Suzy is the Calgary Bestselling Author of The Fountain, and The West Woods, Books 1 and 2 of The Fountain Series, published by Evil Alter Ego Press. This fantastical Young Adult Series has received two Aurora Nominations for Best Young Adult Novel, as well as Five Stars from both Readers’ Favorite and San Francisco Review of Books.
Suzy lives in Calgary, Canada with her husband and three children and is an involved member in the writing community. Currently, she is the 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.
Marina Raydun: What is it about YA as a genre that appeals to you as a writer?
Suzy Vadori: The books we read as tweens and teens often shape our impressions of literature for the rest of our lives. I’m thrilled for my books to be a part of this journey for so many young readers.
MR: What does literary success look like to you?
SV: I’m fortunate to be doing all things writing full time now, including teaching and public speaking as well as writing, which to me is the success I’ve been working toward.
MR: What do you wish teen and YA authors of your childhood had been able to communicate to you when you were growing up?
SV: I’m going to date myself here, but there really wasn’t much available for YA when I was young. There were middle grade books, but once these became too easy, we skipped to reading books for adults. YA in the past decade has evolved to include books written at a higher reading level, but have content relevant to teens. I would have loved to read these books when I was young.
MR: What is your favorite underappreciated YA novel?
SV: Just before I made the leap to reading books written for adults when I was eleven, I was inspired by Canadian authors Lois Lowry (her Anastasia books), and Gordon Korman (McDonald Hall Series). Their combination of wit and life being really hard for their characters was awesome. Both authors still write today, but I find the titles I loved back then hard to find for my own kids.
MR: What’s the most difficult part about writing characters from the opposite sex?
SV: All of my stories to date I’ve written from a female perspective, though I edit manuscripts with male perspectives. When writing from any perspective that isn’t your own, you do the best you can to imagine what your character would think of their journey, based on your research. But it’s important to involve beta readers who can let you know if you got it right, whether you’re asking them to comment on the male perspective, or a sensitivity reader from a marginalized group you are writing about. Because I write from a teen’s perspective, including teens in my beta read groups is key to make sure my characters feel authentic.
MR: How did publishing your first book change your writing process?
SV: Once my books started to make their way out into the world, my time that had been dedicated to writing had to be shared with marketing and speaking. It was an amazing experience to be talking to readers about my books, but it cut down significantly on my writing time and ability to put out new work.
This past year I’ve experimented with new drafting techniques to make my writing time more efficient, so I can continue to get new material to print.
MR: If you could cast your characters in a Hollywood adaption of your book, who would play your characters?
SV: I’d love to see my teen characters played by fresh, unknown actors. Then they could really make Ava, Courtney, Ethan and Cole their own.
MR: What YA literary character is most like you?
SV: I’m a little Hermione, a little Anne of Green Gables. Nose always in a book, with a little spunk. that’s me.
MR: Is there a thing you’ve written that makes you cringe now?
SV: I recently found a box of picture books I wrote when I was seven. My spelling was atrocious, so my kids were delighted, because I give them a hard time.
MR: What is your favorite genre to read?
SV: I edit and beta read for many genres, but my pleasure reading is almost all YA fantasy. It’s my favorite, and the reason I write it.
To learn more about Suzy Vadori and her work, please visit: