Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Interview - Susan Jane Bigelow, author of BROKEN

Broken Susan Jane Bigelow

Today at Bibliognome I have author Susan Jane Bigelow whose awesome book Broken celebrates its book birthday today.  Susan was nice enough to answer my questions and even wrote a guest post that will be posted tomorrow so remember to check it out.

Bibliognome: How did you come up with the idea for Broken?

Susan: I can remember a long while ago coming up with a list of superhero names that I thought would be cool to write a story about, and those included "Sky Ranger" and "Broken," along with a few others that show up in the book like Crimson Cadet. I've always loved superheroes, and I really wanted to write a story about them.

I'm also a huge political junkie, and I wrote the first draft of the story (for NaNoWriMo, I'm not ashamed to admit! I did it one year, and this was the result) in November of 2004, which for me was the end of a very depressing election season. I think some of that mood colors the dark political atmosphere in the book.

As for the plot itself, I have no idea. My writing process is really chaotic, I'll usually start with a character or a setting that interests me, and try to weave a story from there. It leads to a lot of false starts, but I've also managed to get some really great stories out of it.

Bibliognome: Which character did you think was the easiest to write for and why?

Susan: That's a good question, and not an easy one to answer! I'd probably have to say Michael Forward, because his motivations and mindset were the clearest to me. Also, writing Sky Ranger as he is in this story was really fun, because he's so utterly dense.

Bibliognome: Which character in Broken is your favorite?

Susan: Janeane, even though she's a bit player. She makes no sense and I love her to bits. Whenever she shows up, I'm like, "Yeah! Janeane!" She never disappoints me with how awesome she is.

Bibliognome: What author do you enjoy reading the most?

Susan: I have a lot of favorites, but I keep coming back to Lois McMaster Bujold, who writes the Miles Vorkosigan books among others. She has a talent for creating unforgettable characters in deep, well-though-out settings, and I love the sort of adventure stories she writes. Paladin of Souls might be the best fantasy book I've ever read. Some of my other favorites are Robin McKinley, Jacqueline Carey and Sharon Shinn.

Bibliognome: What's the best part of the writing process for you?

Susan: Finding out what happens next! I really love those moments of inspiration when I can take the story in a new and fascinating direction. I also really love editing, go figure. It's really satisfying to take a draft and make it a lot better.

Bibliognome: Seeing as your story is filled with extrahumans/superheroes, what superpower would you choose if you could?

Susan: Flight. Definitely. I'd love to be able to leap up into the sky and fly away whenever I wanted. To me that seems like one of the ultimate freedoms! I used to think being a telepath would be cool, but watching Babylon 5 cured me of that.

Bibliognome: What word is your favorite to say or write?

Susan: I have no idea! I can think of lots of words and expressions I overuse (like "quite" and "seeeriously") but nothing that's my favorite. Hm, maybe I need to develop a signature thing I say.

Bibliognome: Broken is a great stand alone novel that’s set in quite an interesting world, do you plan to write anything else set in this world or the alien worlds that you mention?

Susan: The book is set in one very tiny piece of a universe that I've been thinking about and developing for a long time. I've written other pieces set there, one of which is a follow-up to Broken (we'll see what happens with that--it's a very different story in many ways). It's a very diverse universe with a lot going on, so there's plenty of opportunities to tell interesting stories set in it.

Bibliognome: What are you writing currently or percolating in your mind to write soon?

Susan: I write in a number of different places, and that keeps me busy. I have a weekly column at a Connecticut political site called CT News Junkie and I've written a few pieces for the literary site 30pov.com. I've got a couple of longer projects that I work on in fits and starts when I have time!

Bibliognome: Anything else that you would like to let people know?

Susan: Anyone who is on LiveJournal should feel free to friend me, I'm at http://sjb-wing.livejournal.com, and I'm going to try and put lots of interesting thoughts about writing there when I can. I'm also @whateversusan on Twitter, where I'm pretty active! Broken officially comes out on January 25th, and you can head over to the Candlemark and Gleam website to get a preview and buy the book in all kinds of electronic formats. Thank you all for reading, and thanks to Becky for the opportunity to talk with you!

Quick Questions:
1.) dystopia or utopia?  Utopia, it sounds more relaxing (if a bit dull).
2.) pop or soda? Soda!
3.) silver or gold? Silver.  
4.) Starbursts or Skittles?  Oh, Skittles, no question. Who can resist the rainbow?
5.) pen or pencil? Pencil, with a good eraser.
6.) Future or past? I love history, but the possibilities of the future are what gives me hope.


  1. I love this review! I work with Susan regularly, and I still learned some things about her writing and her worlds that I didn't know before.

    And oooh, Skittles.

    GREAT questions, as always!

  2. @Kate, thanks glad you liked the review and interview :). Susan was very nice and even agreed to do a guest post that I'll be posting tomorrow.

  3. I totally love reading about other authors' writing processes. I had the privilege of being an editor for BROKEN and seeing it develop from the very first draft Kate was sent to the finished product. I was really astounded at how GOOD an editor Susan really is. I'm a little jealous, actually. ;)


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