~Author Interview~ Tabitha Suzuma author of Forbidden
Today the lovely Tabitha Suzuma is visiting my blog~sorry for the lack of posts lately but I'm really behind on my reading! I promise I'll make up for it soon~
She's the author of the amazing-heart-wrenching-impossible-love-story Forbidden wich I reviewed already HERE. Hope you enjoy the interview and leave your thoughts on the comments section
Thanks Tabitha for stopping by BookPics! hope you enjoy ;)
BP: First and foremost, when or how did you find out you wanted to become a writer?
I was six years old when I declared to my mother I would become a writer when I grew up. Then I stuck a picture on the cover of an exercise book and started writing a story about a blind boy. I absolutely loved reading and I wanted to be able to create my own stories.
BP: Now, I really have to tell you WOW, what an amazing book you wrote. I couldn’t keep away from it, even if it meant crying and suffering, but I was wondering how did you come up with the tittle FORBIDDEN? How did you now that was IT?
I must confess that the title Forbidden was not my choice. I wanted to call it something more lyrical like Too Close to Touch or The Distance Between Us. But my publishers insisted on the title Forbidden Love. I didn't want the title to alienate male readers so I absolutely refused to have the word 'love' on the cover. In the end we settled on a compromise with Forbidden.
BP: Also, I have to tell you that I hadn’t heard from your book before I read a review on a blog that completely left me begging for more, but what hooked me was the plot from the book. Could you tell us in your own words what the book’s about?
Forbidden is a love story between sixteen-year-old Maya and seventeen-year-old Lochan. They are brother and sister.
BP: I think I’ve been traumatized by your beautiful yet tragic story, so be honest, was it an easy book to write or did you have to struggle to come up with it? Would you mind telling us a bit about your journey throughout the writing of it?
Consensual incest was a subject I had wanted to write about for a number of years. I kept rejecting the idea because I thought there was a good chance the subject matter would never get past the 'gatekeepers' (booksellers, librarians, teachers, etc). I was only able to take the plunge once I had built up confidence in my writing ability through my previous four books. But even then I was terrified - not just that it would be deemed a subject unsuitable for teenagers but that I wouldn't be able to make it believable. I was also really afraid of being unable to make the reader care enough about the main characters so that they didn't reject them and their actions out of hand.
I was inspired by the desire to write a tragic love story. It came down to incest by a process of elimination. I wanted the book to be set in contemporary London and I needed the two teens in question to be old enough for their love for each other to be taken seriously. But I quickly realised that (fortunately) in modern-day Britain there are very few - if any - obstacles that could keep a couple in love apart. Cultural and religious difference maybe, but if the couple were determined enough to go against their families' wishes, they could always run away together. I needed something that would be condemned by everyone wherever they went - a relationship that could never be and moreover, was against the law.
BP: (tell me about it, it was an impossible love alright!) Are there any of the characters in FORBIDDEN based on a real life person you know? Personality, physical appearance, name, anything?
All the characters in my books are based on real people. I spend as much time exploring my main characters as I do planning the actual story. I think of it as 'casting' because that's essentially what it is! Either I trawl through images on the internet or I use someone I have met but don't know too much about. I need to have at least one photo of the person so that I can literally see him or her throughout the whole process. One example I can give you from Forbidden is the character of 5-year-old Willa. I based her on a British child singer called Connie Talbot
BP: (OMG!! she looks just as I expected, I think I'll cry again) This was my first book of yours that I read, do you have any more coming out soon? Can you share a bit about them/it or is it still TOP SECRET?
I hope to have a book coming out next summer. I'm writing it at the moment and it's quite intense. It deals with bereavement - about a guy who loses his best friend (who is also his girlfriend) in an accident.
BP: Which was hardest to write from, Maya’s point of view or Lochan’s point of view?
Both had their challenges. I think overall, Lochan's perspective was toughest to write from because he was the one who suffered the most, and he is also the most complex character in the book.
BP: (Lochan was hardcore!) Also I have to confess I haven’t been able to get through the last 19 pages of the book, I just think I’ll cry to much and enter in a really sad/happy state but I’d like to know, what chapter from FORBIDDEN was the hardest for you to write?
The hardest part by far was writing the end: the final chapter and the epilogue. By then, I was so caught up in the characters and the story that it began to feel like I was writing a book about something that had really happened. In order to portray the characters' emotions convincingly, I had to experience them myself, which was really painful and frequently had me in tears. As you can guess, the book does not end happily and writing the ending was one of the hardest things I've had to do in my life. I found myself spiralling into deep depression and would often end up in tears and have to take a break and pace the house alone at night, sobbing. I could scarcely bear to re-read what I'd written and it got to the point that I was so caught up in the book that the story became more important and more vivid to me than real life. This eventually led to me having a breakdown.
BP: (ok so I'm not alone in the post-reading depression that go into me after reading Forbidden) I struggled to come up with a good enough review for FORBIDDEN, one that could tell people just how much I love this book and how it’ll be in my heart for eternity, Do you read your books’ reviews either good or bad? Why?
There have been so many reviews of Forbidden that it's been hard to keep up! For example online bookstores, blogs and book sites. Goodreads currently has almost 600 reviews! I have been impressed by the quality of many of these reviews, especially some of the ones on blogs, and I try to skim read each and every review and then post my favourites on my website. Writing a book is tough, and reading positive reviews is an important way to keep me motivated with my current book. Reading the negative reviews is also important because as a writer I need to know if there are aspects of my writing that readers don't like.
Now on to some less heavy stuff, sorry but I told you I’ve been traumatized.
BP: What was the last book you read?
Post-Birthday World, by one of my favourite authors, Lionel Shriver.
BP: Could you describe yourself in 3 words?
Mad, passionate and obsessive!
BP: Are you more of a coffee girl or a tea girl?
Coffee: I do most of my writing at night so I need the caffeine to stay awake!
BP: Is there a book in your current reading list?
Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro
BP: Favorite author/s?
Lionel Shriver, Maggie O'Farrell, Kay Redfield Jamison, Elizabeth Wurtzel, Marya Hornbacher, Michael Cunningham. In YA (which I don't read much of now) I was greatly inspired by KM Peyton, S.E. Hinton and Lois Duncan when I was younger.
BP: Who inspires you?
My little brother Tiggy who is training to become a concert pianist at the Royal Academy of Music in London. (www.shinsuzuma.com)
Vasily Petrenko, close friend and conductor of the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra here in the UK.
Video clips of people, films and performances that inspire me can be found on my website, here: http://www.tabithasuzuma.com/#/inspiration/4542288028
BP: Favorite Music?
I love classical: Rachmaninov, Mozart, Beethoven etc. But when I write, I mainly listen to movie soundtracks which reflect the mood of the scene I am writing.
BP: What’s the funniest thing a reader of yours has asked you?
'Are you the real Tabitha Suzuma?'
BP: What do you think are your strongest and weakest points at writing?
My strongest point is probably characterisation. My weakest point is perhaps making enough distinction between narrators' voices.
BP: Finally, do you have any random fact of yours that most people don’t know?
When I was a teenager, my hair was so long that it reached the back of my knees!
I really want to thank Tabitha since she wasn't feeling so well before or maybe even while answering to this tons of questions! but thanks again Tabitha for answering and taking the time and just for being awesome! hehe
don't forget to check out my review of Forbidden on my -Alba's reviews- album!! it really is an amazing book! one I hope you'll love and sherish just as much as I did!
On other news my Facebook page reached 500 fans so it might call a for a giveaway soon so stay tunned!!