Interview with novelist Susan-Alia Terry

My
special guest today is Susan-Alia
Terry
and we’re chatting about her urban fantasy, Coming Darkness.
Bio:
As a
child, Susan was a voracious reader of all things not sanctioned by the
educational system. Comics, along with tales of ghosts, vampires, witches, and
monsters, fascinated and delighted – even as they fueled her need to sleep with
the light on.
As the
years passed, while still content to read what was offered, she noticed a
growing desire to read something a little…different. The desire continued to
grow until it became apparent that the easiest way to read what she wanted was
to write it first.
And
so, Coming Darkness was born.
She
resides in Charleston, SC with her family, and her “earthly angel” Charlie.
Please tell us about your current
release.
Archangel
Lucifer’s spoiled life comes to a halt, as he learns that Heaven is empty, and
his Father missing. Seeking answers, he’s brought face to face with a race of
Creator-Gods unhappy with his Father and the world He’d created – for Order is
the way of the universe and Free Will means chaos. Planning to wipe out this
heresy by removing those in their way and letting Darkness reclaim the earth,
they imprison Lucifer in Hell. Finding his way out will mean traveling its
depths, a task fraught with despair and hopelessness.
Meanwhile,
the Archangel’s lover sets out to prove all his opponents wrong. But Lucifer’s
influence runs deeper in Kai than he suspected, and his fear that he’s merely
Lucifer’s pet becomes all too real.
What inspired you to write this
book?
I always
thought Lucifer was an interesting character, but his story had been told so
many times. Because I like to ask “what if?” questions, I asked myself “What if
Lucifer never went to Hell?” and it all fell into place from there.
Excerpt from Coming Darkness:
Lucifer sat at the bar and
signaled to the bartender. Te ensured that all the staff knew to not only
fulfill his requests promptly but also to never hassle him about money. The
bartender, for example, knew that unless told otherwise, when signaled he
should bring over a glass of Glenfarclas. The bartender placed the glass
carefully in front of him and quickly walked away. Lucifer hadn’t paid
attention to whatever tale Te had spun about him because it didn’t matter. What
did was that they were afraid to make him angry, lest it get back to their
boss.
He drank the scotch because he
enjoyed the taste, but like the pot, it would not get him intoxicated. Taking a
sip as Michael claimed the seat beside him, Lucifer ignored him and lit another
clove.
“Hey, you, blondie. There’s no
smoking in here.”
Lucifer turned to face the
young woman who spoke. She was typical for the crowd the bar attracted: young,
probably mid-twenties, hip, and casual, but not a regular. They knew better
than to bother him, although he did get flirted with quite a bit. She stood
squarely on her fancy sandals, hands on hips, glaring at him with fierce blue
eyes. He stared back, took a drag, and blew smoke out and into her face.
“That is so rude,” she said,
glaring at him while waving her hand to clear the smoke.
“Why must you antagonize the
humans?” Michael asked him.
“Because they’re so
reactionary,” Lucifer said, still watching the woman. Her two friends rallied
around her, but the staff avoided her requests for help. Disgruntled, she
stalked out. He was a little disappointed. She looked like the type to cause a
scene.
“So? Why are you here,
Michael?”
“He’s right in there, officer.
Smoking in a public building, breaking the law.” The young woman’s voice
followed the officer as he strode over to them, utility belt jangling at each
step. The cop looked annoyed at being forced to deal with something so mundane
but determined to do his job. Lucifer continued smoking.
When the cop reached them,
Michael stood and showed him a badge. While the cop looked at the badge,
Lucifer felt Michael’s gentle push.
The cop instantly relaxed.
“I apologize for my suspect,
Officer…”
“Singleton.”
“Officer Singleton. He’s a
person of interest on a case I’m working on. I bent the rules when I shouldn’t have.
We’ll be going now.”
Lucifer scoffed. “I haven’t
finished my scotch.”
“Person of interest?” Although
still relaxed, the cop’s eyes turned eager, more interested. “You need any
help, sir?”
“Sir?” Lucifer mocked. Michael
sent him a warning look.
“No, thank you, Officer. He’s
not dangerous; he only thinks he is.”
At that, Lucifer was tempted to
play belligerent and start a fight. He and Michael hadn’t fought in ages, and
the idea was more and more appealing. Michael seemed to sense his intent and
discreetly shook his head.
Lucifer knocked back his drink
and stood. Starting a fight in front of humans, that would inevitably involve
humans, would bring him all sorts of family grief he could do without. He took
a drag from his cigarette, looked at Michael, and blew out the smoke. He then
turned and walked towards the door.
Michael followed him outside.
“What was that badge? FBI?”
“Army Counterintelligence. It
seems to play well in the South.”
“I’m sure it does. Probably as
well as those stupid wings used to. But who needs wings when you can have a
badge.”
“I think only Uriel hated those
wings more than you did,” Raphael said, surprising Lucifer, who turned toward
him. Dressed as a typical biker—leather chaps over denim, leather vest over a
t-shirt, and a rough beard—Raphael leaned against the side of the building,
smiling at him. His shaggy, black hair fell over brown eyes crinkling with
mirth.
Lucifer smiled back, despite
himself. Raphael’s words elicited a wave of nostalgic camaraderie within him.
Raphael laughed and nudged Gabriel, who stood nearby, to Lucifer’s ongoing
surprise. Gabriel twitched and drew into himself as if to avoid having his
pristine, gray suit sullied by Raphael’s proximity. He too wore his
rust-colored hair long, and as with his brethren, his amber eyes and stunning
beauty were the only things that hinted at his otherworldly origin.
The last time these three came
to see him, they’d staged what could only be called an intervention. It did not
end well. Lucifer hoped they had the sense not to try anything so ridiculous
again. Lighting up another clove cigarette, he crossed the street, heading
toward Waterfront Park.
“We’re here because we have a
problem,” Michael said, coming up beside him.
“We? Since when am I a part of we?
“Since always,” said Raphael
from behind him. The sidewalks in this part of town barely held two people,
forcing Raphael and Gabriel to take up the rear. “It was your choice not to act
on it.”
“Uh huh. So what is this
problem?” Lucifer asked, stopping at the corner. A car had come up to the
intersection, and he waited for it to pass before crossing.
“It would be best if we showed
you,” Gabriel said.
On the other side of the street
in front of the park, Lucifer stopped walking and turned toward his brothers.
They appeared honestly sincere, but then for angels on the straight and narrow,
that was a character trait.
“This better be worth it,” he
told them.
“It is; I promise you,” Michael
said.
“Then lead on.”
What exciting story are you working
on next?
Working
on the next book in the series. A lot of what was set up in the first book gets
resolved, new characters get introduced – I’m so excited!
When did you first consider yourself
a writer?
During a
weekend workshop in grad school. We had an assignment – I don’t remember
specifically what it was – but I went home and created Kai’s origin story to
present the next day. It was the first time I had “written on demand” and it
was then that I finally began to consider myself a writer.
Do you write full-time? If so,
what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do
you find time to write?
I don’t
have an “outside” job. I spend a fair amount of time writing in my head –
slotting pieces together, creating scenes, etc. I spend 3-4 hours at a time on
the work, sometimes more if the story is really loud, or if I’m approaching the
ending.
What would you say is your
interesting writing quirk?
I find it
really hard to write to music! I know for a fact that I can’t write to anything
I really like or dislike – I’m either spending way too much time singing along
or grumping that the music sucks! LOL To deal with ambient noise, I’m
experimenting with dubstep, which is an interesting experience. But I really prefer
writing in complete silence.
As a child, what did you want to be
when you grew up?
I wanted
to be one of the Supremes. Wearing glamorous dresses and singing back up to
Diana Ross looked like so much fun.
Links:

Thanks for being here today, Susan!

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