Interview with Susan Williamson, Author of “Turkmen Captives”

What is your book about?

My book, Turkmen Captives, is about a 30 year old Afghanistan War widow who is trying to make sense of her life when her home explodes and a mysterious letter causes her to question her husband’s death. I knew when I started the story that I wanted to deal with a widow from that war and that I wanted at least part of the story set in a country adjoining Afghanistan. As a horse person, I was drawn to Turkmenistan and its Akhel-Teke horses.
I also decided early on that the bad guys would be involved in human trafficking. The rest of the story happened as I wrote.

Why will readers relate to your characters?

I think readers my readers will be drawn by the action and the settings.Then I hope they will fall in love with the main characters.

What challenges did you face as you wrote this book?

My greatest challenge in writing the book came when in the middle of the process, I fell off my own horse and shattered my leg. One would think this would be a great opportunity for writing time, but it didn;t work out that way. Between pain and pain pills, exercise and the effort it took just to get through the day, I was not able to write. I did however read, usually at least one book a day. I will read almost anything if I have time on my hands, but for recreation I prefer mysteries and thrillers because I find so much other fiction to be without a plot.

How has your background influenced your writing?

It is easiest to write what you know, so my background growing up with horses and on a farm shapes my approach to writing about them. My faith, my sense of morality, my love of travel all play a part in my stories.

What is your writing process?

When I am writing I become totally involved, maybe immersed is an even better word. When I can put myself in the setting, then I find out what my characters would do and say. Although I have neve been to Turkmenistan, I researched it via the internet. The more I read, the more fascinated I was. Ruins from the “Silk Roard” abound. Turkmenistan was the farthest south of any of the Soviet Socialist Republics. The Russians built schools and other facilities. The native language is Turkmen and that is also the people group name of most of the population.

When did you discover writing?

I have written non-fiction for most of my life. I was a newspaper reporter then an editor. I find that writing comes easy to me, but writing fiction with logical plot direction is harder.

Do you have a favorite snack food or favorite beverage that you enjoy while you write?

When I am settling in for a long session of writing I usually like to have a Diet Coke or a cup of tea beside me. And as to what I am wearing, it is often my pajamas and a cozy, ratty old chenile robe.

Where can we learn more about your books?

From my publisher, Second Wind Publishing: http://www.secondwindpublishing.com/#!susan-williamson/c1pj6
My website is http://www.susanwilliamsonauthor.com and my blog is Creek Side Musings.

Paula Boer, Author of “Brumbies”

BrumbiesWelcome, Paula. What is your book about?

“Brumbies” is set in the high country of Australia. When city girl Louise moves to the country, she discovers the mountain brumbies are to be killed for pet food. A beautiful buckskin mare steals her heart, and with local farm boy Ben, she determines to save the wild horses. Against the odds, they arrange a muster, but nothing goes according to plan.

How long had the idea of your book been developing before you began to write the story?

In a way, I think I’ve been wanting to write a horse story ever since I read “The Silver Brumby” as a girl. I remember doing so for my English Language exam before leaving school, and gained an A+ for a story written from a horse’s perspective. I’d never visited Australia then, but now I live in brumby territory; it’s amazing how life works out.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

I’ve caught and broken in brumbies myself, and love the alpine region of Australia, an area larger than Switzerland! Many people in the world don’t associate Australia with mountains and snow, so it’s been fun to share my love with others.

How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?

As an author, I think there is a little of me in all my characters, after all, we can only write from experience (whether that be first hand, read about or heard). But the main female character lives a life I would have loved to have had as a young person, but didn’t.

Who is your most unusual/most likeable character?

Old Harry, the hermit that lives rough in the national park. Readers gradually learn more about him and how he came to be where he is through the five books in the series. Adults are suspicious of him, but he helps young people and animals.

What are you working on right now?

I have just finished the first draft of book three in the series, and yesterday spent a few hours plotting in detail book four with my illustrator, Rowena Evans. We have a lot of fun working together, and I use her creative maps of the country the novels are set in as a guide when I write. Her maps are included in the novels as well as beautiful black and white drawings of the characters and animals they encounter.

Are you writing to reach a particular kind of reader?

Horse lovers! Any age, eight to eighty, though officially the target audience is ten to twelve year olds.

What advice you would give to an aspiring author?

Read, read, read. Write, write, write.

Have you written any other books?

Yes, my debut novel “The Okapi Promise” was published last year. It is a travel adventure set in Africa in 1990, where I spent several months experiencing wildlife, civil wars, interpersonal relationships on a tough overland trip. Add to that a plot about the discovery of a rabies serum deep in the jungle…you get the idea.

Where can people learn more about your books?

Start with the publisher, http://www.IFWGPublishing.com. They’re a great team, and have given me enormous support. I look forward to working with them over the rest of the series of “Brumbies”, and hopefully other adventures in the future.
You can read more about me at http://www.paulaboer.com. Thank you.