Today we have our Q&A with our ‘author in residence’, SC Ransom…
– Which books did you love reading when you were a teenager?
I read a vast range of different books at that age. I was a member of my local library, so got the maximum three a week from there, and the school library, then as I got older I started reading through my parent’s books too. My parents had a huge collection of crime fiction, so I read loads of them, particularly the Ed McBain 87th Precinct series. Stephen King became a regular around then too, along with John Wyndham and Isaac Asimov. I’ll be sharing my five favourites with you in a post later this month.
– When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I never, ever had any aspirations to be a writer! I got my ‘O’ levels in English Language and Literature and thought I had left all that behind me at sixteen. Later, in my twenties, I got a job where I had to write computer manuals, but that was hardly creative. It wasn’t until I got the idea in early 2009 about producing my daughter a book that I started writing, and at that point I had absolutely no idea if I would be any good at it. In fact, the first person outside my family and my daughter’s friends to read my first book was Kate Wilson (my publisher, who subsequently set up Nosy Crow). I really thought that she would give me a polite opinion and maybe a few tips, so I was stunned when she offered me a three book deal.
– You have a busy job, along with your family – how do you fit writing in?!
I have to be very, very organised! I work full time, and most days I commute into London on the train. When I started planning the book as a birthday present for Ellie (my daughter) I used the time on the train when I used to read. After doing the initial work in a notebook I realised I was going to have to type it up on the train too, and my laptop was too heavy to lug about. I had recently got a touch screen BlackBerry, so tried using that and found it remarkably easy. So every journey I would tap away and as we pulled into Waterloo I would email it to myself. At the weekends I tied it all together. I’ve written all three of the books on the train now. It’s my extra office!
– Tell us about Small Blue Thing
Small Blue Thing is a story about Alex, a 17-year old girl who finds a bracelet in the mud at the side of the Thames in Twickenham. She discovers that it allows her to see and speak with Callum, a drowned soul who is caught in a terrible half life and who has to consume human happiness to survive. She falls deeply in love with Callum only to find out that not everything is as it seems, and soon her life is in terrible danger.
The story is all set in and around London, and that was very important to me. I wanted to write something for Ellie which reflected her world and the things and places she knows. I also tried hard to make Alex’s reactions to all these strange and wonderful events as believable as possible, always asking ‘what would most 17-year olds do if this happened?’ to make it feel as if it could happen to her.
– When can we expect the other books in the trilogy?
Very soon. The second book, Perfectly Reflected, is out on the 2nd June, and the final one, Scattering Like Light, will be published in January 2012. I’ve just finished that one, and we are about to start editing – that bit always makes me nervous. Once the final book is out there will be a competition to win the bracelet which Nosy Crow had made for the front cover. It is gorgeous, and I desperately want to keep it, but I only get to look after it until next year. I’m taking it on all my school visits at the moment. News of the competition will be on the Small Blue Thing Facebook page and website, so keep looking!
– What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I don’t have a lot of spare time with the full time job and looking after the family, but do like trying to grow things in the garden. I seem to have more luck with the vegetables than the flowers most years. I also love reading, and have a huge stack of books I want to tackle. I find that I can’t read when I’m in the middle of writing, but since I submitted the manuscript for book three last week I have been working my way through the pile. It will be time to stop and get on with the editing all too soon!
Thanks, Sue! Sue is with us all month here at Bookbabblers, so we’ll be finding out her favourite reads, sharing guest posts, and reviewing her books. Just pop to our ‘author in residence’ page throughout the month to find out more, and comment on posts or use our Facebook page to chat with Sue.