I was blessed to be able to have an interview with author Suzanne Supplee and to chat about one of my favorite books so far in 2011- Artichoke's Heart.
1.What message of hope or inspiration would you give to younger women who are trying to get into better health and shape?
Take things one day at a time. Today I am going for a run. Or, I had too much at lunch, but I'll scale back a little at dinner. We are so apt to beat ourselves up about things, but that NEVER works. Be kind to yourself.
2. Did you have a soundtrack when writing this novel. A favorite song that inspired you or one you thought fit the character of Rosemary? Or do you prefer writing in silence?
Lots of songs inspire me always, and while I'm writing music usually factors into the story somehow. But there wasn't one particular song that really reminded me of Rosie.
3. I admire the way you chose to approach Rosemary’s mother illness. Was it always in your mind to tackle the experience with love, compassion and a touch of humor? Was the experience one of your own or one of many? What made you decide to give Rosemary’s mother the illness?
I had just spent the summer working on an early draft of A.H., and when I went back to reread it, I was disappointed. Rosie's biggest issue was her weight, and while certainly this was important, it lacked impact. Toward the end of that summer, my own mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Bam! It hit me right away. Cancer was the perfect way to give Rosie some perspective. It gave Rose Warren some insight into her daughter's weight struggle, as well.
4. What was your first initial thought that provoked or inspired you to write Artichoke’s Heart?
I was sitting in the beauty salon having my hair colored. Now I HATE this. I hate the way I look with glop on my head. So unattractive. And it occurred to me: What must it be like to have to stand in front of this mirror all day if you hate the way you look? Thus, Rosie was born in a beauty shop. Appropriate, don't you think?
5. Can you share with us your writing process?
Torture. Obsession. Constant worry. And then bliss. Just when you think you never want to write another word and you totally suck and you should've studied harder in math because maybe then you could've gotten a REAL JOB, something magical happens—an unexpected character, a clever subplot, something, and suddenly you can't imagine doing anything else. Plus, I hated math anyway.
6. Kyle is a wonderful character. He really stands out from the recurring male characters in modern young adult novels. Where did Kyle’s character stem from?
My imagination. There are plenty of boys like Kyle in high school, although most of them are ignored until they're about 30 because they aren't "bad" enough or "wild" enough or extremely goodlooking. In other words, they are just nice, regular guys who don't crash cars or mistreat girls or torment their teachers. They're those guys who show up at the ten year reunion, and every woman there is thinking Now why didn't I date him in high school?
7. Do you think it’s important that young women learn to value themselves for who they are and not what they look like?
Yes, of course! But sometimes I think the way we look is a symptom of how we feel inside. Take smoking. It's unhealthy. It's disgusting. It smells, and it will kill you, yet many people do this. And it gives you wrinkles and yellow teeth and fingers. Well, what makes people do something that will kill them and give them yellow teeth? A kind of self-hatred, I think. At some point we have to remember to be good to ourselves.
8. Is there any advice or tips you would give to anyone starting to discover writing?
It's the same thing every writer says: Read! Read everything all the time. Read some trashy stuff, too. If you find a writer you admire, read everything he/she has written. And write. Every day. Write like it's your job and you have to show up.
9. Have you, or do you keep a journal and is so what does it look like?
I know most writers have journals. I do not. I prefer fiction to my own reality. Not that my life is bad or anything. It's just that I'm busy, and I already know what's happening in my life. I'd much rather invest that time in my characters and setting and plot. Or, I'd rather read before bed.
10. Do you have a favorite Beverage or food you like to enjoy while you are writing?
Diet Coke. There's a can on my desk right now.
Photo taken by Jodi Otte- Reference : http://www.suzannesupplee.com