This Week’s Featured Author Interview with
Hi, Susan Mah, welcome to the Indie Publishing Group website. Introduce yourself to us. Tell everyone who you are, where you’re from, what do you enjoy doing, hobbies and interests.
I’m Susan Mah, a photographer, and former psychotherapist, originally from Memphis, TN. When I’m not working, I enjoy spending time with family and my dog, going out with friends, and taking photos, especially when traveling.
When did you start writing and why?
This particular book doesn’t involve much writing. It’s mostly quotes from the young man whose story I’m telling. However, I’ve loved writing as far back as I can remember. One of my favorite subjects in school as a kid was English. And unlike most people, I’ve always enjoyed writing papers!
Which is your favorite book you have written and what gave you the idea for it?
Actually, this is my first (and I guess, favorite) published book. The inspiration for it came from my love of photography and psychology. I wanted to combine these two interests to tell a story, which could help those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as well as their friends and family. I wanted it to be a “window” into the world of someone with PTSD, offering support and understanding.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
The title for the book, Salvadore, is named after the young man with PTSD who modeled for the documentary photo series.
Who helped you with the cover? Or did you design it yourself? What was your inspiration for your cover design?
I designed the cover myself, using what I thought was the strongest of all the images I shot for the series. My inspiration was the desire for something simple yet striking.
What are some of the themes of your story?
The themes in this story highlight the areas of Salvadore’s life, which were negatively impacted by his near-death experience: his vision, motor skills, physical health, musical abilities, social skills, relationships, sense of safety, and mental health.
What’s your process when you sit down and decide to start writing a book? What is your process and do you have a system?
My process is to first come up with a strong concept that does more than merely entertain. My goal is to create work that can serve a purpose and can help others by providing education, support, understanding, comfort, or insight.
Who are some of your favorite characters and why?
My favorite character in fiction is Holden Caulfield. Despite the fact that he is suffering from severe depression and is struggling as a teenager, he has a good soul and wants to help others. His goal of becoming a “catcher in the rye,” who will stand at the precipice and prevent kids from falling, is a noble one. I think it’s also a projection: the vision of saving others actually reflects his own desire to be saved.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
J.D. Salinger, Richard Wright, Tennessee Williams; I find myself attracted to stories that address the dark side of life. They are more real and more human to me.
Have you got anything you’re working on now?
Right now I’m working on an autobiographical short story that I’d love to have published in a magazine. It deals with some painful topics, however, so I have to work on it in small doses. It’s an emotionally draining process.
If you could have any superpowers what would they be?
I love this question! If I could be a superhero, I’d be Batman because he’s cool as both Batman and Bruce Wayne, unlike some of his counterparts. However, he doesn’t have any superpowers. I don’t know if this is a superpower per se, but I’d love to be able to travel through time. If I could, I would go back and be with my dad who died 19 years ago. I miss him terribly. ~ Time travel is definitely a superpower Susan! And it’s for a very cool reason. Ben J
If you could travel to any location in the world where would you go?
Fortunately, I have traveled quite a bit in my life—to Europe, Asia, South America, and Africa. I’d love to go to Australia as well. More specifically, I’ve always wanted to go to Alaska, Spain, and Portugal. Those three are on my bucket list.
Where do you hope to be in 5 years’ time?
In five years, I’d love to still be living in the Bay Area, married with a family of my own—something I’ve wanted for years. In addition, I’d like to continue to do meaningful work and hopefully help others along the way. I may be returning to the social work profession soon, but I will continue to work as a photographer.
Susan Mah Author Instagram
Susan Mah Author Facebook
Susan Mah The Loss Project
Susan Mah Author Website
Susan Mah Heal Grief Project