What inspired your latest novel?
I haven’t written a novel in quite some time, but I’ll tell you about my favourite novel, The Dwelling. It was my third book, and was published around 2006 by Simon & Schuster in the US, and by Random House Canada here in Canada. It was also published in the UK and Germany. It’s a classic haunted house novel, and I actually wrote it just after moving into my own little house, the first house I owned all on my own. The process of house hunting got me to thinking about all the lives that pass through a single house, and how pieces of those lives are likely left behind. I was also going through a divorce at the time, and the whole thing was very challenging–haunting, you could say. These things combined and before I knew it, I was telling the story of a house through the eyes of four very different people.
How did you come up with the title?
I didn’t! You know, I have never titled a book. Someone always changes my title at the level above me, ha ha. The Dwelling, for instance, was called The Dwellan by me. Dwellen is an old English word that means “to refuse to leave,” which I thought was appropriate. Simon & Schuster felt that it would be too oblique for readers and so altered it to be called The Dwelling. I was sad about that title change … “dwellan” seemed so appropriate.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
We’re all haunted by something.
How much of the book is realistic?
All the human emotion in the book is real. The whole thing is real, if you believe in ghosts!
Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
That’s a mix. I think the writer always leaves something of themselves on the page at the end of the day, and certainly the middle story about the Mother and Son has shades of my own struggles during my divorce. The character of Ritchie is a writer. The Realtor, Glenn Darnley has just been widowed–she “lost” her husband–and certainly a divorce leaves you grieving. The character of the wife, Becca, in the first story is a very ambitious woman trying to be successful in a man’s world, and her troubled husband Dan is an artist. All of these people have shades of me in their characterizations. However, all of those characters are their own people, too, made up out of all the people I have ever interacted with, throughout my whole life.
Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog?
I’m fairly active on social media! I’m Susie Moloney on Facebook, @Susiemoloney on Twitter, and @susie.moloney on Instagram … please friend, follow, and like!
Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone?
All my books have been “one-offs” as they say. As far as a new book goes … never say never. I have moved almost entirely on to film and television these days, however. In fact my very first full-length feature has recently been shot, Bright Hill Road. You can look for that sometime in the next year or so, and of course if you do follow me on social media, I give shamelessly regularly updates!
Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?
I’ve always had–and always will have–a special place in my heart for Glenn Darnley, the widow realtor in that novel, The Dwelling. She was born at a time when there was a deep sadness in me, and she took that on like a champ. Writing her story helped me to get passed that sadness. Go, Glenn!
Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?
I’m a horror writer through and through! Although I do occasionally write straight short fiction, and for many years I wrote a humour column. I also write funny essays. A laugh and a shriek are not far apart!
Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?
I’m a planner. But I do allow a story to take me somewhere else if it seems like it needs to. I’m flexible, but I always know the ending of my story.
What is your best marketing tip?
Stay in touch with people! Social media is great for that.
Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance?
It’s a great tool. You can reach so many people! But it’s a lot of work to build a platform, and if you’re going to use social media as a promotional tool, you have to do that work, whether you want to or not!
What do you enjoy most about writing?
There is something absolutely magical about being able to absorb yourself entirely in the life of another human being–real or made up. To design their world, their thoughts, their relationships, is total trip! You’re literally making up a life and making it true! The idea that a well-told story can absorb someone else is a gift, too, this realization that someone who isn’t me can pick up my story or book and devote hours of their time to reading it because they are absorbed is probably the greatest honour I’ve ever had.
Susie Moloney is the author of Bastion Falls, A Dry Spell, The Dwelling, The Thirteen, and Things Withered, stories, a collection of short fiction. Published all over the world, in multiple languages, she continues to write, although these days, she writes horror film and television. Watch for the upcoming Bright Hill Road!