Merry Wanderer of the Night + TIME

Interview with Susan Niz, author of Kara, Lost

Help me welcome Susan Niz to the blog today, author of Kara, Lost, a story about a 16 year old who runs away from home. Susan was kind enough to stop by and answer some questions about herself and about her new novel.

Why do you write?

I believe that I was born to write. I notice details and I like to imagine people’s stories, which I think has to do with a fascination with analyzing emotions, reactions, and relationships. Also, I’ve been through so many crazy things that I could keep writing forever. And because my life is stable now, allowing me the opportunity to write.

Have you always wanted to be a writer? If you couldn't write, what would be your 'dream job'?

I have always wanted to be a writer. When I was three or four, I would staple together any kind of scrap paper, scribble a title on the cover, and imagine that it was my own book that I had written. I became a teacher and taught for many years. I found many aspects of teaching to be very fulfilling; teachers can really make a difference for kids.

I would like to be a baker, a musician, an artist, a textile weaver, or design educational children’s toys. I don’t necessarily have the skills for most of those jobs. Ideally, I would get paid to do something where I could collaborate creatively with other people.

The story in Kara, Lost is not a light-hearted book, and Kara's journey sounds like a truly painful one. Why this story? Why did you need to share this story with the world?

I ran away from home when I was sixteen and was homeless for a few months. Kara’s story is fiction, but I told my story through Kara’s voice. I felt driven to get the story out of me, to try to make some sense of it, to share it with other people, and to put it out in the world so that it wasn’t just living in a shameful place inside me. I feel liberated by the process, but it wasn’t clean or easy. Writing my story as fiction allowed me to explore motivations, causes and effects, and emotions in a way that was a little less personal and not tied to ideas of blame.

What does it feel like, knowing that your book is now in print and soon to be read by people all over? Do you ever just stop and think, Wow! I'm a writer?!

Yes, I do sometimes think, “I actually did it.” It’s a process of finding my voice as a published author and enjoying the sense of accomplishment that comes along with sharing my book with others.

What is the hardest part of writing for you? The easiest? Most rewarding?

If someone wants to write a book, they should now that it takes a lot of hard work. The most difficult part was just the consistent effort and commitment of time and focus that it took. The easiest part was the drive to tell the story and the actual story ideas. The most rewarding part is knowing that I followed through with my dream. Now I can ask myself, “What is my next dream? What is my next story?”

If you could share anything with your readers, tell us any one thing, what would it be?

Know your worth and don’t let others keep you down. Be strong. Keep going and find a positive path in life.

Thank you so much for stopping by Susan! It's great to hear more about the motivation behind your book!

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Interview with Susan Niz, author of Kara, Lost + TIME