Today we are chatting with Susan Marshall, author of
Read on for more about Susan, her book!
Meet Susan Marshall!
A lover of libraries, Susan obtained a Master’s Degree in Library Science but found that she was too disorganized for the profession. Instead, Susan worked at The Globe and Mail newspaper and then Seneca College. Four kids later, she decided to stay-at-home, spending her quiet moments indulging her love of writing.
The old adage is to “write what you know,” and in Double Negative, Susan channels her experience as a parent of a teen amputee and her misguided belief that she was once an athlete.
NemeSIS was inspired by the complicated sister dynamic in Susan’s estrogen fuelled household growing up in Hamilton, Ontario.
Susan lives in Toronto with her husband, three sons, a daughter, rescue dog Bean and Indy the cat.
Meet Double Negative!
Injured competitive swimmer, Reece never wanted to be Vice Prez of West Hill High. It was her brother Jamie’s idea and just something to do until she could get back into the pool.
She knew that Jamie—who led off his campaign with a strip-tease “election speech”—would be a complete “President Dumbass.” But what Reece didn’t foresee was that she’d fall, and hard, for Jamie’s student council rival, Zain. And that big drama would follow.
Zain is hot and intense, plus an amputee and a basketball star. Between Zain’s disability and Reece’s surgery, they have their challenges but that makes their connection deeper.
That is until Zain drops a bombshell about his accident. And suddenly everything that is important to Reece starts to implode.
Struggling with issues of family loyalty, secrets and scars, Reece must decide if real relationships are worth the heartache.
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
One of my kids had an outrageous president at their high school and the stories reminded me of Ferris Bueller, so that was the original inspiration. Double Negative is about whole bunch of things including dealing with you own brother as “President Dumbass.”
I’m a big fan of the “enemies to lovers” trope, so it was fun having Veep Reece fall for her brother’s council rival, Zain. I’m the parent of a teen amputee and I wanted to portray Zain as a complex, accomplished character: an athlete, an ambitious school leader, a boyfriend and someone who can both be caring and ruthless.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
I love Reece and all her flaws. At the beginning, she is a bit full of herself and singularly focused to a fault. And she is also a literal fish out of water, at a new school and away from the pool. But she starts reinventing herself pretty quickly and evolves so much over the course of the novel.
When Reece meets Zain, their relationship causes her to revaluate so many aspects of her life. And when things get complicated, Reece must decide whether or not to just go back to her old life or do the work for a richer one.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
The title Double Negative came early in the process. With Reece—an injured, sidelined swimmer dating Zain, a single-leg amputee—the idea of two negatives making a positive seemed like a great theme. Plus, the title is also really important for other reasons, that I will not disclose!
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
I’m really happy with the final scene. It can be so difficult to get the ending right. Even if you manage to write an amazing book, if the ending isn’t satisfying, that’s what the readers remember—their last impression. It took me many drafts, and it took a friend to steer me in the right direction, but I think I (finally) got there.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?
Do not rush the process. Your story should spend a lot of time in the revision stage and will likely go through many drafts. Find some unbiased readers and start getting feedback. While it’s human nature to want to share your words with the world, once your book is out there, it’s out there forever, so you do need to take your time and make sure it’s right.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
There’s a lot that happens in Double Negative, as well as a few quiet peaceful scenes under the stars or in the water. The cover conveys some of the calm between the storms and blue is my favorite colour, so I really love this one!
YABC: Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
Jamie’s girlfriend Jae gave me the most trouble. It would have been easy to write her as a one-dimensional, over-achieving, near emotionless character. It took me awhile to really get into her head and figure out some of her layers and then slowly show them to the readers
YABC: What is the main message or lesson you would like your reader to remember from this book?
Sometimes in life, the biggest, scariest challenges can be the biggest opportunities for growth. It’s like that old-adage about scaring yourself everyday or getting out of your comfort zone.
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
I am the parent of a teen amputee and have a good friend who is a double-leg amputee, so it’s no surprise that Zain is a single-leg amputee. I am a big fan of organizations that support amputees and I love that, with Instagram and other platforms, amputees are able to see others on social media which can facilitate connections. On Instagram I follow @amputeecoalition and @lucky_fin_project, and in Canada we also have @TheWarAmps and there are many, many others.
Author: Susan Marshall
Publisher: Evernight Books
Publish Date: November 12th, 2021
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