Here is my interview with Suzanne Young author of The Program series.
Gryffindor Books: Thank you for agreeing to do this with me!
Suzanne: Thank you so much for the interview!
Gryffindor Books: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Suzanne: I actually started writing stories in middle school! I would write murder mysteries starring all of my friends. I eventually went on to get a creative degree in college, but I didn’t start writing novels until years later. It was a short story that went on for about 100,000 words too long. I realized then that I wanted to write novels.
Gryffindor Books: How many books have you published to date and how many are in the works?
Suzanne: THE COMPLICATION will be my 15th published young adult novel. I have a new series of 3 books coming in 2019-2021, starting with GIRLS WITH SHARP STICKS.
Gryffindor Books: The first book I read of yours was “The Program”. How did you come up with the idea for this story and this world?
Suzanne: THE PROGRAM was actually a combination of different stories I’d started years earlier. I had a story about a girl who attempted suicide and when she returned to school, everyone knew. It was a dark, painful story where the character’s mental health was always up for discussion and debate by her peers. The other book was about a girl going through a difficult break-up. A friend invented a pill that could erase emotions, and after the main character takes the pill, a tragedy strikes. She then decides she wants to feel again. Neither of those on their own were working. I had my first novel about a girl dealing with the loss of her brother. She falls in love with his best friend, and together they try to sort out the grief.
I started reading articles and studies about suicide clusters—the patterns, the unidentifiable causes, and I wondered what we’d do as a society if a large enough cluster took hold.
That became THE PROGRAM.
Gryffindor Books: While you were writing “The Program” did you have any plans on writing any more books in this series?
Suzanne: No. I originally wrote it as a stand-alone. Although, to be honest, I’ve written every book that way. It’s not until it’s done that I start to see that there’s more story to be told. I’m glad I did.
Gryffindor Books: Another book you’ve written is called “Hotel Ruby” but when it was published in paperback it was retitled “Hotel for the Lost.” How did you come up with this story? Also, why the change of the name?
Suzanne: I was on a book tour when I stayed at a hotel that seemed a bit… well, haunted, if I’m honest. All of my books deal with grief, so I took the idea of this haunted hotel and combined it with the depths of grief and how it makes us behave.
The title and cover change came after the release of the hardcover. It’s mostly for marketing and it’s a decision made by publishers. However, the original title I wanted was THE HOTEL. And the second was HOTEL FOR THE LOST AND LONESOME. So I was able to get a title I really enjoyed on the paperback.
Gryffindor Books: Another change between your hardcover and paperback books is in The Program series. Each of the paperbacks have different covers. Was this your idea? Why the change. Not that I don’t like it, I love it but I’m curious as to the change.
Suzanne: It’s different in all cases, but for us, the PROGRAM cover was always very strong. The other covers, although cool, didn’t have the same feel. So the latest cover changes were to reflect back to THE PROGRAM.
Gryffindor Books: When you are not writing books what do you like to do with your free time?
Suzanne: I like to decorate my house—antique shopping, designing, painting. I also like to go to museums and travel.
Gryffindor Books: Thanks for doing this with me and I look forward to getting my hands on “The Complication” releasing on April 24th!
Suzanne: Thank you so much! I hope you love the final book in the series!