April 16, 2012

Review & Author Interview! Cursed: Wickedly Fun Stories by Susan Abel Sullivan

ebook: 46 pages
Published: March 4, 2012
Publisher: World Weaver Press
url: World Weaver Press

Wickedly fun short stories featuring witches, werewolves, limericks that can change fate, and a sinister vine bent on murder and the destruction of Alabama! Inside quirky settings with creepy plots, characters discover new and unsettling powers as their worst fears manifest.

I am so glad that this book happened to find its way into my review pile! Lately, I have been so drawn to short stories - I love how they get right into the heart of a story, allow your imagination to run wild, and are ironically page-turning. 

Well, not only does Susan Abel Sullivan give me all that I love about short stories in this compilation, but she also delivers a sense of humor, wit and playfulness that cannot be beat. This book will literally having you laughing out loud and, in my opinion, wanting more at the end of each chapter. 

Here's a run-down of each story: 

Getting the Curse
This was definitely my favorite of the five. You can read into it in so many ways, and I loved how it didn't play into any of your normal stereotypes. Amazing :)

The Accidental Poet
A hilarious story about a boy who realizes that he can control the future with his poetry. What does a teenage boy do with all that power? Hmm...

Witch Place?
A poem rather than a story. A great play on words. 

In a nutshell: it's about a killer vine that threatens to take over all of the southern United States. I mean....it's hilarious! I would say, "you can't make this stuff up", but apparently, Susan Sullivan can!

The King's Story
Kind of similar to The Accidental Poet - it's about a man who realizes that what he writes in a story will end up happening in real life. Loved it! 

Overall, I found these stories to be fun, entertaining and an amazingly quick read. They were so refreshing from the longer, more serious novels that are all the rage these days, and I think you will definitely be in for a treat when you pick this one up! 

5 out of 5 stars! 

Interview with Susan Abel Sullivan!

1) First off, tell us about yourself?

I write speculative fiction, predominantly Young Adult and Urban Fantasy with a smattering of horror, magical realism, and science fiction, usually with a wicked sense of humor.  When I’m not writing I get my groove on by teaching Zumba Fitness classes and actually hold a B.S. in Exercise Science and Dance from Auburn University and am a certified fitness instructor.  I also collect cats, or rather, they seem to collect me.

2) What made you decide to write short stories instead of one longer novel?

Actually, I’ve written several novels.  I’m shopping one around to agents and publishers, revising a second, and writing the discovery draft of a third.  After attending the Odyssey Writing Workshop in 2005, I wrote short stories for a couple of years to help me improve my craft.  Even though I’m a novelist at heart, now and then I’ll get an idea for a short piece.  I say piece, because I write short stories, flash fiction, poetry, and even songs.  Yep, that’s right.  Songs.  Complete with music.  I have plans to eventually produce the songs. 

3) Each of your stories is unique in its own right. From where did you draw your inspiration for each one?

“Kudzu” was inspired by the rampant kudzu growing out in the wilds of Alabama when my family would go visit my grandmother.

For “The King’s Story” a line of dialogue popped unbidden into my head while I was vacuuming.  “I want to buy a story,” said the king.  I went, “Whoa!”  Who’s this king and why does he want to buy a story? 

“Getting the Curse” originated as a flash fiction challenge given when I attended the Odyssey Writing Workshop. We were told to avoid 2nd-person point of view because it was difficult to sell.  My favorite record album as a kid—Disney’s Thrilling, Chilling Sounds of the Haunted House—had a short 2nd-person narrative at the beginning of each cut and it inspired me to go ahead and try my hand at 2nd-person POV.  I’ve sold this story to three paying markets now. 

“The Accidental Poet” was inspired by both a What If?--what if a kid could write limericks that changed fate?—and a real life talent show accident that happened to my sister when we were in high school.  Everyone will have to read the book to find out what occurred.  *laughs*

4) What do you feel is your greatest challenge as a writer?

Writing the discovery draft for long works.  I can’t outline to save my life, so I make it all up as I go, keeping the element of plot in the forefront of my brain.  But I often run into roadblocks with this process, so I try to always have two works in different stages going at the same time.  If I get stuck on one, I can keep moving forward with another.  Sue Grafton has said that writing novels is like driving through fog.  You can only see as far as the headlights shine.  That describes my process perfectly.

5) And on the flip side, what do you find to be the most fun about writing?

Characters and Comedy.  And I actually enjoy the revision process. 

6) Who is your favorite author?

I have many favorites, but if I had to pick one, it would be a toss up between Stephen King and Janet Evanovich. 

7) If you had to pick one of your short stories to expand into a larger novel - which would it be and why?

“The Accidental Poet:” I’m actually expanding on it with a YA novel titled: The Simon Sylvestri School for the Supernaturally Challenged. One of the characters in Accidental Poet has a supporting role in this book. 

8) What's next for you? What other goodies can we look forward to?

The above mentioned YA novel, as well as a humorous Urban Fantasy series: The Real Haunted Housewives of Allister, Al and The Weredog Whisperer. Also another short fiction collection— Fried Zombie Dee-Light! Ghoulish, Ghostly Tales.

1 comment:

  1. Maria, I'm tickled to death that you enjoyed the collection so much. A review like yours makes the author's heart sing. Thank you!

    ~Susan Abel Sulivan


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