Q&A With Susan Wiggs
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Q&A With Susan Wiggs
I’m excited to be doing this Q&A with New York Times bestselling author of contemporary women’s fiction, Susan Wiggs. Susan’s books have been part of many series and standalones. Some of Susan’s works include Sugar And Salt, The Lost And Found Bookshop, The Oysterville Sewing Circle and coming out on October 17th Susan’s latest novel, The Twelve Dogs Of Christmas.
Q: Would you like to tell the readers of the blog and me about your upcoming novel The Twelve Dogs Of Christmas and where you got the idea for the story?
A: Ooh, that’s easy! I matched online with a tiny puppy in Texas, and he was transported in a van with 12 other dogs to my home in Washington State. Little Dug was so tiny and adorable. That same week, I matched with another puppy who was brought from California–little Daisy! So I became curious about the process of transporting rescue dogs, and came to appreciate the devotion of the many volunteers who make it possible. I named the main character, Brenda, after Dug’s foster mom.
Note: for WAY too many cute pics of Dug and Daisy, follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Threads, or Twitter. Links can be found at www.susanwiggs.com
Q: What drew you into writing contemporary women’s fiction?
A: Being a contemporary woman! I love fiction that illuminates and validates the lives of today’s families.
Q: Where do all of your ideas for your novels come from? Do you use bits and pieces of real places and people to create characters for your novels? What’s the research process like?
A: Well–see the first answer for the inspiration for The Twelve Dogs of Christmas. I find inspiration everywhere–in the people I meet, readers who send me their thoughts, news articles, music–you name it.
There are definitely elements of people I know mixed up with my imaginary characters–a quirk, a certain voice or turn of phrase, a fashion preference, or a tricky situation. In 12 Dogs, one of my favorite characters, Dolly, is a reflection of my sister-in-law.
I research each novel deeply to make the story feel authentic to the reader. Although 12 Dogs is a rom-com, I did a deep dive into dog rescue to give the story the ring of truth. I always start at the library. A good librarian is the ultimate research partner. Then I interview people, do research online, and send lots of emails. People love to talk about their areas of expertise!
Q: Are you currently writing your next novel now? If so, are you allowed to reveal any details about it?
A: It’s quite a departure. A novel called Wayward Girls that takes place in Buffalo in 1968. That’s all I’m allowed to say at this point but I promise it’ll be a wild ride!
Q: Where is your favorite spot to sit down and plot, write, and edit your work?
A: In summer, on my patio with a view of Puget Sound and Mount Rainier! In winter, cozied up to the fire with a cup of Mariage Freres Earl Grey tea. I write my books in longhand, using Leuchtterm 1917 or Clairefontaine notebooks, grid-ruled. So I can drag my story around everywhere I go.
Q: What does it feel like being featured in national media, like NPR, PRI, & USA Today? It sounds so exciting!
A: It IS exciting! And kind of surreal. The process of writing is so interior and private that the publicity feels as if it’s happening to someone else. Writing also keeps you humble, because it’s so dang hard. It’s impossible to get a big head when you’re struggling to get 100,000 words to make sense!
Q: How do you deal with negative feedback whether it’s from reviews or trolls? I think any advice you give would help other writers.
A: I don’t read reviews, good or bad. They mess with my head. I remind myself that every reader reads a different book. Each reader brings her own sensibilities to the page, and she’s entitled to react in any way she wants. I’m honored that anyone would take the time to read and review the book, even if she didn’t like it. The one-star reviews from people who obviously haven’t read the book are like a fart in church. Hold your breath for 30 seconds and the smell goes away.
Q: If you experimented in writing different genres, which genres would they be and why?
A: Nonfiction. After being a working writer since 1986, I could probably come up with a book about being a working writer!