The ShatterColors Standard Interview -- Author Version: Susan DiPlacido (6/2009)

(Interview consists of 15 pre-set questions. Authors have published at least one novel or short story/poetry collection.)

1) Why did you begin writing, and how long have you been doing so?

I started in 2002, and I think I started because I was bored at work. So I started writing the exact kind of book I'd want to read -- totally smutty with circumspect characters doing shady things.

2) What does your writing routine consist of?

I'm very manic. Either I'm not writing at all, and that can go on for months, or, when I'm working on a project, I obsess about it and work on it near constantly until it's finished.

3) Have specific events ever flung you into an extended and productive period of creativity?

No, not events, really. Once I get an idea, I just like to let it roll around in my mind and let it pick up momentum until it starts marching and I can't ignore it. Then I'll work on it.

4) What are common sources of inspiration?

Vacations can end up inspiring. The different atmosphere and environment. Odd things can end up in my work. Like, last summer, I got on a fresh coconut kick. They're a pain in the ass to open and get the meat out of, but my nephew and I spent a good couple of weeks doing all sorts of abusive and undignified things to those poor coconuts. That ended up being a major plot point in a book of mine.

5) What does a book need to do to get you to read it from beginning to end?

It's got to be entertaining. Either have great characters or a page-turning story or great humor or just something that keeps me hooked.

6) Who are some of the authors you most admire?

Jackie Collins, Tom Robbins, Chris Moore, Elmore Leonard, Chuck Palahniuk, Charles Bukowski, Helen Fielding. They're always on my bookshelf. Of course Shakespeare, even though that's more plays than books, and Quentin Tarantino, even though that's screenplays.

7) How familiar are you with the literary canon?

I don't know. Is there a list somewhere I should consult? Over the years, I've tried to pick up "well-known" books and "classics" and read them. Some I love, some not so much. Is Dickens part of the canon? Is Kerouac? I assume Dante and Camus are, but don't really know if Jane Austen qualifies, but I've read them all.

8) What's your take on politics and literary endeavor?

I don't mind as long as it's kept entertaining. Go ahead and sermonize to me in a book if you want, but if the book blows, I won't read it. If it rocks, I'll read it. Doesn't mean I'll just swallow the shit that's being shoveled, though. I mean, I believe in capitalism, and I do like Atlas Shrugged, but I still think Ayn Rand was really full of shit with a lot of what she wrote in that book. But ole Dagny Taggart kept me following along anyhow.

9) What are your feelings about formal vs. free verse?

I don't know. I guess if it's got a good beat and you can dance to it, I'm down.

10) Do you feel "flash" fiction (300 words or less) is a viable form, or nothing more than a writing exercise?

Shit, can you imagine the time we'd all have saved if the works in the literary canon were just 300 words each? "The Divine Comedy:
Canto 1
Dante enters hell on Good Friday. Virgil takes him through nine circles of escalating horrors.
Canto 2
In Purgatory, Dante gets seven Ps tattooed on his forehead. Once they're brushed off, he can move upward toward heaven.
Canto 3
Beatrice guides Dante through the nine circles of heaven, concluding with God and the angels, where creation is explained to him."

That would've saved us all a shitload of time reading and researching all those historical people he loved referencing.

11) When not writing, what do you do for amusement?

I like to drink and gamble. Those two activities often lead to a plethora of other even less respectable pastimes, but I'll let discretion take over instead of going into details. I watch way too much TV and too many movies. And if it's nice weather, I'll hang outside and find stuff to do.

12) What's one of the most annoying things you can think of?

Cell phones.

13) Briefly describe what you consider to be one of your standout childhood pranks.

I once burned the bay. Where I live, we have a lot of Poplar trees, or, some people call them Cottonwoods. For about three weeks in the early summer, they give off these white puffs that blow all over. There are tons of them surrounding our beach, and particularly the bay. Well, these little white puffy things are extraordinarily flammable, and also light enough that on a calm day, they sit right on the meniscus of water. Therefore, the bay can covered in this white fuzz. On a good day, all it takes is one well-placed ignition and you can get to see a huge flame travel across the bay. I was once successful at burning the bay like that. It's a big thing and you're not supposed to do it, because you can cause damage to boats and piers and shit like that. But a pyro kid doesn't think of all that, she just wants to see a magnificent blaze, and I did.

14) What are your upcoming projects/works in progress?

I have a book coming out this fall, House Money, that's sort of my weird version of Goodfellas/Ocean's 11/Sex And the City. It's a follow up to my first novel, 24/7, but it's, hopefully, a little faster and more fun. Then, I'm looking for a publisher for another book -- the one with the whole coconut subplot I was telling you about. It's loosely based on Hamlet, but it's about a Vegas showgirl who thinks she's Lady Luck. And there's those coconuts. Hamlet, Lady Luck, and coconuts. I'm frankly stunned, just stunned that no publisher has snapped this up yet, you know? : )

15) Care to conclude with a sweeping philosophical statement?

Smoke 'em if you got 'em!


The ShatterColors Standard Interview -- Author Version
© 2006 by Robert Scott Leyse

Susan DiPlacido Responses
© 2009 by
Susan DiPlacido



About the Author

Susan DiPlacido is the author of four novels and one collection of short stories: 24/7, Trattoria, Mutual Holdings, House Money (forthcoming), and American Cool. Trattoria was nominated for the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Small Press Romance 2005, and her short story, “I, Candy,” won the Spirit Award at the 2005 Moondance International Film Festival. American Cool won the bronze medal in the 2008 IPPY awards (short story collection category) and was a finalist in the 2008 Indie Book Awards. Her fiction has appeared in Susie Bright’s Best American Erotica 2007, Maxim Jakubowski’s Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica vol. 6 and 7, Zane’s Caramel Flava, and Rebellion: New Voices of Fiction.



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