Today I’m shining the spotlight on debut novelist Susan Sofayov, author of DEFECTIVE, released in April. (Get your copy here!). Susan Sofayov lives in the scenic, tropical Pittsburgh, PA with her real estate developer husband, a tenth grade son, and the most hated dog in the neighborhood. She is the mother of two college students and lives for the weekends they come home.
Tell me – what’s DEFECTIVE about?
University of Pittsburgh law student, Maggie Hovis, battles an enemy she cannot escape—her own brain.
Where do you write?
There is an extra bedroom in our house that I’ve turned into an office/ironing room/junk depository. I have one of those corner desks, facing the wall, which is not a bad thing. The walls aren’t distracting.
What inspired you to write this story?
To tell you everything that came together to inspire me to write this book – would be another book. The first grains of the idea came when, after many years of suffering, I was diagnosed with Bipolar 2 Disorder. The new medication changed my life. I’m lucky it works so well. I know others aren’t as fortunate.
A few months later, I learned that I had a Great Aunt Ella who died in a mental hospital. I know nothing about this woman, but her name, which I borrowed for the character in the book. But, I spent a lot of time wondering if her life would have been different if she was alive today.
What has been your greatest surprise throughout the publishing process?
Every step has been a surprise, but here is my main take away. Writing the book is the easy part. Finding a publisher takes work. Marketing engulfs your life.
What’s one piece of advice you’d like to relay to aspiring writers?
Boy, I don’t feel qualified to give advice. When I wrote the first page of DEFECTIVE, I had no idea what I was doing. But, the answers are out there. If your goal is to be published, learn the rules and follow them. The Internet connects you with the experts in the field – heed their advice. And go to a conference. Writing conferences can be pricey, but they’re so worth it.
Do you find writing to be collaborative?
I’m envisioning all the members of my writer’s critique group nodding in unison. Without them, my life would be a never-ending series of misplaced commas. So, yes. It’s very collaborative. You’re going to fix all my comma mistakes on this interview, right?
Where do you get your ideas from?
I’m not sure. Like toast, they just pop up.
Do you have an author’s website?
The book has a website—Defectivethenovel.com. It’s rather funny – if you type the words Defective and Sofayov into the search bar, you get a lot of results for defective sofas. I also have a page you can loosely call a blog. I can’t seem to get the hang of this blogging thing.
What would you have done differently?
So far, not much. I love Black Opal Books, the staff, and the authors. I guess, if I could turn back the clock, I would have studied up on the marketing of novels and learned the importance of getting the right reviewers to review your book before publication.
Tell us something about you that readers may be surprised to know.
I lived in Tel Aviv, Israel for a few years and gave birth to my daughter there.
What’s next? Tell us about your work in progress.
I have a couple works in progress. The first one is a weird middle-grade fantasy that is going to grow-up to be YA on the next rewrite. The second is women’s fiction. It’s the Jewish version of Steel Magnolias, but a bit darker.