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Interview with Susan Goldsmith, Author of Abithica

After receiving a journalism degree, Susan Goldsmith was an undercover private investigator, worked as an outside sales rep, and then spent five years in pharmaceutical sales. Today, she is living her dream with her high school sweetheart and their two daughters in The-Middle-of-Nowhere, Arizona, where she spends her days unleashing her rampant imagination and documenting all the crazy places it takes her. Be sure to visit her Facebook page and website to learn more about this author and her work.

Q: It’s wonderful to have you here, Susan. Why don’t you start by telling us a little about your background and how you started writing?

A: Stories are what got me through my childhood. When real life was overwhelming, I’d crawl into my imagination where sick mothers could be made better with a magical potion, or crazy fathers weren’t really crazy. They were just more evolved than the rest of us. Could see whole words and realities we couldn’t. Mean teachers? Witches – the whole lot of them. I soon branched out, and after sitting in Stephen King’s head for a while, decided my life was a Disney movie compared to the stuff his characters endured. Poor Carrie. Now that girl had issues!

I loved stories, and had an endless supply of original ideas that would make fantastic books, but darn it, no matter how hard I willed those ideas to be carried through osmosis from my brain to my favorite authors’, it never happened. There they sat, alone in the dark, wilting, while I pursued every career, but writing, and no, graduating with a degree in Journalism most definitely doesn’t count. Journalism and imagination are two words that don’t belong in the same sentence.

A creative imagination was also frowned upon in my brief stint as an undercover private investigator with Pinkerton when I was placed in a company (no, I’m not telling which one!), and was told to write down my observations. Uh oh, I had a captive audience but couldn’t embellish what I was seeing and boy was my imagination coming up with some really good stuff. In reality, I was bored silly. Eventually that boredom had me shaking things up… but that’s another story entirely.

Several career paths later, fate intervened and I found myself home, being a full time mother and wife. Suddenly, I was staring at the blank computer screen, not writing, just staring. I’d make a point to walk by it on my way to the bathroom, in-between Barney episodes, or during those times when my children actually did fall asleep during nap time.

Eventually, I did turn the computer on, and have been writing ever since.

Q: Congratulations on the release of your first novel, Abithica. That’s an unusual name. How did you come up with it and what does it mean?

A: Abithica is a word I made up. Without giving too much away, it is the name of the main character, so it had to be both unique and otherworldly.

Q: What is Abithica about and what was your inspiration for it?

A: Abithica must borrow all that she is from others: names, lives, even bodies, but only for periods of time she cannot control. What is she, and why is she compelled to fix the lives of the people she inhabits, even the despicable ones?
When she switches into the troubled life of Sydney Turner, she ends up breaking the one rule that has sustained her, the one thing in her control — never get attached — and learns the pain of loving and being loved in return.
My vacuum, Thomas Moore, and my very persistent imagination were the inspiration behind Abithica. Maybe I should explain that. You see, all my best thoughts have come while pulling a vacuum. Now enter Thomas Moore. He wrote a book called Care of the Soul. In it, he asked a very profound question: what is your worst fear? Hmmm, what is my worst fear, I wondered. Naturally, I grabbed said vacuum and unleashed my imagination.

Losing my husband and children was the answer. Oh, but what if I was taken from them without their knowledge and they didn’t even know I was gone? Ouch! That would definitely suck. But what would suck even more is if another soul took my place and I was there, unseen, invisible, watching their lives continue as if I had never existed.

About Mayra Calvani

Mayra Calvani writes fiction and nonfiction for children and adults and has authored over a dozen books, some of which have won awards. Her stories, reviews, interviews and articles have appeared on numerous publications such as The Writer, Writer’s Journal, Multicultural Review, and Bloomsbury Review, among many others. Represented by Serendipity Literary.