It gives me great pleasure to host this interview with Suzanne Kelman, the multitalented author, screenplay writer and podcaster, at the launch of her new cover of The Rejected Writers’ Book Club (read my review here) and the announcement of the sequel!
Suzanne Kelman is the author of “The Rejected Writers’ Book Club” and an award-winning screenwriter and playwright. Her accolades include The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences – Nicholl Fellowship Finalist, Best Comedy Feature Script -L.A. International Film Festival and Gold Award Winner – California Film Awards. All images are courtesy of the author.
1. Tell us five things about yourself that you think matter the most.
Family, friendship, gratitude, beauty and laughter
2. Why do you write? What do you like writing best?
I write because in my soul I am a storyteller. That desire to tell story has taken on many forms throughout my life from theatre to filmmaking, but I have always been a storyteller at my core. I became a writer 6 years ago because I needed to find something creative I could do from home while I was homeschooling my son. My favorite writing genre is humor. I can write in other genres but always seem to come back to comedy, as I love making people happy.
3. Who is your primary reader – the person you let read and comment your work before anyone else?
My son and my husband have to sit through readings of all my first drafts. I will normally read my latest piece of work to them and if they laugh I know I’ve done a great job as neither of them are in the demographic I write for.
4. How do comments and reviews affect you?
I love good reviews because I love the joy I hear from readers when they write and tell me my work has created a window of happiness in their world. I especially like to hear from people who found some joy while going through challenges. I believe laughter is the best medicine.
Bad reviews are a normal part of a creatives life, no matter what you are doing. People read through their own personal filters, and because of that you may touch a nerve in them with your work. I can’t say I don’t mind them, because that wouldn’t be true, but I would rather create an emotional response than indifference, I think that would be wounding, so I take the bad with the good, knowing that the next review could be someone from my tribe. The “I so needed to laugh, today,” tribe.
5. Tell us more about the Rejected Writers’ Book Club. What inspired you for the setting? Who is your favourite character and why? How much of it is based on real life?
The setting is actually based on the town I live in, here in the US, Langley on Whidbey Island. I decided to set it here as a celebration to the quirky, wonderfully community-spirited, town I live in. Some of the characters are based on a mixture of characters I know, but no one is one person. That could be dangerous in a small town.
My favorite character in book one is Ronald Tramp, (this is is name in the revised edition) He makes his mark in the middle of the book and I always love writing eccentric and interesting characters. I loved writing every word of his dialogue.
6. What do you do when you are not writing books?
My passion is theatre and the creative arts, so as I’m not performing much at the moment I am enjoying watching as much theatre as I can.
7. If you could be any famous book character, who would you be and why?
Great question, I would be Elizabeth Bennett in “Pride and Prejudice” I love everything about that character and think it would be fun to fall in love with Mr. Darcy.
8. What did you want to be when you were little? What are you most proud of in life?
I wanted to be an actress, and went to stage school to achieve that. I have always been involved in some sort of entertainment all through my life. I am most proud of my son, when I see the kind, wonderful, human being he has become it delights me! As far as my career goes, I’m proud of the fact I never give up, I just keep moving forward trying to find the next way through, even if that means taking a step back.
9. If you could interview any famous person in human history, who would it be and what would you ask?
Shakespeare – I would love to hang out with him for a week or so and ask him if he had any idea of the legacy he would be leaving, or if like most of us he just got up each day and wrote, hoping something would stick.
10. Share a sneak peek into book two, please? What happens next?
Book two is becoming the joy of my writing career, because it combines my three most favorite things, characters, small town and theatre. The rejected writers have another dilemma to solve and decide to “write” and “put on a show” to raise money. Somehow they forget none of them have ever performed and they are the worst writers in the world. They play all the characters in a very entertaining re-telling of the Wizard of Oz and get themselves into all kinds of trouble on the way. We also continue to follow the ups and downs of Janet’s life, now she has twin grandchildren to care for, and also the blossoming romance of Flora. It is nearly finished and I can’t wait for my readers to read it.
11. Would you like to add anything about your current work or send a message to the readers?
I would love to thank the readers that have taken the time to read and review my work, it means the world to an author to know their work is received by the world in a way that brings joy. I am so grateful for all the support of my readers too, readers like you Anita, who have been a wonderful support to my writing. It is my readers that help get me up and into my writing studio every day.
And here is a special treat for all of you – a sneak peek into chapter one. May it bring a smile to your face! Thank you Suzanne!
TYRANTS & TRASH CANS
“Come and live in the country; you won’t regret it!” The advertisement in a glossy real estate periodical implored us. The glowing photo that accompanied the ad brazenly flaunted a charming timber-framed blue cottage adorned with whimsical white shutters and stunning window boxes brimming with gorgeous pink geraniums.
“Amazing beaches, rolling farmlands, and the enchanting village of Southlea Bay, voted ‘Best of the Northwest,’ are just minutes from your doorstep . . .” Then, to keep us firmly on the hook, the ads on the opposite page displayed a splashy chocolate-box vista of this dream property, complete with a velvety-eyed deer nibbling clover from a dew-kissed English country garden.
As the advertisement freely extolled the property’s other wondrous virtues, all that was missing was a photo of a double rainbow and a host of heralding angels.
We had drooled over this spectacular sight as giddy empty nesters from California, and we went barreling over to view the house the minute our feet had left the local ferry. We were itching to snatch up this “hard to believe it’s still on the market” three-bedroom wonder with its adjoining rustic five acres.
To clinch the deal, the real estate agent, wearing a flowery apron, enthusiastically opened the quaint Dutch doors as the aroma of freshly baked apple pie wafted out from the limed oak kitchen.
We were toast.
What I never realized as we practically fell over each other to put an offer in on our fantasy abode was that to live in the country also meant the country lived with you.
It didn’t take long to experience the less-mentioned joys of “country living” at its finest.
We have successfully fought off a plague of termites, a swarm of hornets, a gang of carpenter ants, and an attack of crazed moths. We encountered rats in the basement, bats in the attic, and mice in the pantry. We’ve saved nests of baby bunnies, countless injured birds that seemed to want to fly kamikaze-like at our windows, and one dazed, wayward turkey that limped into our yard. We keep pest control on our speed dial because, as we have found, taking care of the “country” is practically a full-time job.
Suzanne Kelman links: