Suzanne Selfors is the author of Saving Juliet, Coffeehouse Angel, as well as a middle grade series with Little, Brown. She held a number of jobs before becoming a writer, including children's photographer, video producer, organic flower grower, and marketing director. She lives in Washington. Her newest release, Mad Love, was released January 4. (From Bloomsbury).
Suzanne's website: www.suzanneselfors.com
Mad Love Book Trailer:
1. Would you describe Mad Love in a few words for the readers?
Teen girl meets strange boy who claims to be Cupid. Together, they write a love story.
2. Mental Illness plays a major role in Alice's life, why did you choose to feature it in the book?
I needed Alice's mother to seem larger than life. I needed a reason for Alice's mother to be missing-in-action. I needed Alice to feel alone and unloved. Bi-polar disorder fit all the needs of the plot because it gave my opportunities to shower Alice with affection during her mother's episodes of mania, then to take that affection away during episodes of dark depression.
3. As someone going into the counseling field, I was really impressed with your accurate portrayal of life with mental illness. What research, if any, went into creating those characters?
Lots of research, but also lots of personal experience. In my senior year of college, I went into a deep funk. I couldn't sleep, couldn't eat, was barely functioning. I was diagnosed with severe chronic depression and anxiety. And it took me years to pull myself free of it. Fortunately it hasn't come back. So when I wrote about Belinda's depression, I was drawing from experience.
Also, my father had extreme bouts of mania. He was never diagnosed because he never sought help. He turned to drinking, instead. So I get what it's like to live with someone whose mood swings are unpredictable.
4. Your book also features the myth of Eros (Cupid) and Psyche. What inspired you to use this particular story in Mad Love?
It's a great story. And I love Greek and Roman mythology. But I never quite believed the part of the story where Cupid accidentally shoots himself with his own arrow. I thought, what if he didn't put himself under a spell? What if he really, truly loved Psyche. What could I do with that?
5. Do you have any current projects in the works?
I'm writing my next teen novel, which will be out in 2012. I'm having fun with it. It's a bit of a fairy tale.
A HUGE thanks to Suzanne for answering my questions!