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Aug 2, 2012

Dishin' it up with Diantha, and author Suzanne Van Rooyen


I’d like to welcome author Suzanne Van Rooyen, author of Obscura Burning to Colloquy by Diantha. Thank you for taking the time to come chat with me.

First question, when did you first know you wanted to be an author?
I honestly didn't. I always loved stories and I've always written be it silly children's stories as a kid or angsty teenage poetry. Words have always been there as a hobby, as a means of expression, but I never thought I'd become a professional writer, much less an author of novels. I guess it was only this year really that I truly felt that being an author was what I wanted more than anything else.

When did you write your first book?
At the tender age of eleven. I'd just read The Golden Compass and decided to write my own novel, which was really just fan fiction. My next novel attempt happened more than ten years later.

Tell us a little about your book, Obscura Burning.
The idea for Obscura Burning struck me out of the blue. I just had to write this character's story, so I stopped everything else I was writing until this book was done. The story's a strange one set in small town New Mexico on the border of the Navajo Nation. My main character, Kyle, gets caught up in a quantum event that leaves him randomly shifting between a set of realities, none of which are particularly pleasant. With the threat of Armageddon hanging over his head, Kyle has to choose a reality, which will define his love life, family life and future. 
The story is pretty dark, delving into themes involving Navajo spirituality as well as quantum physics. There's also a strong LGBT theme in the book. Obscura Burning is definitely aimed at upper YA readers.

Sum the main character Kyle up in three words.
Troubled. Sensitive. Artistic. 

Both your previous novel, Dragon’s Teeth, and Obscura Burning are science fiction novels. What do you like best about writing science fiction?
The world-building. I absolutely love using the framework of existing science, politics, socio-economics and technology, and expanding that into new territory. I love the freedom you have in science fiction; there are no limits on your imagination and yet it's all still tethered in the realm of possibility. 

What is your writing schedule like?
I write everyday. At the moment, I'm writing full time so my days are spent at the PC. Not all of it is novel writing though, I do some freelance work as well, but I'd say I spent at least four hours a day writing fiction, … ahem, or at least staring at a blank screen thinking about what I should be writing.

Do you need absolute quiet to write? Do you listen to music when you are writing?
No, can't stand silence while I'm writing. I always have music on. I tend to listen to a lot of movie soundtracks, choosing music to fit the scene I'm writing. As Dust or Breath was written almost exclusively to the awesome instrumental band Explosions in the Sky (they did the soundtrack for “Friday Night Lights”).

Who are three of your favorite authors? Books?
Neil Gaiman is definitely my absolute favourite author. His Sandman graphic novel series is a work of pure genius. David Mitchell – I hope one day to write a book as intricate, detailed and nuanced as “The Cloud Atlas”, and thirdly, Poppy Z Brite and her novel “Lost Souls”, if for nothing else but the vivid and delicate descriptions.

As an author, what is the best compliment you could receive from a reader?
This is a tough question. Of course hearing that a reader thought the story was great, the writing was wonderful and the characters so awesome that they want to read more really makes my day, but I think the highest compliment I could receive is hearing that reading my book somehow changed that reader's life for the better, even if it's only in a tiny way. Jon Krakauer's “Into the Wild” did that to me, changing my life quite significantly for the better.

Last, but not least, my Super Silly Question: Have you ever barfed while on a roller coaster?
I've never ridden a roller coaster. I realise this is something I should've done as a kid because now when I look at those twisting, careering carts suspended high in the sky, there is absolutely no way I'm ever getting on one. I suffer with such bad motion sickness that barfing is a guarantee.

I don't ride roller coasters either. I watch the bags and purses at amusement parks. 
Thanks again, Suzanne!

Connect with Suzanne on Twitter – FacebookGoodreads
Don't forget to visit her official website!

Obscura Burning
Ethiopia Press

On the 4th of July the world will end, and it’s all Kyle’s fault.

Two weeks before graduation, 18yr old Kyle Wolfe downs a bottle of tequila and accidentally starts a fire that kills his two best friends and leaves him permanently scarred. Or so he thinks. He’s not quite sure, since the memories are sketchy and he keeps shifting between realities. They both suck, and unless he wants the world to end, he’ll have to go back to when it all began; the day of the fire when he cheated on his boyfriend, Danny, with their best friend Shira. 

But the past is a tricky thing to change, and Kyle can’t keep living in both realities; being catapulted along the space-time continuum is killing him. He has to make a choice: Danny or Shira? Broken family or broken body? The choice isn’t easy and he better do it quick or risk being locked in a reality he’ll never be able to escape.

Coming Early 2013!
Kyle, from Obscura Burning

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