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While many find themselves stumped when tasked with writing anything from a memo to a term paper, Susan Hubbard, an award-winning novelist and UCF English professor does not use the term “writer’s block.” Ideas and characters for her novels often come out of dreams and her surroundings. She simply takes note of it and gets to writing.

Hubbard discovered her love for reading and writing at a young age. Her older sister was a librarian and encouraged her to read widely when she was young. Since then, she has written seven books, including The Society of S, The Year of Disappearances and Lisa Maria’s Guide for the Perplexed. She's received multiple awards including the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for best book of prose written by an American woman.

The Central Florida Future recently chatted with Hubbard about where she gets the ideas for her novels and what her next steps are.

Central Florida Future:

Your bio says you're from upstate NY. How did you end up in Florida?

Hubbard:

I grew up in Syracuse, and I was teaching at Cornell University when I received a visiting professorship at Pitzer College in Claremont, CA. That taste of sunshine was enough to put me on the job market. I chose UCF over another offer from a school in the Northeast.

CFF:

How did your Ethical Vampire series come about?

Hubbard:
The Society of S began with a dream I had in which a young woman speculated about how her parents met. The character's voice hooked me early on, and the books grew from the experience. I didn't plan initially to write about vampires – this was before the Twilight series, by the way – but the gothic novel form was fun to explore, as was the idea of living forever. I suspect we'd all be better environmentalists if we thought we might live forever.

CFF:

You've been awarded residency at Yaddo, a very prestigious and selective writing residency. How did it feel to be selected for that? 
Hubbard:

I was surprised because I'd heard that Yaddo accepted mostly writers and artists from the Northeast. It was a gift to be able to submerge myself in writing for six weeks.

CFF:

Of all of your awards, which one has stuck out to you the most or was the biggest surprise to receive?

Hubbard:

Probably the first one – the AWP Fiction prize. When I received the phone call telling me I'd won, I first thought it was one of my writer friends playing a prank.

CFF:

Has your family been supportive when it comes to your writing?

Hubbard:
Both my parents left school when they reached eighth grade so that they could work on their family's farms. My parents were confused by my writing habit and often dragged me out to watch television with them rather than write in my room – the opposite of what most parents might do.

CFF:

What is the most interesting place your writing has taken you?

Hubbard:
My own imagination, to be honest. But travel does provide new images, conversations and plot ideas. When I was 16, I was an exchange student to Cornwall, England, and that experience opened my eyes to all manners of ideas.

CFF:

Are you excited to be visiting Annaghmakerig, Ireland as a visiting artist?

Hubbard:
Very excited! I've never visited that part of Ireland, and I'm studying the bus routes that will take me there from Dublin. Haven't yet figured out how to pronounce the name, haha.

CFF:

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Hubbard:

Best advice: don't let anyone talk you out of writing and try to steer you into another career. That happened to me, and I ended up spending more than five years as a journalist when I already knew I wanted to write fiction.

Hubbard will be presenting a paper at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs international conference in Los Angeles later this month.

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Brianna Ordenes is a contributing writer for the Central Florida Future.

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