Monday, August 25, 2014

Author Interview - Susan Burdorf

Happy Monday, good people of the blogosphere! You should all be so dang excited! It’s time for another round of unofficial author interviews with some more great ladies of UtopYA con. If you don’t have your tickets to the event, you need to get them ASAP. I believe they go back on sale around Black Friday. Check here often to snag yours! Today, I have the lovely Susan Burdorf on the blog. She’s such an awesome lady. I can’t wait to get going. So grab your coffee, comfy chair, and your screen, and let’s get going!

Jo: Welcome to the blog, Susan! It’s so nice to finally get a moment to sit down and have a chat with you. While we were both at the con last year, I only saw you for a second when you came by the table to pick up my donation for your scavenger hunt. Crazy, huh? How did that go, by the way?
Susan: Not as well as I would have liked. Next year I will make sure to advertise it a little better. I believe only about 10 hunt lists were returned to me, but those who did so got an awesome selection of books to choose from, and I got to chat with some very cool authors, as did they, so it was not a total loss by any means. I always feel like an event like UtopYA is so chock full of fun stuff to do, that any chance to say hello to an author and stop by their table is a win in my book (no pun intended…haha). Thanks for asking, and thanks for donating!

Jo: You’re very welcome. I love trying new and exciting things, and I’m always willing to help out another author with a donation! Well, let’s waste no time jumping in here. I have a slew of questions for you. Ready?
Susan: Bring it! :)

Jo: Cool. Let’s do this. UtopYA Con being in Nashville is pretty awesome for you, right? Have you been to the con every year? If yes, how has it changed/improved for you over time?
Susan: UtopYA has been a very unique experience for me. I grew up in the Buffalo NY area and for years was involved in a writer’s group that was very active and participated in writer’s events in both Niagara Falls, NY and Toronto, Ontario Canada where well known traditionally published authors (there was no Indie author world back then, only Vanity Press self published novels and those were not as well done as our Indie Authors books are today) like Anne McCaffrey, and Orson Scott Card, and Lois McMaster Bujold, and Terry Pratchett, among many others who were popular guests. There were panels and so on, but UtopYA, for me, was a totally different experience. I got to be part of the beginning with UtopYA. For the first two years I was the person who helped get the volunteers for the event. In the first year we had less than 100 people (the majority were authors, with some fans). The second year was better, with nearly 300 participants and a nearly equal amount of readers and authors and fans. This past UtopYA, 2014, was double and more again the number from the year before, and the influence of all those authors was absolutely amazing. Leave out the fact that I met new friends, made connections to authors and fans I had never had any connection to before other than on Social Media, and also got to hang out with some of the most funny and smart and honest and sincere people in the world and you pretty much sum up the UtopYA experience for me. Where else would I get to hobnob with people from South Africa, England, Scotland, Canada, etc? And all this happened because UtopYA happened. I could go on forever with this question but then I would never get to the rest of the awesome information you want from me, so I am going to end with this: UtopYA is like Candyland and Twister and Boggle all wrapped up into one.

Jo: Wow. It sounds like you’ve been on quite a journey with Ms. Janet Wallace (founder of UtopYA). Hey, at least the con is getting bigger. I have no idea how I’m gonna meet everyone that shows up next year. It’s gonna be huge! Speaking of meeting folks, who are your favorite UtopYA peeps and why?
Susan: Oh boy. This is a hard question because, to be honest, and this is not a cop out to the question – I have no favorite because I love everyone equally. Let me explain why – most people come to UtopYA with the idea that they might get to meet that awesome author whose books they have been salivating over for the last year or two; or they might have a desire to meet their “book boyfriend/girlfriend” from the cover of their favorite book; or they might want to hang out with someone they have never met and talk about writing and covers and editing and all the tons of information available at UtopYA just for the asking. For me, everyone I meet has something of value to share with me – whether it is their journey as they publish their first book, or their ability to market like a madwoman and I want to know how they do it; or they might have the key to setting up a tax account to keep the IRS at bay…there is so much that I have to learn from everyone I meet that picking one person who matters more is impossible without insulting someone else…so, I decline to actually answer that question and will only say–EVERYONE who ever comes to UtopYA is someone I want to add to my friends list, or chat with online, etc. Be warned people, I will find you and befriend you! (it is okay, I promise to feed you once a day…maybe…).

Jo: Yeah, just watch your fingers when feeding the authors. *wink* You’re a yet unpublished author. What’s the title of your first book, and when can we expect to see it released?
Susan: Okay, so, while I do not have a book of my own published yet (it has been in development for a year now and should release in late 2014 and the title is: “A Cygnet’s Tale” which is loosely based on the story of The Ugly Duckling) I have for many years now been a prolific short story writer and I am published in numerous anthologies. I have stories about everything from Angels to Zombies out in anthologies. My favorite genre is currently YA Contemporary, which is what “A Cygnet’s Tale” is. I also have an NA Paranormal novel called “Harlequin Rose” which should be releasing late 2014 or early 2015.

Jo: Anthologies rock! It’s totally mind boggling to have one book that’s all your very own, though. I can’t wait to see you next year, buy a copy of your book(s), and get it signed! So, what’s the most terrifying thing about clicking the publish button for you?
Susan: Clicking the Publish Button. Seriously, my Lizard Brain keeps telling me not to do it, but my heart tells me I have to do it…it is a constant battle for me. But it will be coming out this year, I have promised myself this. I have a beautiful cover by Marcy Rachel Designs (she has stopped that part of her business and is now part of a business called Backstrip Publishing and she is still doing designs. I strongly urge folks to check her out. Her work is beautiful. My book, “Harlequin Rose” cover is by Desi’s Art Designs and is also amazing).

Jo: If your hand doesn’t shake, I’ll say you aren’t human. LOL! I saw that you attended a character building course. When? Where? And what did you learn from it? Any nuggets of wisdom to share with us?
Susan: I wish I could share it, but I signed an agreement to respect the work of the author/instructor who put it together. I strongly urge anyone who is suffering with a lack of character development to check out this course by author C. J. Redwine (also a UtopYA participant this past year), but I will tell you, and I don’t think she will be mad at me for this, that the course really makes you dig deep into your character and put the best and the worst of the character out there. You cannot have a fully formed character if you are not willing to examine all sides of the character. No one is all good or all bad. There is always something redeeming about everyone, even your villain – you just need to find that. Maybe your villain hates women and enjoys torturing them, but goes home every night to get milk for his cat. Maybe your hero is a police officer who every night puts his life on the line to save the citizens of the city he is sworn to protect, but his dark side makes him prowl the streets at night for people he can beat up in bar fights. We are all two sides of the same coin. Making sure the reader understands this makes your character more believable to them, and more interesting and then they will want to invest their time in reading your book.

Jo: Interesting take. I’m of a different school when it comes to villains. Not gonna go on and on here, but you can check out the post on that topic if interested. There’s another Susan Burdorf who’s an author. Did you know that? Are you planning to use a pen name, or write with your name? Why/why not?
Susan: I have struggled with this question for a while. I was not aware of another Susan Burdorf who is an author…are you sure it is not me? I have been around for a while and have published things before stopping to raise a family and have now gotten back into it. You will need to let me know about this one…I may have to call her up! I think the only time I might do a pen name is if I get a following in one genre, say YA and then possibly would start writing in Erotica or something totally at the other end of the spectrum. I used to think pen names were for cowards or arrogant people, but talking to authors at UtopYA has changed my mind on this. I might just do that depending on the circumstances.

Jo: LOL! I’m not sure it’s not you, but I was curious. *grin* Yeah, two opposite spectrum ends like the ones you mentioned could get squirrely. Rapid fire questions! Black or white?
Susan: Black. Always black.

Jo: Pickles—sweet or dill?
Susan: Sweet (as in pickles, although I haven’t eaten any since my last pregnancy many years ago).

Jo: Favorite car?
Susan: I had a 1966 Malibu Ragtop (my first car as a teenager) that I loved. I called it “Bumblebee” cause it was black and yellow.

Jo: Look at you doing the Transformers thing way ahead of their popularity! Time travel question (because that’s the theme for the con in 2015)! If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?

Susan: Two things: 1. when I was 10 a friend asked me to join her bowling team and I declined – I wish I had said yes, because that started a pattern of me declining to do things because of fear. Had I faced my fear at that age I think I would have been a braver and more adventurous person later. I missed out on a lot of things by saying No, instead of Yes out of fear. 2. I would have asked Inkslinger PR to represent me at the first UtopYA. Now they are too busy and I am sorry I did not talk to them about it then.

Jo: Interesting answers! Very well thought out. Do you have big plans for your visit to UtopYA Con 2015 (like what you did last year)?

Susan: Yep. I have a table, I have games all planned out, I want to do a scavenger hunt again (come to my table and get your sheet and win some awesome prizes people!), and I want to participate more either from the audience or on panels. I have a lot to share if people want to listen. Mostly I want to say – DO NOT BE AFRAID!

Jo: I second that. Put me down for a donation! *grin* How long have you been a reader?

Susan: I have been a reader since I was 3. I started reading books when my brother went to school to keep myself entertained. Of course, I probably had no clue what I was reading, but my mom swears I used to read all day long. Every time she put me down for a nap she would find a book under my pillow when she got me up. I think the fairies left them for me…

Jo: Me too! Love books. My mom used to come in and remove them from my face after I passed out. Sweet moms we had, eh? What’s your favorite book to date and why do you love it so very much?

Susan: Anne of Green Gables is my all time favorite book series! I absolutely love that series of books and would not know what to do with myself if I did not have Anne and her freckles to keep me grounded. (Quinn Loftis kind of reminds me of her…what do you think?).

Jo: I didn’t get to meet Quinn this year, but I saw her from afar and I’m not sure she’s as awkward as Anne was. Looks wise? Yeah, Quinn is a good representation. So, anything I didn’t ask that you wish I had?

Susan: You know, I would like to share this with everyone: I am just like you. I get up every morning, brush my teeth, get ready for work, earn my paycheck, and then at the end of the day I write…sometimes a few hundred words…sometimes it is a good night and I write a few thousand, but no matter the word count I am always thinking about writing or just writing. If you have that fire to write do not keep yourself from doing it. Find a writer’s group in your area and get together with people who love it as much as you. Or, if you don’t have one in your area then start a group. Go to conventions, go to wherever you need to go to be inspired. If you don’t want to write, but you love taking pictures and want to be a cover artist then do it. If you are good at seeing other’s mistakes, become an editor. Get noticed. Stand up and stand out, as Janet Wallace, founder of Social Deviants and founder of UtopYA is fond of saying. Just be whatever you want to be to be happy. And if you are at UtopYA 2015 STOP BY MY TABLE! I want to meet you. I am super shy so you may have to do all the talking, though!

Jo: Wonderful advice! Thanks for joining me on the blog today, Susan! I can’t wait to get to spend more than a moment with you next year.

Susan: Yay! At least one person will stop by my table. Word of advice to anyone who is a newbie to UtopYA 2015 – make a list of everyone you want to meet and then do it. Time slips away so quickly and everyone is rushing around that you might miss someone you want to meet so make it to my table for my scavenger hunt sheet and go find us all! Everyone there will want to meet you too!

Now, it’s time to tell you all about the featured book for the week. Since Susan isn’t published yet, we’ll put up one of her choosing.

Title: Lucky Number Four
Author: Amanda Jason
Genre: New Adult
Length (print): 369 pages
Buy links: Amazon Kindle $4.99 Paperback $12.59 ~ B&N

Synopsis: Read the synopsis on the Amazon page. I think this book is so awesome because it is funny, and sweet, and written by my amazing friend, Amanda Jason (aka Carol Kunz who gives the most amazing hugs!!!)

Now, while your fingers are in the clicking mode, why not give Ms. Burdorf a follow on social media?

Twitter: I have a twitter account but never use it. I started it on a dare from a fellow author and think it is @susanburdorfauthor
Facebook: Susan Burdorf
Pinterest: Again, I have an account but never pin a thing
Website: In development
Blog: None at this time. Will have one when the website is completed
YouTube: I am actually getting one set up asap
Google +: Susan Burdorf Author
Other: Amazon author page

If you have any questions for Susan, pop them into the comments below! She’ll love hearing from you.

Well, that’s all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!



  1. Great interview! The character building course sounds interesting =)

  2. Thanks Heather! Hope to see you at UtopYA 2015 here in Nashville in June! The character building course was wonderful. Very helpful and very intense. You have a week to develop the skills you will need to keep that character interesting and inviting to your reader. I strongly urge you to take it and make sure you let C.J. Redwine know I sent you! (I get nothing for advertising for her, I just want her to know that I was extremely appreciative of her course)...


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