Interview With A Published Author

Susan and her dog Wylie

Today I am excited and proud to share an interview with one of my longtime blogging pals, who recently published a book.

Her name is Susan Carter Payne, who goes by SuziCate in the blogging world, and can be found at The Water Witch's Daughter.

Her book is entitled, Stepping into the Wilderness, both in paperback and Kindle.

Since I know that many of you have considered publishing a book, or have already done so, I thought it would be encouraging to share a little bit about the journey Susan has hiked through in publishing her own book.

What I personally love about Susan’s unique writing is that she receives much of her inspiration through communing with nature and then applies it to her life. Often times on her blog, she will share things that strike a chord within my own heart. Her posts are always uplifting, honest, and provoke looking within.

She will frequently share images of nature, and then weave within them an exquisite verbal tapestry of reflection, that leaves you pondering.

So without further ado….heeeere’s Susan!

Welcome Susan!

How long have you been blogging and why did you start?

I started my blog October 2009 which makes it just shy of three and a half years. I had just started writing again and had joined a writer’s group when I was reacquainted with a childhood friend. This friend happened to have a blog and told me I needed one. I didn’t even know what a blog was so I emailed her and asked her how to write a blog post. She came over a few days later and set up my blog for me…and here I am! I started off posting writing exercises from class. I posted poetry and a bit of humor. I moved on to showcasing bits and pieces of memoir. Then I fell in love with photography and hiking and wrote about my adventures. Somehow I fell into writing pieces akin to affirmations but not in a religious context, and this is where I feel called.

How has blogging supported you in becoming a better writer?

It has given me a voice. I’ve been introduced to so many wonderful people and interesting writers. A few of these people have become mentors in some ways. I am inspired by their words, kindness, and generosity. They share advice freely and offer writing tips and books. I am grateful to be a part of a community of such caring people.

photo provided by Susan

What made you want to publish a book and how did you come up with the overall theme?

I enjoy reading and writing words of encouragement. I like to dig deeper into myself for answers to life’s questions. I have looked for a book that not only encourages me to explore and discover myself through writing but offers me prompts and writing exercises. I have found books that do one or the other but not both so I decided to write one of my own. Actually, I’ve written two. Stepping into the Wilderness is my first book, and Swimming the River will be available in another week or so. I think my writing, at times, denotes a spiritual connection which I have found in nature through hiking. This led me to include nature photography in my book as well.

photo provided by Susan

How challenging was it to find out how to publish a book (both in Kindle and paperback)?

The biggest challenge was putting aside my own fear. What if it sucks? What if everyone hates me? My own self-sabotage had me sit on the manuscripts for a good eight months. Finally after encouraging someone else to step out of the box, I decided it was time to listen to my own advice. I figured I might fail, but I couldn’t possibly succeed if I didn’t give it a shot. The process itself was not that difficult. Create Space and Amazon/Kindle Direct Publishing guide you through the process. Formatting for Kindle and paperback differ greatly so they had to be done separately. There were snafus here and there. I’d have to go back and tweak this or that. I hate to tell you how many times I ended up downloading each manuscript. Seriously, it was probably fifteen times. There were little things I’d forget like a cover page or copyright page or I’d have to realign a photo or redo the spacing between the photo and words.

Please share a brief synopsis of your book.

Stepping into the Wilderness is a book of self-discovery offering sixty inspirational affirmations with quality photographs of nature's landscape. Each affirmation poses five questions for exploring self-truths through reflection or journal writing and includes five writing exercises/prompts for enriching the writing experience. With an offering of 600 questions and prompts this is a great resource for writers, especially the journal or memoir writer, and anyone interested in promoting inner growth.

Are there any helpful tips or advice you can share with anyone who is interested in publishing a book?

First and foremost, believe in yourself. Don’t allow your inner critic to hold you back. The second tip is if you are self-publishing, make sure your code is clean because cutting and pasting manuscript passes along hidden code if you use different fonts and formats. The third piece of advice is one I still need much work on…be prepared to market your book. You must be able to sell yourself. I’m not a pushy person so I’m working on that one!

Thank you so much for sharing this interview, Susan. I wish you much success!

*please feel free to direct your thoughts or questions to Susan within your comments. She will be responding to them throughout the weekend. If you’re new to my blog, your initial comment will be held in moderation until I can approve and publish it. Thank you for your patience….X


  1. Fabulous interview Ron! I will have to pop over and visit her!

  2. Oh I enjoyed reading this, Ron. As you know I have suffered with my inner critic so Susan's words were really helpful. Wishing her much success for the next book as well. Thank you so much for sharing the interview with us. Happy Friday.

  3. great interview, ron. hi susan. thanks for the intro. i truly appreciate this point: but I couldn’t possibly succeed if I didn’t give it a shot. everything begins with a try, we'll never know the results unless we get started. words of wisdom.

  4. Very interesting interview Ron and Susan, I enjoyed it. :)

  5. Thank you Akelamalu, for taking the time to read my interview with Ron. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  6. LadyV,thank you for your kind words. Sometimes, the things I say to others comes back and bites me in the butt and the time comes for me to live up to those words!

  7. Valerie, that inner critic can be the devil! I gave mine a name so I can call him out. I call my muse the Walrus so I named my critic the EggMan...When the EggMan gets particularly nasty I envision tossing him against the wall and watching him splatter on the ground...and then I can continue on my writing way!

  8. Jeanne, Ron has a way of knowing what to ask. I hope you have a great day!

  9. Ron, thank you so much for this honor, your hospitality, and your generous and kind words! XOXO

  10. Lovely interview, Suzi and Ron.

    One quick fix . . . Suzi's blog is just shy of 3 1/2 years old. :D

  11. Great interview. Nice to meet you Ron, and here's a thought for all would-be authors and blog promoters: I've been following SuziCate for probably most of her blogging life, and only because she found and commented on my blog and I paid her a return visit. I've seen Ron's comments now and then, but never paid a visit to his fine blog until he invited SuziCate to do a guest post. I always visit my friends on such occasions and often visit others who comment on them. Sorry it took so long Ron..

    So, bottom line, comment, comment, comment on other blogs AND ... invite guest bloggers!

    Susan, bravo for getting that book out despite the trepidation. Keep cranking them out! Since it costs nothing to try, every small success is great. I hope to have my blog anthology on writing description out in another week or two.

  12. CrowingCroneJossMarch 01, 2013

    As a long time follower of SuziCate's blog, I'm just thrilled to see this book come forward. There is much of wisdom and grace to be found on Suzi's blog and I can hardly wait to hold a copy of this book in my hands.

  13. Rob LenihanMarch 01, 2013

    What an inspirational story! Thanks so much for posting this interview, Ron.

    As one who has been afflicted with the writing bug, I am all too well acquainted with the two-headed demon of self-sabotage and the inner critic.

    Congratulations, Susan, and best of luck with your book. And, Ron, thanks for connecting us with this gifted writer. Have a great weekend, buddy!

  14. Thank you so much, Rob. Yeah, those critics are horrible. It's funny how we can be our own best friend or worst critic...I try to remind myself the choice is mine and to step up! And for those who didn't notice, math was obviously my poor subject in school -I've been blogging three and a half years not two and a half!

  15. You are so welcome, my friend! I was sooooooooo excited and proud to share this interview and I had a BLAST putting it together with you. So thank YOU!

    Wishing you MUCH success!

    ((((((( You ))))))))


  16. Thank you :)

    And thank you for bring that to my attention. I will correct it immediately...X

    Thanks for stopping by!

  17. Ron, you're wonderful to help promote Suzi like this! And Suzi, I'm going to use your words as my mantra -- "Don't allow your inner critic to hold you back." I've got a BIG problem in that area, one I'm trying to overcome!
    Your book sounds delightful. And look at you, already getting a second one out there, right on its heels -- way to GO!

  18. Welcome Sharon! Thank you for stopping, it's so nice to meet you too!

    "So, bottom line, comment, comment, comment on other blogs AND ... invite guest bloggers!"

    You're absolutely right. Blogging is such an awesome means of forming a community which has the capability to grow wider and wider as we branch out; meeting new bloggers along the way!


  19. Congratulations Susan! It was very interesting to read how you published your book and came up with the topic. It sounds like a really great book too.

    The best to you!

    And great interview Ron! Have a wonderful weekend.

  20. Thank you, Denise. I think we're often compelled to do things and we squash the voice, and perhaps when the voice becomes loud enough we listen.

  21. hanks, Debbie. Give that critic a name...makes it easier to squash it!

  22. Thanks for coming over, Sharon.
    Yes, circulating blogs and getting to know one another and helping each other out makes us a community. I couldn't be happier to have made acquaintance with you or Ron!

  23. Thanks, Nancy. Yes, Ron and I both suck at math! Just kidding, just me....and to think Ron trusted me, lol!

  24. No, trust me Suzi...I suck at math too. And I also need a PROOF reader because I can't tell you how many times I look back over my already published posts and find SEVERAL typo's - HA!

  25. Wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing this. As you know, I'm working on a book and love the words of inspiration. I can't wait to check it out. Good luck with it and your next book coming out!

  26. Beautiful photos! Congrats on your publication and thank you, Ron, for the introduction to Susan.

  27. Lisa FischerMarch 01, 2013

    Suzie is an amazing woman and has been my secret muse for a long time! I feel very fortunate to have found her in the blogosphere.

  28. "There is much of wisdom and grace to be found on Suzi's blog "

    You said it perfectly...."wisdom and grace."

    Thank you so much for stopping by and have a wonderful weekend!

  29. I love hiking, nature, and photography - I think I'd like Susan's book! (I HATE inspirational things, though. I'd rather wallow through this crappy life without being optimistic about anything).

    KIDDING!! Had ya goin' there for a second, huh?

    Kindle formatting is a bitch to get right. Been there, done that. Great advice all around!

  30. Hi everyone!

    Just wanted to pop in and say thank you ALL for stopping by.

    Have a FAB weekend!


  31. Your people are fabulous, Ron! But then again I've always known you keep good company!

  32. Ha, you got me...I was thinking how good anyone be out in the middle of all that glory and not be inspired! Yeah, kindle formatting is a pain if you have photos...had to page break between each post so it would separate the photograph from the words, but I must say the color on kindle fire is fabulous!

  33. And likewise, Lisa! You are a gem!

  34. Thank you, Bijoux. It's a pleasure to meet you!

  35. Thank you so much, Jen. I wish you the best with your book as well.

  36. Joss, you are always an inspiration to me! And may you always walk in beauty, my friend!

  37. Hi Ronnie & Hi Susan,
    Yay for both of you!! Ronnie, you have renewed with your interviews and Susan has the ambition to create an unique book.
    I can understand your love for nature photography, Susan. How wonderful to use this as a guide for not only writing but self-knowledge and enrichment. I want to look at your link.
    It is wonderful to find all the support and friendship between like minded people. I also do photography and have been finding some supurb colleagues. I recognize how this exposure has made me grow(example; I got interested in b&w shots due to the work of another blogger).
    It is all about growth!
    Go for it, Susan!
    Hugs down to Philly for Ronnie xox.

  38. Thank you, Barb. It's amazing how we each inspire one another. There are so many new things I've tried and places I've visited due to other's inspiration. Nature is photographing it and spiritual connection and creative inspiration it provides.

  39. ....k...somtimes I grab the closest piece of laudry (...gawd...NOT underthings....that would be way disgusting...) and I swipe the dust off the bedstand table. *laughing* Anyone who leaves the vacuuming for a week (………or more!...HEY..I have a broken leg, okay!?!.) is someone I can relate to....and respect.
    Seriously. I'm over the moon you won the book, sir. And pleased as punch to find the links ( ...including the book link!) here. Amazing photos. And while, I am all about things that make me think (in a structured mind is a dangerous place to wander without directions! LOL) Spiritual connection and inner workings WITH that beautiful photography.....geeze. How can I not snag one!?

    And congratulations to the author who chased the vision through that 'itty bitty sh**** committee member ' that was convening in her head. LOL I adore that she named him and claimed him and flipped him off to DO IT anyway!!


  40. Hi Susan, how exciting for you to have two books published! Inspirational affirmations AND beautiful photos ... sounds like a delightful combination sure to bring you much success!
    Ron, thanks for sharing your friend's good news via this interview post. Really enjoyed reading it and seeing her photos!
    Hope you both have a nice weekend.

  41. Mel, I just love meeting like-minded people; you do know some people sometimes consider mine a bit skewed at times?! I couldn't be more tickled that Ron was my winner! But he's always a winner in my book! Mel, I hope my words do make your mind wander but not too dangerously, lol! Hope you have a fabulous weekend. I'm headed to the mountains to hopefully take some great photos, and be inspired to do who knows what...

  42. Really great interview to both Susan and Ron!

    And Susan, you are so right in saying that if we don't at least try, we can't possibly succeed. Your wise words here pertain to anything we do in our lives and it's often our inner critic that holds us back.

    Congratulations on your publication and I wish you all best!

    Beautiful photos!

  43. Dianne WilsonMarch 02, 2013

    and her photos are amazing
    brava Susan
    great interview Ron

  44. Jay of The Depp EffectMarch 03, 2013

    Most interesting to hear a little bit about the process. I will be vanity publishing a book sometime in the future - not a novel, but my family history. It seems to be the best way to include all the different types of information (stories, genealogical lines, photos, etc) and preserve them in a form which can be passed around the family and passed along to the next generation.

    So it's interesting to hear that it isn't as difficult as we are sometimes led to believe!

  45. Herman TurnipMarch 03, 2013

    Very cool post! Really informative, and echos similar advice I've heard from other published authors. I biggest piece of advice many have passed along is to stop being so critical about your writing. Forget what others might think. Get your words on paper. That's the most important thing.

    What I really found interesting is when Susan mentioned joining a writers group. This is something that I've considered in the past and, quite frankly, really feel that it could only help me out. I think I'll be looking around again for a writers group here in San Diego.

  46. Thank you so much, Mary. Hope your weekend was fabulous!

  47. Thank you, Robert. Yes, it is that inner critic that holds us back from so many things.

  48. So glad you like the photos. So many beautiful things to photograph all around!

  49. It's a great way to preserve family history/genealogy. I've been collecting or should I say writing a few of ours down and hope to get them organized at some point to distribute to family Good luck with your!

  50. The writer's group is a wonderful place for support and advice. Putting the words down without critiquing or editing until complete is difficult but if we start it too early we won't finish the me on this...I still fight myself to JUST WRITE IT DOWN!

  51. I'll have to check these out. As you know, I LOVE hiking through the woods and taking pictures!

  52. Hey there Katherine!

    Yes....I know how much you LOVE hiking through the woods and taking photos!

    I JUST got a copy of her book and can't WAIT to start reading it :)

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Hope you're having an awesome week!

    (((((( You ))))))


  53. what a fantastic interview, Ron. I am definitely interested in checking out Susans book & blog!

  54. Hi Meleah~

    Thank you :)

    Susan and I had a great time sharing this interview. And yes, if you have the chance, please stop by and check out Susan's blog because she's a very inspiring and really cool lady. I think you would really enjoy her voice.

    And she would enjoy yours as well!

    Thanks for stopping by, girl! Hope you're having a super week!


  55. Ron, I'm SO late in commenting! But I suppose it's better late than never, or so they say ;)

    This is a wonderful post! First, I haven't been posting (or commenting much) because I've been working on my own novel. So this is right up my alley!

    Second, this book is something I could use right now for it's inspirational messages!

    "You must be true to yourself to be authentic in the eyes of others."
    "We trade freedom for security every day."

    Susan couldn't have said those better and I agree 100%. I added this book to my "wish list" and when I make my next purchase, this will be on it!

    Thanks so much for introducing Susan and suggesting her book. I can't wait to read it.


  56. Hellooooooooo Pam!

    You're never late, my friend, you're always right on time!

    So glad you enjoyed the interview and what Susan shared. She is both an inspiring human being AND writer! I just started reading her book this last week and it's AWESOME!

    You have some time, stop by her blog and introduce yourself because she would love you and you her!

    Glad to hear you're working on your novel!

    You GO, girl!

    Thanks a bunch for stopping by. Have wonderful week!

    ((((( You ))))))



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