Interview With Author Suzanne Berget
Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’m a bookseller and video game journalist from Oslo, Norway, who is actually a technical translator, but also dabbles in sewing, painting and the occasional guest lecture at the University of Oslo. I’m married, no kids, currently no pets, but I really want to get a dog and call him Peanut, alas my partner is allergic to both dogs and peanuts.
I’ve only written one book (or technically two, but we don’t talk about the other one), but I have plans for many more!
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My debut novel is called Let Slip the Beasts and the title is a play on “Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war” from Julius Ceasar by Shakespeare.
The book is inspired by my love for comic books and video games, specifically X-men, Lazarus and Resident Evil, but also movies and series like Ginger Snaps and Orphan Black. It ironically contains no other references to Shakespeare (that I know of), but a surprising amount of references to The Second Coming by W.B. Yeats.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I wish I HAD writing habits, then I probably would have finished this book a lot sooner! Unfortunately, I am a master procrastinator and easily distracted, so any writing habit I do have is an exception and not the rule.
But, I tend to write in the evenings, usually accompanied by a glass of Writer’s Tears (that’s a whiskey, not my actual tears…well, maybe a few).
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Definitely Hemingway in a lot of ways. I like to be succint and to the point, which is why my book is “so short”. It’s not short, mom, it’s economical!
But also Nicole Kornher-Stace with her portrayals of feral women, capitalist hellscapes and tragic character arcs, as well as Tamsyn Muir, whose Locked Tomb series is just so weird and gory and wonderful! Reading Gideon the Ninth feels like playing a Metroidvania-type video game, it’s absolutely bonkers.
And Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield – that book gave me nightmares!
What are you working on now?
Right now I’m working on a horror novel set on an abandoned oil rig off the coast of Norway inspired by the nightmares I had after reading Our Wives Under the Sea at bedtime. It’s in Norwegian and the first draft is finished. It’s very rough, though, so the pacing is all over the place and character motivations are non-existent, but I have a pretty solid beginning and an ending I quite like, so all in all it’s in pretty good shape.
I’m also working on the sequel to Let Slip the Beasts, which promises to be bigger, better and even more brutaler.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Method? No, it’s all madness tbh. My biggest platform is on Twitter, but that place is in its death throes so I’m kinda starting from scratch on Instagram and Bluesky. It’s a weird time to be an indie author trying to promote your book, let me tell you that!
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Just write the damn thing! The first draft doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be. And also, make sure your book and your query letter is in the best shape they can be before you start querying agents. Pick 10, but not your dream agents, and query them first. If you don’t get a single nibble, then either your sample pages or your query letter needs work. I queried Let Slip the Beasts waaaay to early and it earned me a lot of rejections!
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
“Get out of your characters’ way and just let them talk!” That was from my editor DJ after having read yet another dialogue section where the characters were doing an awful lot of different things with their eyes and hands in-between saying their lines.
What are you reading now?
I’ve recently read She Who became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan, The Dawnhounds by Sascha Stronach and now I’m reading Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse and alpha/beta reading a book for a friend.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Write more! Let Slip the Beasts is just the first book in a trilogy, and then there’s that Norwegian horror novel and I also have some ideas for a fantasy novel, so I’m just going to have to buckle up/down and get to writing. I’ve taken a long break after the release of LStB and focused on other hobbies, but now it’s time to get back into it. These books ain’t gonna write themselves (although I wish they would)!
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
Aaaah, just 3 or 4?? Ehm, The Lord of the Rings, because I haven’t actually finished it (don’t come at me), The Wheel of Time Omnibus Edition, good for reading and for anchoring down my makeshift abode and maybe it works as a flotational device, who knows? The Bees by Laline Paull because I love it and finally, Nona the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir, so I can figure out what on Earth is going on in that book.
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