Lorna Suzuki went from writing corporate manuals to becoming a successful sci-fi fantasy fiction writer. Find out her secret to becoming an author of books bound for major film production!
Hometown: Vancouver, BC
Current Residence: Vancouver, BC
Occupation: Scriptwriter & fantasy novelist
Areas of Focus: Scriptwriting & fantasy
I understand you started writing in Feb.7, 2002. Did you have any writing experience before you became a full-fledged author?
Prior to this, I wrote corporate correspondence and newsletters with a background in zoology, botany and wildlife management. I also wrote related educational training guides and manuals. Writing biographies and scripts for The Biography Channel and a locally produced TV show happened a couple years after I started writing fiction.
How many titles do you currently have in publication?
The Imago Chronicles is an epic adult fantasy series consisting of nine novels. The executive producer, who recently optioned rights for a major motion picture trilogy, pitched it to the film industry as Lord of the Rings and 300 meet The Last Samurai.
My latest release is a YA Fantasy called The Magic Crystal. It is the first of three books that make up The Dream Merchant Saga and I’m pleased to say it’s been receiving great reviews from both YA and adult readers. Some describe it as a hilarious blend of ‘Ella Enchanted’ and ‘The Princess Bride’. This will be followed by the release of Book 2, The Silver Sword, in October of 2011. Currently, I’m racing to finish my 12th and last novel before I retire from my fiction-writing career and assume the role of creative consultant on the movie set.
Your first three novels, including A Warrior’s Tale, are currently in preproduction for a major motion picture trilogy. How did you come across that opportunity? What was the process like?
It was a series of fortunate events that started when the film producer happened to see an interview I did on MTV where my book was used as a weapon (lol). The producer was intrigued enough about the stories that she bought the books. Luckily, she loved the stories and the characters. She flew me across Canada to Toronto in 2008 to meet with her to discuss the possibilities of optioning the rights and her vision for a movie adaptation. It was a regular emotional roller coaster ride that included walking away from an offer made by another producer while two other producers contacted me after seeing my website and reading excerpts/book reviews.
It took 3 years of going back and forth, but overall it was worth it to hammer out all the details to make sure both parties were satisfied. Currently, preproduction is underway. Full production of A Warrior’s Tale is expected to begin this winter!
What roles do female characters play in your novels?
The Imago series has an ensemble cast of characters, but the central protagonist is a half-elf/half-human female named Nayla Treeborn. Being the only halfling of her kind, she’s shunned by one race and denied by the other. To make matters worse, she immerses herself in the male dominated field of warriorship; enduring sexism, male chauvinism, and a lot of physical and emotional abuse in order to survive. The fans have said the most intriguing thing about her is that she’s a real ‘kick-ass’ heroine who is not above getting her own ass kicked from time to time.
In creating Nayla, I wanted my daughter to know that she doesn’t need super powers to rise above difficult situations. I wanted her to read about a strong female character; one who does the rescuing instead of waiting for a man to rescue her.
How did you get your novels published in eBook format? How has the eBook market helped you in terms of self-publication?
For me, having the deluxe PDF versions that include the maps, graphics, etc. that look pretty much identical to the print books has worked out well for me. But the techie grunt work that is necessary in order to format for these various points-of-sale had to be taken care of by my husband as I lack the knowledge and/or patience to do so. Plus, I’d rather be writing!
In the Urban Rush Interview, you and your husband, Scott White, demonstrate an ancient form of martial arts called Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu. Do you still practice martial arts? How does it relate to your novels? What is Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu?
BBT is an ancient martial arts form comprised of 6 Samurai schools and 3 schools of Ninjutsu. It is used strictly for self-defense, which is why you’d never see us doing the tournament circuit. It teaches armed and unarmed combat, as well as traditional and not so traditional weapons. After training and teaching for 25+ years, in an all male club, I’ve pretty much retired, training only my daughter now. In terms of my novels, many of Nayla’s moves are based on my style of fighting and having knowledge in martial arts has made it easier to write convincing battle scenes. I have an intimate knowledge of how much pain and physical abuse a human body can endure, and this too has come in handy for my writing.
What is the title of the most recent book you’ve read?
When I’m in writing mode, I never read fantasy novels until I’m away from my laptop or on vacation. So, reading is a rare event for me. What I’ve been trying to read is a novel by fellow Canadian author Jack Whyte. It’s called Knights of the Black and White, a tale about the Knights Templar. I’m so pressed for time, it’ll probably take me a year or longer to finish it and my to-read pile is getting scary-big!
Thank you for this wonderful opportunity, Mike! I hope to share more details in the near future when the Executive Producer issues a formal press release to the trade papers!