It’s release week for Once Upon a Name! We’re so excited to share this collection of weird and wonderful short fantasy stories with you, and we can’t wait to hear what you think.
Today I want to introduce you to another OUAN coauthor, Susan Stradiotto.
Susan Stradiotto writes fantasy for New Adult and later Young Adult audiences, with storylines enjoyable for adults too. Themes focus mostly on relationships of all kinds, family situations, coming of age, and finding oneself or one’s destiny.
Keep reading to find out more about Susan and her books!
Hi and welcome to the blog, Susan. First off, can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m originally from Texas. I grew up with the firm belief that ya’ll was a word and there was no I in oil. To this day, when I say, “You guys,” my brother corrects me by saying, “Ya’ll.” So there’s that. I moved around a bit but settled down in Minnesota with my husband to raise the family in 1999. I’ve lived in the Twin Cities area ever since.
We’re still very close to our three adult children and enjoy playing fantasy games (DnD, Gloomhaven, etc.) on the regular with them. My husband and I have 2 dogs: a Bernese Mountain Dog named Delaunay and a mini-Dachshund named Knox the Dox. However, along with my daughter I own 3 more Berners: Hodgins, Valkyrie, and Wanda. They’re still puppies, but we’re planning to breed them—first litters likely in late 2022, early 2023.
Oh wow, that many dogs sounds like a dream! I’ve got two German Shorthaired Pointers and they’re the sweetest. So, when did you start writing and what inspired you?
I’ve always dabbled in writing. Usually, I’d write something once I’d read another story that inspired me.
What are your favourite genres and tropes to read?
I gravitate toward longer stories with a thorough world and some political machinations. That, however, doesn’t mean I like politics. As N.K. Jemesin said in her master class, “All stories about people and their relationships are political.”
My favorite genre, I believe, is Historical Fantasy.
Favorite tropes are a tougher topic. I think most things are okay as long as they’re done well, but there aren’t any that make me pick up the book on that trope alone.
Some of my fave books are Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Legacy series and N.K. Jemesin’s Hundred Thousand Kingdoms series.
I love historical fantasy too, especially when the world building is rich and the historical aspect is really well researched and accurately portrayed. Kerri Maniscalco who wrote Stalking Jack the Ripper is brilliant for that, at the end of her audio books she includes a sort of appendix where she explains the historical details she uses and their real-world discovery and uses. It’s fascinating, and really makes you appreciate and respect the amount of effort she went to to craft a brilliant and accurate story.
Tell us about your most recent or favourite published work.
The work I’m the most proud of is The Serpentine Throne. It’s a 5-book series about a princess who’s lost both her parents and is the only person in the empire who believes her father still lives. It has many of the characteristics of a young adult finding yourself type story, but it’s geared toward the college age in that the characters experience a few more mature themes. This story was greatly inspired by my son who has adored all things dragon since he was in the 3rd grade and learned the difference in dinosaurs and dragons.
The mythos in The Serpentine Throne is inspired by Japanese culture but is overall highly original. There are themes of found family and real family, learning the differences in love and lust, and rising to be something that the person thought they never wanted.
The first in series is free here: https://books2read.com/callofthestormsorcerer/
That sounds fabulous, I can’t wait to read it! Where do you find inspiration for your characters or settings?
Almost always, I am writing a story with one individual in mind. It’s usually someone I care about or once cared about in my life. I have a short story addressed to my mother, The Serpentine Throne addressed to my son, a romance novel addressed to a dear friend who I wanted to give a happy ending. Usually, my stories are to answer a need or desire I see in those people.
There are a couple of stories I’ve also written when inspired by something larger in life—a turning of the wheel of time, if you will. That’s especially true in my novella, The Muse of Wynter.
For short stories, I will also find inspiration in the research I’m doing for a longer work. Such was the case with my free short story for signing up for my newsletter (The Wanderer and the Devil).
Bottom line is that inspiration is almost everywhere, it’s just what feels like the best story to tell at the moment that pulls me forward.
It sounds like you’ll never be short of inspiration or a story to tell! Would you say you’re a plotter, pantser or plantser?
I’m going with plotter. Even if I deviate, I usually have to do some plotting to get back on track.
I’m the same, I need an outline to keep me heading in the right direction! So, what are you working on right now?
I have 2 active projects at the moment. The first is a contemporary romance novel. The second will be a historical epic fantasy, tentatively entitled Blood of the Skies.
They both sound so exciting! I’d love to branch out into another genre at some point, possibly domestic thrillers, plus I have a historical fantasy WIP that I’m so excited to start working on once The Fair Chronicles is complete! What one piece of advice would you give aspiring authors?
Start your story. Finish your story. Then worry about the rest.
Perfect advice, after all, many people start a book, but very few actually finish it, and even less go on to publish. If you write a complete manuscript you’re among the tiny percentage of people who will ever write THE END. And then the real work starts!
Thank you so much for chatting with me today, Susan! Before you go, how can we find out more about you and your books?
Susan’s Website: https://susanstradiotto.com
Sign up to Susan’s Newsletter and get a FREE story!: https://www.subscribepage.com/susansfantasycommunity
Follow her on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/susanstradiotto/
Join her Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/aworldawayfantasyreaders
Upcoming Release: Raine of Fire, A Wickney Mystery Novel coming August 23, 2022: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58736734-raine-of-fire
I hope you enjoyed my chat with Susan, she’s an incredibly talented author and has been an absolute dream to work with on Once Upon a Name, I’m so honoured to be able to call her my coauthor and friend. Susan also has a story in an upcoming anthology that is supporting charities in Ukraine. It’s just 99c to preorder and will be released on 28 June, so if you’re looking for ways to support the people of Ukraine during this horrific time, please do consider buying Feathers of Hope – you’ll get over ten stories by NYT and USA Today bestselling and award-winning authors in return!