Goldfish Grimm: If we could peek into your office (coffee shop, kitchen table, wherever you write), what would your writing process look like?
Suzanne J. Willis: You’d see me either at my writing desk in my library or perched on my lounge, the frantic tapping on my laptop interspersed with long pauses staring into the distance as I try to find the right words, or flipping through my notebooks. Oh, and drinking gallons of tea!
GFG: What is it actually like?
SJW: I tend to write notes and snippets of a story in one of my notebooks before I begin typing on the computer. Sometimes, I’ll handwrite the entire story first – it just depends on the story and whether it wants to be told through the slow luxury of handwriting. The ideas almost always strike when I’m not thinking about the stories – when I’m walking or staring out the window of the tram on my way to work – so I usually have a notebook with me to scribble things down. If I’ve forgotten it, I’ll scribble on the back of tram tickets or receipts so I don’t lose the thoughts. And I absolutely can’t write for long stretches without the ritual of making a large pot of tea first.
GFG: Was there anything in particular that inspired “The Faerie Tailor”?
SJW: Late one Saturday afternoon one of my best friends and I wandered into a street market. Most of the stalls were closing, then we turned a corner and there was a tiny stall in which an old woman with long white hair and a mischievous grin was selling handmade clothes. I wrote the story that same night.
GFG: We were swept away by your descriptions and lush use of language. Tell us, if a faerie tailor did exist that produced the kinds of wares you depict, where do you think she’d set up shop?
SJW: Thanks, that’s lovely of you to say! I think she’d be a wanderer and set up in different cities at different times. They’d all be a little bit cold and grey and lifeless – the last places that you’d expect to find magic. It would be very easy for most people to overlook her and her wares. Only those people who feel like they’re missing something in their lives would have the good fortune to stumble across her.
GFG: Do you have anything you’d like to plug or promote?
SJW: I have stories in Misanthrope Press’ A Rustle of Dark Leaves anthology and FableCroft Publishing’s After the Rain anthology both of which are such wonderful collections that I feel very lucky to be in their company!
Suzanne J. Willis
Suzanne is a graduate of Clarion South 2009 and her work has appeared in AntipodeanSF and anthologies by Fablecroft Publishing and Misanthrope Press. She works full-time and writes in the spaces around it, all the while wishing it was the other way around. Suzanne lives in Melbourne, Australia with her patient partner and pampered pooch.