Suzanne Selfors is the author of many books for YA and MG readers, including Coffeehouse Angel and Saving Juliet. Her latest novel to hit stores, Mad Love, is about a ordinary girl trying to deal with epic-size problem – her mother, a famous romance author, is suffering from bi-polar disorder, and Alice is struggling to keep mother’s condition a secret. Suzanne took time out of her busy schedule to discuss her new book.
Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
[SS] Mother, wife, dog-walker, reader, dark-chocolate eating, latte-drinking WRITER!
Can you tell us a little about your book, Mad Love?
[SS] It’s a dark romantic comedy about a 16-year-old girl named Alice whose mother is a famous romance writer. When her mother is secretly hospitalized for bi-polar disorder, Alice tries to write her mom’s next romance novel, but gets interrupted by a boy claiming to be Cupid.
How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
[SS] I’m crazy about Greek and Roman mythology. In my book Coffeehouse Angel, I reimagined Hermes. I really wanted to do something with Cupid and here it is.
Also, I’m in a writing group with two romance writers and they deal with a lot of prejudice from people about their genre. I wanted to poke fun at this while shedding light on the fact that it’s hard to write good romance. Really hard. These writers deserve respect.
What have you learned about yourself through your characters?
[SS] I always come back to one particular theme: That you’ve got to find your own voice. That you can’t live a life that other people want you to live or that other people have chosen for you.
I don’t set out to write this theme but it always appears. Like many women, I struggled a long time with my self-confidence. But I’m choosing my own path now and loving it.
What much did you research mental illness before you started writing Mad Love? What made you want to write about it?
[SS] Well, I’ve got some experience. During my senior year at Occidental College I got pretty sick. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t focus on anything. I was a mess but I didn’t know what was wrong with me until I went to see a psychiatrist who diagnosed me with severe depression. It took me years to come out of that blackness. I’m happy to say it’s never come back like that. It was a terrifying experience. So when I wrote about Alice’s mother and her spells of depression, I was writing from the heart.
Is there a message you want readers to come away with after reading the book?
[SS] Love, in all its colors and shapes, is always swirling around you. You just have to open your heart to it.
What was the most challenging aspect of writing the book?
[SS] The revision process is always challenging. When to stop?
If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, what would it be?
[SS] Everything by Roal Dahl.
What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[SS] Sleep. I’m writing two books a year so I’m a bit exhausted. But it’s all good.
Thanks so much for the interview. Please visit me at www.suzanneselfors.com
I love hearing from readers.
Thank you, Suzanne!
Mad Love is in stores now. You can order it from your favorite bookseller, or by clicking the handy widget below. You can also snag yourself a copy of Coffeehouse Angel, which was recently released in paperback!