Q: Today I get to sit down and interview suspense writer Sue Rovens! If you can, I’d love it if you can share a little bit about yourself and what types of stories you enjoy writing as well as which genres you write in?
A: Hello there! I’m an indie suspense author from Normal, Illinois. I’ve been writing since 2009, have four suspense/thriller novels and two collections of short horror stories out in the world. I retired a little over four months ago after working for 30 years at Illinois State University (in Milner Library). Aside from writing, I’m learning to play French Horn, spend time running (albeit slowly), watch weird movies, hang out with Charlie, my husband, and snorgle with our two kitties (Noodle and Monkey).
I lean heavily toward writing suspense with droplets of horror because that’s the kind of material I like to read (and watch). I prefer psychological horror over slasher/gore stuff, but I know there’s an audience for both. I think delving into the dark side of people from a realistic bent is fascinating.
Q: The first thing I would be thrilled to talk about is your latest release, ‘Rage.’ What can you tell me about it?
A: Rage, like my other books, took two years to complete and went through nine revisions/edits. It’s definitely a thriller. Rage is a story about two very different people whose paths cross at just the right (?) time. It’s almost a character study that goes off the rails into darkness and revulsion. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I believe that anyone looking for a solid tale with characters who you might not necessarily like, is going to dig this one. There is serial killing, alcoholism, porn, and weapons, so, just know that going in.
Q: You have 4 novels and 2 short story collections out, I know we should never ask which child is one’s favorite but which are you (currently) most proud of?
A: That is kind of tough. Each book means something different to me personally. But, if I had to pick, I would say I’m most proud of Track 9 because it got a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly (2018), which really bumped up the audience/purchases/attention for a while.
Q: Have you written any characters to who you’ve been dying to return to? Which one and why?
A: No, I can’t say that I have. Once I finish a story, it’s done. The characters and the plot stand “as they are”.
Q: Where were you born (and/or are you from) and how has that affected your writing?
A: I was born in Harvey, Illinois, grew up in Park Forest and Hazel Crest (Illinois), and have lived in Normal since 1982. But to be honest, I don’t think living in any of those places affected my writing much. However, two of my books, Track 9 and Rage, do take place in Bloomington/Normal (although Track 9 also takes place in Germany).
Q: You’ve been doing author interviews for a while as well, what do you think makes a good interview?
A: Well, it’s sort of subjective. When I interview folks for my blog, I tried to come up with some questions that I haven’t seen anywhere else. If authors get asked the same exact questions during every interview, it’s kind of boring for them AND probably boring for the reader.
Q: Before becoming an author, you’ve had quite a few jobs in quite a few fields! What stands out as your favorite and least favorite and why?
A: LOL. One of my favorite “jobs” was being a church secretary. I never knew there was so much “behind-the-scenes” stuff. I loved doing the newsletters and bulletins because of the creativity aspect. I also learned that palm leaves (for Palm Sunday) came from a company. For some odd reason, I thought they were holy items that came from some sacred garden! (I know – I grew up pretty sheltered)
One of the worst “jobs” I had was cold calling people on the phone FROM A PHONEBOOK to set up vacuum sales. The “office” was inside an empty apartment that had a card table, chair, and landline phone. The pay was horrible and I quit after two weeks.
Q: You are a member of both The Chicago Writers Association and the Alliance of Independent Authors. Can you share a bit about them?
A: The CWA is a wonderful organization and has numerous resources. Since I live two hours away, I don’t have the ability to take advantage of everything they offer, but I do attend Printers Row (a MAJOR book fair which occurs once a year) and am under their tent because I am a member. They also do book reviews for members as well, so that’s helped promote my work a bit. ALLi is an international organization which also has a plethora of resources and online tools. The best way to learn about these groups is to poke around their websites. Individuals will glean different things from them based on where they live and what their own needs are. (https://www.allianceindependentauthors.org/) (https://www.chicagowrites.org/)
Q: What are you hoping to work on next?
A: I’m hoping to work up a few short stories. I’m not sure if I’ll do NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this year, which is where I usually create the first draft of my books. It’s a great opportunity for anyone interested in writing. https://nanowrimo.org/
And of course, I’ll be doing stuff on the blog. I’m planning on revising some areas so people will be able to comment easier on various posts, plus, I’m always on the look out for people to interview (authors, musicians, AND artists – ALL professional levels are welcome – if you ARE interested, send me an email at [email protected])
Finally, if there is anything else you would love to share with our readers, please do so here!
I’d like to encourage your readers to leave reviews on Amazon and/or Goodreads for ANY books they finish. It helps authors (especially indie authors) SO much. Even a sentence. Thanks!
You can follow Sue on her homepage here: https://suerovens.com
Thank you for doing this, Sara! It was fun! I’ll check back throughout the day to interact with any folks who leave comment.