Today we have Suzanne Morgan Williams, author of Bull Rider on the blog!
Tell us 3 things about yourself no one else knows.
Well, if no one knows them by now, maybe they are secrets. Let me think . . . When I was in college I really wanted to be a folk singer and did a few gigs in coffee houses, but I had some bad stage fright. It wasn’t as fun as singing to myself and with my friends. Back in the day I used to sew a lot of my clothes (it saved money then) and I made some money when I was in high school sewing dresses for my friends. I am a “closet” illustrator and would so love to illustrate a book that I write, or should I say, have yet to write.
If you had to live with 3 YA characters, who would they be?
I’d want someone kind and fun and reliable, maybe someone who can get stuff done. Do YA characters come like that? I might pick Austin Gray from Sweetheart of Prosper County by Jill Alexander because she’s definitely fun and kind to animals. And Anne from Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble because she’s a take charge kind of girl and can do cool stuff like go visit Baba Yaga in her house on chicken legs (ok, you’ve got to read the book), and maybe Roy from Hoot by Carl Hiaasen, because he’s young but he has a real sense of what’s right and wrong. I think he’d be reliable and ok to live with or, let’s reconsider, maybe I’d take Junior from The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian. He’s a survivor and he definitely tells things as he sees them. Refreshing.
How'd you come up with the idea for Bull Rider?
The idea for Bull Rider actually came from a conversation with an editor. We brainstormed an idea for a young series about rodeo. Later it changed to an older YA and finally to a younger YA book. I wrote the book four times and each time the theme changed. The idea for Ben came from the family I created for Cam. I figured Cam’s older brother would be a marine. When I changed the book to YA, then it seemed that a marine would be in Iraq and that could lead to some major tension – maybe a war injury. That decision changed Bull Rider into what it is.
If you could go back in time and tell something to your former teenage self?
What would it be? I would say to enjoy myself more and worry less about what other people were thinking. I’d definitely have a talk with myself about the power that I had – to choose friends, to choose and follow what I was most interested in, and mostly to imagine the world as very big and full of possibilities.
Favorite Genre to read? And write?
I like contemporary novels with strong social themes and historical fiction. I like a good mystery if it has something special – like a cultural or artistic component – something added to the mystery. The things I write are – surprise! – contemporary realistic fiction, historical fiction, multicultural nonfiction. No mysteries. I haven’t figured out how to actually do that yet.