March Monday Muse: Susanna Ives

This year I’m trying something a bit different with MM. Aside from being more realistic and setting a once a month post goal vs. once a week, I am also going  to try and make the MM posts more in-depth. Before, I’d find a mama/artist on the interwebs I found inspiring, let y’all know what it was I liked about her, and that was it. I’d send a little note along to the featured muse letting her know she’d been the subject of my post, and pretty much every single one was kind enough to stop by and say thanks. I decided maybe instead of letting them know after the fact, I’d get in touch with the women I find inspiring and, A: ask their permission to post about them first (wouldn’t hurt to do that) and B: find out a little more about them and in doing so, provide better insight to how it is they do what they do, which is kind of the fundamental point of MM anyway.

So when I contacted Susanna and asked her if she’d mind being a Monday Muse, I also asked if she would take a few moments to answer some questions as well. Lucky for us, she graciously said yes to both.

Photo courtesy of SavannaIves.com

So here’s the low down: Susanna is a mom to (in her words) “fabulous, brilliant, gorgeous children.” She writes, and her novel, Rakes & Radishes, was released by Carina Press in September of 2010. She also designs web pages and, lucky girl, gets to travel quite a bit.

I asked Susanna to name three things that help her find time to devote to her passion (ie: writing). She responds, “Laundry, dishes, and cleaning. The avoidance of these three things really helps me find time to devote to my passions.” Her answer cracked me up, I was looking for some awesome secret tricks – and, bless her, she gave me honesty, and a reality that hits close to home. How often have I put my writing off to start or finish a load of laundry, sweep the floor, or take care of the pile of dishes in the sink? Way more times than I care to count. So perhaps that IS the secret: Write Now and Clean Later. (I may make that my new motto).

I’ll step back now and let you get to know Susanna a little better with the rest of the “interview”

What are some of the biggest obstacles/challenges you face to get that time?(to write)
Actually, I now have more time than I once did. Both my children are in school. But, back when I was homeschooling my son and my daughter was a toddler, I really don’t know how I found time. Just scraps here and there. Sometimes, I would take my children to a drop-off daycare center, stay there, and write. I even manage to write in noisy jump centers or in the passenger seat in the car on long journeys.

If there was an extra day each week just for you, let’s call it “Meday,” how would you spend it?
If there was a Meday and I had a mere extra $400.00 a week (now we really are in a fantasy world), I would spend Meday at a spa getting massages, facials, pedicures, rubs, etc.

When you write, do you do it in a linear fashion – or in bits and pieces all over the place, as the story comes to you?
Linear. If I do bits and pieces, I end up rewriting those bits and pieces because the emotional continuity between scenes isn’t correct.

What is one thing you think you do a damn fine job at as a writer?
Dialogue.

What element of writing do you really struggle with?
Description.

So many authors describe a scene or a moment, a character or a conversation – that became the impetus for a book – do you have something like that for Rakes & Radishes? (“What was it” is the implied question here) 😉
Not really. Rakes and Radishes was written to be a farce. Somehow, during the course of its creation, it went in the opposite direction. But I think the old theater farces like The Importance of Being Ernest, Charley’s Aunt, and Arsenic and Old Lace were early influences.

Favorite place to be when you write?
Tea houses and gardens. I like being around people even if I am not interacting with them.

Aside from writing, other passions / artistic outlets you like to indulge:
I’ve been known to sing in choirs. I also play around in Photoshop and design web pages. That said, I really, really need to redesign my own web page. It’s looking like a twinkling Christmas Tree at the moment.

Wine: red or white?
Depends on my mood.

Chocolate: milk or dark?
Again, depends on my mood and if I am feeling health conscious that day.

3 of your favorite authors:
Aside from my talented friends, James Lee Burke, Michael Ondaatje, Joan Smith

3 books you hope to read this year:
Unbroken – Lauren Hillenbrand
Pillars of the Earth – Ken Folliet
Lady Wicked – Delle Jacobs
How to Knit a Heart Back Home – Rachael Herron
Lady in the Mist – Laurie Alice Eakes
That’s three, right?

What song would probably have the biggest play count on your ipod (or comparable listening device)?

Can’t answer this one. I have a massive music collection, and I listen to so much music.

E-readers: love ’em, hate ’em, or meh?
Love ‘em, but I’m a geek.

Quality you admire in yourself:
Imagination

Quality you wish you had:
Patience

1 goal for 2011:
Achieve enlightenment

So there you have it, Susanna is, like so many of us, a mom trying to find the time to do it all. A woman who wishes she could spend more time at the spa and has been known to squeeze writing time in at jump places (oddly enough, several times I have brought my laptop along to a jump place with the hope of getting writing done, but I never seem to accomplish any actual writing!)

I love that Rakes & Radishes started out as something else, but when it changed on her, she stuck with it and let it become the book it needed to be. That takes courage, and is very inspiring! I had planned to include a review of R&R with today’s post – but I just have too much on my own mama plate today – and will have to save it for later this week.

Tell you what, if you haven’t done so yet, check out Rakes & Radishes, at under $6 it’s less than a venti mocha and scone at Sbux, but the indulgence will last longer (and you won’t have to waste a few hours at the gym burning it off).

Epub version

Kindle version

*Note – I don’t get any kind of compensation for recommending this book to you – I liked the book, really liked Susanna – and wanted to share with you!

Sometime this week, I can’t promise when, I’ll post my review of the book.  I’d love it if you came back and added your thoughts as well!

I wish Susanna all the best with whatever WIP she is currently avoiding dishes and laundry to finish – and may she achieve her lofty goal of enlightenment. (Compared to that, my goals look pretty easy!) 🙂

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