I discovered Suzanne Selfors
last year, when I received a review copy for Saving Juliet
from Walker Books. I loved the premise, and thought that Selfors
had a nice blend of magical realism, romance and adventure that captured my fancy.
Her latest YA book, Coffeehouse Angel, takes magical realism in a different direction, giving us guardian angels and a more subtle romance than in her previous book. It still captured my fancy, though. Enough to ask her if she’d be willing to do an interview for my little blog.
I was happy that she agreed to be a part of my 10 questions series, especially since my computer crashed and I lost the answers she had sent. She was kind enough to answer the questions twice for me. Thanks, Suzanne!
MF: Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration for Coffeehouse Angel?
SS: I was inspired by the place where I do a lot of my writing — a coffeehouse in the town of Poulsbo
is a little Scandinavian-themed town that’s adorable. I’ve put pictures of it on my website
. Katrina and her grandmother would fit right in.
I was also inspired by a conversation I had with a friend who was really worried about her daughter’s summer schedule. This girl had every minute scheduled, from swim team, to sailing lessons, to Spanish lessons. The mother was stressed that it wouldn’t be good enough to get her daughter into a good college. I felt sick just listening to her. And that is a big theme in this book, this stress teens are under to succeed.
MF: Do you have a favorite character or scene from the book?
SS: Well, I love the scene when Ratcatcher, the cat, catches something, but I don’t want to give it away.
MF: What would you wish for if you had a magical coffee bean?
SS: My true wish would be for my kids to have long, healthy, happy lives. My fantasy wish would be to grow wings.
MF: Is there anything from your life — either past or current — that ended up being a part of this book?
SS: Certainly. I was very much like Katrina, in that I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I was a total late bloomer! And, like Katrina, I went to dances at the Sons of Norway hall. I also had a best guy friend in high school, but he wasn’t anything like Vincent. And all the old guys that hang out at the coffeehouse are based on all the old guys in my family. They were Norwegian fishermen, too.
MF: You write both YA novels as well as Middle Grade ones… is there a difference in the way you approach writing for the different age groups?
SS: A big difference! The middle grade novels are all about an adventure. I don’t have to worry about romance. Which, in my humble opinion, is the most difficult thing to write. In the teen novels, there’s always an element of romance. It usually isn’t the central focus in my story, but it’s always there.
MF: How did the decision to write both MG and YA come about? (Or did it just happen…)
SS: It just happened. I was under contract to write my 2nd middle grade and I had this idea I couldn’t get out of my head. So I wrote Saving Juliet and my agent sold it!
MF: Your stories always seem to have a slight element of the magical, whether it be mermaids, time travel or magic coffee beans (sorry, I haven’t read Fortune’s Magic Farm, yet…) — is there any reason for this?
SS: I love stories about magic. I’ve always been drawn to fairy tales and fantasy. While I don’t write high fantasy, I always fall into the fantasy category. But I don’t sit down and say, Oh I’m going to write another story about magic. It just always seems to creep into my books.
MF: Who, or what inspires your writing?
SS: My kids. I write for them. And they read everything I write.
MF: Do you have five books you think everyone should read?
SS: I’m sorry, I don’t do well with questions like these. I can’t possibly limit my choices to five. I think everyone should simply read. Read whatever, whenever, as long as you read.
MF: If you don’t mind telling us, what are you working on next?
SS: My 3rd middle grade comes out in May 2010, Smells Like Dog
. It was very fun to write and I’m quite proud of it. And I’m currently working on the first draft of my next teen book.
Visit Suzanne and learn more about her books on her web page.