5 Random Questions: Interview with Susan Colebank

1) Was there a book or author that made you want to become a YA author?

I never read age-appropriate books as a kid, much to my parents’ exasperation (at eight, I would sneak into their book stash and pilfer Sidney Sheldon, Ken Follett, Colleen McCullough, and Robin Cook). I read a lot more YA and teen books as an adult than I did as a YA and teen. So it wasn’t until I was older that I realized I loved the YA/teen genre. I should’ve started earlier: My favorite book of all time is a YA book (Long Live the Queen, by Ellen Emerson White).

2) What was the first scene of any of your books that made you stop and wonder if you should write it since your mom/best friend/husband/high school nemesis might read it?

In my first book, Black Tuesday, I had a break-up scene where the guy just wasn’t going quietly into the night. He’d been showering the girl with expensive gifts, and even though she felt uncomfortable taking them, he’d reassured her that it was just money and he didn’t expect anything in return. It’s during the break-up that he asks for, uh, a favor. It was hard writing that question. But I felt that this worm had this thought in his mind the entire time they were seeing each other, and it was time for the reader to know that. Plus, I didn’t want the reader being too sad that she was breaking up with this guy.

3) What is a day in the writing life of Susan Colebank like?

7 a.m. — Baby wakes me up, and we play together while I try to slap myself awake.

10:30 a.m. — Baby takes nap. I hurriedly work on notes for story, catch up on e-mails, make calls.

Noon — Baby wakes up. I try to write in between feedings, playing, and cuddle time.

7 p.m. — Baby’s asleep. Exercise, shower, throw in laundry. Maybe mop up a dust bunny or two.

9 p.m. — Write. Write. Write.

1 a.m. — Watch 30 minutes of something my DVR’s recorded (The Office or Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares or The Biggest Loser or Ghost Hunters).

1:30 a.m. — Read for ten minutes and then fall into sound, weird-dream-plagued sleep.

4) As a teenager, did you do anything that you later really regretted?

Oh boy, yeah. In ninth grade, we had a contest in English class to see who could read Mark Twain’s Puddin’head Wilson in the best dialect. Well, me being the drama queen, I tied an apron high under my breasts, put a kerchief on my head, and — big embarrassing moment coming — smeared black zinc oxide on my face. I still cringe at my huge ignorant blunder.

5) Which teen movie heroine do you wish you could be for a day?

I think Kat in 10 Things I Hate About You would be pretty fun. Heath Ledger chasing me around all day AND being a kick-butt feminist with a big brain? Sign me up!

Susan’s first novel, Black Tuesday, is now out in hardcover. Her next book, about a girl whose family wins the lottery, comes out in 2009.


P.S. I will never interview myself again. But this is what happens when you’re starting a new site…you go with who’s available. And I just couldn’t tell myself no. Wuss.


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