Today is launch day for my friend, Elyse Salpeter Sussman’s new novel, Flying to the Fire and I am so pleased to host her on Rebekah Lyn Books. I read the first book in the series, Flying to the Light and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Welcome to Rebekah Lyn Books, Elyse.Tell us about yourself. Are you a full-time author, a wife, mom etc? If you have a funny story about your life, please share.
Great question! I’m a full time neurotic to be honest. I am going a mile a minute, trying to basically do everything all at once. My wordpress blog’s tagline is “Musings of a Type “A” Mom – trying to do it all, one project at a time!”
To answer the question, I am a full-time sales rep for a magazine, a married mom of twins and keeper of a crazy ferret. When I’m not working or with the family, I’m basically glued to the computer, writing or doing social media. Occasionally, I’ll dabble in my garden. I love to cook and I get a kick of going into the garden, picking out a fresh veggie and a bunch of herbs and making a side dish with it for dinner that night. The zucchini and tomatoes are doing great this year and I have a ton of spaghetti squash maturing now.
My tomatoes have not done well this year but I did get some from a local farm. I picked some basil from my herb garden and made a divine tomato basil soup. Speaking of food, I know you are a member of a group that likes to eat very unusual foods. Tell us about it. Is there a food you expected to hate but loved it?
Yes! I’m a member of the NY Gastronaut Club. I have a huge love of food, but also enjoy the different smells and textures, which makes me capable of trying a lot of different foods without freaking out. Two years ago I was in NJ at the Food & Wine Festival and went to Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods Brunch and sat next to a guy who was in the NY Gastronaut Club. I found my nirvana. I sent in my application and essay and got accepted. Each month they do a crazy themed event and you must RSVP fast because with a few thousand people in the club and only 50-100 tickets available per event, you have to be quick.
I’ve gotten to eat a lot of really neat foods, such as large land snails, goats head stew, lamb’s brains, cow’s feet. Per your question, I’ve not yet expected to hate a food and loved it. (though I have not been to the balout or insect dinners – I think those would give me pause). Usually, I’ve expected to like something and then distinctly disliked it. There was one event that was all about “genitalia.” (are you cringing yet?) I happen to like giblets and chewy foods so I thought I’d really enjoy it. They served “beef genitalia” and cut it up in a very strange way. I thought I’d like it, but I didn’t. As I’ve been told by the Gastronauts, “It’s really all about the chef. If a chef can prepare the product well, and spice it correctly, pretty much anything can taste good.” This particular dish, not so much.
I think your willingness to try the unconventional is an influence in your writing. In Flying to the Light you write about a boy with unusual power who is also deaf. Was there something in your experience that sparked your imagination?
I’ve always been interested in the Deaf culture and in college I took a sign language class for fun. My professor was the first deaf person I’d ever met. He didn’t speak, so the entire class had us immersed in the language.
As for the story, one day I was watching at a group of birds pecking at food on the ground. I started daydreaming and thought “maybe they are not what we think they are. ” The story morphed from there and suddenly there was this little boy in the book who was deaf. I thought “wouldn’t it be amazing if this kid held a powerful secret?” I never went out to make a deaf character – but there he was in front of me. In the novel I never treat his deafness as a disability. It is simply a part of who he is.
I agree. To me, Danny’s deafness seemed more like a gift than a handicapp.Now let’s talk about your new release, Flying to the Fire. Did you plan for a sequel?
I first published FLYING TO THE LIGHT with Cool Well Press – a
wonderful little publishing company that has since folded. Before that happened, a few months after the novel came out, the owner asked me when I was going to do a sequel. At the time I vehemently refused to do one. You see, what many people don’t know is that the owner had me completely revamp the story at first. The bad guys were completely different and I had to do a complete rewrite. I was so exhausted by this experience I simply shut down even considering a sequel
But then, the more I thought about it, I started thinking that there was more of a story to tell. I took the character of Danny Anderson from a six years old, and made him thirteen so that he could now be the driver of the story.
I’m a bit obsessed with issues about the afterlife and what happens. So many religions have so many beliefs about it and I thought it would be fun (I AM a fantasy writer) to simply play with it a bit. In Book #2 I add some nice twists and continue with that theme. I think people will enjoy it.
If you would like to connect with Elyse, be sure to follow her on Twitter and Facebook. She enjoys talking with both readers and authors. You can also visit her book blog and you might want to sign up to receive her newsletter. She gives her subscribers early discounts and access to short stories.