Pay It Forward Interview: Susan Adrian

Hello on day 2 of Pay it Forward interview week! Hopefully you’ve taken some time to visit some of the other writers’ blogs (links below), and let yourself be inspired and encouraged by their publication journeys. There are more than 70(!) writers participating, so clear some time for blog-reading.

And *cough* MY *cough* interview is going up today at: http://leahclifford.livejournal.com/ . Go check it out. There’s a Miahaiku involved…

Susan Adrian aka the inspiration behind all those Twitter “tiara days” is a champion cheerleader and beacon of positivity. With all the good karma she’s spread, she’s due for heaps in return. Watch out for her name in the upcoming years, you’ll be seeing it.

1. Tell us about your book.

SALVAGED is the book I’m working on now, and I’m SO excited about it. Here’s the basic blurb (I always do one of these while I’m writing the first draft):

Sixteen-year-old Annika (Annie) has never used a computer or a cell phone. She’s never watched TV, slept in a real bed, or kissed anyone but Xander. Until now.

Annie’s always lived in The Community, an ultra-environmental commune tucked in the canyons of San Diego, led by her idealistic, maybe-crackpot dad. What they can’t grow or raise they salvage from the wasteful people of “the wild”. You’d be amazed what you can find back of a restaurant. But Xander runs away with Annie’s sister Zilla, and Dad sends her to drag them back.

To find them Annie has to venture into the wild by herself, into an alien culture of excess. When she crashes a company picnic she meets Bryan, a cute, rich boy who thinks she’s homeless. She lets him think it, lets him help. All she needs is a couple days to get Zilla and Xander.

But once she finds them, Annie’s not so sure she wants to return, much less force her happy-go-lucky, impulsive sister back under the strict Community rules. The wild is much more complex and captivating than she imagined. And there’s Bryan, who’s also just a tiny bit captivating. But if she doesn’t bring them home soon, Dad will come after them himself. And the last time he brought a runaway home…that’s the one thing Annie won’t let herself think about.

Can Annie be salvaged? Does she want to be?

It’s a real challenge to get the point-of-view right–a girl who has none of the cultural knowledge most teenagers are drenched in. Of course that challenge is what makes it fun.

2. Can you tell us a little bit about your road to publication (finding an agent)?

Like most other writers, my road has been–and continues to be–decidedly unsmooth. My first book was a historical, set in Chaucer’s England, with a 16-year-old protagonist (always the YA!). I got some strong agent interest, but no takers. So I wrote a straight-up contemporary YA, a juicy mix of all my favorite stuff, all my passions. I could tell the difference, between writing what I thought I should write and what I *loved*. Fortunately my agent, the fabulous and sharkly Janet Reid, loved it too. Even though that book didn’t sell right out of the box the way we wanted it to, I’m SO glad I wrote it, and that it led me to Janet.

3. Was there ever a time you felt like giving up? Why didn’t you?

Of course! I think every writer has those crippling moments where the possibility enters your mind–where the rejections and the doubt monsters get so loud and hurtful you consider just Not Doing It Anymore. You can’t face the battery of rejection that is this business without that feeling. The trick is to let yourself feel that way…for about 10 minutes. Then go talk to some of your writer friends and get support. Let their encouragement soak in. And then realize, if you’re meant to be doing this–if you’ve got writing in you–you’ll keep doing it anyway. It’ll pop out somewhere. You don’t HAVE to keep trying to get published, but I have a feeling you probably will. Just like I will. I want others, especially teens, to read and enjoy the stories I have to tell.

4. I wouldn’t have survived querying/revisions/submissions without ___?

My writer friends. They are there for me every single day. I don’t see how I could do any of this without them.

Now that you’ve enjoyed Suze’s interview, click here for more inspiration: Lisa and Laura Roecker, Beth Revis, Leah Clifford, Victoria Schwab, Kirsten Hubbard, Susan Adrian, Dawn Metcalf, Kim Harrington, Carrie Harris, Amy Holder, Kathy McCullough, Suzette Saxton and Bethany Wiggins, and Elana Johnson.

10 comments


  • Two of my favorite people, right here together. 🙂

    Suze, the more I hear about SALVAGED, the more I can’t wait to read it. So *cough* HURRY UP! 😉

    March 30, 2010
  • Fabulous interview!

    I second Linda, I can’t wait for some SALVAGED. And the rough roads lead to even more incredible finishes.

    March 30, 2010
  • Thanks so much, Tiffany! I love this week of inspirational posts. 🙂

    March 30, 2010
  • Great interview! I definitely agree that if you’re meant to be a writer, you’ll continue doing it no matter what. Love that bit of wisdom.

    SALVAGED sounds incredible! Good luck with the rest of your journey, Susan!

    March 30, 2010
  • SALVAGED sounds so cool!

    Great interview!

    March 30, 2010
  • WOW. Susan, your book sounds absolutely amazing. Not least of all because I live on the edge of a San Diego canyon, & it’s made an entrance in my writing before. Can’t wait to read it!!

    March 30, 2010
  • Suze, it sounds like it’s consensus: we all need to read SALVAGED *now*!

    March 30, 2010
  • Oh, I love that: the importance of writer friends. I used to think writing was such a lonely task, but the Internet is definitely tying us all together!

    March 30, 2010
  • SALVAGED sounds incredible! Please finish so we can all read 🙂 Another fabulous interview! I don’t know what we’d do without our writer friends either–you guys are the only ones who truly understand!

    March 30, 2010
  • YAY! Writer friends are the BEST. Always get you through the tough times. ~*~ And I agree….*cough* we all need to read SALVAGED nowwww!!!!!!

    April 1, 2010

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