Inspiration: Roald Dahl Day 2019

roald dahl day 2019

Around the time I decided that I wanted to be a writer and actively began to write stories, I discovered the books of Roald Dahl.

It began with the wonderful Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The book was bought for me as a gift and although it wasn’t the kind of story I’d read before, the back cover description drew me in:


I was 9 years old, and this book was about chocolate and adventure. What wasn’t there to like?

I finished the book in a matter of days and begged for more. A friend of my father bought me the next instalment of Charlie’s adventure, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator.

Those two books began a lifetime love of the writings of Roald Dahl. Over the years, I’ve bought and read all of his children’s books and passed most of them on to my own children.

Dahl has a wonderfully dark imagination, mixing scares (evil aunts and murderous witches) with children who are brave and often at odds with their circumstances and lives. There’s fantastical settings (like a giant peach) and real-life relationships (Danny the Champion of the World).

Today is Roald Dahl Day. Whether you’re a child, a parent, a teacher or just a grown-up who likes great writing, there’s all kinds of good stuff to be accessed on the Roald Dahl website. Have a look.

Interview with author Suzanna Williams

interview with author Suzanna Williams

Today, I have the pleasure of introducing to you not only a wonderful writer but a good friend too, author Suzanna Williams. Suzanna is a YA writer of stories that cover sci fi, action and adventure, with a touch of parkour and romance thrown in too.

And Suzanna has a little freebie treat for readers of this blog post. Read on to find out more.

When did you first call yourself a ‘writer’?

I told my primary school teacher I was a writer after I’d filled a whole exercise book with a story for homework. It was called ‘Mr Uncle the Ostrich’, (which I still think is a good title). My teacher must have taken a long time to mark it, because future homework had a limit on the pages we could write. My mum complained about the teacher’s attitude which didn’t make me popular, but it didn’t deter me. I was a writer. I had to write.

Tell me about your books.

I have two YA books out at the moment.

Shockwaves book cover

‘ShockWaves’ is a fast-paced YA action-adventure. It’s about a girl who gets kidnapped by an ex-IRA terrorist and the boy who tries to save her, and it involves lots of parkour, some gymnastics and a touch of telepathy.  

‘Ninety-five percent Human’ is a YA sci-fi romance in which a sixteen-year-old Welsh hill-farmer, a human-alien hybrid and a robot life-form with a bad sense of humour take on an alien leader set to invade Earth.

There are two short story prequels to go with this series. ‘Jake’, the evolving robotic fighter-pilot-turned-space-pirate, the unexpected hit character from Ninety-five percent Human. And ‘Sarah’, the human/alien hybrid sent to test the viability of life on Earth.

The awesome readers of Fi’s blog can download a copy of ‘Sarah’ for free.

What inspires you to write?

Ideas often come from a story I’ve read or a film I’ve watched. Some characters or situations will spark an imagination explosion of ‘but-what-if’s…’ I keep these in my notebook until one of them morphs into a plotline that keeps me awake at night. I am a very sound sleeper, so, I write down any story that disturbs my eight-hours.

How important is research to you when writing a book?

I like to get facts correct.

  • How long would it actually take a one-armed pilot with an eyepatch to fly from London to Outer Mongolia in a Cessna during a thunderstorm?
  • Would it be physically possible for someone to drag themselves ten miles through the burning Amazon rainforest with a broken leg whilst carrying an unconscious wombat suffering from smoke inhalation?
  • In which country would you find a noxious pink plant that would make you hallucinate asteroids falling from the sky?

For these awkward questions, Google is my friend.

On a more realistic note, I once sailed to Ireland and back on the Ferry at night to experience the atmosphere to write in a book, and a lot of the settings in my stories are places I’ve visited.

(Note: I don’t know the answer to the above questions. Any guesses?)

What is your writing schedule like? Do you aim to complete a set number of pages or words each day?

I wish I could say yes to this question, but amongst the chaos that is my life, I don’t have the luxury of a writing schedule. Setting targets and watching them fly past unmet makes me sad. I prefer the satisfaction of snatching a few unexpected hours whenever I get the chance. This method is not productive, and I would not recommend it. However, it keeps me partly sane until life improves.

Plotter or pantser?

I started off a pantser. Over the years I have set into many a story with nothing more than the whiff of an idea and an overdose of enthusiasm. This has mostly ended badly. My aimless characters would meander around for several hundred pages before being written into a corner from which I could find them no escape. The manuscript then came to rest among the ranks of the undead unfinished.

On the rare occasion I typed ‘the end’, it would take more edits than I care to admit for me to untangle the plot holes and character inconsistencies I inevitably found when I read it back. This had to stop.

Starting off with a solid plot helps me find the problems with my story before I begin. The more detail I can add, the better the expectation that I will finish. Plotting rules!

Putting aside the writing for a minute, what is your favourite genre to read?

Not sure I have a favourite genre. It might be more useful to say what I don’t like.

So, in no particular order:

  • Erotica. Romance is good but leave the bedroom door shut please.
  • Historical novels. Especially those featuring sub-servient women with menfolk who abuse them. These are just too irritating. I’d leave them on the shelf.
  • Thrillers where children get abducted/tortured/murdered. Books are my escape and I don’t need a reminder that people can be horribly cruel. I’m a big believer in the happy-ever-after ending.

Most other books are fair game.

Any advice for writers just starting out?

Read as much as you can, even books you think you won’t like. (This is especially good at combatting ‘writer’s block.’)

Write as much as you can, even things you think are useless. (Yes, some of your words will be absolute trash, but some will be genius; go with those.)

Repeat.

Repeat again.

What books are you working on now or planning for the future?

I’ve had a long period where real life has brought my writing to a standstill, but I’m happy to be finalizing the last edit of AfterShock, which is the sequel to ShockWaves. It’s been a long time coming but I have a tentative release date in December. I’ve had new covers designed for the series which makes me smile every time I look at them.

I’ve also written a new middle grade series and I’m working with an illustrator on them. I’m not putting a release date on this project (see question 5 above) but fingers crossed it will be in the near future.

A big thank you to Fi Phillips for allowing me onto her blog. I’m looking forward to seeing Haven Wakes on the best sellers list very soon.

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Thanks, Suzanna. Some great answers there.

You can find Suzanna by visiting:

And once again, you can download her free short story ‘Sarah’ here.