Today we’re talking with Suzannah Burke. Sooz and I were in the same editing group for this anthology, so I had the pleasure of reading her story, Cajun Queen, early in the process.
How often do you use music in your other writing? What style/form of music? Is it different with each writing project, or do you use the same/similar music for everything?
I use music in most everything I write, somehow it always seems to become an intrinsic part of any character I create, sometimes it only the mention of a piece of music that helps define the character’s individuality, at other times as a background to an event that may be occuring. I have no clear style or form of music in mind when i begin to craft a fictional personality…it’s different for each and every central character in my work. Even Cyril my Crocodile in Dudes Down Under has “Some Enchanted Evening” from South Pacific as his theme song…not Crocodile Rock as many people expected.
Where else do you find inspiration?
Inspiration can come from anywhere and often at the strangest times. I draw on nature a fair bit. The wonderful storms that come in unexpectedly here during a hot summer’s day, lightening, thunder the sound of hail on a tin roof. I often sit outside on a hot night and count the number of shooting stars I see. In the supermarket, they way A mother holds her childs hand, the people in the line at the checkout…sometimes just the way someone studies the things on a shelf can have me scrambling for my note book.
When you first got your song, did the story hit you right away or was it more of a simmer? (i.e., what was your process)
Initially I was gobsmacked, of all the varieties of music I love, country music ranks way down the list. So I was a little disappointed at first. However once I’d listened to the lyrics over and over they determined which way I would take the story. I tossed it around in my head, and at first tried to write it with an Australian perspective, but that simply did not work…the song is so very American, and clearly needed an American setting. Once I had decided that, the story flowed easily.
Were you familiar with the song you received for Words to Music? Did this impact the story at all?
I had never heard the song or the artist before, as i mentioned Country music is just not something I have ever been drawn to. So yes it impacted the story a great deal, and I had to overcome my dislike of the sound in order to justice to the storyline.
If you crave silence instead, why does music bother you?
Good question… I listen to music during the initial creative flow, when the first thoughts begin to make themselves into actuality on the page. However I must have total silence when I’m writing. So much so that I live in virtual isolation with only my pets around me. No sounds of traffic or neighbors too close to distract me from what I’m trying to focus on. Music takes me on a journey when I’m really listening, to have it playing whilst I write would never work for me.
What song is your anthology story based on? Do you like the song? If so, why? And what about that song speaks to you?
The song is “Adalida” by whoever? Sorry, I can’t recall his name (George Strait, *grin*). I didn’t like the song. It just didn’t stir me in any way. I mean it was okay, and the lyrics and music had a good beat. But it just didn’t toot my horn. I listened…got a grip on the basis of the intent in the lyrics, and then wrote Cajun Queen based on that feeling. With help from you as a team member, thank heavens. I would have made some dreadful mistakes on a tale set in the deep south of the United States without your assistance.
You’re very welcome!
I thought *I* was busy, but then I saw all the things Sooz does each week/month (see links below). Whew. How does she do it all?
You can request an interview or a book review by contacting her by email, or through commenting on Suzannah’s blog
To read an excerpt from her biography, Empty Chairs
To read about her comedy/ romance novel
To see the submission guidelines for the “Paragraphs of Power” contest
Her monthly article on Welcome to Wherever ezine go to
And a weekly article on Authors On Show
Thanks so much for joining us, Sooz! Any questions for her, guys?