It’s that time again! This week’s Interview with the Author stars the Amazing Susan Rooke! Susan is my neighbor on Twitter, but later I found out that she’s my state neighbor, too! Susan writes smart and scary stuff. You might want to read during the day, or at the very least, next to a bright lamp. I read her first book several months ago. When she approached me about reading her second book ahead of publication, I pounced on the opportunity. Thanks again, Susan!
Susan’s books offer a new look at angels and demons and the creatures beneath. Book 2 released this week, and I’d love to share my review of it with you:
In Susan Rooke’s first book, The Space Between: The Prophecy of Faeries, no time is lost in whisking Mellis to a new land of misshaped creatures. Mellis discovers exactly why she is being kept in a mysterious house, unlocks the history of the inhabitants, and discovers part of her own past. Throughout the book, we are given glimpses, detailed and grisly, of the Realm Below.
In the The Realm Below: The Rise of Tanipestis, the order is reversed, and we get to find out what has happened in both realms after the end of the first book. There are fallen angels, dragons, characters in disguise, a fight for supremacy, and the natural happenings of life in the lands Susan has expertly designed.
One of my favorite things about The Realm Below is the chance to go deeper with the characters. In the first book I met them, and began to get to know them. In the second, I got the chance to dive in deeper with multiple characters and understand them better. We also get to know the house better, and the lands surrounding. There are even hints about further lands and people. It’s just enough to give a taste and make you hope the third book takes us on a further adventure!
The second book jumps right into the adventure and intrigue, and continues the well-crafted weaving of beauty and grotesque. A creature has awakened after its master’s disappearance, and life will not be able to go on as before.
Susan Rooke has taken the theme of angels and demons and done a fantastic job of producing a world that has just enough nod to the familiar while telling a story that is distinctive and remarkable. It’s a strong middle book that satisfies the wondering left over from the first book, and launches you into the space after, where I will be ready and waiting until the next book is released!
I have greatly enjoyed getting to know Susan on twitter. She shares great recipes (Yes, I’ve tried some!), has promised to write a cookbook just for me (jk…mostly), and shares her beautiful photography. Also, she has a great sense of humor.
Have you found her on Goodreads and Amazon yet? We can pause real quick so you can do that. Here are the gorgeous covers of her books:
Now, on to learning more about Susan!
- Introduce yourself. Name. Nickname. Susan Rooke. No middle name. I’ve had several nicknames over the years (“Rookie,” “Monkey Arms”), but my favorite is still the one my older brother (by 8 years) came up with when I was just a little girl. He called me “Bug,” because I was an annoying little sister; I bugged him. And it stuck. In time I became “Aunt Bug” to his kids.
- If your Wi-Fi name was a reflection of you, what would it be? WhenIGetAroundtoIt. I’m an awful procrastinator.
- What personality trait has gotten you into the most trouble? Probably the mistaken notion that I’m going to last forever, so what’s the rush?
- What genre (of collection) do you write in and why? I write all sorts of poetry, but the fiction I write (short stories and novels) is always speculative. I don’t know why, though, because I read in any genre.
- Who is important to you? My family and friends. Plus our animals: Australian Shepherd Lucy; our part Maine Coon Phoebe, aka Tatonka or Jabba the Catt [oh lord, here she comes now. It must be time to feed her again]; and our dear grandcat, Tsuki.
- Where do you call home? Central Texas.
- What books are/have you written? The Space Between: The Prophecy of Faeries, and The Realm Below: The Rise of Tanipestis (which is brand new, even as we speak). I’ve just started writing the third book in the series.
- If you are having a rotten day, what do you do to conquer that? If it’s not something that I’ll probably find humor in eventually, I just try to soldier through. Then that evening, I’ll pour myself a stiff highball and turn to my husband Glen for solace. Poor man! (He gets a stiff highball too.)
- If you were invisible for a day, what would you do? I’d walk our property trying to get some incredible, close-up nature photographs without nature being any the wiser.
- Your life is made into a musical. What is the title of at least one of the songs? “Better Late Than Never”
- What are your sleeping habits? Nonhabitual. The lack of consistent sleep is annoying. And fatigue makes my lazy eye skew a bit, which is weird.
- What would you name your boat? The Slithy Tove
- What’s your biggest kitchen disaster? At bedtime one night I was prepping a 14 lb. brisket for Glen to put in the smoker at 5A.M. the next morning. I had the brisket in the kitchen sink and was hauling it out of its vacuum-wrap using a pigsticker: a sharp steel skewer with the pointy end curlicued like a pig’s tail. I was tired and not paying close enough attention. The pointy end wasn’t all the way in the meat. It ripped loose and flew up and hit me in the forehead, right above the bridge of my nose. This was followed by a trip to the ER, a tetanus shot and some glue to close the wound. I was lucky not to lose an eye.
- Tell me about one of your characters. Would you get along in real life? I can’t pick just one to tell you about. When I tried, they all came crowding into my head, wanting to have their say. I’m grateful to have their trust, and it’s an honor to be able to record their stories. (Don’t tell any of them, but Lugo is my favorite and we would get on famously!)
- If you were arrested with no explanation, what would your friends and family assume you had done? They would assume it was a case of mistaken identity. I haven’t even had a speeding ticket since 1984.
- What are your favorite clothes to wear? Around the house, T-shirts and knee-length yoga pants, or fleecy long pants and long-sleeved henleys in cooler weather. Running errands, jeans and linen blouses.
- If someone asked to be your apprentice and learn all that you know, what would they end up learning? They’d learn how to put off until tomorrow what they could have easily done today. And then how to freak out over it. There’d also be some cooking, baking, cocktailing and playing Cards Against Humanity.
- What are your future writing plans? There will be at least a third book in the Space Between series. As for a fourth, I don’t know. I’m not a fast writer, and the books are somewhat intricate, requiring my careful thought and close attention because of their interweaving storylines and timelines. I’ll continue to write poems and short stories/flash fiction. And there’s always the possibility that there’ll be another book that’s not in the series.
- What’s one thing you absolutely adore in life? Leaving aside beloved people and pets, I absolutely adore Glen’s barbecue pit. It’s a combination grill and smoker. After much research, he designed and built it in his shop, working late several nights a week for months. With this contraption and his mad pitmaster skills, he makes the best Texas-style barbecued brisket and pork ribs I’ve ever tasted. No barbecue sauces, no fancy dry rubs. Just salt and pepper, heat, time and smoke.
- What is one of your pet peeves? Hearing people end their sentences with “at.” “Where are you at?”
- You’re in the middle of a wizarding duel. What animal do you transfigure into? Why be an animal when you can be a cosmic entity? Cthulhu, of course!
- Would you survive if you were a character in your own books? Maybe. If I got too gabby, the author might kill me off just to shut me up.
- You are putting on a dinner party. What do you serve and who do you invite? The weather would be mild, low 70s, with just enough cloud cover as the sun sinks, and a soft breeze. We’d be eating outside on the patio, digging in to Glen’s brisket and pork ribs, or, for the pescatarians, grilled swordfish with lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and capers, prepared on the grill side of the pit. There would be sides: a gratin of potatoes, a cucumber-cherry tomato-kalamata olive salad and feather-light yeasty rolls. A selection of cocktails and beers/wines. Coffee macadamia brickle ice cream for dessert. And everyone we love would be there. Including a handful who can’t be there under any circumstances anymore.
- Would you rather relive the same day for 365 days or lose a year of your life? I can’t relive the same day for 365 days. I wouldn’t be here at the end of that time anyway, so I might as well pick the other option.
- You are transported to one of your favorite books. Where are you? I’m in T.H. White’s The Sword in the Stone. Learning, as the Wart did, how to live as different creatures under the instruction of Merlyn and his owl, Archimedes.
For even more fun information on Susan Rooke, check out her blog where you’ll find amazing pictures like this one:
It was hard to choose just one of her pictures to share. This wasn’t my favorite, but it was up there. Thanks so much Susan for your time and for the great books you’ve written!
P.S. Imaginary Bonus points if you correctly guess my favorite picture on the Shutterbugging page of her blog. Ready, Set, Go!