Interview: Kelsey Sutton on Writing, Fears and Characters

September 25, 2013 Author Feature, Interview 4

When you look at someone, oftentimes you can see their emotions written on their face and in their body posture but what if you could see that emotion as if it were an entirely separate person? Some Quiet Place features a girl who can do just that. She can see emotions – but she can’t feel them.  Today I’m interviewing Kelsey Sutton the amazing author of this book!

Some Quiet Place

Read my review of Some Quiet Place

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Thank you SO much for joining us at My Shelf Confessions for this interview Kelsey! I’m going to just dive right in!

So where did you come up with the idea for SOME QUIET PLACE? I mean a girl who can’t feel emotions – I haven’t read a book quite like that before!

I love hearing that! The idea came to me one day when I was sitting in front of a computer with an open Word document. I’d typed something like, “Fear rooted me in place.” I sat back, frowning, and wondered how I could make this utterly unique from other moments consumed by fear. Somehow, that fear became a tall, blonde, snarky creature that roams the earth and instills terror into every human being simply by touch. It became Fear, who is now one of my favorite characters.

So once I had this idea I asked myself questions that lead this concept to becoming a story. Who is the main character? What makes her different from all these people the emotions see every day? What is the main conflict? How do the emotions play into it?

While I was reading I found I was comparing the way her mind works to that of a serial killer or sociopath.  Can you tell I like the thrillers? So how did you get into a mindset to write an emotionless character like Elizabeth?

Haha I’ve never heard that before, but it’s an awesome – if disturbing – comparison! And there was actually no technique or exercise I used to get into Elizabeth’s head; she was just there. It was the first time a character was so present for me. Every time I sat down she was waiting, and it was the most effortless writing I’ve ever done.

The Emotion that interacts the most with Elizabeth is Fear.  When coming up with some of those scenes did you use some of your own fears?

I did, actually! You’re the first one to ever ask this question. In the very first chapter Elizabeth faces a swarm of spiders, if you remember, and I loathe those eight-legged creatures. Another fear that she confronts that I have confronted myself is, well, love. But I don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t read it!

I felt like I really resonated with Elizabeth on a personal level.  How do you feel you interact with your characters? (I think I’d probably talk to them… cause I’m a bit of a whackadoo like that and talking to myself is just what I do.)

Trust me, you’re not the only one. The characters in this story felt so real to me, sometimes I thought they would be there when I looked up! I didn’t interact with them, exactly, but I did think about them constantly during the drafting process. And even though I’ve moved on to different stories and new characters, Elizabeth and the rest still feel within reach.

The cover of Some Quiet Place is gorgeous.  When I first saw it I thought – beautiful, finally a ‘Girl in a Dress’ cover that isn’t just your typical pretty dress…but made of leaves no less! Then I looked even closer and noticed how very tortured and creepy the woman’s face is.  So what was your initial reaction when you saw your cover?

My agent sent me an e-mail, and when I didn’t respond right away she called me. “Have you seen it?” she demanded. I told her to hold on and opened my browser window. Logged on. Then I clicked on that title, something with the word ‘cover’ in it of course, and the picture loaded. I remember my heart kind of… stumbled. I stared and stared and stared. Then I blurted, “I love it.” And then I proceeded to stare at it for the next three days. No joke. It’s so perfect and haunting. I feel like I won the cover lottery.
What I’m really dying to know is: are we going to see more from these characters?

Well… you may or may not see more of a certain blond-haired character in my next book. That’s all I will say, though. You’ll have to find out for yourself!

Now, on a completely unrelated to SOME QUIET PLACE note: Do you have any authors that you absolutely love and have read practically all of their books?

Oh, yes. I will read anything Libba Bray writes. Or Kristin Cashore. Or Lucy Christopher. Or Sarah Dessen. They all write beautifully and create such compelling stories. If you haven’t checked out their work, you probably should. Just saying.

How about your favorite fiction books, lets say top 3 to 5? If you didn’t already guess it’s because I love getting book recommendations and I know so many of us are curious about what author’s themselves enjoy reading.

I totally understand. One of my annual rereads is Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier. Such an amazing book. I’ve had it so long and read it so many times my copy is stained and dog-eared. I also adored The Host by Stephenie Meyer. Maybe an author isn’t supposed to say this, but I think it was so much better than the Twilight series. The romance had me swooning and the world she created was amazing. And the last book I would highly recommend is Stolen by Lucy Christopher. It was one of the few books that made me cry. Enough said.

Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Tabitha!


Some Quiet Place

I can’t weep. I can’t fear. I’ve grown talented at pretending.

Elizabeth Caldwell doesn’t feel emotions . . . she sees them. Longing, Shame, and Courage materialize around her classmates. Fury and Resentment appear in her dysfunctional home. They’ve all given up on Elizabeth because she doesn’t succumb to their touch. All, that is, save one—Fear. He’s intrigued by her, as desperate to understand the accident that changed Elizabeth’s life as she is herself.

Elizabeth and Fear both sense that the key to her past is hidden in the dream paintings she hides in the family barn. But a shadowy menace has begun to stalk her, and try as she might, Elizabeth can barely avoid the brutality of her life long enough to uncover the truth about herself. When it matters most, will she be able to rely on Fear to save her?

Some Quiet Place

Find: Amazon | Indiebound | Goodreads



Kelsey Sutton has done everything from training dogs, making cheeseburgers, selling yellow page ads, and cleaning hotel rooms. Now she divides her time between her college classes and her writing. Kelsey lives in northern Minnesota with her dog and cat, Lewis and Clark.

Her novels SOME QUIET PLACE (July 8, 2013) and WHERE SILENCE GATHERS (July 2014) are forthcoming from Flux. (Photo and bio taken from author’s website) WEBSITE | TWITTER

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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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4 Responses to “Interview: Kelsey Sutton on Writing, Fears and Characters”

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      Yes! I really loved this book though if I recall it got some mixed reviews because of the character and how ’emotionless’ she was. But ahhh! that was the POINT! She is supposed to be emotionless and blank. So I don’t even understand how that could have been a complaint. It’s known going in from the book description.