Friday, September 10, 2010

Suzanne Tyrpak Interview

1: What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?

Generally, I write best in the morning—I think coming out of dreamtime into consciousness helps me tap into a story, and I’ve even worked out plot problems in dreams. But I write whenever I can. I’ve been known to wake up at 3am and write. Sometimes I come up with wild ideas at night, and when I look at them the next morning I find I need to edit them…or hit delete.

2: Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?

I scratch out notes all over the place—on napkins, my arms, on the back of papers I have lying around in my car (get a lot of ideas when I’m driving), but I tend to write mostly on the computer. My handwriting can be a mess—cross-outs, arrows, writing in margins—and I can’t decipher what I’ve written.

3: What do you draw inspiration from?

My own neurosis and people I meet. I’m not safe to be around—you could end up as a character.

The collection of nine short stories that comprise, Dating My Vibrator (and other true fiction) was inspired largely by my own experience: dating, divorce, desire, desperation—all that good stuff. Of course I changed names, condensed characters, embellished. Mostly I cut. Real life rambles more than fiction.

The novel I’m currently working on, Vestal Virgin, suspense set in ancient Rome at the time of Nero, was inspired by a travel book. I read a blurb that mentioned vestals were the most powerful women in the Roman Empire, sworn (as children) to thirty years of chastity—and, if they broke that vow, they could be buried alive. Ooooo, I thought, there’s a story! Then I did a lot of research including two trips to Italy.

4: Do you set goals for yourself when you sit down to write such as word count?

I tend to set goals like: I’m going to barrel through this chapter or this story. If things are going well, and time allows, I write for hours and word count is no problem. If nothing’s clicking, I try to get at least 250-500 words.

5: Are you a published or a self published author and how do you come up with your cover art?

I’ve had a number of short stories published in anthologies and magazines. Rock Bottom, and, Downhill, both included in Dating My Vibrator, were both previously published. The other seven stories were not. My friend, Blake Crouch, encouraged me to put together a collection of stories on Kindle. He and Joe Konrath have done very well on Kindle, especially with their collaboration, Serial. Blake introduced me to his incredible cover artist, Jeroen ten Berg. Jeroen read my stories, liked them and came up with two fantastic covers. I had a hard time deciding between the two. He’s also done a great cover for Vestal Virgin. I recommend him highly. Here’s a link to his website:

6: What drives you to choose the career of being a writer?

I’m an obsessive personality. That helps. In fifth grade we were asked, “what do you plan to ‘be’ when you grow up?” I said: a dancer, an actress, and a writer (in that order). And that’s what I’ve done. Of course, I’ve had a lot of “real” jobs to support my artistic habits. I’ve been a go-go dancer (long time ago!), worked for television producers in New York, sold and wrote commercials for radio—I currently do freelance PR work for the Durango Discovery Museum and work for an airline which allows me to travel. I love writing because I can do it anytime and anywhere.

7: Do you own an ebook reading device?

I’ve been reading on my pc, but I will buy a Kindle soon—easier to read on than an iPad.

8: Who are some of your favorite authors and What are you reading now?

I read eclectically and tend to get into a writer and read everything they’ve written. I love Jane Austen, and I’m a fan of all kinds of English novels…Edith Wharton, Thackeray, Henry James. I love sinking myself into a different time and place. I also enjoy mysteries and thrillers—just got to read Blake Crouch’s latest manuscript. Ruth Rendell is a favorite—she writes such deliciously insane characters. I’m also a fan of Tess Gerritsen and Thomas Harris. At this minute, I’m reading a mystery by Elizabeth George. And I love short stories by Flannery O’Conner and Raymond Carver. I also read a fair amount of psychology—I find the human psyche fascinating.

9: What do you think of book trailers and do you have any plans to have any?

I just participated in a webinar about how to make a book trailer—might be fun. I don’t know if readers really watch book trailers, though.

10: How did you come up with the title of your latest book?

A friend of mine said I needed a title along the lines of, Vagina Monologues. I had that rolling around in my brain, and when I went for a swim, Dating My Vibrator surfaced. Come to think of it, I’ve had a few titles surface while I’m swimming. Guess I should swim more often.

11: What are you working on now that you can talk about?

I’m completing a rewrite on my novel, Vestal Virgin. I hadn’t looked at the manuscript for a couple of years, so I’m attacking with the cold eye of an assassin. I’m enjoying slashing, cutting and rewriting. I’ve had a lot of interest in the book, but I’ve decided to publish it on Kindle and I plan to bring it out in trade paperback. Right now, I’m hooked on self-publishing. I like the immediacy. The independence. Or maybe I’m just a control freak!


  1. I've been reading Suzanne Tyrpak's ficton for years and find her writing to be smart, often sexy and delightful. Dating My Vibrator is a case in point. Her work comes through life experience, some of it tough. And OMG, what a worker she is.

  2. Whatever Suzanne Tyrpak writes, I'm there to read it. She's funny and refreshing. Dating My Vibrator is a hoot!

  3. Finally, an easy to read how-to on the hot new trend of dating your very own vibrator. Reads like the very best humour fiction. Wait. It is fiction? FUNNY!

  4. Dating My Vibrator made me laugh more than anything else I've read in 2010. The sneak peak I was offered of Vestal Virgin promises it to be the most thrilling I'll read this year. Thanks Suzanne - you rock!