SUCKER LITERARY BLOG TOUR
Sucker Literary – Volume 2 Blurb
When Alex’s bandmates invite a girl to sing lead, a battle of the sexes becomes a battle over something unexpected. . . A girl tells her friend about hooking up with longtime crush Fred, but his kisses are not what makes that night in his car memorable. . . A therapy session with Doug might just make Jason go insane again. . . Wallflower Aubrey hooks up with Gordon after the cast party, which would be fine if he weren’t the most forbidden fruit of them all…Savannah certainly doesn’t sound like a convict’s name, so maybe hanging out with her isn’t all that dangerous. Miki is committed to getting over Dex, yet she can’t get him off her answering machine—or her doorstep. In between puffs of cigarettes and attempts to smear lipstick on her face, Allie’s grandmother dishes out advice that maybe Allie should take. . . And finally, what’s a girl to do with Satan as both her boss and father? Nine short stories pose the questions we obsess over whether we’re growing up or all grown up: Who should I love? Am I doing the right thing? Is there ever an end to heartbreak?
In its second volume, SUCKER continues to showcase the very best emerging talent in young adult literature and give (some of) the answers to Life’s Big Questions along the way.
Sucker will reopen the doors for Volume 3 submissions. One day ONLY, August 1, 2013. Find the guidelines HERE.
Sucker Free Day – July 20th and 21st
Get a free digital copy of Sucker Literary Volume 2 on Amazon.
Get Connected With SUCKER
Please welcome SUCKER author Suzanne Kamata to the blog today!
Interview with Myself
By Suzanne Kamata
Suzanne Kamata’s story “Day Pass,” about a “good girl” who takes an inmate to the mall, appeared in Sucker Anthology #2. Her stories for young adults have also appeared in Hunger Mountain, Cicada, and the anthologies including Woman’s Work (edited by Michelle Sewell) and Tomo: Friendship Through Fiction – An Anthology of Japan Teen Stories (edited by Holly Thompson). She’s the publicity assistant for SCBWI-Tokyo. Her first novel for young adults, Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible (GemmaMedia), was published in May.
Q. So what’s the deal with your Japanese last name? You don’t look very Japanese to me.
A. I married a Japanese man. I met him when I came to Japan to teach English, a year after I graduated from college, and I’ve been living in rural Japan ever since. We now have two kids.
Q: But your story, “Day Pass,” is set in South Carolina…
A. Before coming to Japan, I lived in South Carolina. My family moved there from Michigan the summer before my senior year of high school. I hung around and got a degree in English from the University of South Carolina.
Q: This story is totally made up, right? I mean, you can’t actually take prisoners shopping, can you?
A: Well, actually you can, or at least you could. And I did! This story was inspired by a personal experience. I think I was eighteen at the time, which was apparently old enough for me to take responsibility for a prisoner in a minimum security prison, who was about to re-enter society.
Q: So you really did work with prisoners? Murderers??
A: Yes, and I got along with them pretty well. There was only murderer that I know of – the night janitor. I enjoyed working with the woman who was in prison for writing bad checks – the one who worked the salad bar with me.
Q: A reader suggested that this story could be expanded into a novel. Do you have any plans to do that?
A: I’d never thought about it before. As the story is now, it’s over at the end. But since I read that comment, it’s occurred to me that it’s a possibility. When my kids were little, I mostly avoided writing about bad girls. I think I wanted to keep the world innocent and pure for them, as much as possible. Now they’re fourteen, a little tougher, and I’m ready to reconsider.
Q: What’s your writing process like? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
A: I designate at least one day a week just for writing. It’s not enough, but I try to keep that time reserved no matter what. I tend to write out of sequence, writing whichever scene I’m most interested in at the time, or whichever scene comes to me. I usually have a vague idea of where a story is going, but things often change. So I’m more of a pantser, but with a destination in mind.
Q: What do you do when you get stuck?
A: I rarely get stuck, because I’m always working on more than one thing at once. But to spark ideas, I often use writing prompts.
Q: Do you belong to a writing group?
A: I share early drafts with a few trusted readers. Once in a while, I ask someone new, someone who’s not overly familiar with my writing to get a fresh perspective. This fall I’m starting an MFA, so I’ll have even more new beta readers.
Q: If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
A: Maybe an anthropologist. I like watching people, and I’m interested in other cultures and subcultures. And I love to travel. Really, anthropology and writing are very similar.
Q: What are you working on now? What’s next?
A: I’m hoping that my next published novel will be one I wrote about an all-girl punk rock band in 1980s underground Columbia, South Carolina. The working title is The Screaming Divas, and excerpts have appeared here and there, including on the Hunger Mountain site. I’ve got a lot of other projects going. I’ve just started working on a sequel to my YA debut, Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible, which was published in May. I’m tinkering with a story-in-verse, and I’ve been revising a mid-grade novel about Japanese baseball. Also, I really, really want to write a YA novel involving animals. Stay tuned.
Thanks so much for sharing with us Suzanne!
More about Suzanne Kamata:
Suzanne Kamata is the author of the upper MG/lower YA novel Gadget Girl, and numerous short stories for young adults published in Cicada, Hunger Mountain, and the anthology Tomo: Friendship Through Fiction – Japan Teen Stories edited by Holly Thompson. She is a recipient of the SCBWI Magazine Merit Award for Fiction and a five-time Pushcart Prize Nominee. She lives in Japan where she serves as Publicity Assistant for SCBWI-Tokyo. Follow her on Twitter – @shikokusue or visit her website http://www.suzannekamata.com.
So now that you’ve met one of the incredible authors featured in Sucker Literary – Volume 2, how about a little excerpt from her story “Day Pass”?
Excerpt from “Day Pass” by Suzanne Kamata, Sucker Literary Volume 2
“What are you gonna be when you finish college?” she asks me one night while we are eating.
“A teacher,” I reply. “I want to teach English in foreign countries.”
Her violet eyes fix on me and sparkle with interest. “You mean like France? That sounds real exciting. I’ve never been outside of South Carolina, except for one time Mama and me went up to Graceland.”
Actually, I want to go to poor countries, places where I will be needed, where I can make a difference, and help underprivileged kids reach their potential. But I don’t say this. I let Savannah fill her head with cafés and the Eiffel Tower. I imagine teaching her French and helping her win a scholarship to France.
Savannah doesn’t speak in the language of my textbooks, but I know that isn’t her fault. The lovely lilt of her voice and the grace of her movements when she lifts a glass to her lips belie an innate elegance.
“What do you want to be?” I ask her.
Some of the waitresses have spent their entire working lives in food service. Carrying trays and sweet-talking customers are the only things they know how to do, and they’ll probably keep doing them till they’re old enough to collect Social Security checks. Savannah, I know, is not one of them. She is meant for something else.
Her eyes stray from my face, and her mind seems to drift past the time clock, past the leering cook who keeps smacking his lips at us as we eat, through the door and out into another world.
“I want to be a secretary,” she finally says. “I can type pretty fast.”
It’s a modest dream, and I am touched by her simple aspirations. My friends and I wanted to be artists and astronauts, and then later, lawyers, teachers, and engineers. If I spend enough time with her, perhaps I can convince her to strive for more.
I am careful not to ask her about the prison, but sometimes she volunteers information.
“We can go out on a day pass if someone checks us out. My mother comes once in a while and takes me to see a movie or something,” she says.
She picks the lettuce leaf and tomato off her hamburger and eats them. The rest of the food has grown cold on the plate. Her appetite, never good, seems especially bad tonight.
It’s then that I get the idea to take her shopping. I figure she must have money if she has a job. I could help her feel normal for a while. I could give her freedom, if only for a few hours.
I feel the importance of my mission. I will be her savior. I will be her guide for virtuous living. I am momentarily entranced by an image of us having lunch together downtown, double-dating, going to the movies. We’ll be like sisters, trading secrets and makeup tips, laughing together.
“When is your next day off?” I ask her.