Welcome to Clubhouse Chat page. For those of you who are not a member won’t be aware that the location of the Clubhouse is shrouded in mystery. The only way to visit the clubhouse is via membership or invite to the clubhouse tearoom. Every few days, I’ll be sharing a conversation I’ve had with a guest over tea and cakes, or maybe a glass of something stronger, about their work in progress, or latest book release. I’ll be talking to all sort of writers and authors at different levels of their writing careers.
Today in the Clubhouse tearoom I’m chatting to Suzana Sjenicic. Welcome and it’s lovely to have a chance to chat with you, Suzana.
Thanks for inviting me for a cuppa and a chat.
My first question for you is what refreshment would you like while we chat?
I’d like some tea with lemon as days have gotten chilly and cozy, please!
Now we have our refreshments, I shall begin by asking you when you first began your writing journey what drew you to your chosen genre?
-My writing journey began so early that I did not know what genre even means (laughs)! I wrote my first short story as a child in this green hardcover book that I still have. It was entitled “Maja and the Dog” and it was about a little girl whose dog got hit by a car. I am not going to spoil it in case you ever get to read it, haha. Today, I write mostly short stories that revolve around romance, but are often involving some sort of adventure. I am drawn to this as I am able to dig dipper into characters and their relationships, and I guess, because I could base it on actual feelings I have experienced and therefore, make the story believable and relatable to readers. Along with fiction, as a psychotherapist, I write a lot about psychology topics; in fact, my first published book was on the topic of anxiety.
Tell us a little about latest writing project. Is it a new idea, or one you have been mulling over for some time?
-The latest completed project was the book I just mentioned, “Anxiety Free.” I recently started writing something that I hope will turn into a novel, and it was an idea that was brewing for a little while before I elaborated on it in my head and finally put it down on paper. It came from a single thought and a situation that I imagined for some reason, and I thought that it could be interesting to work through it. Oddly enough, I imagined it as a movie before I even realized that I could turn it into a novel.
How many unfinished projects do you have on your computer?
-Oh boy, let’s count. I have one novel that I am pretty deep into but have abandoned a few years ago as my focus shifted on psychology, and the one I had mentioned earlier; that one is not even a chapter long yet. I have a bunch of short stories that are awaiting editing as well, and one potential project that I am still identifying and trying to find a place for.
Do you write a synopsis first or write the first chapter? If you only write short stories Do you plan your story, or let the characters lead you.
-I always dive straight into chapters unless I am writing a psychology-related or any factual article or book, in which case I create an outline. Fiction, I always dive into quickly and let characters and the story take me on a journey. I often surprise myself with what unfolds along the way, it’s almost like watching a movie play out before my eyes.
When reading your work through do you ever find that your daily mood swings are reflected in your writing?
-Very often, yes! Sometimes, I even write when I’m in a certain mood. Writing is a great outlet for emotional processing, and to me, serves as a creative tool instead of journaling.
Were any of your characters inspired by real people?
-Yes, some of the characters in my short stories were based on real people. Not entirely, but I have given them certain attributes and personality traits of people that I know. As I said earlier, it helps when there is something familiar in your writing, a feeling or a reaction to a certain person that you’ve already mastered. It adds to the truth that readers recognize.
Is there anything about you your readers might be surprised to find out?
-Many people don’t know this, but I actually majored in acting in college prior to taking up psychology. I was a part of the Theater and Communications program, and acting has been my dream, alongside with writing, since I was a child.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
-It crossed my mind, but I don’t think I would do it. It’s a great way for authors to write freely and express themselves without censoring, but it’s not my cup of tea (no pun intended), at least for now
How do you select the names of your characters? & do you know everything about them before you start writing their story?
-I imagine character’s appearance and personality traits and the names find them that way. I don’t know everything about them before I start writing, but slowly develop, and get to know them along the way. I usually start with one of the major descriptors or experiences my character goes through, and build around it.
What was your hardest scene to write?
-In the summer of 2011, I was a part of the summer-long program at the New York University, called Writers in New York. A class assignment was to write a short story based on a feeling, and I chose Guilt. The story was based on the feelings of a driver who was just in a car accident and whose passenger died. It was very emotional and intense to write that scene and dive into depths of the agony that character was feeling.
Link to Suzana’s website
And here’s some links for to books and anthologies in which she has participated in:https://www.amazon.com/Anxiety-Free-English-Suzana-Sjenicic/dp/1990941095
It you want to find out more about Clubhouse Member’s Books don’t forget to check out the Clubhouse Bookshops too.