#SPFBO4 Interview with Suzanne Rogerson, author of The Lost Sentinel #1 in the Silent Sea Chronicles

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Today I’m pleased to welcome to my blog Suzanne Rogerson, author of The Lost Sentinel #1 in the Silent Sea Chronicles.

As you may be aware if you’re following the SPFBO competition or my updates I’ve recently cut a further five books and unfortunately The Lost Sentinel was part of that second round of cuts. However, as I’ve mentioned previously I don’t just see the SPFBO as a competition with only one winner.  I like to think that all the authors who enter the competition are winners, maybe not for the elusive No.1 spot, but in bringing awareness  to their own books and to the huge self published market that’s out there.  I think you all deserve a massive round of applause simply for putting your books forward.  (N.B. – Suzanne’s books are currently on sale worldwide and the links for further information are below).

Anyway, enough of all my chatter.  Let’s move on to the interview with the wonderful and rather lovely Suzanne:

Hi Suzanne, welcome to my blog, I’d like to start by asking if you could share with readers a little bit about yourself and your book/s.

Hi Lynn. Thanks for having me over for an interview.

I’m an author of epic and heroic fantasy and I’ve been self-publishing for almost three years. I first discovered my love of fantasy when I read a page of Druss the Legend over my husband’s shoulder way back in my teens. It was at a time when I knew I wanted to write but couldn’t decide which genre to try. Thanks to David Gemmell, and my husband, I’ve been obsessed with the fantasy genre ever since!

My debut was Visions of Zarua published in 2015.

VisionsofZarua

This year I’ve entered The Lost Sentinel into SPFBO, which is my second fantasy novel and Book 1 in the Silent Sea Chronicles.

The Lost Sentinel is set on the magical island of Kalaya, which is dying as the connection between the people and their magic fades through ignorance and distrust. We follow three main characters;

Tei is a young woman forced to leave home when her magic is discovered. She flees to the mountains to join the other exiles and takes up their cause to find their dying Sentinel’s replacement. This person is the key to saving the magic, but mysterious Masked Riders are determined to thwart them.

Brogan is a newly appointed Assembly member who would rather be back on his farm than making decisions about Kalaya and its magical community. From the start he realises the Assembly, the ruling body on the island, is corrupt and he’s forced to face some difficult choices when he discovers compromising facts about his past.

We also follow Farrell, a pirate hunting sea commander of a race who were forced from their home when magic-hating invaders attempted to annihilate them. They have made a new life on a barren island dubbed Stone Haven, but their existence is harsh and when they hear of a magical island across the sea the temptation proves too much for the desperate people.

The three storylines come together over the course of the first two books – The Sentinel’s Reign  (No.2) is out now.

I think I read on your author’s page that you started writing stories at age 12.  Have any of your characters or storylines survived and fed into your published works??

Yes, I did complete a whole novel when I was 12 in 6 old excise books that I have tucked away in the bottom of the wardrobe.

The story was about a 15-year-old girl forced to move home and leave everything she loved behind – so that part of the story is very much like Tei’s situation in The Lost Sentinel. There are also elements of heroism and sacrifice in my first novel that are predominant in The Lost Sentinel.

You published your first book in 2015. What lessons did that teach you in terms of publishing Lost Sentinel and has your writing process evolved over the three years since?

When I first self-published I had no contacts in the blogging community and hadn’t considered sending out ARC’s to reviewers. Visions of Zarua disappeared until I did a blog tour 7 months later.

I learnt to be more organised with The Lost Sentinel. I sent out early ARC’s, arranged a big blog tour, 99p pre-order, giveaways etc. I made sure there was as much buzz as I could create around publication day. However, it was so stressful I promised myself I wouldn’t do it again.

With my third book this year, I sent out ARC’s and had a low key unofficial blog tour around the release date. It was much less stressful, but I think the book sales may have suffered as a result. I also hadn’t banked on a prolonged heat wave and the World Cup happening around my publication date. Terrible timing!

The last few years have shown me that I can achieve it all by myself, but if I want to keep my sanity and sell books then I may need to get some help with the promotional side of the business.

My writing process has definitely changed as well. I format the document as I go along using saved setting in Word’s style menu. This has saved me days of work adjusting the text. 

I’ve also used excel spreadsheets to plan my chapters and scenes so I have a clear idea of the various story threads and the timelines.

Such a lot of time and effort goes into publishing a book. I think readers are often blissfully unaware of the ins and outs. Would you say that writing has been everything you had hoped? What aspects of being an author do you really enjoy for example and what aspects are not as good?

Writing and publishing my own books has been much better than I could have imagined. I’ve reached readers all over the world and there’s nothing as gratifying as reading reviews from complete strangers who’ve really connected with my work. That’s the best aspect of it for me. I love the writing and creating side (and I’m also a self confessed editing addict), but when someone says they’re in love with one of my characters, or that they couldn’t read through their tears, that means everything to me.

The hardest part is waiting. Waiting for those sales and reviews to come in, and trying not to be disheartened when things are slow. The competition for a reader’s time and money is immense and being part of SPFBO this year has shown me just how good the competition is. Sometimes that makes it hard to keep up the enthusiasm. Just yesterday I was feeling low about my writing career, but then I opened my latest W.I.P, Book 3 in the Silent Sea Chronicles, and realised I couldn’t wait to carry on the journey with these wonderful characters who no longer just exist inside my head. I know I have people eagerly awaiting my next book so I refuse to give up on the dream just yet.

What next?  After you finish the Silent Sea Chronicles do you have something else in mind?  Will you stay in the same world but maybe take on a different character’s story?

After the Silent Sea Chronicles (SSC) trilogy is complete, hopefully sometime in 2019, I have a couple of ideas I want to follow up on.

One is to write a prequel for the SSC, which will focus on pivotal moments in the history of the people and the magical islands. In particular how the island of Stone Haven lost its magic and the near annihilation of Farrell’s people before their escape across the sea.

The next book I hope to finish is a standalone and will be another heroic fantasy. I started it during Nanowrimo a few years ago and it’s still waiting for an end. The characters have been calling to me so I’m really excited about continuing with it. Plus as one of the main characters is an apothecary, I’ve bought myself an online Herbal Mastery course. I love a bit of research and I love plants so that should be really interesting.

I’m also thinking of publishing a short story anthology at some point next year. So I have plenty to keep me busy.

That sounds great. So many plans in the pipeline. How do you find time to relax or have fun?  Or has writing become a thing that you never switch off from??

I hardly ever switch off from writing and the many tasks involved in self-publishing and marketing my books. Sometimes it’s exhausting!

But I am still at my happiest when I’m writing, so I don’t regret the path I’ve chosen.

My favourite way to relax is watching films and reading books, or going for walks, though we don’t find as much time for that now the kids are getting older. I keep hoping to get a dog one day, but it’s a two against two vote in this house.

Finally, to conclude on a slightly different note can you tell readers:

What’s the last book you read. What book are you reading currently. What book do you plan after that one is completed?

Funnily enough my answers will be SPFBO related as I’ve picked up a few of this year’s contenders and have pledged to myself to read them over the coming months. I’ve recently finished The Exercise of Vital Powers by Ian Gregoire. This was an almost from Kitty’s group in 2017. It was a very entertaining read and I’m looking forward to the sequel.

I’m currently reading Game Bird by Aidan R Walsh. I’m really enjoying this and wish I had more time to just sit and be totally immersed in the story.

Not SFPBO related but I won a first edition signed hardback copy of City of Lies by Sam Hawke. I’m just a few pages in, but I already feel as though I’m going to love it.

I plan to read another SPFBO book after these two and I have a couple from your group Lynn, which are high up on the list to read. So I may go for either A Wizard’s Forge by A.M Justice or High Barrens by Alice Sabo.

It’s been great to be a part of SPFBO this year and I wish the remaining authors good luck in the competition.

Thanks very much for agreeing to feature me, Lynn.

Suzanne, thank you so much for taking part in my interview and the competition.  It’s been a pleasure chatting to you.  I think there’s some excellent advice for others amongst these answers and a lovely shout out for the books you’ve read and plan to read. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all the best with the Silent Sea Chronicles. 

I’d also like to share with readers that Suzanne’s books are currently on sale worldwide.  Check out the links below for information:

The Lost Sentinel – Book 1 Silent Sea Chronicles
The Sentinel’s Reign – Book 2 Silent Sea Chronicles

Visions of Zarua – Standalone epic fantasy

Suzanne can be found:
Website
Goodreads Author Page
Facebook Author Page
Twitter
Instagram
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18 Responses to “#SPFBO4 Interview with Suzanne Rogerson, author of The Lost Sentinel #1 in the Silent Sea Chronicles”

  1. Tammy

    Great interview, self publishing sounds exhausting but if you love writing, I suppose it’s all worth it😊 Best of luck to Suzanne!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I guess being exhausted doing something you love is so much better than working really hard on something you don’t care about after all.
      Lynn 😄

    • suzannerogersonfantasyauthor

      Thanks very much, Tammy.
      To see my books out in the world is worth all the stress and exhaustion!

  2. Alice Sabo

    Thanks for the mention, Suzanne. I just grabbed a copy of your book. Looks like my kind of read.

  3. waytoofantasy

    Nice interview! Looking forward to more SPFBO updates. 🙂

  4. amjusticewrites

    Thanks also for the mention, and I hope you enjoy A Wizard’s Forge. I can totally relate to the struggles of an indie author–particularly the waiting! Lost Sentinel sounds up my alley as well.

    • suzannerogersonfantasyauthor

      Thank you.
      I’ve been following your audiobook journey for A Wizard’s Forge. I look forward to seeing how that goes, and of course to reading the book as well.

      • amjusticewrites

        Oh, cool! The third and final post is up; the audiobook launched just this past week. 🙂

      • suzannerogersonfantasyauthor

        That’s the post I stumbled upon via FB I think. It’s really interesting, esp as I’ve considered this route myself. Good luck with it.

  5. #sundayblogshare #SPFBO4 Interview with Suzanne Rogerson, author of The Lost Sentinel #1 in the Silent Sea Chronicles #fantasy #spfbo | Suzanne Rogerson Fantasy Author

    […] via #SPFBO4 Interview with Suzanne Rogerson, author of The Lost Sentinel #1 in the Silent Sea Chronicles […]

  6. Carmen

    Great interview, Lynn! You are a natural. 😉 Good luck to Suzanne with the current installment of the SSC trilogy, and in the future. As another commenter above pointed out, writing and self-publishing sound exhausting, but Suzanne seems to be managing well, with several projects in the pipeline that hopefully will be rewarding in terms of readership and sales. 🙂

  7. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    Great interview! Thanks for letting us know more about your work and for the insight on self-publishing (it sounds like a A LOT of work). I wish you the best of luck!

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