Author Bio: Susan Smith-Josephy is a writer and historical researcher based in British Columbia, Canada. She writes historical non-fiction, and has a collection of short fiction coming out later this year. She is one of the contributing authors to Kindle All-Stars 2: Carnival of Cryptids which will be available from Amazon TODAY, on February 1, 2013. All profits from the book will be donated to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Susan, first of all, a warm welcome on a cold winter day both in Canada and in the UK . Can you please tell us something interesting about yourself?
Thank you! I got my first book non-fiction published a year and a half ago. It was traditionally published by a small local press. I’ve written fiction for years, but have just started getting serious about publishing this work. So, of course I’m thrilled that my short story, “The Ogopogo Club,” will be a part of the Carnival of Cryptids.
Although I am a skeptic, I am fascinated by the mysterious, the weird, and the alien. I like examining the dark side of life. Historical mysteries, unusual tales, unusual people—they all get my undivided attention.
Many congratulations on the new publication! What inspired you to write? Was there a special incident or did it come naturally?
Curiosity inspired me to write. I have been writing fiction for years. I’ve got drawers and drawers of the stuff. But I’ve mostly spent my time as a newspaper reporter in small towns throughout the province. Once I left that life to dedicate myself to writing full-time, I was surprised at how many ideas I had and how many books I wanted to write.
Now I am curious . How would you describe your own writing style?
Because of my background, which is history and journalism, I would say that my writing style mirrors that. I like crisp writing. I like writing that explains something accurately, without being boring. It’s a fine line to be factual, yet still interesting.
I’m still finding my way as a writer, it’s a fun process.
Oh yes, I can totally relate to that, I mean, finding a good balance between being accurate without losing readers’ interest, and that of my own .
I assume as an author, you like reading – what’s your usual read?
Mystery novels always. I like snoir—mystery novels set in snowy and cold places. I have a blog dedicated to that.
I usually have an historical biography on my night stand, and I’m a fan of local history.
Snoir – that’s a new genre for me from today . Guess it’s hardly surprising given that you live in chilly Canada .
I think I invented that genre , sort of a sub-genre of noir with a Nordic or at least icy, twist.
What are you reading now? Do you have a book (apart from your own) which you highly recommend?
Ooh! Just one? I always have about four or five books on the go at once.
I’m loving “Mary Boleyn: The Mistress of Kings” by the wonderful biographer Alison Weir. I just got it from the library and am a new fan of the author and will be reading anything and everything she’s written. Because the first book I wrote was a memoir, and my next non-fiction book is a biography, I’m always on the lookout for excellence in memoir writing.
The local history book I’m reading right now is “Chasing Their Dreams” by Lily Chow. It’s about Chinese immigrants to British Columbia, Canada. Well-researched, poignant tales. I’m reading it out of personal interest, but also for background on my next non-fiction history book.
For my current mystery read, I just bought Elizabeth George’s “Believing the Lie” and I am flying through the pages. A great book in a great series.
On my Kindle, I just read “The Winter Queen” by Boris Akunin. Any recommendations I get from my Twitter friends, I usually download on Kindle.
Oh, Susan, we have that in common, having four or five books on the go at any given time. I must check out your Carnival of Cryptids, and Lily Chow’s book on Chinese immigrants to Canada. Incidentally, my most recent book Land of Hope was about Chinese Immigrants to Europe, to the West in general .
I can’t wait to read your trilogy! It’s on my TBR list.
Wonderful! Can you give us a writing tip? or something you have learnt during your writing process?
My non-fiction work requires a ton of research, but once that’s all done, I write 1,000 words a day straight into the computer. I need deadlines and structure.
For my fiction, I usually have a note book and a mechanical pencil, and I write lying down surrounded by cushions (it’s true!). Then, I transcribe it into my laptop.
What I’ve learned? I’ve learned that I love my editors. They are a huge part of the writing process.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what kind of music would you take with you (yes, you’re allowed to have an ipod ?
World Music. I love music from Northern Africa, the Middle East, Mongolia. Classic rock: AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd. And 70s disco Some opera, classical, and weird instrumental stuff that I like to think comes from outer space.
Wow, I think I share your music tastes too .
You’re welcome to visit the island any time!
Thanks! Do you have a motto to live by and what is it?
I have this in front of my computer:
“Be regular and orderly like a bourgeois, so that you may be violent and original in your work.” It’s a quote from Gustav Flaubert. Because I’m not a naturally organized person, I’ve taken this to heart. I write. Then I clean my house. Then I write some more. Repeat.
If you were allowed a super power, what would it be?
Time travel. I’d go back in time to see if what I think went on, really went on. And kill Hitler.
If it’s a mission to kill Hitler, can I jump on your time machine? I’d love that!
Of course. We can get Time Travel Team together.
Please tell us about your current project and describe your latest work within 140 characters, as in a tweet.
I have a short story “The Ogopogo Club” in the new anthology Carnival of Cryptids which is coming out Feb 1 on Amazon. #KAS2Cryptids
Her most recent project is the short story “The Ogopogo Club” which was selected to be part of the Kindle All Stars newest book “Carnival of Cryptids.” Susan has an ebook fiction anthology coming out later this year.
Her first book, “Lillian Alling: the journey home” is a true account about a woman who, in the 1920s, walked from New York to Siberia via Canada and Alaska.
Her next non-fiction book is about Jean Caux, the famed packer, who is known in British Columbia as Cataline.
She is also researching some particularly gruesome British Columbian historical crimes.
She has a degree in History from Simon Fraser University, and also studied journalism at Langara College. Susan has worked at various community newspapers throughout British Columbia as both a reporter and an editor.
Please check out the fabulous collection featuring seven authors: Matt Posner, Doug Glassford, Jeff Provine, Simon Cox, Susan Smith-Josephy, Tony Healey and William Vitka. Link: Amazon