I grew up in SoCal a hybrid Valley Girl/Hippie. I got a degree in Psychology and went to the Congo as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I grew up in Africa in many ways. I began writing fantasy there. When I returned to the U.S., I got a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psych and became an Addiction Therapist. I was married with kids, and my late husband had Multiple Sclerosis. I began writing about vampires as an escape from stress. Luckily, my family was very supportive. My first book was lost when lightning fried my computer. Maybe it was for the best because I really like the book, I completed 30 years later. Through breast cancer X2, young widowhood, lupus, etc. my kids and friends kept me going and encouraged me to write. One of my kids made me a refrigerator magnet of a vampire with bloody fangs for Mother’s Day. My main character Miranda Ortega deals with the nocturnal maniacs who invade her life with lots of coffee and dark humor. It always works for me.
Rare Blood (first book of the Miranda Chronicles)
Miranda just wants to write, but her publisher, the Baron Tristan Mordecai has plans for her that turn Miranda’s world upside down. She has rare HH blood which the Haute Caste vampires prefer. She is descended from a Templar knight who made an unholy agreement with the undead which made them vow to protect his descendants. Miranda surprises the vampire world by her ability to stand up to their attempts to overwhelm, seduce and manipulate her. What do they really want from Miranda? She feels torn by her growing love/hate relationship with the baron. Her reaction when he asks her out, “No one gets sucked to death on date night. Nice.”
My vampires come from all over the world. Racism is not tolerated. Some are LGBTQ.
What inspired you to first start writing? Is your motivation to write now different or the same as before?
Writing allows me to battle my demons in a safe place. I could not get satisfaction from the administrators at the medical center where I worked but Miranda could find a way to escape from the machinations of ancient treacherous vampires. I had to undergo chemotherapy twice, but Miranda due to a dose of vampire blood can be spared devastating illness.
Writers are projected as loners or introverts. Is this true for you?
My work as a therapist involved emotional intimacy with many people. I’m better with one or two people, I have to work at being social in a large group. I love writing days with my hubby, dogs, and cats for company, or when my kids visit.
What genre do you like to write in? Why?
Vampires Why? Because of confidentiality, I won’t write about my work. Some of my characters have personality characteristics of people I’ve known, especially Baron Tristan Mordecai.
How often do you write and what schedule to you like to keep?
Every day, whenever I get some quiet time.
What is the easiest part of writing to you?
Writing conversations, probably because I made a living talking to people.
Can you share any tips on inspiring other writers to pursue their dreams?
Start writing! Don’t worry about sentence construction. Tell your stories!
What is your favorite thing about being a writer? Why?
Plot development. Why? I love coming up with all kinds of cliff-hangers and rescues. Life can get so crazy, yet we survive. Now imagine vampires being part of the chaos.
Who would you compare your work to? What differences set you apart?
Does a bad review affect your writing?
I’m so glad to be published I take criticism in stride. At least they read my book.
What did you want to be when you grew up as a child?
Paleontologist or President
What book have you read that has been the most life changing?
The Autobiography of Malcom X. It opened my eyes to the many worlds within our world.
Are you working on anything right now? If so, what can you share?
Yes, the 2’nd book, Rhapsody in Blood is being edited and I’m writing the third book. If so, what can you share? Miranda continues to grow in terms of her abilities, strengths, and understanding of how to deal with the vampire world as she finds herself in the middle of Haute Caste and Common Caste vampire conspiracies, abductions, and conflicts. She is surprised to find some famous people did not die at a young age but instead chose to become vampires like Tsarina Anastasia and Cesar Borgia. Will they be friend or foe?
Who is in your support system? How do they keep you motivated?
Family, friends, which includes writers. One of my daughters read my first short story this week and loved it. She laughed out loud.
Do you keep a blog or a journal? How does it help you as a writer?
I blog on my website, susanold.com. I like sending messages, and updates to my readers.
Do you have any daily mantra’s? What do you tell yourself to keep your inspiration alive?
Drink coffee then sees what spills out on the page. I remember the young Goth woman who told me she loved my book and had difficulty putting it down.
What is one thing you want people to know about you as a writer? A person?
I want to encourage other people to write. I worked with Veterans, many had served our country overseas. I can never thank them enough for their sacrifices.
What are your career goals?
Write until I go to the next place. I want my gravestone to say, “Off To See The Wizard.”
How will you handle fame if/when you reach that level? How do you think it will change your writing?
Have tea with Neil Gaiman and JK Rowling. Stress helps me write.
What advice would you give your younger self about writing?
Publish at a younger age. I’m 65 now.
Have you ever considered writing an autobiography?
No. I like writing about vampires.
How did you celebrate the launch of your book?
Cupcakes from Cupcake Royale in Seattle.
If given the chance, what author would you interview? What is the most important question you would ask?
Charles Dickens. Would he consider saving the life of the little seamstress in a rewrite of Tale of Two Cities?
Have you experienced writer’s block? How do you handle it?
No. But when I’m trying to figure out plot twists, I like to go for drives on a mountain road.
What would you tell others who are considering traditional/self-publishing? Any advice?
Whatever works for you. I self-published my first book, and now I’m considering querying for an agent. Self-publishing helped me be more confident.
What do you want to be remembered for as a writer? A person?
Someone whose books gave them a break from the world. The 2’nd time I was dx’d with breast cancer, I was driving home from chemo and a guy driving a truck without insurance plowed into me. My husband had died from a brain tumor the year before. I stood on the side of the road as my car was towed away, waiting for a friend to pick me up and thought, “I’m dealing with this because I’m still alive. It’s going to be okay. Somehow, I’ll find a way to get another car. Somehow, I’ll complete my cancer treatment. I’m still alive, and grateful for that.”