Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Susan A. J. Lyttek {Writer Wednesday} + GIVEAWAY

Welcome Susan to the blog! 
She has graciously offered to GIVEAWAY a copy (digital or paper back) of her novel 
Killer Field Trip!!!  
To enter this giveaway: leave a comment for Susan below or leave the title of a book that's on your summer reading list! I'll announce the winner next Tuesday August 19th.

A little bit about Susan...

Susan A. J. Lyttek, author of newly released kids’ comedy, Guzzy Goofball and the Homeschool Play from Outer Space and the cozy mystery Homeschooling Can Be Murder by Harbourlight Books, wife and homeschool mother of two teenage sons, writes early mornings in the shadow of our nation’s capital. She also enjoys training up the next generation of writers online through Write At Home, and by teaching middle and high school co-op classes. The mystery sequel Killer Field Trip releases August 2014.

How to connect with Susan...

Purchase Killer Field Trip

Author Interview | Susan A. J. Lyttek 

You and Writing

Tell us a little bit about yourself: How did you start writing?
...I’ve always pretty much written. My mom published one of my poems in the local paper when I was in kindergarten. My high school creative writing teacher put one of my poems in the textbook he was writing. 

What has kept you writing? 
...After I came to faith, I actually gave up writing for a little over three years. I’d had a rough teenage-hood full of things I shouldn’t have done like partying, the occult, and too much of the wild life in general. A lot of that came through my writing, so I burned most of it at a home church service and told God that if He never wanted me to write again, I wouldn’t. One cold and sunny afternoon, a complete praise poem dropped in my head. I took that as a sign that God wanted me writing again, but now writing for Him.

Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? 

...My yet unpublished Dinosaur Window series. I love the characters, the history, and the reason behind writing them. I wrote them because a group of boys I taught asked me to. They said no one else was writing their stories.

What was the hardest thing about publishing?

...Breaking into books is hard. Breaking into speculative fiction books is even harder because I haven’t done that yet. The easiest? Some of my poems, short stories, plays and devotions got published the first place I sent them to.

Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about your book.
...Killer Field Trip just came out on August 1st. It is a stand-alone sequel to Homeschooling Can Be Murder. (Same family, but the story does not depend on the one before.) 

Why are you/did you write it? 
...I wrote it because homeschool moms need stories for them, too!

Do you have a favorite character in this work?
...I like Jeanine. If I didn’t, I couldn’t have her narrate the events. I think Susan, the tour guide and victim, is the most likeably unlikeable character I have created so far. You can’t stand her until you get to know her.

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
...In each mystery there’s a historical mystery along with the contemporary one. I would like readers to see that our history is never far away from us.


Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters? Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both?
...Both. Many of the characters in the mystery series are based on conglomerations of homeschoolers I’ve known. But completely real people don’t always work in a story so I have to adjust them to fit.

When you write, what is your overall intention with your stories?
...I write, hoping that people learn something about their world or themselves, but in a fun way. I try not to take myself too seriously.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?
...Could I quote Winston Churchill? Never, never, never give up.


What is your favorite activity during the summer? 
...Going for walks in the neighborhood. Hanging out by our community pool. Writing and writing and writing some more. I teach online and at co-ops during the school year, so summer is my writing season.

What are you currently reading? 
...I bought a stack of books from the library, mostly old 80s mysteries, recently. But by the time you post this, they’ll be long gone. I read about 2-3 books a week. I can’t fall asleep without reading for about a half hour. I recently read The Case of the Exploding Speakeasy by David Fessenden and loved it. I just bought The Shadow Lamp by Stephen Lawhead, so I’ll read that soon.

Apparently August 15th is National Lemon Meringue Pie Day (who knew). What is your favorite dessert? 
Cheesecake. Or rhubarb pie. I think the best dessert ever would be a combo of the two!
I love that you say you wrote the yet-unpublished Dinosaur Window book because students asked you to! I think it's great that there are influences in our lives that lead us to write certain things. Sounds like you are quite the reader as well (2-3 books a week is amazing!). I am enjoying my summer reading thus far as well and I hope you continue to get that reading and writing in. Thanks again for being a guest on the blog :)

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