SUSAN HATLER is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, who writes humorous and emotional contemporary romance and young adult novels. Many of Susan’s books have been translated into German, Spanish, and Italian. A natural optimist, she believes life is amazing, people are fascinating, and imagination is endless. She loves spending time with her characters and hopes you do, too.
I suppose you could say I had a fairly normal upbringing. Two parents. Two sibs. A dog. A cat. Oh yeah–and sheep, chickens, goats, ponies, a cow, and (if memory serves) we had pigs at one point. Still not sure why. We weren’t Old McDonald and definitely didn’t have a farm. Go figure.
As I grew up, one constant in my life has been my stories. I wrote in elementary school (I had a strong fascination with unicorns then), in high school (lost count of how many teen series I had going at once), and did lots of journaling in college. Bars, boys, and occasionally studying eventually stole the place of my writing time. Besides, I needed to prepare myself for a “real” job, right?
The highlight of my college experience had to be the year I spent in Italy. Can you say gelato? I did. As often as I could. Then, I graduated from California State University Hayward with a BA in Philosophy and a minor in Political Science. Everyone wonders why I picked Philosophy, but my mom’s just happy I graduated and all her poking, prodding and moola didn’t go to waste (love you, Mom!).
After several “real” jobs in the legal and insurance fields, I’m now writing full time. Why? Through all my education and experiences, I’ve finally realized that my “real” job is the job I make real. Why didn’t anyone tell me?
If I’d had the ability to write at birth, I think I would have. There’s a never-ending amount of stories in my head and I’d need to be at the keyboard 24/7 to get them all out…actually, that probably wouldn’t be enough time. Friends tell me I talk fast, but they should hear how fast I think. The characters are constantly dialoguing in my head, having their experiences, and it’s my job, purpose, or whatever you want to call it, to get it down on paper.
What do I write? Pretty much whatever calls to me. Quirky characters. Zany experiences. Paranormal elements. Life is amazing, people are fascinating, and imagination is endless. In fiction, anything goes…it’s a blast.
I once read that a writer has something to say to the world. I think it’s my characters that have something to say and I’m the conduit who gets that info to readers. A writer is a major part of who I am, so that’s what I do and I love it.
Q: How did you get into writing?
A: I’d have to say by reading. After reading many books, stories began popping in my head, so I started writing them down. Believe me, the majority of my friends in high school were fictional. I loved them anyway.
Q: How did you choose to write Teen Fiction?
A: There’s something about the teenage time of life when you’re discovering who you are that I find very engaging. Teens explore their options, can have life-consequence problems, and it’s an interesting time to read and write about.
Q: Which other genres do you write?
A: Contemporary Romance. Chick Lit. Mainstream fiction with romantic elements. Basically, I’ll write whatever calls to me. My muse loves that I’m flexible.
Q: What are the top three reasons you love to write?
A: Oh! That’s a hard one. Let’s see…variety, emotion, and because I have to. There, that wasn’t so hard after all.
Variety: The variety part is huge. I get very into things, immerse myself in them, then I get bored and want to move on (although that hasn’t happened with sushi yet). With writing, everything changes all the time. It’s whatever I feel like writing at the moment (yes, I do story hop from time to time but my writing friends pull me back to focus). It’s impossible to get bored when there’s always something new, and sky’s the limit on story ideas!
Emotion: Yes, I tend to be very emotional. I cry during movies (even previews). I laugh aloud in the theatre, and okay…I’ll admit, occasionally I snort. Well, writing creates emotion. I go through what the characters go through. I get to experience their adventures. Same goes with reading, too.
I have to: When I’m not writing, something is missing. It’s like that feeling you get when you’re in school and there’s always studying to do? You can’t get rid of the nagging at the back of your brain? Well, that’s sorta my predicament. It feels wrong when I’m not writing and it’s a release when I am. Also, those pesky characters won’t shut up till I’ve typed what they want to say and do.
Q: What’s your favorite piece you’ve ever written?
A: That’s like trying to choose one best friend over another. One may keep you up late at night gabbing but then you’ve been up all night with her bonding. Another may not listen and takes you places you don’t want to go, but then you’ve had a blast doing something you wouldn’t normally do. Translation: I can’t pick just one. Who asked me that question anyway?
Q: What are your favorite books?
A: Mine! Oh, you mean by other authors? Hmmm….today I’d have to say The Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer (don’t be intimidated by the length–it’s sooooo good), The Wake Trilogy by Lisa McMann, Size 12 is Not Fat by Meg Cabot (hilarious), and The Luckiest Girl by Beverly Cleary (I’ve read it a zillion times).
Q: What do you do in your spare time?
A: Spare time? You mean what do I squeeze in between writing and reading? I try to spend hours here and there with the family, of course. Travel (pretty often). Ski (only when there’s snow). Scrapbook (okay, I’ve been slacking since the whole digital camera era). Go for walks (not nearly enough). Watch movies. Play with the pups. Read authors’ websites. Oh, I guess you do that too!
Q: Do your characters really speak to you–like, do you think they’re real?
A: Real? Yes. Tangible? Not so much. But, trust me, they are definitely real. I have little control over what they say or do and they completely have their own personalities. They jabber in my head until I put it down on paper and even then they rant on and on. Then, when I finish telling their story? New characters pop into my head. I admit that I’m odd. Now you know.
Q: What TV shows do you watch?
A: Sex & the City, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Friends. Yes, I know they’ve all been canceled but I own the DVDs so I can watch them whenever I want. Also, I’m trying not to get addicted to new shows otherwise how will I make that writing time?
Q: If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?
A: Anywhere that has internet access (preferably high speed). Just kidding. Sort of. Let’s see…where would I like to go? That’s a toughy. Maybe back to Italy or Greece, Paris maybe, Kauai (always), and well, I’ve always wanted to go to the Bahamas. Anyone been there? Should I go? Oh! I’ve always wanted to see the Northern Lights. I hear that’s very cool. I want to go where I can see them. Definitely.
Q: How do you manage to find time to write?
A: Mostly by frantically trying to make time. Occasionally, organized writing weeks flow by . . . ahhhh, how I wish there were more of those.