Author Interview: Susan Juby
Posted by Dianna Gunn
Today’s interview is with Susan Juby, Canadian YA author.
1. Can you tell us a bit about your Alice series?
Alice, I Think is my first book. I began writing it after a long period of not writing any fiction. I began writing it long hand on the bus ride to work and finished writing it in a coffee shop. It was published first in 2000 by Thistledown Press and was later picked up by HarperCollins and republished in 2003. It’s a comedy about an adolescent girl with an eccentric family and is written in the form of her diary.
2. When and how did you decide to become a writer?
I didn’t decide to become a writer. I just tried writing and it worked out. I always wanted to be one, but felt it was an impossible goal. Writing a bit every day and hoping for the best is still my approach.
3. What was the first story you remember writing about?
It was a story about a girl who goes to the moon or Mars or someplace equally excellent. She’s accompanied by her trusty dog. I remember working harder to make my printing neat than on any other aspect of the story. I wrote that manuscript, which I believe was 60+ pages, when I was in the second grade.
4. What did your path to publication look like?
It was bumpy. No one knew what to make of Alice when I sent around the manuscript. Many publishers said it was too old for their children’s list and too young and focused on comedy for their adult lists. I was very grateful that Thistledown was willing to take a chance.
5. How do you think being Canadian influences you as a writer?
Being Canadian has shaped my approach to place. I like to write about places that I’ve lived. Not the cities, but the smaller towns. It’s also given me a bit of fondness for the cultural underdog!
6. What do you think is the most important piece of advice for aspiring writers?
Read as widely as possible and write and write until you find the stories that matter to you. Remember that it’s about the writing, not all the stuff that goes along with it (i.e. publication, fame, groupies, etc.)
7. What author do you think influences your writing most?
I was a chronic reader of JD Salinger when I was younger. Holden’s voice is still one of my favourites. I am also devoted to P.G. Wodehouse.
8. What do you think about the future of epublishing?
Important but hard to predict. I realize this answer is a cop-out.
9. What are you reading right now?
Beyond Blonde by the wonderfully funny Teresa Toten.
10. What are you working on right now that readers have to look forward to?
My first novel specifically for adults will be out March 8. It’s called Home to Woefield in the U.S. and The Woefield Poultry Collective in Canada. It’s the story of a young woman from Brooklyn with dreams of living a sustainable, back to the land lifestyle and becoming an admired vendor at the local farmer’s market. She inherits a derelict farm on Vancouver Island and, with a team of three unlikely helpers, tries to make it productive with decidedly mixed results.
Thank you for your time Susan, it’s an honour to have you here.
Bio: Susan Juby’s novels have been published all over the world and nominated for many
awards, including the Amazon/Books in Canada First Novel Award and the Stephen
Leacock Award for Humour and an Edgar Award. She is the author of the bestselling
Alice MacLeod trilogy, which was adapted into a thirteen part television series called
Alice, I Think that aired on CTV and the Comedy Network. Her memoir, Nice Recovery
(Viking), was published in 2010 and called “quite simply, an inspiration” in the Globe
and Mail. Publisher’s Weekly called her latest novel, The Woefield Poultry Collective, “A
… funny and touching yarn about an endearing band of social wrecks who are impossible
not to love.”
Susan was raised in Smithers, BC and teaches creative writing at Vancouver Island
University. She lives with her husband and their dog in Nanaimo, B.C.
Susan will be hanging out here to answer any questions you might have.