November 16, 2010


If you haven't already noticed, my latest review features Perfect Score, by Susan Roebuck.  It's a great read, and I highly recommend it if you're looking for something atypical to the current reads of mainstream Adult fiction.

Now the exciting part.  Interview!  I couldn't help but send a few questions Ms. Roebuck's way, particularly about her experience with e-publishing, which isn't something most aspiring authors hear about or even consider.  I'm hoping readers will benefit from what she has to say.  I know I did.

Did you intend on having Perfect Score e-published?  If so, why?  What was the experience of being e-published like?

I’m actually British and e-publishing isn’t – or wasn’t at the time – much talked about in the UK. So when I finished “Perfect Score” I set about submitting to agents, never dreaming about e-publishing. I don’t live in the UK and I was so distressed (because of the expense and what I considered very old-fashioned) that many UK agents wouldn’t (and probably still don’t) take e-mail submissions, so I decided to try the States where publishers and agents are much more open to e-mail submissions. It made more sense anyway since the book’s set in the States. I had no idea about the submission process and I hang my head in shame at some of my initial ones. You really have to learn from experts how to submit – and never send a publisher or agent a genre that isn’t on their list of interests.

After thirty rejections, I was very depressed and then I received two acceptances on the same day! People have said that thirty rejections is nothing and that some people go into the hundreds before they’re accepted. Anyway, both acceptances were e-publishers and, since I’m a terrible geek, I thought, ‘why not? Sounds great’. And so I was introduced to a world of e-books which I’d never even heard of before.

It really has been a good experience. I wouldn’t say there’s much difference in the pre-publishing process, but now there’s a contrast between having an e-book on the market and having one traditionally published in paper. And that’s because of the author’s “platform” (new word to my vocabulary). With e-books an author can’t, obviously, do physical book-signings, or book tours, so it all has to be done “virtually”. And it’s a full-time job. But then, a friend who does have a book published in paper said she has to have a “platform” too because even though she’s published by a large publisher, they don’t have the money nowadays to do huge promotions, and she also admits her own marketing is taking up most of her time.

My e-publisher’s been great (Awe-struck Publishing). I was assigned a perfect editor (thanks Marie Dees!), they always answered my stupid “newbie” questions and I adore the cover they produced. They also released the book when they said they would and their royalties percentage isn’t bad either. So I’m happy.

Your characters are so lifelike, especially Sam.  How did you decide to incorporate a character suffering from dyslexia, and was it challenging to write from the perspective of someone suffering from such a disorder?  

Everyone seems to fall a little in love with Sam. I’m a teacher and I do see people with dyslexia from time to time. I’m not sure Sam’s problem really is only dyslexia – he has a severe case of it, if he has (I’ve never seen anyone as bad as he is). I also have a great friend who actually teaches dyslexic children and I picked her brains until she was sick of me! I enjoyed writing about Sam – and I did exaggerate his condition – but I wanted to make him into such a strong character who has to overcome almost overwhelming odds.

What was your inspiration for writing Perfect Score?

You’re going to kill me for this. Apparently, I’m a pantser and not a plotter (more new vocabulary)! This means I just write without too much planning and I really had no ending in mind when I began the book. And Sam started out as a girl – can you believe it? I was first hit by the muse in the Catskills, Upstate New York when I stayed very close to where the famous 1969 Woodstock Music Festival was held. I spoke to people who’d been there and that’s how Alex was created – except he was already a famous musician. Then Sam became a man (no operation needed, ahem) and I wanted him to have his affinity with animals so I moved him to a State well known for agriculture (High Falls is probably based around Montana, Wyoming border). So Alex had to move nearer. I was reading “On the Road” by Kerouac at the time and I fell in love with Denver, so Verdigris is based on that. There’re twenty-seven versions of this book, believe it or not, after all the changes that happened along the way.

Do you plan on publishing any more novels in the future, and if so, any ideas yet as to what about? 

Yes, I’m already working on one called “The Deepest Secret”, although I bet that title will change. It’s not M/M – not yet, anyway – and it’s set between the UK and Portugal. The MC will have special powers which I’m not going to reveal just yet and there’s going to be a female bullfighter who is, obviously, the baddie. The themes will be the sea, fishing, and no doubt more before it’s finished.

I’ve read that you grew up in the UK but now live in Portugal – does either of those lifestyles affect/influence your stories?

Yes I was born and grew up in the UK but now live in Portugal. That didn’t affect “Perfect Score” because that was based on the time I spent in the US (I love the States, I really do). My new book, though, will definitely reflect the two countries. And I’ve written short stories which are often, although not always, set in Lisbon or Madeira Island.

Bio, according to Awe-Struck Publishing:

Sue Roebuck was born and educated in the UK but she now lives in Portugal with her Portuguese husband. She has taught at various colleges and institutions in Portugal and her interest in dyslexia started with a discussion over lunch with a colleague and friend. Nowadays Sue's mostly occupied by e-learning courses which, when no cameras are used, are also known as "teaching in your pajamas". But, given a choice, writing would be her full-time occupation.

Working from home presents no problem for her since her office window overlooks the glittering point where the Tagus River meets the Atlantic Ocean. The huge container ships, tankers and cruise liners which are constantly on their way in or out of Lisbon harbor are a great source of inspiration (or distraction).
She has traveled widely through The States and believes that "being born American is like winning the lottery of life". If she could live anywhere, she'd live in the Catskills in Upstate New York.

Many, many thanks to Ms. Roebuck for taking the time to answer my questions!


  1. Thank you Alissa - I hate my photo! And, no, I'm not fishing!

  2. Well done, Susan. I, too, am about to be e-published by Etopia Press and I am staggered at the professionalism. I think this form of publishing will fly.

  3. A very interesting, and informative interview.

  4. The book sounds wonderful, it interest me that the hero has dyslexia, when my son who was diagnosed in first grade with dyslexia I had to be his advocate in the public school system to always try to get them to do the things they were supposed to do so I learned a lot about it. Awe Struck is a good publisher. And ebooks have been around for a while. I was first published with Awestruck in January of 2001. I love my other e-publishers also. Congratulations on your first book and best of luck on all the many others to come.

  5. Steve - it's such excellent news about your book. Yes, there are a lot of rogues out there, but if you choose well...
    Cornelia, it's amazing how little was known about dyslexia in the 1960's (which, I suppose, is relatively recently). Well done on your fight for your boy.

  6. Hi Sue,

    I've heard so many great things about Perfect Score!

    Kuods, girl, and keep the good stories coming!

    Best, Keta


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