309: Experiments and Happy Accidents in Novel Writing — Interview with Susann Cokal

Creative309: Experiments and Happy Accidents in Novel Writing — Interview with Susann Cokal

309: Experiments and Happy Accidents in Novel Writing — Interview with Susann Cokal

Hey there word nerds! 

Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Susann Cokal. Susann is a moody historical novelist, a pop-culture essayist, book critic, magazine editor, and sometime professor of creative writing and modern literature. She lives in a creepy old farmhouse in Richmond, Virginia, with seven cats, a big dog, a spouse, and some peacocks that supposedly belong to a neighbor.

Susann’s first young adult novel, The Kingdom of Little Wounds, received several national awards, including a silver medal from the American Library Association’s Michael L. Printz Award series. Her books for adults, Mirabilis and Breath and Bones, received some nice notice too. Her shorter work has been published in a variety of literary journals and anthologies, such as Electric Lit, Prairie Schooner, Writers Ask, and The New York Times Book Review.

Today we’ll be talking about her new novel, Mermaid Moon, which is out now and is about a mermaid who leaves the sea in search of her landish mother.

In this episode Susann and I discuss:

  • How to craft a “mood” in your story.
  • Using point of view to illustrate character and world-building. 
  • What makes a prologue “work.”
  • Why it’s so important to experiment as you write. 
  • How exploring different possibilities can be a powerful writing tool. 

Plus, her #1 tip for writers.

For show notes and more info: diymfa.com/309

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