Sunday, August 14, 2016

#NA August interview: Suzanne Van Rooyen

Today, I’m thrilled to share a NA August interview with the author of SCARDUST, Suzanne Van Rooyen.

Welcome, Suzanne. Could you tell us a bit about SCARDUST and what you think puts it in the NA category?

Hi Pat, thanks so much for having me! Scardust is a sci-fi romance about a guy called Raleigh who dreams of going to Mars. His dream gets derailed when he finds a beat-up amnesiac out in the Texas desert. Whenever he and the stranger touch, it ignites a memory swap between them, which of course creates all kinds of complications.

This novel is NA because it's thematically quite dark and the two main protagonists are nineteen and twenty-two, having to deal with life post high school and the responsibilities of their own – sometimes bad – decision making.  

Why did you choose to write an NA book? What is it about the age range that appealed to you?

I'm not sure. I didn't start writing this book thinking it would be NA, I just started telling Raleigh's story and because of where that went, it turned out to be more suitable for NA than YA. The NA age range definitely appeals to me though because these post-teen twenty-somethings are out of school and have to find their place in the wider world. The fact that they're no longer minors and have to deal with the consequences of their mistakes is also appealing, as it raises the stakes for these characters. And then of course, there is a little more freedom in NA when it comes to mature content ;)

Do you think NA books require certain elements—such as sex? Do you think there are stereotypes that are not necessarily true for all NA books?

Hm, tricky question. I don't think these things are a requirement so much as a natural progression in terms of growing up. I don't think the sex in NA has to be graphic or even on the page, but for many twenty-somethings (and teens, sure) sex is a part of their lives and it would feel disingenuous not to include that in books about characters in this age group. But I do think that the stereotype of NA simply being YA with sex, is false and incredibly misleading. There are a number of critical differences between YA and NA, most importantly where these characters are in terms of life development, what their daily struggles are, and how these characters choose to cope with adversity.

Do you think there is enough diversity in the genre, particularly compared to other age groups?

Oh gosh, I'm not really sure because I tend to mostly read SF/F and there isn't a whole lot of that in NA. I very rarely read NA contemporary stories and found those that I did read started to feel a little samey for me, so I guess that means greater diversity is definitely needed – or perhaps it exists and I just haven't found it. I think the drive for diversity in YA will certainly have a knock-on effect for NA though, so we're bound to start seeing greater diversity in NA if it isn't already happening.

What can we do to encourage the growth of NA SFF?

Get publishers to publish it! I had a pretty tricky time finding a home for Scardust primarily because YA editors found it too mature for a younger audience and adult editors found it too young for adult SF/F readers. There's a bit of a void in the traditional publishing world for SF/F NA. Some books are succeeding in making the cross-over – like Six of Crows and A Court of Thorns and Roses – but for the most part these books are still published and marketed under the guise of YA. I'm very grateful Entangled is open to publishing NA titles across all genres, but it would be great to see more support for this category with some of the bigger publishing houses to truly give NA SF/F the boost it needs. There's a lot more happening on the self-publishing circuit, which means that there are definitely people reading genre fiction in this category – it just needs greater visibility perhaps.

You’ve written a lot of books and other works, can you give us an overview and tells us what to expect in the future?

I'm not sure I've written 'a lot' ;) but my previous works – aside from Scardust – include the very much neither sci-fi nor NA book The Other Me, which is a contemporary YA novel about a South African teen with gender dysphoria. Then I've got Obscura Burning re-releasing November 10 from Harmony Ink Press – that's a YA sci-fi novel about a boy caught between two very different lives. As for what the future holds, there's a lot in the works right now and I'll hopefully be able to share more about those projects soon.


Suzanne is a tattooed storyteller from South Africa. She currently lives in Finland where she finds the heavy metal soothing and the cold, dark forests inspiring. Although she has a Master’s degree in music, Suzanne prefers conjuring strange worlds and creating quirky characters. When she grows up, she wants to be an elf – until then, she spends her time (when not writing) climbing, buying far too many books, and entertaining her shiba inu, Lego.

Social Media links:

Blurb (s)

Dead Rock, Texas, 2037

Raleigh Williams made a promise to his brother before he died, that he’d scatter his ashes on Mars. Desperate to leave a life of bad memories behind and start over in the Martian colony, Raleigh fully intends to keep that promise. But his plans are thwarted when a meteor near-misses him in the desert, and Raleigh finds in its crater not debris or even a spacecraft, but a man covered in swirling scars and with no memory of who he is. At least he looks like a man—a man Raleigh can’t seem to keep his eyes off of—but whenever they touch it ignites a memory swap between them.

Raleigh agrees to help Meteor Man piece together his life through their cosmic connection. But the memory share goes both ways, and Raleigh becomes inexplicably entangled with a guy who is everything he needs—everything good that Raleigh is not—but might not even be human. As their minds and worlds collide, reality unravels and Raleigh must face a painful truth, one that could shatter his dreams of finding love, reaching Mars, and fulfilling his brother’s last wish.

Buy links:
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