Get to know Susan Swan 

What’s next on your reading list?
Milkman by Booker winner Anna Burns.

What do you have the most fun with as a writer?
Inhabiting a voice with less inhibitions than me. And that’s what I’ve done in my new novel, The Dead Celebrities Club, where I’ve written in the first person voice of a conman.

Does anyone keep you company while you write?
No, and that’s the way I like it.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Don’t doubt yourself so much.

Do you have any rituals to prepare yourself to sit down and write?
Just a cup of tea, a fast read of the newspaper and then an entry into my journal. That entry is key because it puts me in the meditative mode.

Do you believe in writer’s block? What do you do if you get stuck?
Writer’s block–as I’ve experienced it– is simpler than it is made out to be. Usually, a blocked writer has a problem they haven’t solved. The job is to find what the problem is (and it could be anything, the wrong voice for a character, a fear of finishing something.) The job is to identify the problem. Then you need to fix it. Sometimes it helps to write out a dialogue with the block or problem as if it is a real person and let it tell you what is holding things ups.

What sparked the idea for The Dead Celebrities Club?
My brother belonged to a group who used to bet on the death of aging or frail celebrities during their weekly get together at a local bar. He once won $400 when Ida Amin died. To qualify as a celebrity, their dead pool candidates had to be in the news and about to die. That started me thinking….

Susan Swan is the author of The Dead Celebrities Club, and will be appearing at Festival Sunday on Sunday September 8, 2019.