Friday, September 7, 2018

Aurora Interview #7: Suzy Vadori

My guest today is Suzy Vadori, nominated in the Best Novel, Young Adult category for the 2018 Prix Aurora, the fan award for the best in Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Suzy is the Award Winning, Calgary Bestselling Author of The Fountain Series (The Fountain, The West Woods), published by Evil Alter Ego Press. This fantastical Young Adult Series has been awarded a bronze medal from Readers’ Favorite, two Aurora Nominations for Best Young Adult Novel, and Five Stars from the San Francisco Review of Books.

Suzy lives in Calgary, Canada with her husband and three children. She is an involved member in the writing community, serving as Program Manager, Young Adult/Children’s Programming for When Words Collide (WWC), a literary festival held in Calgary each August. Suzy is also the founder of WriteIt! creative writing programs in schools, building young writers.

How long have you been writing SFF, and what forms have you explored besides the one you’re nominated for?

The Fountain was my debut novel, published in 2015. This series is magical realism. Everything I write has an element of magic, with a healthy dose of romantic story line. The next series I’m working is an upper YA, set in a completely fantastical world.

Is this your first nomination? If not, what other title/category have you been nominated for (past or present)?
Book 1 in The Fountain Series, The Fountain, was also nominated for an Aurora - Best Novel, Young Adult, in 2016. I’m thrilled to have The West Woods up for the same award this year. Fingers crossed second time is the charm.

Tell me about your process of creating this work: how long did it take to write? Speed bumps along the way?

I just love writing in The Fountain Series’ world. A boarding school, with a magical twist. The world grows by leaps and bounds in books two and three (Wall of Wishes will be released 2019). I loved expanding the world, but it surprised me how much it grew as I wrote. 

The Fountain took me four years to write, edit and find a publisher. The West Woods was written in a year.

What’s your favourite thing about this nominated work: a character, a scene, a setting/world?

The three books in this series are written out of order, from different points of view, which kept the story fresh and challenging to write. 

The West Woods is Courtney’s story, and it needed to be told. I love Courtney as a character. She’s the most asked about by readers of The Fountain. Usually readers ask – “what is with her?” She has a very complex reason she is who she is (hint: it’s magical). It was fun to share her story with readers.  

After reading The West Woods, I can’t guarantee you’ll like her, but you’ll be rooting for her, which is all any protagonist can ever ask for.

For those who are waiting for the conclusion of the series, don’t worry. It’s coming, and it will answer all. 

Name a couple of authors you find inspiring, and tell me what calls to you about their works.

 As I work on my next series, I’ve immersed myself in reading upper YA fantasy. Two authors who do a marvelous job of painting fantastical worlds are Calgary author Danielle L. Jensen (who also happens to be an amazing mentor and friend), and Sarah J. Maas. I’m drawn into their worlds with their fantastic imagery. It’s easy to see why their books are wildly popular.

Book blurb:  The West Woods

Courtney Wallis wants nothing more than to escape St. Augustus boarding school. After uncovering a well-kept secret about the school’s founder, Isaac Young, Courtney turns to the school’s magic to convince her dad to let her leave. Things take a turn when she meets Cole, who lives in the nearby town of Evergreen. He gives her hope that things might not be so bad. However, the school's fountain has other ideas, and binds Courtney to her ambition, no matter the cost.

As Courtney struggles to keep the magic from taking over, she and her friends get drawn into the mystery woven into the school’s fabric. Everything seems to lead back to the forbidden West Woods. Together, she and her friends seek out the spirits of the past to ask for help, and find themselves in much deeper than they’d bargained for. If they succeed, Courtney could be free of the magic. If they fail, she may never be the same.

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