A Plattsburgh Wordsmith
Suzanne Young ‘98 found inspiration for her writing at SUNY Plattsburgh. Now she’s a New York Times best-selling author.
Interview by Amanda Velez
Tell me about your time here.
For me, going to Plattsburgh was the first time I got to be on my own and find who I was, and I'm really glad it was there. It helped build me up as a person, so I'm super appreciative about that. I was a writing arts major, and I found my own hope through writing, and that's kind of what changed my life.
How did the program influence you?
“Plattsburgh helped build me up as a person...I found my own hope through writing, and that's kind of what changed my life.”
I think it was the sharing out loud. Having to think outside the box helped me build my confidence. It wasn’t so much the technical aspect of it, but the inspiration that it provided and the purpose that it gave me.
How did reading your stories aloud help your writing?
You need to have someone who can be your cheerleader, who can critique your work, and who reads your work consistently. I think that's what it offered me. Maybe that's why I ended up writing young-adult fiction, because that was my first audience.
What sparked your interest in writing sci-fi?
When I was in high school, I had some struggles of my own with depression and suicidal thoughts, so I was kind of using that to start a story. I think that people can see the truth in something that’s not so close to reality, so when I exaggerated it into this sci-fi kind of world, people were more comfortable seeing the emotions in it.
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
Up until I sold my first book in 2008, I never thought I could be a professional author. Becoming a New York Times best-selling author was definitely an absolute dream come true, a total surprise. I'm also a high school English teacher in Gilbert, Arizona, so my students are huge supporters of my work. They help me do my little launch parties and stuff like that. The day I heard The Treatment was a best-seller, I was in class and we all got to celebrate together. It was just one of those huge moments for all of us. One of them even told me, “We did it!”
Suzanne Young’s next book, The Remedy will be released April 21, 2015. For more on her work, log on to suzanne-young.blogspot.com.
About the Interviewer
Amanda Velez, a senior from Queens, N.Y., majors in magazine and multimedia journalism and minors in Spanish. In addition to interning for the Office of Marketing and Communications, she’s the online editor for Cardinal Points, the award-winning, student-run newspaper, as well as a mentor for Shine On!
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