Author Interview: Susan Stradiotto

There's nothing like scrolling along Amazon's Kindle shelves and falling into a new world by the flipping of an electronic page. Caetera, a world outside of our own and yet intimately connected with us, is waiting to fill you with an epic story and I'm so excited to be able to bring the author to you for a quick Q&A:

Susan Stradiotto

Why did you first start writing? What was the inspiration for your first book?

I am certain that the first story I wrote has long since left my memory. The very first piece of long fiction I completed was a historical fantasy based on the life of Cleopatra.

Did you ever consider traditional/indie publishing? Was there a reason you chose the way you did to go about publishing your works? Do you have any insights for future authors trying to make the same choice?

I chose to publish independently for now. Sometime down the road, I may look to solicit an agent, but for now, I want to focus more on telling my story than searching for someone to represent me.

How many books do you have published now?


Do you have any books in the works at the moment?

Yes. I’m editing book 2: Sixth Induction. I have book 3 drafted: Cursed Talent; I’m drafting book 4: The Vile Vasilias; and I have the story outlined with some written for books 5 and 6 which are yet to be named.

Any advice you’d offer up-and-comers looking to find their place in the literary world?

Be persistent and learn to seek out critical feedback and how to evaluate it well. Don’t give up when you get hurtful advice. Not everyone will like your work, and that’s okay. Follow the technical rules but stay true to your vision.

What's a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?

A writing day for me varies. I write whenever I am able. If only I were so fortunate to have a writing schedule. Full-time job and busy family tend to take priority, but I make time whenever I am able. What distracts me most these days is gaming with the family.

How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?

Character names in my books are only important in where they tie the character to a specific structure in society. For example, since Niccolai was originally a ward of Smythe House, but is now a ward of Phillary House, his name is Niccolai sur Smythe-Phillary. Benefactors last names are the name of the House they represent. Voteri names involve the name of the god/goddess they serve.

Where do your ideas come from?

Inspiration for me tends to come from human feelings, desires, or emotion tied to every-day situations. Open Season was partially inspired by a desire to depart a job in the corporate world (not my current one, I might note.).

Is there a genre that you've been wanting to experiment with?

Historical fiction would be amazing, but I haven’t been successful in finding an idea that I want to go all the way with yet.

What is the hardest part of writing for you?

Editing out the stuff I really love.

What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?

I started to create a book trailer but haven’t completed. It seems that they’re becoming more popular, but I don’t understand the craze. I’m guessing this may be a generational thing, so I want to explore it more in the future.

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?

Writing or in life? In life, it’s raising 3 children who are downright good people. In writing… well, I just published my first book. 😊

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Hopefully retired from full time work, writing and traveling…

Have you always liked to write?


Do you hand write or do everything on your computer?

I do both. The change sometimes gets the juices flowing again.

If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?

I wish I could make my living by writing, but I’m currently not that fortunate. I have a job as an IT Project Manager as well that pays the bills.

Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?

Yes, I read reviews of my book. I’ve responded to them graciously, but I haven’t received a harsh review yet. I’d take the criticism into consideration for future improvement, but in the end, I believe that everyone has different tastes and people are entitled to opinions. Naturally, though, I hope that everyone enjoys the read.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Both! There are times when I finish a chapter, and I’m super excited. Other times, I feel the need to go to bed immediately.

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

I write the story in my head. Naturally, I want the reader to enjoy the work, but I have a hard time with writing about the current hot topics. And if I did, I likely would take too long to get to market to capitalize on the trend. Original is, in my opinion, the best way to go.

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

I have a group of authors who participates in a bi-weekly writer’s group. We analyze one another’s stories and provide constructive criticism in all areas of story-telling. They also keep my creativity flowing.

How did you find/choose your cover?

The cover of Open Season has two of my three children on the front along with some stock images. It depicts some of the main characters in the story.

How do you choose what you are going to work on? Do you write one story at a time, or are you working on multiple pieces from multiple storylines at any given moment?

I’m working on a series that began as a single volume epic fantasy. Then, it took over and made itself into a series of novellas. I have many storylines going on and I’m trying to order them in some kind of coherent fashion.

What was the hardest novel/novella/story you’ve written so far and why?

The answer to this is always the current one. Today it’s The Vile Vasilias, and that’s because my characters have to battle it out to determine how the plot will best unfold. There have been times when my characters wrote their own stories without my concent.

Do you plan out your books in advance or just go for it, Muse Delight You, as she may?

I try to plan. I have a plot and chapter outline. In the end, one or more of my characters typically breaks my plot and creates a chapter or two of his or her own.

How would you best classify your writing? So, I always say I write Fantasy romance, with a way capital F there, lol. If you were trying to describe your books to someone, how best would you describe what you write?

I tell stories about human relationships through a Fantasy and Science Fiction lens.

How do you handle writing both books and blogs and Facebook posts and so on and so forth and ad naseum!? Lol. Okay, I’m looking for help, lol, how do you manage your time so well?

When you figure this out, please do let me know. 😊 I’ve decided that my social media activity needs to be limited to a few areas, and I’m looking to block off some time to schedule out my posts so I don’t have to be on constantly.

I’m wonky when it comes to writing. I don’t pre-plan anything, per se, but I have files on all the stories that I’ve written to keep my series in order and in line, even if I’m the only one who ever sees any of that. Do you do any pre-writing or post planning work for your novels or series?

Prewriting is an ever-happening event. I collect thos