Hey Guys! So today I am introducing you to the charming Susannah Noel, author of Word and Breath. She has written a brilliant post for you all about her top five inspirations for writing Word and Breath. Hope you enjoy!
Top Five Inspirations for Word and Breath
Dracula. When I first got the idea for Word and Breath, I’d been working on an academic project on Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and I really think that was what most inspired me to write a paranormal novel. My paranormal creatures—the Soul-Breathers—aren’t anything like Stoker’s vampires, but I was fascinated with the idea of how a paranormal creature could uniquely highlight what it means to be human. That idea of using the paranormal to say something about humanity is what Stoker is trying to do in Dracula, and that’s the idea that ended up in Word and Breath.
Gunfight in the rain. The first clear visual I had for Word and Breath was the image of a handsome man in a black suit with a gun in his hand on a bleak city street in the rain. I had this very clear picture and could not get it out of my head. I had no context or story for the image. At that point, I didn’t even know the man was going to be Mikel. But I knew I had to write that scene into Word and Breath, and it worked very well with the setting and the general mood of the piece. A lot of Mikel’s character arc actually developed around that visual—that’s how central it was as an inspiration for the book.
Firefly. I’m a huge Joss Whedon fan, and I was rewatching the series Firefly when the idea for Word and Breath was percolating in my mind. Again, there aren’t a lot of clear similarities between my book and the show, but I do think it ended up being a kind of inspiration. It’s the contrast in Firefly between the future and the past, the impersonal space technology and the rough, cowboy personality. That clash is at the heart of the show, and a similar kind of clash between the past and the future—between dusty, untidy history and a bleakly impersonal future—ended up in Word and Breath. It’s not developed a lot in this first book, but it will be a more prominent feature of the sequels.
Love Triangles. I have a love/hate relationship with love triangles. There are some things I love about them and other things that drive me crazy about them. But I’ve always wanted to write a series that involves a love triangle so I can explore all of the things I love about them and try to avoid the things that drive me crazy. So there is a kind of love triangle that begins in Word and Breath with Riana, Mikel, and Connor, but the triangle won’t necessarily play out in the normal way.
Underground Libraries. When I was in graduate school, most of the floors of the university library were underground. You had to take an elevator several floors down to get to most of the books. In some ways, it was kind of depressing, since there weren’t any windows on most of the floors. But there was also something kind of exciting about it—like all of the treasures of the library were buried underground and just waiting to be excavated. The idea of the hidden library ends up being an important element in the Wordless Chronicles. After all, for a world that doesn’t know how to read, books would be the one treasure that has to remain underground.
Now I don’t know about you but I am definitely intrigued about Word and Breath now. If you are too, here’s a look at what the book is all about!
Riana has learned how to stay out of trouble. She spends her days studying written texts in the government’s Office of Readers, and she spends her nights taking care of her sick sister. She always—always—follows the rules. Despite her low profile, she has mysteriously become a target. Someone has kidnapped her sister. Someone else is trying to kill her. And someone has sent a Soul-Breather to beguile her out of her secrets. Her help comes from the mythic leader of an underground rebel movement. A man who used to be her friend. A man who has silently loved her for years. He disappeared from her life without a word, and now he expects her to trust him again. Then there’s the Soul-Breather, a man who can taste her spirit with only a touch. He makes her feel things she’s never experienced before, but she doesn’t know if the feelings are real. Hired to deceive and betray her, he offers to help her instead. Without both men, she can’t rescue her sister. And she can’t discover the world-changing knowledge—buried in her memory—that has made her a target in the first place.
And if that still isn’t enough information for you, here’s some useful info on the author herself.
Susannah wrote her first paranormal novel when she was twelve years old–a time-travel romance written in a spiral-bound notebook that eventually starred all her friends. Since then, she has been writing romantic fiction of all varieties, including paranormal, contemporary, and historical. She can usually be found working on her laptop. She has a PhD in British literature and teaches at a university in Virginia. She is currently working on the second Wordless Chronicle.