Suzanne Young, author of The Program, had a live chat the other day, and here are ten things we learned about her, The Program, The Treatment (the sequel to The Program), and Just Like Fate, her book written with Cat Patrick.
1. She’s inspiring without knowing that she’s inspiring.
I honestly believe I’m an author now because i didn’t give up. I’ve written more books than I can count, sold 12 of them. That’s not even half of what I’ve written though. Things don’t always work out, but I had to be stronger than my disappointment. I had to fight really hard, and give up many hours with my family and friends. But I love to write. And even if I weren’t published, I’d still write. So I think you have to love it enough to suffer for it. Wow–that was probably… not that inspiring. Sorry! haha
2. She wants to believe in soulmates.
I want to believe in soulmates, but I’m not sure I do in real life. Things and people are always changing. But in my books, I get to control the world. And there’s something beautiful and hopeful about love, and I want to believe in its possibility.
3. The Program is not actually dystopian.
I didn’t set out to write a dystopian. I actually don’t really consider it dystopian. To me, it was always an alternate reality or a little science fiction. I wrote A Need so Beautiful which had a certain vibe. Once I finished it, I wanted to write something totally different. I loved the stark, yet suffocating feel of The Program.
4. The Program was not always called The Program.
The Program did have an alternate title: The manuscript (before I sent it anywhere) was saved as Uncomfortably Numb. It later became the title of Part 1, so I got to keep it in a way.
5. She’s a teacher that loves getting feedback to her books from her students.
Most of my books were written before I went back to teaching, but I definitely love running ideas by my students. They’re the perfect focus group, and their opinion means a lot to me. If they don’t really like an idea, I find that I start to question it and move on. They’ve also helped me with confidence when I start to get shaky. It’s like I have a support group meeting every day
6. She gave us a little hint of what’s to come in The Treatment, the sequel to The Program.
The Treatment definitely has more action. And we learn a bit more about Realm as well.
7. Writing The Program was a long process.
The world of The Program came about in layers. I knew I wanted a facility that would erase memories, I knew my characters had suffered a tragedy together. I had several other books that I’d started to write, but didn’t have the spark to finish them. The Program became the perfect marriage of plot and characters for me.
8. The Program has a certain bit of her life in it.
I’d been trying to write a novel about depression and attempting suicide for several years. To be honest, it was too hard. I have my own experiences that I brought into my books. It wasn’t until I came up with a setting just outside of our reality that I felt I could really tell the story I wanted. Otherwise it hit a little too close to home. Everyone has different experiences–the one I portray is that of a fictional character, but it’s based on a real life.
9. We got a look at how she saw The Program and James & Sloane.
There are many different angles in The Program. Part 1 is about the spiral of depression. I didn’t set up The Program as a bad guy. We’re seeing it from Sloane’s point of view. I didn’t interfere as the narrator. She’s terrified of them, of the unknown. The isolation and crushing loneliness, it was something I could identify with. I also really wanted to write a different love story than I had before. I wanted the readers to really question if Sloane and James were soulmates. Were they together just for their past? If so, would they fall in love without it
10. ow she decides if a book will be a series or not.
I actually write all of my books as if they are standalones. It isn’t until the book is bought by the publisher that I get the option to write a second book. I like writing a book I feel will end. I’m not sure I could plan it out otherwise.