Sunday, April 21, 2019

Suzanne Palmer Interview - Finder

Photo Content from Suzanne Palmer

Suzanne Palmer was born a short distance outside Boston, Massachusetts, a short time before man first walked on the moon. With two somewhat rowdy brothers as her earliest influences, she grew up adept at catching frogs, stomping in mud, and smashing things with sticks. To what extent she has outgrown any of those behaviors, so far, is a matter for debate.

She has been an avid reader of science fiction & fantasy from practically the moment she learned to read. She has also had a lifelong interest in all things creative, though if she has any musical talent it remains so far undiscovered. She won several art competitions as a child, and when she went off to college followed that love. Suzanne has a Bachelors degree of Fine Arts in sculpture from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Even during college years, her artwork had a strong narrative component, and her thesis exhibition consisted of an entire museum exhibit of artifacts from a fictional world. This included clothing, coins, furniture, manuscripts in an entire created language, and an 8' tall two-legged creature complete with horns, fur, and teeth.

Unfortunately there's a limit to the number of gigantic animal sculptures one can reasonably find places to keep, so Suzanne shifted much of her energies to 2D work. The work became more and more narrative in nature until late 2001 when, at a friend's challenge, she took up writing directly. She'd dabbled with writing off and on most of her life but had never taken it particularly seriously, and had no intention of taking it seriously that time either, until after a month she had an entire 100,000-word novel in her hands. More than that, she had a really bad 100,000 word novel, so she went back to fix it, and fix it some more, and then realized with some surprise that it was no longer entirely awful. This was, as they say, the beginning of the end.

In 2005 she attended the Viable Paradise Writers Workshop on Martha's Vineyard, and came away from it both unreasonably encouraged and with the rather surprising realization that writing had become an indelible part of her life, even more so than art. She's been writing ever since, still does art when she can, and otherwise is just plain having fun with it all.

She has been nominated for the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award and the Eugie M. Foster Award. She has won reader's polls for best stories from Asimov's, Analog, and Interzone. Her first novel will be coming out from DAW Books in 2019.

Suzanne lives in western Massachusetts with a number of two- and four-legged critters, including one Very Large Fluffy Dog, and is a Linux and Database System Administrator for the Sciences at Smith College.


When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
I've been creative my whole life, although for most of it I've been way more drawn towards visual arts. I have a Fine Arts degree in Sculpture, and my thesis exhibition was all artifacts from a fictional world -- it was about then that I started thinking about how much narrative was an important element of my work, and it was probably inevitable that at some point I'd hop the fence over into more direct forms of storytelling. I started writing "seriously" in 2001, and though I still do a small amount of art, it has really taken over most of my time and energy.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
I have three kids. But I like them, so it works out. (-:

Has reading a book ever changed your life? Which one and why, if yes?
I can't imagine how terrible it would be to not have books change your life -- isn't that the point of a good book, to let it get into our head and heart and take us somewhere new? But if I think about the first thing I read where I was aware of how powerful the reader experience could be, it would be the first science fiction story I remember reading, in third grade, which was Ray Bradbury's "There Will Come Soft Rains". I hand-copied the story from a school library book onto paper so I could re-read it whenever I wanted to (this was before copiers were a thing) and I can't say how many times I read it, but the experience of that story is still a part of me.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
You know, when I started writing I never expected to really go very far with it, and so I look at every new experience and milestone as a wonderful, unexpected joy. But fan letters... it's impossible to articulate how humbling a feeling it is to know you touched someone with what you wrote, some stranger, and it affected them enough to send you a note. It's an awesome thing.

Can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about FINDER?
My main character, Fergus Ferguson, is an interstellar repo man of sorts who has gone off to a deep space colony to take back a stolen space ship, and it all gets way more complicated for him than he was prepared for.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your characters?
Until FINDER I have written mostly shorter fiction, and I think I was worried when I first set out to write a novel-length work that I'd feel "done" with my main character before I hit the end. Instead I became really attached to Fergus, and I don't feel anywhere near done with him yet. Likewise a lot of the other characters in the book totally hold their own, and many of them could easily sustain separate stories if I had gone that way (and who knows, maybe someday I will!)

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Oh, what a great question! I could see Fergus totally getting into trouble with the crew from Jim Hines's Terminal Alliance series, which I just recently read the second book of that series. I think he would aggravate the heck out of just about everyone in Charlie Stross's space opera universe, and probably vice versa. I'm sure I'll think of the perfect meet in the middle of the night sometime a week or two from now and deeply regret not having been cleverer in this moment, but such is life.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
I just handed in the manuscript for Undertow, the sequel to Finder, and I'm starting work on the next book in that series. I also have a novella named Waterlines that will be in the July/August issue of Asimov's, and some other shorter stories in the works, including one that will revisit Cernee (the setting of Finder) albeit from a different viewpoint.

What part of Fergus did you enjoy writing the most?
This is probably going to sound terrible, but Fergus is a wonderful character to do awful things to, both in terms of major catastrophes and petty aggravations, and the way he deals with each of these is a real hallmark, in my mind, of what makes him who he is.

What are 4 things you never leave home without?
Epi-pen. My cellphone because I need to be reachable. A book in case I get stuck somewhere. A notebook in case I have a moment of sudden inspiration or the book I brought along isn't holding my attention.

What were you doing the last time you really had a good laugh?
Uh... my dog got her head stuck in the trash can this morning. That was hilarious, though I don't think she saw it that way,

What is one unique thing are you afraid of?
I don't think I'm afraid of anything particularly unique. I try to stick with the classics like creepy bugs (earwigs, ugh!), dentists, clowns, and things like that.

When you looked in the mirror first thing this morning, what was the first thing you thought?
Probably "I don't look like I should be awake yet. Why am I awake? Has anyone noticed, or can I sneak back to bed?"

If you were a geometric shape what would you like to be?
A dodecahedron because, frankly, it's just immensely pleasing to say.

From Hugo Award-winning debut author Suzanne Palmer comes an action-packed sci-fi caper starring Fergus Ferguson, interstellar repo man and professional finder.

Fergus Ferguson has been called a lot of names: thief, con artist, repo man. He prefers the term finder.

His latest job should be simple. Find the spacecraft Venetia's Sword and steal it back from Arum Gilger, ex-nobleman turned power-hungry trade boss. He'll slip in, decode the ship's compromised AI security, and get out of town, Sword in hand.

Fergus locates both Gilger and the ship in the farthest corner of human-inhabited space, a gas-giant-harvesting colony called Cernee. But Fergus' arrival at the colony is anything but simple. A cable car explosion launches Cernee into civil war, and Fergus must ally with Gilger's enemies to navigate a field of space mines and a small army of hostile mercenaries. What was supposed to be a routine job evolves into negotiating a power struggle between factions. Even worse, Fergus has become increasingly--and inconveniently--invested in the lives of the locals.

It doesn't help that a dangerous alien species thought mythical prove unsettlingly real, and their ominous triangle ships keep following Fergus around.

Foolhardy. Eccentric. Reckless. Whatever he's called, Fergus will need all the help he can get to take back the Sword and maybe save Cernee from destruction in the process.

You can purchase Finder at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you SUZANNE PALMER for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Finder by Suzanne Palmer.


  1. "What do you do most when you are bored?" Wander about.

  2. When I'm most bored is when I snack which isn't good.

  3. I read a lot so I don't really ever get bored.

  4. I rarely get bored but when I do, I dust all my shelves and knick knacks.