannot write without good music.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?
[Susan Vaught] Daughter of Smoke and Bone, by Laini Taylor. I reviewed it on my website. I love the originality of the writing, and the flesh-and-blood feel of the characters…even those that don’t exactly have flesh and blood.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?
[Susan Vaught] John Christopher’s Tripod series. The first book in the series was The White Mountains. I remember falling deeply into that world, into the struggles of those characters. I believe it was the first set of books I read where kids were in real jeopardy, and made a difference.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[Susan Vaught] When I’m not writing, I’m usually working. My day job is at an inpatient psychiatric hospital. I also help tend the many birds and animals on our farm. What I’d like to do—ha. Be at the beach!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?
[Susan Vaught] Through my website, at www.susanvaught.com . I enjoy hearing from my readers!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!
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