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Title: Empty Cup
Publication date: November 3, 2014
Publisher: Rebelight Publishing Inc.
Author: Suzanne Costigan
Mom’s new boyfriend is creepy.
On the night of her seventeenth birthday, Raven finds out he isn’t just creepy, he’s dangerous. He leaves Raven broken and bleeding, but Mom blames her for what happened. She kicks Raven out of the house with nothing but a blanket to protect her from a frigid winter night.
As Raven struggles with the aftermath of the ultimate betrayal, she seeks solace in her imagination and a teacher who seems to understand her situation. She ultimately discovers that her world won’t change if she relies upon someone else to do it. Real change begins within.
“…Sure to prompt reflection and provocative discussions on important issues.”
-Allan Stratton, author of Leslie’s Journal
“Not an easy story, but an important one. Compelling, powerful, and engaging.”
-Eric Walters, author of Power Play.
When did you start writing?
I still have the first story I ever wrote in about grade 2. You can view it on one of my posts on the Vast Imaginations blog... (I was the founding member of this children's writers' group) https://vastimaginations.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/im-a-writer/
What makes you want to write?
I have to write. I burned out and tried to quit writing over a year ago, it only lasted a few weeks. I learned that I was tired and overwhelmed. Being part of three writing groups had stretched me too thin to be able to keep up properly . I needed a break. Those few weeks did wonders. Writing is something I've done all my life. Fellow Rebelight author and friend, Larry Verstraete, said to me during that time - "You have ink in your blood."
Do you ever get writer's block and what do you do to get over it?
I get writers block when I'm not sure what to do with a scene or a transition. When I wrote Empty Cup, I took a different approach. I outlined a timeline so I knew exactly where the story was going and when what was happening with each character. Instead of writing the story from beginning to end, I wrote it in scenes. Then I'd copy the scene into where it belonged in the document. That way, I was always writing a scene that interested me. When I got to the final scenes that I'd been putting off to the end I was able to decipher why I didn't want to the write that scene, was it important, could I drop it since I didn't want to write it anyway, what was it about it that I was holding me back, etc... then I was able to fix, finish or dump those scenes. Had I written the story from beginning to end, I know that those are the few scenes that likely would have caused writers block, but since I was so close to finishing the story and had already written the ending by that point, they were fairly easy to fix and move on.
Do you have a special way of going about writing?
I'm definitely the writer who depends on outlining. I read in a book somewhere along the way that outlining, if done with some detail, can be like writing the first draft, but so much easier to edit and move things around. I liked that concept and think of outlines, somewhat, as my first draft. If I get inspired to write a bit of dialogue or scene, I do and then tuck it away so I don't lose any of those details.
Do you have any works in progress?
Yes, my current focus is outlining my new young adult contemporary issues based novel, working title: Take a Shot. I have five other novels of various genres in various states of outlining and I have a fantasy middle grade novel in dire need of serious editing. I also have several picture book manuscripts that I edit from time to time.
What are your hobbies?
Reading, movies, photography, blogging at Living Lunacy (suzannecostigan.com)
How did you choose the character names for Empty Cup?
Raven went through three name changes throughout the writing process, Raven was a suggestion from one of my fellow writing group members that ended up being the one that stuck. Cole, I just love that name. Lyla, sounded bouncy to me. I look through name lists online if I'm stuck and need ideas. I do try to match up names that speak to the character's personalities a bit.
Who is your favourite character in Empty Cup?
Cole. I love Cole! He would often try to take over the story and I had to refocus several times to keep the story Raven's.
How did you get the idea for Empty Cup?
I get asked this quite often, and the answer is a boring one - I don't remember. :) Just popped in there somehow and started to jell into something. I was taking a creative writing course and the instructor asked me if I ever wrote anything contemporary with teen issues. I told her I had an idea mulling. We chatted a bit about it and voila, two and half years later - Empty Cup is published.
What was your favourite part of writing Empty Cup?
Raven came alive in my head and wanted me to tell her story so badly that I became rather obsessed with writing and editing it. When I wasn't writing she would scream at me in my head, she would wake me up at three in the morning and scream for me to write until I would get up. It was very surreal and I thought perhaps I was going a bit nuts, but I have talked to other writers who have experienced this same "phenomenon". . . not sure what to call it. But Empty Cup got written in the wee hours of the night and I would welcome that experience to happen with every book I write. It was tiring but energizing at the same time.
What are you currently reading?
Fairest by Marissa Meyer. Loving it. I totally recommend her Lunar Chronicles series!
What is your favourite book?
I have a few:
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Sherman Alexie (YA - a MUST read for EVERYONE!)
A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry (adult literary)
A Monster Calls - Patrick Ness (middle grade to YA, get ready to cry, such a brilliant story)
Who is your favourite author?
I don't have one. I read books at random and I'm not stuck on any one in particular.
What is your favourite film?
I LOVE the movies!
The Departed, Braveheart, Pulp Fiction, Hot Fuzz, Looper, Limitless, The Help, The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Princess Bride, The Sixth Sense, The Imitation Game, We're the Millers, LOTR, Thor, The Avengers... this list could be endless there are hundreds of movies that I love to watch. I'm a theatre popcorn addict. :)
What is your favourite TV show?
I don't watch a lot of TV, however, we do Netflix marathons. I now have zero tolerance for commercial breaks. We've watched Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Three's Company (not on Netflix but should be!), Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Almighty Johnsons (our current addiction) and I'm waiting and waiting for season two of Bates Motel. OH, and also Eureka! Love Eureka, I was very sad that it ended (also not on Netflix).
Chocolate or ice cream? Chocolate.
Paperback or ebook? Paperback.
Dogs or cats? Hmm... I own both. . . cats. Mr. Stevens is my favourite cat.
Go out or stay in? Go out.
Summer or winter? Summer! Always summer!
About the Author
Suzanne Costigan is a child welfare advocate, supporting high risk children in her home, and an active member of the Winnipeg writing community. Empty Cup is her first novel.
Connect with the Author:
Open to US/CAN + INT