Some Thoughts with … Susana Imaginário
Susana Imaginário is a misfit from Portugal. She moved to England to pursue a career as an aerialist and now runs a Tabletop Gaming retreat in Ireland with her husband.
Her hobbies include reading, playing board games, hanging upside down, poking around ancient ruins, talking to trees and being tired.Timelessness combines mythology with science fiction and slipstream fantasy in a strange and introspective way.
Welcome to my favourite section of the blog. Today we are accompanied by Susana Imaginário, misfit from Portugal, and author of the Timelessness series, which blends Norse and Greek mythologies.
Let’s dive in!
1.-When did you start writing?
Pretty much since I learned how to write. It always helped me organize my thoughts, explore ideas and, in a way, it was like having someone to talk to. I never quite expected to write a book, let alone publish it, until self-publishing became available and by then I was too busy to write anything. It was only in the last six or seven years that I finally had the opportunity to sit down and write with the intention of publishing.
2.-Why did you decide to self-publish Timelessness?
I’ve been self-employed for most of my adult life. It’s just how I work. Besides, I wanted to have creative control and not be tied to contracts and deadlines. My life is just too unpredictable for that…
3.-Wyrd Gods mixes two different mythologies as Greek and Norse. From where did you draw this idea?
Mythology is the foundation of storytelling and psychology. The Greek gods in particular and their stories have always fascinated me from an archetypal perspective and I wanted to explore how their personalities would clash with those of other mythologies. Not only that, I wanted to take them out of Olympus.Greek mythology is rich in characters and legends, but the setting (or worldbuilding if you like) is very limited. Pretty much everything happens around the Mediterranean. Norse mythology, on the other hand, is less complex in terms of characters and plot, but the nine worlds offer so many possibilities. Hence, I decided to combine both.
4.- How has the Timelessness saga evolved since you started drafting it?
Hardly anything survived from the first draft. Actually, Timelessness is a combination of several drafts. It started when I found this ancient yew tree in an old graveyard back when I was still living in the UK. The trunk was almost completely hollow. I called her Yewlow (hollow yew). I used to just sit there, surrounded by bark and cobwebs, looking at the faded gravestones, notebook in hand, imagining how it all would have looked like when the tree was young. This led to a series of incomplete stories based on the idea of time travelling through trees. I liked the concept, but failed to make it work in the ‘real world’. Eventually, I abandoned reality altogether and used the plot of another unfinished novel written years before, a sort of Clash of the Titans meets Stargate, and set the story in Niflheim because I wanted to bring the Norse gods into the mix and that was the setting of yet another unfinished novel about the Dharkan. And so, after many drafts, revisions, edits, tears, and curses, Wyrd Gods was born.
But there was a problem. That first draft of Wyrd Gods was too long to self-publish. I couldn’t afford an editor (and a good thing I didn’t because the manuscript was still pretty rough at that point). I decided to break it into four novels (and a novella, as it turned out). The first book is just the tip of the iceberg, part I of a much larger story.
5.- I’m not really used to listening to audiobooks, but yours is certainly great. How did you choose the narrator? Could you tell us a little about the process of producing an audiobook?
I love audiobooks. I think many stories work better on audio and I always write mine with the narration in mind. Personally, I’m a lot more forgiving of poor writing than I am of poor narration. A bad narrator can ruin a book, so I made sure to hire a good one. I set up the project on ACX and waited for auditions. I didn’t receive many, being an unknown self-published author with virtually no readers or followers on any social media platform. I can’t tell you what made Sarah audition, but I could not believe my luck. In Timelessness, there’s a lot said between the lines and I needed someone able to express those hidden meanings. Her narration was spot on. She nailed the overall tone of the story, so I just sent her a summary of the main character’s personalities, speech patterns, and accents. She took it from there. She has great improvisation skills, and it shows. Believe it or not, I never actually spoke with Sarah. I have a very weird accent and I was afraid that trying to exemplify how the characters sounded in my head would do more harm than good. The recording process went smoothly. I would listen to the chapters as soon as she uploaded them and send feedback shortly after. This allowed her to record the pick-ups early on and avoided the repetition of misspellings and jarring edits.
6.- What hobbies does Susana Imaginario has outside of writing?
Reading, mostly. I do read a lot… I also spend an embarrassing amount of time playing board games with my husband and whenever the weather allows – which sadly is not often – I like to walk and explore the countryside, visit ancient Neolithic sites, graveyards, ruined buildings, etc. I’m always looking for beautiful and interesting things.
7.- The structure of Wyrd Gods is also particular, alternating parts narrated from the POV of the Wyrd god, and parts narrated using other characters (the interludes). Which challenges appeared from this writing decision?
Because it’s a very tight POV, it was tricky to keep in mind what each character knew about something or how they had perceived a certain event. But it is one of the points of the book: how each individual perspective is limited and often wrong or irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. How ignorance, assumptions, and misperceptions can affect the narrative. Only the reader knows the full story and it’s up to them to figure out what’s going on.
Writing in two different tenses was also challenging. And the greatest challenge of all: convince people to read it. It’s not an instant gratification book.
8.-Is there somebody you want to thank?
Thank you for taking the time to listen to the audiobook and for the opportunity to take part in this interview.
9.-What can we expect from Susana Imaginário in the future?
Hopefully, more books. I’m taking a break from the god’s shenanigans in the Underworld to write a standalone set in the same universe but with very different characters and tone. After that… who knows? I have dozens of stories waiting to be written. I’ll keep writing for as long as I can.
I want to thank Susana Imaginário for giving me the opportunity of listening to the audiobook (it’s excellent), and for taking the time to answer all these questions. You should follow her on her different socials for more news.