SUZANNE MUNSHOWER: ANNA FROM YOUNGER HAS A LOT IN COMMON WITH MYSELF
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
Suzanne Munshower’s Younger topped the Kindle Amazon bestselling list in the last few days. The medical thriller received many positive comments by the readers and currently is standing with average 4 stars from 57 Amazon reviews. Our next guest worked many things in her life. In the following chat she will let us know how she became a writer and how excited was for her to see Younger on the top of Amazon list.
– Suzanne, what is your book Younger about?
– Younger is about a 57-year-old woman who has lived too well and taken her privileged position for granted too long, so that when she loses her last remaining public relations account, she ignores her better judgment and accepts an offer to “test-drive” and market a product designed to take 30 years off the user’s appearance. By the time she figures out she has made a bad decision, dead bodies have piled up and she needs to run for her life, facing the truth about herself as she does so.
– You decide to write the story because of a real life situation. Would you tell us more and did you finally try to apply for a job in USA?
– No, I stayed in Berlin, where I was living, and wrote Younger instead. I was never serious about going back into the corporate world—it wad my friend’s suggestion that I do so, and my explaining to her what the job market was like for women over 50, that gave me the idea for the book. I hadn’t worked in corporate for quite some time. I was in PR and advertising in the beauty industry when I did so. But I moved to Italy in 2002 and worked freelance as a journalist and copywriter from that time on.
– What was the biggest challenge during the write up process?
– The biggest challenge is always the same: sitting in front of the computer every day and writing. And rewriting. And, of course, worrying if people will see things as I did and will care about Anna and her travails.
– Tell us something more about your main character Anna? Is she close to someone from your real life?
– Anna has a lot in common with many women I know, and a lot in common with myself. She really loves her work and is a perfectionist, and she has used the image of success to cover up many insecurities, something I think we all do.
– How much time did you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– Three years passed between the time I wrote the first words of Younger and March 1, 2015, when it saw the light of day as a Kindle First selection. Along the way, it found itself a wonderful new agent, Victoria Sanders, and a terrific publisher, Thomas & Merton. And it went through several revisions. Hard work, but I loved doing it and loved writing about the cities and countries I have lived in and loved.
– Did you have other published novels?
– Yes, quite a few, but I hadn’t written a novel for quite some time, having concentrated on feature journalism and non-fiction. I used to write Young Adult romance novels for Bantam Books and had one teen horror novel published. This was the first time I sat down and wrote a novel simply because I wanted to, without even worrying if I could get a deal.
– Who are you?
– I am someone who, like Anna, has always gone her own way, very strong-willed and independent. I’ve worked all my life, traveled a lot, and had a simply amazing time. I like food and wine, reading, opera, noir films, and big cities.
– What are your writing habits?
– My writing habits are not having enough of them! I try to write every day and love doing research. I use notebooks and whiteboard to keep track of characters and timelines. I write with a computer. I do first and final revisions using a printout. I never use a tight outline, but I always keep plot points in the front of my mind and know where the book has to go and more or less how it will end. I rely on friends to read and be merciless between revisions. Unlike many writers, I enjoy reading when I write—but I would never read a book similar to what I was working on.
– Are you satisfied by the pre-sales of the book?
– I don’t know what the sales figures are, but how could I not be pleased to be in Amazon’s Top Ten? I am over the moon. This is a writer’s dream come true for me.
– What are you doing to promote your book by the best possible way?
– I will be speaking several writers conferences and doing some book signings. I am reaching out to bloggers and reviewers. I have a lot of friends on Twitter and keep them, and my smaller circle of Facebook friends, up to date on the book’s availability. I am trying not to look at the book’s ranking on Amazon every ten minutes!
– When we will see your next novel Sucker Bet and would you unveil something about the plot?
– I hope to finish Sucker Bet in the summer and see it in print in early 2016. It’s a tale set in Las Vegas in the mid-1970s and recent times, the story of a woman in her twenties seeking glamour and excitement, who gets more than she bargains for and ends up in the middle of something deadly that wreaks havoc with her life. She goes back to Las Vegas 40 years later, determined to sort out fact from fantasy and to discover the truth about the woman who was her best friend, the man she loved, and the young woman she used to be. I am interested in how we process and come to terms with our pasts.
– You worked so many different things as waitress, short-order cook, go-go girl, movie extra, celebrity interviewer, journalist, fashion columnist, advertising copywriter, and beauty industry publicist. Would you select Top 3 of your favorite jobs and to add some comments about your selection?
– I love writing ad copy and naming products! To me, copywriting when it works is like a word game, fun and very dependent on finding the right word. Snappy slogans are a favorite. I’m known by my Twitter followers for my weakness for hashtag games! I also loved working with anything that involved beauty and fashion—I always say I want someone to interview me and ask about my favorite makeup and skincare products. I’d love to get a peek at, say, Angelina Jolie or Cate Blanchett’s makeup table. And I really liked waitressing. I did it off and on for years. It’s fun talking to different people and meeting strangers from all over, as I did as a waitress. Strangely, it’s also good background for a celebrity interviewer or publicist: learning to talk to people you don’t know and getting them to relax.
– You are living in Las Vegas, what are your favorite places to go out in the City of gambling?
– Oh, I love going out in Las Vegas. There’s always so much to do. My absolute favorite place here is the Mob Museum, which is fun but not kitschy, educational but never dull. I love to go to the new designer hotels like Aria and the Cosmopolitan because the art and architecture are so fabulous, as are the restaurants in them. And I like the Old Vegas places. Sadly, the last old Strip hotel, the Riviera, will be imploded soon. But there are still some great old hangouts: Downtown’s El Cortez Hotel & Casino, Piero’s (where parts of Casino were filled) and Battista’s Hole in the Wall Italian eateries, and places like the Peppermill coffee shop on the Strip. Las Vegas is the past and the future. And if you want great Asian food, from all-you-can-eat sushi to classic Vietnamese, Thai, and Chinese, this is the place.
– If you may ask yourself one question in the interview what it will be?
– It would be, “What are your favorite cosmetics and skin care products?” but no ne really wants to read that, so I would then say, “What advice would you give to someone who wants to write?”
And I would answer by saying, “Read the great stylists, writers who are concise and spin complex tales in a straightforward way with brilliant descriptions, greats like Richard Yates, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Raymond Chandler, Elmore Leonard, and Elizabeth Taylor (the UK writer). Try always after you read a book to think about its components: how the writer hooked you, how the writing moved the plot forward and made the characters come alive, why you kept reading. My website has links to some Books Blog columns I wrote for The Guardian (UK), which provide a look into my views on writing and what makes other writers’ book unputdownable, forever memorable, and infinitely re-readable for me.”
Take a look at her book