Friday, May 28, 2010

Five Question Friday: Sue London

1. If you couldn't write, how would you spend the time you now use for writing?

Based on how I avoid writing it seems like the answer is spending time online. Then there is also doodling, reading, gaming, and playing with pets. Oh wait, was the answer supposed to be "solving world hunger"? Yeah, I'd do some of that. And cure cancer and stuff. There would be time to do all sorts of things if I didn't stare at a blank white screen with a blinking cursor. It's like starring in the one-woman play For Whom the Cursor Blinks.

2. What do you think makes a good story?

At first I was going to say it depends on the story, but then I realized the underlying answer is - it needs to be true to itself. I think that's why fiction has naturally evolved into various genres because we like to know what we're getting into so that we can enjoy the ride. Meanwhile, stories that completely change tempo or style in the middle of them drive me crazy. I'm not talking about the ones that obviously have a variable rhythm, I'm talking about the ones where I think to myself "ah, this is where they started getting pressured for deadlines and threw in everything including the kitchen sink." Contrariwise, I also hate stories that are completely formulaic in their relationships, plot, and pacing. So, um, something pure or authentic that is neither chaotic or rote.

The biggest thing that resonates for me personally in stories are values (like honor, love, family, etc.). And for me character is more important than plot or setting. I'm related to some people who prefer either plot or setting which is the only reason I'm even AWARE that those could be that important to anyone. Ever. Seriously? Ok, fine, if you like it... Where was I? Oh, and obviously I love, love, LOVE humor and a clever turn of phrase.

3. Why are manhole covers round?

I shouldn't be telling you this but the real answer is because of our sea lion overlords. They slip from street to street, town to town, keeping an eye on us to make sure that we continue being productive little monkeys. Haven't you ever noticed those holes are just perfectly sea lion sized? But keep quiet that you know about it because they don't take kindly to our interference.

4. If I could read a diary of one of your characters, what would I learn about him/her?

Day four on the planet. Kayla is still jumpy and keeps her gun close. She says that we're on Charis but I'm not sure I believe her, no one who's gone near that place has been heard from again. But I've never seen so much life as what there is here. Everywhere I look there are plants and animals. And water. By the gods, so much water, I didn't know this much existed. Kayla doesn't seem bothered by it all so it must be true that the Kainu world is more like this. I find myself longing for the deserts of home where I could see forever in all directions. In a desert a man feels safe.

Did you learn anything? I learned that Kyzar from The Far Side of Utopia is a lot more anxious about the constant noise and pressure of the jungle that I'd realized. Apparently I should read his diary more often, too.

5. If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?

I would want my superpower to be a Good Vibe, the ability to put everyone around me into a joyful and peaceful mood. I mean, seriously, how much evil can an evil-doer get up to when they're having too much fun hanging out with you? One day they have some sort of world domination plan and the next thing they know they're waking up next to my pool with a paper umbrella stuck in their hair wondering where it all went wrong but not entirely caring because I just called everyone in to watch cartoons and suddenly it sounds like THE BEST THING EVER. World peace through laughter, that's the ticket.

Sue London is a writer and cartoonist who has spent an obscene amount of time in the business world being all businessy. She fell in love with the first guy who saw her reading Beowulf and said "that's my favorite epic" so now they're married with two dogs, three cats, and some great friends. You can find her online at twitter (, her personal blog (, and her writing blog ( She also loves to interview new and upcoming authors on Writing Insight ( Sue writes all sorts of different things on her writing blog and if you like flash fiction you might enjoy the fantasy piece "Blood Will Tell." ( Shannon McKenna complimented Sue on her "smooth, polished writing" which she likes because it sounds like a pretty stone you can put in your pocket and carry around for good luck.


Jamie Eyberg said...

What an excellent start to what I hope is a new tradition. Sue, that was very brave for taking the first leap. Nicely done.

Jen Stayrook said...
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Jen Stayrook said...

Sue London is my hero. More interviews please. =D

(I messed up when I first commented. I apologize profusely. Or as much apology as it takes. Actually, no, I'm not even sorry. Oops is really all I have to say.)

Michael Stone said...

What a brilliant set of answers! Thanks for the entertainment and enlightenment, Sue (especially regarding the sea lions, which was news to me!).

Cate Gardner said...

Excellent start - fabulous questions and wonderful answers. Especially loved the manhole cover/sealions one.

Susan Herod said...
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Sue London said...

I tried to comment earlier from my blackberry and it didn't work! So, like Jen, I have to say "oops."

First, thanks to Aaron for interviewing me! It was fun.

Jamie: Thanks! It wasn't too scary, but since I've rappelled, spelunked, and spoken at national conferences my sense of fear may have been compromised.

Jen: Woot! Thanks for coming over to check it out. Somehow, though, I'm reminded of the Firefly scene when Mal says about Simon, "He's my hero." :)

Michael: Brilliant? Awww, thanks. Now it's brilliant, smooth, and polished, definitely edging in on semi-precious stone!

Cate: Thanks! Aren't the questions awesome? Definitely looking forward to what other interesting queries Aaron pulls out of his hat.

Meanwhile, I have to hope that the sea lions never see that I revealed their secret. Thankfully they don't use computers often, claiming flipper discrimination.

Kara McElhinny said...

Sue! Nice answers to some great questions :D Loved the Diary entry!

Katey said...


Sea lion overlords... that explains so much...

Sue London said...

Hi K. Hinny! It was a great exercise to write the diary entry. Had been thinking about doing something like that for awhile because of my friend @lizb1987's blog.

Hi Katey! Yes, the sea lions. How did we miss it before?

Thanks to you both for stopping by!