Friday, November 8, 2013

Susanna Daniel

Susanna Daniel was born and raised in Miami, Florida, where she spent much of her childhood at her family’s stilt house in Biscayne Bay.

Her debut novel, Stiltsville, was awarded the PEN/Bingham prize for best debut work published in 2010. Stiltsville was also named a 2011 Summer Reading List pick by, a Best Debut of 2010 by, a Best Book of 2010 by the Huffington Post, and a Discover Great New Writers pick by Barnes & Noble. Daniel’s second novel, Sea Creatures, about a woman who ultimately must face the unthinkable choice between her husband and young son, is now available from HarperCollins. Abraham Verghese called Sea Creatures a “captivating, haunting novel.”

From Daniel's Q & A at Powell's Book Blog:

In Sea Creatures, Georgia is an insomniac, her husband, Graham, is a parasomniac, and they meet at a sleep clinic. Why did you want to write about sleep disorders?

For two reasons. One is that my own insomnia has waxed and waned since I was 21 years old. I've learned a slew of coping strategies (as has my husband), and at this point my insomnia barely bleeds into my daytime life at all. But still I feel the sulking fear that my manageable insomnia might one day erupt into a full-blown sleep disorder, the way minor drug use can break out into a full-blown addiction, putting at risk my family, my work, and my sanity.

Second, I was inspired by a monologue I heard a few years ago on the Moth Radio Hour on NPR, by a comedian named Mike Birbiglia, who has since starred in a film adaptation of that monologue called Sleepwalk with Me. The monologue is a comic take on a parasomniac's struggle — the night terrors and sleepwalking and even one dramatic event that inspired me to write a similar event into my book. It left me wondering: In all seriousness, what would it be like to be married to a parasomniac? Sea Creatures puts that situation under a microscope.

Share an interesting experience you've had with one of your readers.

About a year after my first novel came out, I was...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Susanna Daniel's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Stiltsville.

Writers Read: Susanna Daniel.

My Book, The Movie: Sea Creatures.

The Page 69 Test: Sea Creatures.

--Marshal Zeringue