Susan K. Hamilton is an award-winning, multi-genre author whose books include Shadow King, Darkstar Rising, The Devil Inside, and Stone Heart. She's also had the good fortune to have several short stories included in anthologies.
Horse-crazy since she was a little girl, she pretty much adores every furry creature on the planet (except spiders). She also loves comfy jeans, pizza, and great stand-up comedy. Susan lives near Boston with her husband and is currently working on some new ideas, including a follow up to Stone Heart.
Q: When you write, do you have music playing in the background? What’s on your playlist?
A: Not always. When I do, the playlist depends on my mood. I’ve got fairly eclectic musical taste so it could be anything from hard rock to instrumentals. More often than not, I’ll have the TV on in the background. I’ll find some repeat of a police procedural (Chicago PD, Law & Order, NCIS) and put that on with the volume low. I’m familiar with many of the episodes, so it doesn’t distract me, but the little bit of noise gives me something to tune out. If the house is too quiet, that’s when I start losing my focus.
Q: Do you keep a specific schedule when you write? Or is it more spontaneous?
A: Although I wish I could say I make my full-time living writing books, I have a separate job to pay the bills. That means, sometimes I have to write whenever the opportunity arises. I get up extra early during the week so that I have the chance to do some writing before work. Well, most of the time I try to write but I have to confess that when I have a new book coming out, sometimes that morning write time has to turn into morning marketing time.
Q: Do you have a special genre that you like to write?
A: More of my work probably falls into the fantasy genre, but I've also written women's fiction and some other genres. There's nothing wrong with sticking to one genre if that's what you're passionate about, but I think writers need to give themselves permission to explore other areas.
Q: What’s easier for you, writing the rough draft or editing?
A: Definitely the rough draft. Rough drafts come out in a rush—you go through and get the story out of your head. It can be very stream-of-consciousness, at least for me. But that means, when you go back to edit, you find and have to fix, all of the rough spots.
Q: Do you have a favorite character and why?
A: That's a tough one. I probably have a favorite in every story. I love all of my main protagonists, but there are definitely some supporting characters that I have a soft spot for. DJ in "Stone Heart" is one. And so is Galen from "Shadow King." Frankie in "The Devil Inside" is another one I'm fond of.
Q: What can you tell us about your upcoming works?
A: I'm dabbling with a few ideas but I'm also chilling out a little--and to catch up on my "to read" pile. (I find it hard to read while I'm actively working on a manuscript.) The work that goes into launching a book and the corresponding marketing can be consuming, and I've done three launches in under six years. That may not sound like much but when you're doing it along with a full-time job and other "adulting" responsibilities, it can quickly consume your free time. But I'm sure I'll be back into a writing groove in no time!
Q: When do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
A: You’ll probably find me at the barn. I love animals. I've almost always had cats and dogs for pets. We lost our 19-year-old cat a while back, and I still miss her (and her brother). One day we'll have another but I'm not ready yet. I’ve also ridden horses since I was little. Right now I have a 15-year-old mare and get to ride three to four days a week. I’ve competed a little, but I really ride for the enjoyment of spending time at the barn.