Born and raised on the east coast, author Suzanne Redfearn moved to California at the age of fifteen. After graduating summa cum laude from California Polytechnic University, she worked as an architect, specializing in residential and commercial design, before pursuing her dreams of being an author.
Published in October of 2013, Redfearn’s first novel, Hush Little Baby, is a gripping page-turner about a determined mother’s fight to rescue her children from her violent husband.
Redfearn’s upcoming novel, No Ordinary Life, which will be released on February 2nd, tells the story of a young mother’s quest to protect her children from the dangerous world of Hollywood. Suspenseful and unforgettably moving, No Ordinary Life explores the unbreakable bonds of family and the astounding devotion of a mother’s love.
Redfearn currently resides in Laguna Beach with her husband — with whom she owns a restaurant called Lumberyard — their two kids, a Cockapoo named Cooper, and a cat named Motley. When not writing, Suzanne is an avid baseball fan and enjoys skiing, golf, tennis, surfing, playing board games, and watching reality TV. To learn more about her and her writing, visit suzanneredfearn.com or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
What was your upbringing like, and how did it shape who you are today?
I moved around a lot as a kid, which made me very certain that when I grew up and had a family of my own, I wanted to stay put. My dream came true when I married my husband and we settled in Laguna Beach, CA, where we have lived for twenty-two years. My kids grew up here, and we own a restaurant in town, so I really feel like the community is a part of me.
How did you initially become interested in architecture, and what do you find most interesting or enjoyable about working as an architect?
I have always loved to build things, and I love three dimensional form and light. The greatest thing about architecture is inhabiting a space that was originally only an idea in your head. Every time I go into our restaurant, I smile. It is the space I had envisioned, and now people are eating and drinking and enjoying themselves in that space. It’s very cool.
What inspired the story of Hush Little Baby?
The story was inspired by a horrible divorce my friends were going through. There was a lot of he said, she said being thrown around as they fought for custody of their three boys. I was struck by the idea of how much damage one spouse can do to another and the idea of good appearing evil and evil appearing good. From there the story took on a life of its own and became a story about a woman on the run from her abusive husband, but that original idea of marital sabotage and good and evil prevailed as an undercurrent throughout.
What aspects of writing comes easiest to you? Are there any aspects you struggle with?
Storytelling has always come naturally; the craft of writing is brutal. I don’t really struggle with writer’s block. I find that ideas and characters and plots come pretty easily, but I am extremely self-conscious of my writing. I didn’t go to school for it, so I am always terrified I am going to be found out to be a fraud. I think it is that insecurity that drives me to work so hard at it. I must have read Hush Little Baby over forty times before it got published.
How much of yourself is there in the protagonists of Hush Little Baby and No Ordinary Life?
You write what you know, so there are bits and pieces of me in every story, but I am not at all like Jillian or Faye. There might be quirks or phrases my characters use that they borrow from me, and obviously Jillian being an architect was taken from my experience, but my characters are as individual as real people. Both Jillian and Faye frustrated me. There were times when I would scream at them for being idiots as I was writing them. There were other times I adored them. I suppose I think of them more like family members than as alter egos.
What is your writing process? Has it changed at all since you first started writing?
Process sounds so rational and organized. What I do is chaotic and scrambled. I am a “pantster” (I write by the seat of my pants) in the true sense of the word. I start with an idea, do a ton of research, following it wherever it leads, write ideas as they come to me (rarely in chronological order), and then weave it all together. It’s a total mess, very stressful, and I do not suggest this method to anyone.
What is your favorite item on the menu at Lumberyard?
It changes all the time. But lately, even though I’m not really a dessert person, I always order the bread pudding. It is seasonal, so the flavors change, but two nights ago, it was salted caramel, and I seriously thought I had died and gone to heaven.
Of the Major League Baseball stadiums you’ve attended, which has been your favorite, and of the ones you haven’t visited yet, which one are you most looking forward to seeing in person?
San Francisco Giants. The fans in SF are incredibly cool, and they are serious fans. It is a sea of orange and black. When my daughter and I went, Steve Perry was in the audience, and during one of the inning breaks, he stood up and got the whole audience to join in singing “Don’t Stop Believing.” It was amazing. The stadium I am most looking forward to seeing a game at is Fenway Park. I’ve toured the field, but every time I am in Boston, the team has been traveling. There is so much history there, and again, those fans bleed for their Red Sox.
What are you working on next?
I am really excited about the new novel I am working on. I have always loved road trip stories, so I decided to write about two moms on the run with their kids from their husbands and the law. It’s a bit of a mess at the moment, but it is turning into a wild ride and I am really enjoying writing it.
Thank you for these incredibly fun questions and for including me in Ten Minute Interviews.