Suzanna, thanks heaps for doing this interview!
What made you want to write a novel like Ninety-Five Percent Human?
Several years ago I was working on a film project which was a follow-on story from the 90’s TV series Roswell. Sadly, my scripts never got filmed because the project received a ‘cease and desist’ letter from Fox but one of the characters I’d created for the series was Jake, the evolving, bad-joke-telling, alien-pirate robot and I didn’t want to let him go. Couple that with a supposed alien crash not far from me that got dubbed the ‘Welsh Roswell’ and the idea for Ninety-five percent Human was born.
What was your favourite scene to write?
Tricky question but I enjoyed the scene where they’re at the party and we get to see Sarah let her guard down a little.
Who was your favourite character?
Ah, we’re back to Jake for this answer.
How much research did you need to do for this book?
I read a lot about the ‘Welsh Roswell’ which happened in 1974, and did a lot of walking in the Berwyn Mountains to try and capture the atmosphere. Also I had to look up a lot of jokes for Jake, because I’m a terrible comedian and always forget the punchlines.
Now a little about yourself:
When did you start writing?
I was the child who filled whole exercise books with stories. It must have been a nightmare for the teacher to mark. But I didn’t start writing seriously until about ten years ago.
Why did you start writing?
After I left school my writing took a back seat until my children got me involved with the local Amdram group. I wrote/directed several plays and pantomimes for them and I rediscovered my passion for writing.
What is your favourite genre to write, and why?
I love YA. It’s such an intense time of new experiences.
What is your writer’s block cure?
Distract yourself. Go for a walk, read something, write something else, take a shower.
What is your number one tip for aspiring authors?
Read everything in the genre you hope to write in and then read lots of books you don’t think you’ll like because you always pick up something from them.
What’s something you know now that you wish you knew when you started out?
Work out the plot for your story before you start. Writing without a plan is the fastest way to create giant plot-holes from which you will be lucky to escape. And if by some miracle you manage to finish the book, it will take you a million rewrites to untangle the mess. I know a lot of authors will disagree with me on this one, but I have many, many half-written stories to prove my point.
A few more obscure questions (my favourite section):
What genre do you have no interest in writing?
Can’t see me publishing erotica. How would I explain my latest writing to my mum lol?
What is the weirdest thing you’ve had to research?
My browsing history has included IRA bombers, police procedures surrounding kidnapping and possible Government facilities that would be able to contain any alien life-forms we might find … and yes, we do have a British equivalent of the infamous Area 51.
What is the strangest question or remark you’ve received about your books/writing?
My book, ShockWaves, is about two characters with a telepathic connection. One early reader told me they stopped reading after the first few pages because they hated dream scenes. Umm, did they not understand the bit about the telepathy?
Do you have any writing buddies?
Not unless you count my husband. He always reads the first draft and points out the inconsistencies and things that my characters ‘would never do.’ He’s also my final proof-reader because, being dyslexic, he reads everything on the page rather than my reading what I think is there.
What future projects are you currently working on?
I’m still working on the sequel to Ninety-five percent Human which has turned into rather a problem book and I think I’m going to have to split it into two. I’ve also published two picture books for children under the pen name of Suzie W ( http://suziew.com/ ) with more to come later in the year.
Suzanna Williams is a perpetually eighteen years old YA author who lives in the wild, wet, Welsh borderlands surrounded by ruined medieval castles and Celtic mythology where she looks for UFO’s amongst the stars and imagines all the people she meets have dark secrets.
When she is not inventing radical problems for her unsuspecting heroes and plotting their escape, Suzanna is a serial collector of random badly paying jobs and has never found a use for her BSc in Psychology whatsoever.
Suzanna loves sci-fi action adventures, playing the piano, believes Romeo and Juliet should have talked more and considers sarcasm to be the highest form of wit.
My website http://suzannawilliams.com/