Susy is a Bachelor of Architecture, Diploma holder in Interior Designing, Classical piano teacher (Royal School of Music, London syllabus). She is currently Director of Wings Group of Companies. Let us know more about her and her writing in her own words:
A degree in Architecture helped me dream things into being even before they were, so when the call to write came knocking it was not too difficult to be lost in imagination. The challenge was how to write and translate pictures in my mind into prose. How was one to make characters talk and how do we make them walk through an incident to create another? How was I to ‘maintain the integrity of each character’ – I had read about this somewhere, and it haunted me.
All my primary education had been in the science stream, far from literature, but the call to write was too strong, overshadowing each argument…
In a Bubble of Time started hesitantly, with many blocks and much stumbling and the first draft was ready only after four long years. The distractions of a young, growing family and life in general relegated the manuscript to collect dust on the shelves for the next decade or so till by chance a publisher showed interest, a title was arrived at, and the rest is, as they say, history.
Having heard the inner voice to write one book, the second book was easier to respond to. The story line however, was a complete surprise and I found myself tiptoeing through research of topics that even angels would not dare to indulge in.
What have I learnt from it all? As long as I can hear the inner voice, I will have a story to tell.
What inspired you to start writing?
A casual discussion on a historical event triggered the need to explain the behind-the-scenes of that incident – what could have happened to the characters, how would they have reacted to the socio-political pressures of their time, what must it have been like to be in their shoes in that time and age? These thoughts could not be silenced and begged to be described, to be given life and although reluctantly at first, the writing process started. And once begun, the tide of words could not be stemmed but enthusiasm was soon overrun by practicality as it dawned that to write on a historical event, one needed to research first.
What did you like to read when you were a girl?
I was a voracious reader, and could be found curled up in any corner with a book as a constant companion. The cover would change in a couple of days, and the adventure that each book offered was so varied that I was, I confess, much more eager to visit them than with real people – their lives were so exciting.
What is the greatest challenge in writing a book?
Historical novels are comparatively easier to write I feel, as the plot is predetermined, and one only had to join the dots. The challenge came in keeping these characters true to their mission in the plot and not to allow them to follow any ol’ path. Also, keeping characters true to their own personality without overlapping into another’s especially in a prolonged dialogue.
How much research do you do before writing the book?
Research is the backbone of any historical novel. The more research, the truer the tale to tell. Research is crucial in keeping the story intact, for a simple flaw in a wrong fact could shake the credibility of the story line itself.
What motivated you to write the book “Elijah”?
The epic confrontation of the spiritual forces backing the priesthood of Ba’al and Ashera combined, a total of 850 wizards, and the divinity supporting Elijah, a lone prophet, has captured the imagination of many generations of not only children. When the nudge came to tell a tale on this section of history – it was too good to pass over.
Can you tell us more about your latest book “Elijah”?
This book being a historical novel, marries Fact with Fiction. Elijah is a famous historical figure – he had actually lived, but Ruth is a figment of my imagination – supporting cast – as it were. Ruth is inducted as a member of the elite Sisterhood of Qedesha, answering only to the High Priestess of Ba’al, the queen Jezebel herself. Brother and sister find themselves on opposing factions and there is heartbreak and death because of this.
As a qedesha, Ruth is forbidden to marry any human male, being already married to the goddess Ashera as her religion demands of her. Her lover, a soldier, Jehu and her brother Elijah try in vain to convince Ruth to leave the Sisterhood, to rescue Ruth and her infant child. But Ruth declines any help. Elijah is upset and curses the land with drought which even the combined attempts of the priesthood of Ba’al, Ashera and the high priestess could not break. The enraged queen demands his head and Elijah disappears into the crowds.
In retribution, Queen Jezebel condemns the toddler to be ‘passed through the fires’ of Ba’al which meant he is roasted alive in the arms of the minotaur statue of Ba’al.
Ruth dies in the attempt to save her son while Jehu and Elijah is unaware of the fact. Later, when told the truth, Elijah calls for the epic challenge and breaks Jezebel’s confidence in her spiritual covering. Elijah calls out three curses against the royal family: that king Ahab’s blood would be licked by dogs, that Jezebel would be eaten by dogs and all their sons and heirs would die too. Queen Jezebel and the sisterhood are not able to counteract the curses as one by one they come to pass.
Jehu in the meanwhile rises through the ranks to finally take the throne.
Since Ba’al worship was steeped in the occult and Jezebel was a witch, my research took me down many unexpected corridors of information.
Who are your favourite authors?
I hardly remember the names of the many authors I had read and benefitted from, unfortunately. However, I do remember being impressed greatly by Victoria Holt and her historical novels on the house of Tudor, England.
How much time do you dedicate for writing on a daily basis?
For my first book, I would write whenever I got a spare time at home, as my children were very young and needed my attention. For the second book, the children were much older, so it was whenever I got time away from my desk job.
What words of wisdom would you like to give to aspiring writers?
Writing has to come from a well within. One cannot force it, nor can a book be conjured up out of no imagination. The more you read other books, the more your store house of wealth in experience, language dexterity and expressions will grow. Simply, you cannot write, if you don’t read first.
You can buy her book now: