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Author Interview: Suzie Clarke Chats about Moon Shadow

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Get ready to learn more about the book Moon Shadow in this discussion with sapphic author Suzie Clarke.

Join us for an exclusive peek behind the scenes as we quiz Suzie Clarke about Moon Shadow, writing, reading, and more.

This book is part of the Nursed Back to Health category in the 2024 IHS Reading Challenge.

Why did you write Moon Shadow?

Moon Shadow was my first novel. I made the time to write it because the idea of the story was so strong in my thoughts, I couldn’t get it out of my head.

Who is your favorite character in the book?

Rachel is my hero in the story. It’s interesting how authors draw on their own personality and from those of others they know when they develop characters. Rachel is focused, determined, and a protector. I’m very similar to her in those ways. She’s highly skilled in computer programming. I can barely understand my basic word program, let alone write one! She’s so brave and willing to try new things. I hang back and see how others do first. I won’t be first in line to do anything that might be risky.

What inspired the idea for Moon Shadow?

I had a friend, Donna, who died in her early 40’s. She died very suddenly and I didn’t get to say goodbye to her or tell her one last time that I loved her. I think Moon Shadow was in my heart because I wanted to have some closure about Donna’s loss.

What was the biggest challenge writing this book?

I think assuring what the characters did was accurate and technically correct. The main characters came from different backgrounds and were highly skilled in their professions. There were a lot of details that needed worked out concerning their skill levels. For example Rachel was very physical and highly experienced in backpacking and survival. Sarah was a surgical nurse and had very specific skills.

What part of Moon Shadow was the most fun to write?

To be honest, writing this book was all fun. The most fun for me was writing their survival in Alaska after the plane crash and Rachel and Claire’s interaction by the lake. I love when I can put characters in stressful situations and have them work through the trauma and difficulty.

How much research did you need to do for Moon Shadow?

This book took a lot of research to get the characters’ skill levels and the locations settings correct. I knew nothing about computer programming, how to stitch someone up in an emergency, parts of a plane and what happens to it when it crashes, and I’d never been to Alaska.

If you’re planning a sequel, can you share a tiny bit about your plans for it?

This is a three-book series, so yes Rachel and Claire continue their journey and overcome hardships in their relationship and physical situations.

Where do you usually write, and what do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?

I write in my office because I can control my environment. I can’t write with noise or outside distractions. When I write, my characters are all there with me. It’s like I have a room full of people setting patiently waiting for me to call them to the page and perform. It’s not unusual for me to draw detailed maps of an area or have pictures up of specific places. I’m very visual.

Is there a particular genre you would love to write but only under a pseudonym?

I’d love to write Sci-Fi. And I’d write under a pseudonym so my current readers wouldn’t be expecting a certain kind of genre from me and then be disappointed. Not everyone likes Sci-Fi. To me the thought of writing it opens up new worlds and unlimited possibilities in what you can imagine. I’ll probably do it one day.

When you’re writing an emotional or difficult scene, how do you set the mood?

Usually music is my go-to to create a mood. When I wrote Enigma, set here in the United States just weeks before the attack on Pearl Harbor, I listened to hours and hours of big band music like Glenn Miller. There’s nothing like music to put you In the Mood.

What do you do to get inside your character’s heads?

Because I’m such a visual person, I piece together pictures of people who look like my characters and stick them on the walls where I can see them. Also, I talk to my characters as if they were right there with me. I imagine the way they walk, dress, speak, their personality traits, how they interact with others. The more I get into my characters, the easier it is to write what they feel and how they act.

Do you feel bad putting your characters through the wringer?

Not at all. I’m happy to do it. The more they go through the better I like it. I want the readers cheering for my characters. Life is full of ups and downs. If you want characters who readers can relate to then you need to make the characters strong and weak, vulnerable, emotional, and flawed. In Shadows of Steel (Book Two of the Shadow Series) Rachel goes through hell and back and then back again.Loved it!

What type of books do you enjoy reading the most?

I’ve always loved to read about women and their struggles, and I love books where you are able to get into the character’s world. I love stories about women who take control of their situation, solve the problems, and then get what they want in the end. Heaven knows we don’t see enough of that in the real world.

Describe your favorite reading spot.

Laying on the couch or in my bed with a bag of M&Ms. It’s pitiful I know, but what can I say. I don’t like ebooks. I want to hold that book in my hand, turn the pages, or go back and reread when I want to.

Meet Suzie Clarke

Multi-Award winning sapphic novelist Suzie Clarke lives in the Midwest. She grew up as a middle child surrounded by brothers, which is probably why her stories focus on action/adventure/romance and are about strong women who know how to stand up for themselves.

Her debut sapphic novel, Moon Shadow (1st of three in the Shadow Series), released January 2019, won Honorable Mention in the National Soul-Making Keats Literary Competition. Enigma won the Golden Crown Literary Romantic Blend Award in 2023, and her latest book, Western Blue is a finalist in Romantic Blend in the 2024 Goldie Awards.

Visit Suzie Clarke’s Website

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