Friday, May 27, 2011

Dishing it up with Suzanne Tyrpak

Today, I have the pleasure of chatting with Suzanne Tyrpak. Suzanne ran away from New York a long time ago to live in Colorado. Her debut novel is Vestal Virgin, suspense set in ancient Rome, available as a trade paperback and in all e-formats. Her collection of nine short stories Dating My Vibrator (and other true fiction) is available on Kindle, Nook and Smashwords. J.A. Konrath calls it, “Pure comedic brilliance.” Her short story Downhill was first published in Arts Perspective Magazine. Rock Bottom is published in the Mota 9: Addiction anthology, available on Kindle. Her short story Ghost Plane was published by CrimeSpree Magazine. Venus Faded appears in the anthology Pronto! Writings from Rome (Triple Tree Publishing, 2002) along with notable authors including: Dorothy Allison, Elizabeth Engstrom, Terry Brooks and John Saul. Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers awarded her first prize in the Colorado Gold Writing Contest, and Maui Writers awarded her third prize in the Rupert Hughes writing competition.

Suzanne: Hi J.E. Thanks for inviting me to post.

JET: Can you tell us a little about Vestal Virgin?

Suzanne: Vestal Virgin is suspense set in ancient Rome. Vestal Virgins were the most powerful women in Rome. Unlike other women, they were permitted to own property, and they were well educated.

My protagonist, Elissa Rubria Honoria is a Vestal Virgin--priestess of the sacred flame, and a visionary. Vestals are sacrosanct, sworn to chastity on penalty of death, but the emperor, Nero, holds himself above the law. He pursues Elissa, engaging her in a deadly game of wits and sexuality. Or is Elissa really the pursuer? She stumbles on dark secrets. No longer trusting Roman gods, she follows a new god, Jesus of Nazareth, jeopardizing her life and the future of The Roman

JET: What drew you to writing comedy and conversely, historical thrillers?

Suzanne: I’ve been fascinated by women’s roles in history all my life—my major in college was Greek theater and ancient religions. Also, I love to travel. In fact, I work for an airline. Setting stories in ancient times is a natural for me.

Dating, after nineteen years of marriage, was not a natural. At first it was an adventure, but ultimately it turned into torture. Since I didn’t want my life to play out like a horror story, I decided to write humorous short stories about dating, divorce and desperation. I figured, if nothing else, I could make myself and others laugh. So I wrote Dating My Vibrator (and other true fiction).

I like the contrast. My voice in the short stories is very contemporary—a very different voice than the historical suspense novels I write. I used to be an actress, so that may explain the split. Otherwise, I defer you to my therapist.

JET: What’s been your most challenging hurdle on the road to publication?

Suzanne: Getting published. I’ve had two agents, won awards, had editors tell me they like my work, but no one was willing to take the risk. I am soooo relieved to have stopped writing query letters. I really hated seeing though self-addressed, stamped, rejection letters. Is there some other industry where you actually pay for stamps so you can be rejected?

JET: What was your favorite moment in the journey?

Suzanne: Having readers read my books and respond is great. I also love meeting other writers—hanging out and talking about writing. My fellow writers have sustained me.

JET: Which authors had the most influence over you growing up?

Suzanne: I’m still growing up. Wonderful writers who have touched my life include: Terry Brooks, Elizabeth Engstrom, Tess Gerritsen, John Saul, Blake Crouch, Eldon Thompson, Tory Hartmann—and now, many writers I’ve met on Kindleboards including L.C. Evans, Barbara Silkstone, Claire Farrell and Thea Atkinson.

JET: When did you know you wanted to take the plunge into the writing world?

Suzanne: In sixth grade I knew I’d be a writer some day. But first I had to be a dancer, then an actress, and finally a writer. What can I say? I was a weird kid. I’ve also worked in radio, marketing, and I’ve been a professional psychic.

JET: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of book research? Most interesting fact you uncovered?

Suzanne: Going into Cheops, the large pyramid in Cairo, at about 2am—finding the King’s chamber and lying in the sarcophagus, while other people chanted around me. We were told, by the bus driver, that the entire pyramid was vibrating with sound.

JET: Of all the novels and stories you’ve written - which one is your favorite? Why?

Suzanne: Vestal Virgin—because it’s published! The others aren’t, which means I can keep changing them. I’m may bring some of them out. Right now I’m working on Agathon’s Daughter, suspense set in ancient Athens. So, of course, I’m currently in love with that story too.

JET: Any advice (from a writer’s standpoint) for the novices out there?

Suzanne: What Terry Brooks always says: Write, write, write. Read, read, read. Write, write, write. Repeat. And don’t be afraid to self-publish. The industry has changed tremendously in the last year, and the stigma regarding self-publishing is fast fading. This is a great time to be a writer.

JET: All right - now that I’ve hammered you with the big questions, let’s tackle my favorite (and geeky) quick ten. . . starting with: Paper or Plastic?

Suzanne: Plastic, but I reuse it and recycle.

JET: Steak or Tofu?

Suzanne: Both.

JET: Beach or Mountains?

Suzanne: Beach. But I live in the mountains.

JET: Country or Rock-n-Roll?

Suzanne: Definitely Rock-n-Roll

JET: Leather or Lace?

Suzanne: I like the combination.

JET: Angels or Demons?

Suzanne: Angels. Although, according to Jewish mysticism, the Satan is an angel who confronts you when you’re off the path. (Demons are a dime a dozen.)

JET: Paper or Digital?

Suzanne: Both.

JET: Silent Film Classics or Cheesy B Rated Horror?

Suzanne: Classics.

JET: Twilight or True Blood

Suzanne: Neither.

JET: Coffee or Tea?

Suzanne: Like them both, but have to have coffee!

JET: Thank you for indulging me. Before we wrap this up, can you tell us what you're working on now? What's next?

Suzanne: As I mentioned, I’m working on another novel, Agathon’s Daughter, suspense in ancient Athens. It will be coming out late fall. I’m also putting together another small collection of short stories—not humor, weird. Ghost Plane and Other Disturbing Tales will be coming out this fall.

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat on my blog. Folks, you can find out more about Suzanne Tyrpak and her work at the following places: (Please supply a list of the URLs you’d like listed in the blog)

Blog “Who’s Imagining All This?”


Amazon Author Page

Next week, I’ve got June releases from my Backspace brethren and my fellow Kindle authors. I will also announce the winners of my Hunting Season Blog tour! Thank you all for swinging in. Don’t forget to comment here!

Until next time,



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