Home Interviews Susan Pfeffer for Lost in Young Adults

Susan Pfeffer for Lost in Young Adults

by Louisa Klein
1) Why young adult? Did you choose this genre or 
were you ‘chosen’ by it?
Young adult was a natural choice for me, since
I wrote my first book that got published when I was 20.
I've kept on with it because the subject
matter that intrigues me the most is family
in crisis, and I think YA is an excellent
way of exploring that theme.
I've also written books for younger kids.
I've had a long career, and written close of
one of everything for children and teens.
2) Is there an author, living or dead, who inspired you particularly?
When I was reading YAs (or teen novels, as they were called then), I loved the books
Mary Stolz wrote. Most of what I read was garbage (YAs have definitely improved over
the decades) but Mary Stolz was the exception. Her books truly inspired me.
Years later, I contacted her and asked permisison to dedicate a book to her. She
very nicely agreed.
The other author who inspired me was my father. He was a constituitional lawyer who
wrote books. Growing up in a household with a writer made writing seem like a
reasonable career choice. It must have seemed that way to my parents and older
brother as well, since they were all very supportive of my ambition.
3) Please, tell us about your last book and, if you can, about your future projects.
My most recent book is Blood Wounds
,which came out in the fall 2011. It's a perfect example of family in crisis.
Willa, the main character, lives with her mother, stepfather and stepsisters in a
reasonably happy blended family. Everything is shattered when her biological
father, who she hardly remembers, kills his second family.
Currently, I'm trying to write a fourth "moon" book. I haven't managed to
successfully in my previous attempts, so there's no guarantee this one will work
4) How was your writing journey? Was it difficult to find an agent and get published?
My writing journey has certainly had its ups and downs, but the start was remarkably
easy. I wrote a manuscript my last semester in college, and showed it to one of my
professors. He liked it and sent a letter of recommendation to a small publishing
house. They read the book, asked me to make some changes, which I did, and then
they accepted it. I signed the contract shortly after my 21st birthday.
Getting an agent was also quite easy. I had 3 books published by then. I asked
around for recommendations. The same name kept coming up, so I contacted her, and
she agreed to represent me.
I stayed with her for quite a number of years. Then a few years ago, I decided the
time had come for a chance, and I contacted the person who is my agent now.
5) What’s your opinion about this E-book revolution? Would you consider the 
indie route?
I think the e-book situation is fascinating. It's evolving far too swiftly to be
able to make predictions. I can say I'm very glad all this is happening at the end
of my career, not in the middle. I think if you start out nowadays, you can jump
along and figure things out. And if you're like me, with retirement in the very near
future, it doesn't matter all that much what's going to happen in publishing.
But if you're in the middle, it's got to be hard. I know a lot of my books are
illegally downloaded, and undoubtedly that's cost me some money. But I have my
savings, so I'm all right. For writers younger than me, who are going to have more
and more of their work illegally downloaded, it's going to be a real problem.
When a book is shoplifted, the bookstore knows its missing, and may order another
copy from the publisher. But when a book is illegally downloaded, no one knows the
crime has been committed. The writer, and the publisher, are both victims.
6) Nowadays many publishers expect their authors to 
use social media a lot to promote their books. 
Many authors, on the other hand, would prefer to write only, 
without being distracted by digital trivialities: what are your thoughts?
I've had a blog (http://susanbethpfeffer.blogspot.com/ ) for a few years now,
and I certainly enjoy it. I can't figure Facebook out, so even though I have a page,
I ignore it. And I'm not exactly a fabulous success on Twitter.
I honestly don't know if social media really affects sales. I have under 300 Twitter
followers, and even if every one of them bought a copy of one of my books, it still
wouldn't add up to much. I have my doubts that Twitter translates to sales. I know
my blog doesn't.
But it's fun to be able to communicate directly with my readers. And social media
doesn't cost anything (which is probably why publishers push their authors to use

Info about the author:
SUSAN BETH PFEFFER is the author of many books for teens,
including Life As We Knew It and the bestselling novel
The Year Without Michael. She lives in Middletown, New York.

To know more, please visit her blog: http://susanbethpfeffer.blogspot.co.uk/

To buy her latest book, please click on the cover below:


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