My guest this week is Susan Smith-Josephy, author of “The Ogopogo Club”, the only short story written by a female author that was selected to be part of the Kindle All Stars “Carnival of Cryptids.”
Hahahahahahaha! OMG… Carmen, oops, Susan, please tell our readers here a one-sentence synopsis of “The Ogopogo Club”! (*in tears, laughing*)
A woman, married to a jerk, learns just how real The Ogopogo Club is.
How real are your characters?
Um, for legal reasons, I must say “they’re not real at all!” However, in reality, they’re based on composites of people that I know very well.
You are so mischievous! I knew I was going to be entertained even before I read it! And I wasn’t disappointed at all 🙂
So what inspired you to write this story?
I’ve always been fascinated by the bizarre, the awful, and the unexplainable. So when an opportunity came up to contribute to the Kindle All Stars 2 “Carnival of Cryptids” I knew I had to do it.
You’re the only female author of Carnival of Cryptids, so I knew from the beginning there must be something very special about you and your writing. When did you first know you just had to write?
I’ve written for a number of years but I’ve become a lot more prolific now that I’m doing it full time.
How long did it take you to write this piece?
The writing didn’t take long, maybe a few days. But the editing took a lot longer.
How did you come up with the title?
I wanted a local cryptid. The Ogopogo is a watery, bumpy-backed water creature that lives in Lake Okanagan in British Columbia. I love B.C., but its wilderness can be scary. Especially when you’re out on a remote lake, alone with two drunk men.
What is your favorite line in the book? (or paragraph)
“She imagined how it would be if they really existed. They could come up under a small boat like ours and lift us up, and over we’d go. No one would know, and no one would find our bodies. Rumor had it that each time the Ogopogo ate a man, the creature grew a new hump.”
And little did she know… 🙂 Really brilliant, Susan 🙂
So who would you say have been the most influential authors in your life? What is it that really strikes you about their work?
Patricia Highsmith comes to mind. Her stories are a mixture of mystery, the bizarre, and shocking characters. She had a talent for writing a likeable villain which is not an easy thing to do.
Not easy, but you did it very well! Susan, share with us your story about the joy and the hardship of writing.
I enjoy writing because I can do it by myself. No matter how much someone would like to help you, you simply have to do it yourself.
The joy comes from finding the first kernel of an idea. The challenge and hardship then is turning that idea into something worth reading.
And finding more joy in the end, I’m sure. Who gives you the most encouragement? Why is that important to you?
I have a friend from university that lives half a country away, yet we e-mail each other regularly and talk about our writing projects and encourage each other. I value this feedback very much.
I get a ton of support from my husband and my mother, too. My husband’s driven me thousands of kilometers to help me solve a problem with geography in my research. My mom is an avid reader of everything, and has an instinct on what’s right in a story.
Aren’t you lucky! And they must love the process too, seeing how talented you are. Are you working on another story right now? Tell us your latest news.
Right now I’m working on another non-fiction book. It’s a biography of a local old timer. He came to British Columbia for the gold rush in the 1850s, and soon turned to mule train packing to make a living. He was a character, well-loved, and continued with his career well into his 80s. I love to research and write about every day people who do extraordinary things. He probably didn’t think he was doing anything special, but he worked for more than 50 years in a physically grueling profession, during some of the most fascinating times in our province’s history.
I also have an ebook of fiction anthology coming out later this year. In keeping with my love of the macabre and weird, it’s a collection of stories I’ve written over the years with a general theme of the dark side of human nature.
It seems that my non-fiction focuses on the good in people, and my fiction spotlights the bad. I need to figure out why that is.
Methinks you’re a well-balanced all-rounder, Susan. I’m so going to check out your other books!
Do you see writing as a career or distraction? Why?
It’s neither, really, and also both. It’s a career because I do it all the time, every day. But it’s also a distraction because every time I try and do something else, I feel like I should be writing.
How much do you have in common with your protag?
Not much in that she keeps her mouth shut, and I am loud and opinionated. But some, in that I hate being around groups of drunk people.
I see, so you sort of vent your dislikes both aloud and in writing—and why not? Isn’t that one of the joys of being a writer? I too sometimes take my vendetta against obnoxious people in my writing 🙂
What are your hobbies, Susan?
Reading, papercrafting, gardening, photography, travel. Can I count “cleaning my closets” as a hobby? I like to do that.
You must be very organized. What is your other profession? When do you find the time to write?
I’m a retired journalist, so I’m at home. But I also do social media for a local company, and do other stuff as well, so I usually write in the middle of the night.
How nice. I can’t wait to be a wise, retired lady of 70, and writing full time.
Who and what matters to you, Susan?
My family and a few good friends mean everything to me. I need not to be around dysfunctional people, and I’ll do a lot to avoid them. Physical health is vital. I’ve had some friends with serious health problems, and it changes absolutely everything.
How has your published work influenced others and their attitude towards you?
It means a lot to me when someone takes the time to buy and read my book. And if I get an email or a letter from them, I just love that. And when a reader reaches out to me on Twitter and reviews my book, I am just thrilled that they wanted to take the time to do that.
And why not? You’re awesome!
Anything important for your readers to know about you, Susan?
I love it when readers write to me and give me updates on my research subjects. After the Lillian Alling book came out in print, I received some wonderful letters from descendants of the people in the book. It was very moving.
And Lillian Alling was such an inspiring personality; what a woman! I’ll have to read that book.
Any tips for us on reading and writing?
I’m a fan of both print and ebooks. I have about ten print books that I’m reading now, and an equal amount of ebooks just waiting for me on my Kindle. Reading is reading! I believe you cannot be a writer if you’re not a reader.
Thank you so much for stopping here Susan. Best wishes for your work!
Susan Smith-Josephy is a writer, researcher and editor based in Quesnel, British Columbia. Susan has a degree in History from Simon Fraser University, and also studied journalism at Langara College. She has worked at various community newspapers throughout British Columbia as both a reporter and an editor. She is also researching some particularly gruesome British Columbian historical crimes.
Watch out for Susan’s next non-fiction book is about Jean Caux, the famed packer, who is known in British Columbia as Cataline.
Find Susan on her website www.susmithjosephy.com, her blogs http://writersglob.blogspot.com and http://writingsnoir.blogspot.ca/, Pinterest, Google+, Facebook, and follow her where most action happens: on Twitter @susmithjoseph
I hope you have enjoyed meeting her. This is my third interview with the authors of Carnival of Cryptids, a new-released anthology for charity purpose, specifically the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Come back next week and meet the next brilliant author of Carnival of Cryptids.
My mini review on “The Ogopogo Club”:
The OGOPOGO CLUB is the story of Carmen, a very obedient wife, and the abuse she receives from her despicable husband. One stormy afternoon, they go out fishing with his drunken friend to the scary Lake Okanagan in British Columbia, where Ogopogo, a watery, bumpy-backed water creature is rumored to have lived.
A short story with a huge twist. Susan Smith-Josephy knows well how to give her readers a good time. Thoroughly entertaining.