Suzanne Rogerson has just published her first book, Visions of Zarua, so let’s all congratulate her and give her the support we can. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Suzanne, and we talked about her Epic Fantasy novel, the Fantasy genre, and more that you can read below. I will also be reviewing Visions of Zarua in January, so stay tuned.
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Visions of Zarua by Suzanne Rogerson
Publication date: December 16th 2015
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Two wizards, 350 years apart.
Together they must save the realm of Paltria from Zarua’s dark past.
An ancient darkness haunts the realm of Paltria.
Apprentice wizard Paddren is plagued by visions of a city on the brink of annihilation. When his master Kalesh dies in mysterious circumstances, the Royal Order of Wizards refuses to investigate.
Helped by his childhood friend, the skilled tracker Varnia, and her lover Leyoch, Paddren vows to find the killer.
The investigation leads Paddren down a sinister path of assassins, secret sects and creatures conjured by blood magic. But he is guided by a connection with a wizard from centuries ago – a wizard whose history holds the key to the horror at the heart of the abandoned city of Zarua. Can Paddren decipher his visions in time to save the Paltrian people from the dark menace of Zarua’s past?
1) Visions of Zarua has been published last week, on 16th November. Describe us the feeling of having your first book finally out there!
It’s very strange having my first book published; the nerves have calmed down a bit but it still doesn’t seem real. I suppose part of that is because there’s no physical book to hold and say ‘Yes I wrote this!’ I’m looking into print on demand at the moment, and hope to offer my readers that option soon.
2) Your book follows the epic journey of apprentice wizard Paddren that will decide the fate of the realm of Paltria. Tell us, how did you come up with the idea for your protagonist? Was there a real life inspiration?
I don’t have any real life inspiration for my characters. They just show up on the page when I’m free writing and I build the story from there. Visions of Zarua actually started with a scene of Varnia – my strong, independent female protagonist. She was tracking a dangerous creature through the woods with her two deerhounds. I wanted to know what she was hunting and why, and everything developed from that one scene. Her best friend, Paddren soon turned up and stole the show, but Varnia is still very much a main character in the book.
3) Why Fantasy?
I love heroes and the fantasy genre is full of them. Fantasy encompasses everything; bloodshed and battles, hardship and friendship, heroes and romance. Everything is in the extreme, and it’s full of life and death moments which are far removed from our world of technology.
4) What authors, books, or ideas have influenced you?
The author that’s always inspired me is David Gemmell; he was a true master of characterisation. To me character is everything. When I write, I always focus on the characters and their relationships within the story, whether that be between lovers, friends, parents, siblings, etc. Characters drive the story and the heroes of fantasy stay with you long after you’ve finished the novel. That’s something David Gemmell’s writing has instilled in me, and I hope to achieve in my own novels.
5) There’s blood magic in your world, and I am dying to know more. Without spoilers, of course, would you like to reveal a little about how magic works in Paltria?
It is hard to explain the magic in Paltria because Paddren knows very little and I want the reader to discover things at the same pace as him. At the start of the book those will magic serve the king in the form of his Royal Wizards. Paddren’s an apprentice Royal Wizard, living in a small town that’s far removed from the order he served. It’s only when his master is killed by a magical beast that no one wants to admit exists that he realises the world of magic is not as it seems.
6) What was the biggest challenge you faced when writing and publishing Visions of Zarua?
The biggest challenge for me has always been time. Although I’m lucky enough not to work at the moment, I still can’t find enough time to write and edit. I would eat, sleep and breathe writing if I could. Self-publishing has been a huge learning process with many hair-pulling moments and plenty of expletives. I’m glad to be in charge of the process though, especially making my own decisions on things like the title and cover.
7) Do you have any other projects you are currently working on? Would you like to tell us about them?
I’m working on a couple of novels at the moment. Bloodlines (working title) is a duology. It’s about the magical island of Kalaya which is slowly dying because its people are turning their back on the magic that holds everything in balance. It’s already written but still needs some serious editing. I’ve also begun plans for a third book, which I want to draft out before publishing book 1. I have another novel that I wrote during NaNoWriMo a few years ago that I can’t wait to finish, and a short story called Death Dream that I’m developing into a novella.
8) What would be the easiest way for your readers to reach you?
About the author
Suzanne lives in Middlesex with her hugely encouraging husband and two children.
She wrote her first novel at the age of twelve. She discovered the fantasy genre in her late teens and has never looked back. Giving up work to raise a family gave her the impetus to take her attempts at novel writing beyond the first draft, and she is lucky enough to have a husband who supports her dream – even if he does occasionally hint that she might think about getting a proper job one day.
Suzanne loves gardening and has a Hebe (shrub) fetish. She enjoys cooking with ingredients from the garden, and regularly feeds unsuspecting guests vegetable-based cakes.
She collects books, loves going for walks and picnics with the children and sharing with them her love of nature and photography.
Suzanne is interested in history and enjoys wandering around castles. But most of she likes to escape with a great film, or soak in a hot bubble bath with an ice cream and a book.