Friday, November 2, 2012

Author Interview: Lorna T. Suzuki

Today I am excited to have Lorna T. Suzuki, author of "The Imago Chronicles", stop by the blog to tell us a bit about her writing process, her books being optioned for film and whether she prefers dogs or cats! 

Describe "Imago Chronicles: A Warrior's Tale" in five words or less.

Action, adventure, heartbreak, betrayal, redemption!

You now have twelve books under your belt. Do you find that you have an easier time writing a book as you gain more experience?

Definitely! Not only does it become easier, the more you write, the more your writing/storytelling skills improve with each novel. If you do not strive to hone your writing skills with each book you publish, I feel you’re doing a grave disservice to those buying and reading your works.

What are some upcoming projects that you're working on?

Currently, I’m working on the 10th and final novel in the movie optioned series, Imago Chronicles. I’ll be writing this story as the first novel in this series, Book One A Warrior’s Tale heads into development for a major motion picture trilogy. The executive producer hired me as a creative consultant, so I’ll be juggling this wonderful opportunity with novel writing.

Can you tell us a bit about A WARRIOR'S TALE being optioned for film?

The executive producer happened to see an interview I did on MTV where I was talking about my novels and doing a martial arts demo with my husband. My book was used as a weapon and it stuck in her mind (not literally!). She ended up buying the first three novels of the Imago Chronicles series and embarked on a three-year odyssey to hunt me down and negotiate an option agreement we were both happy with. Filming is slated for spring of 2013!

How did practicing martial arts impact your writing? 

I have about 30 years of experience as a martial arts practitioner and instructor so having this kind of knowledge with armed and unarmed combat has made writing fight scenes relatively easy. I’ve been told by some of the fans that my writing style makes them feel like they’re right in the middle of all the action. In fact, I’ve had a number of authors that do not study martial arts tell me they actually study the fighting in my novels to help them in writing their own fight scenes!

Fans of (insert author name here): Fans of J.R.R. Tolkien will enjoy my book.

I’ve yet to read Tolkien’s novels, but I’ve been told by fans that my world-building and the depth of the characters, and the dangers of a monumental quest make it comparable to his Lord of the Rings trilogy. The executive producer pitched it to the film industry as LoTR and 300 meets The Last Samurai, so those considering reading my novels should keep in mind that it is NOT your ‘traditional’ fantasy series. I’ve been ‘scolded’ by a couple of avid fantasy fans that I ‘deviated from the standards that define the genre’, so you’ve been warned! ;-)

How does being a scriptwriter affect your writing?

I was asked by the executive producer if I wanted a crack at writing the first draft of A Warrior’s Tale, but I had to pass. I wanted to have this task undertaken by someone with vision, experience and passion for adapting the written words for the big screen. I’ve written scripts for a TV travel adventure series and a documentary that was aired on The Biography Channel, but this is very different from writing a fantasy novel. I’d have to say my scriptwriting experience has had little impact on my fiction writing.

How did you come to the decision to go indie?

It was easy! Originally, I wrote the first three novels in the Imago Chronicles series as a gift for my daughter for when she grows up and I’ve moved on so to speak, so I didn’t even consider traditional publishing. The first book developed a life of its own; making it’s way into a local library and spreading from there. Since this time, I’ve had some offers from traditional publishing houses, including one from Jessie Finkelstein, an editor from Raincoast Books (the publisher of the Harry Potter series in Canada), but I had to turn this down. As much as Ms. Finkelstein loved the female protagonist and said she’d make a great role model for her readership, she asked if I’d be willing to rewrite my novels to make this series appropriate for a young adult audience. I had to pass for this very reason, but on a high note, if I had not self-published, the film producer would never have heard of the series and it wouldn’t be in development now!

Being an indie author what impact (if any) have book bloggers had on your career?

I love book bloggers! They are so important in helping to get the word out about the many titles available now. A number of those who had hosted me in the past have told me they had their highest number of reads on their blogsites when they interviewed me, so that’s wonderful! Where some authors have phenomenal book sales due to this exposure, it hasn’t worked that way for me, at all. It certainly has helped in terms of getting my name out there, but as far as print or ebook sales go? If you follow me on Twitter you’ll notice how many will tell me: “I’ll just wait for the movie to be released!” or “I can’t wait to see the movie!”

Very few of my followers have read the movie optioned series and the overall sentiment seems to be that they’ll just watch the movie instead of reading the novels before the first one is released. I don’t know why this is so, but a friend confessed that he just doesn’t have time to read and watching a movie is so much faster. I just hope that once the producers announce whom the director and some of the cast members are, books sales will increase with those curious to see which actors are playing what characters.

On the upside, the few followers that have bought and read my books have been very kind, posting wonderful reviews on Smashwords and Amazon! I am so very grateful for this.

Do you read reviews of your book? If so, how do you respond to negative (or not-so-nice) reviews?

I do read reviews because it is a matter of courtesy when I receive a tweet on Twitter from someone who purchased the book and let’s me know they posted a review. If the person takes the time to read, and then write and post a review, I feel it is only right to see what they have to say. I’ve been very fortunate that the reviews have been great, but it’s interesting to note that one of the most scathing reviews I received was from a person who never even read my book, even though she was one of twenty reviewers who requested and received a free print version of one of my movie-optioned novels!

I responded by politely asking her if she’d be kind enough to pass it on to someone who would be willing to read it instead of throwing it away. The majority of readers enjoy my work, and I prefer to feed off the positive than be influenced by negativity. Not too much you can do when your book is judged without being read. It certainly outraged the other readers that took the time to read the novel and posted 4 and 5-star reviews!

Any advice for aspiring authors? 

Write because you have a story you want to share with the world and you love to write, not because you have visions of grandeur that you’re going to get rich and be the next J.K. Rowling or E.L. James. Focus on the craft of writing and respect your readers!

This or That

Unicorn or Sasquatch? A big-ass unicorn that tramples big, hairy hominids!

Dogs or cats? Definitely cat!

Coffee or coke? Coffee (Mocha Latte to be exact!)

Music while writing or no music? Music, but just loud enough to be heard in the background.

Typing on a computer or writing in a notebook? Computer (I type much faster than I write long-hand!)

Reading a book or watching TV? Reading while I watch TV (I’m the queen of multi-tasking!)

The Three Musketeers or The Count of Monte Cristo? The Three Musketeers!

Be careful what you wish for takes on a whole new meaning…

When a good wish goes bad, a beautiful princess despised by all, a lowly court jester who was meant to be a great knight and a village idiot with a mysterious past are thrust together by fate. Made to embark on a perilous and unorthodox quest, they set off to break a dreaded curse.

Along the way, a series of trials await them in strange lands far from home. From a powerful Wizard and an evil, shape-shifting Sprite to the flamboyant Elves and an army of mimes, they encounter an array of unforgettable friends and foes as they set off to recover a silver locket to destroy the curse.

In a race against time, pursued by a Sorcerer on the hunt for this same locket, an epic journey becomes a trying, humorous adventure of self-discovery and a test of true loyalty and friendship for this unlikely trio as they fight to survive this quest and ultimately, each other.

About the author: A fan of swashbuckling adventure novels by Alexandre Dumas of The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo fame, Lorna Suzuki had noticed that it was always the men going off on great adventures and enjoying the camaraderie of a brotherhood. Most often, the women were portrayed as the damsels-in-distress.

In writing the Imago fantasy series, by adding a female protagonist, one that is reluctantly accepted into this brotherhood, the author drew on some of her own experiences as a woman in a once male-dominated field of law enforcement and martial arts to bring Nayla Treeborn the female warrior to life.

With over twenty-five years experience in various forms of martial arts, Suzuki is a 5th-dan practitioner and instructor of Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu, a martial arts system incorporating six traditional samurai schools and three schools of ninjutsu under Japanese Soke, Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi. Although Budo Taijutsu has a very long and rich history in Japan and is steeped in tradition, is only now growing in popularity. Practitioners of Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu do not compete in the sports arena as the techniques incorporated into this system are used strictly for self-defense, never as a sport. To learn more about Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu, please visit Shihan Phillip Legare's website @www.shinkentaijutsu.com

When Suzuki is not writing the next instalment of the Imago series or her new Young Adult Fantasy Series, The Dream Merchant Saga, she is a scriptwriter specializing in biographic documentaries for TV. Suzuki is also currently a consultant/scriptwriter on the PBS TV series ‘West Coast Adventures’.

In early 2011, the first three novels of the Imago Chronicles series were optioned for a major motion picture trilogy. Book One A Warrior’s Tale is now in development and full production is slated for 2012.

She resides in the suburbs outside of Vancouver, BC with her husband Scott White, a talented videographer and Bujinkan Shidoshi, and her charming, young daughter Nia.

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