Talking with Susan Breen

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By Jamison Murcott

This semester, Italics Mine had the opportunity to sit down and interview author Susan Breen, who’s new mystery series, Maggie Dove, will be digitally released on June 14, 2016. Here’s an excerpt of the interview, which will be published in Italics Mine’s upcoming issue.

Italics Mine: What is the easiest part of writing for you?

Susan Breen: I like dialogue. A lot of the times, it just feels like the characters will start to talk by themselves, and it feels like I’m just overhearing a conversation. I find that the most surprising parts of writing come when characters are talking and I don’t even know what they’re going to say. It’s just one thing leads to another thing leads to another thing. So that, for me, is really fun.

Italics Mine: What is the hardest part of writing for you?

Susan Breen: Probably description. I find description very intimidating. I’m in awe of poets and people who can always find the right word, you know? I always feel a little flat footed. My heroes are people like Emily Dickens… are people who are so resourceful when it comes to finding the right word. And so, really, the way I’ve solved that is I just take a lot of notes. Wherever I am, I just write down a lot of notes about things I see.

Italics Mine: Can you describe what the creative process is like for you?

Susan Breen: I usually start with a character. In the case of Maggie Dove, I knew she was a woman who was a Sunday school teacher and she was grieving because she lost her daughter and she was stuck. She was stuck in this place. That’s usually how I start, I think about somebody who’s in a particular place. And I think about the character a lot, like what they want, things they like. And once I know the character well enough, then I write. Sometimes it takes months to get to the point where I’m ready to write. It changed a little bit because The Fiction Class was a single novel, but Maggie Dove is a series. Writing the second book for Maggie Dove, I already knew the character so I needed to primarily focus on the plot.

Read the full interview in the upcoming issue of Italics Mine, out this Spring.

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