Monday, December 3, 2012

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: Fantasy Author Susan Leigh Noble

Susan Leigh Noble, Author
DESTINY, Book 3 of The Elemental

Welcome to Fantasy Author Susan Leigh Noble. She has just published DESTINY, Book 3 of her series The Elemental – whose main character Lina is counseled by Tosh, her telepathic cat. Lina herself can start fires with mere thought. In DESTINY she must find a lost scepter to save her land.

A big San Antonio Spurs basketball fan, Susan lives in Texas with her husband, two children and – as you might have guessed given her telepathic cat character -- three cats.  She is also an active community and school volunteer.

Q: In a fantasy world, what pulls in your readers? Characters? Back story? Suspense? How important is believability?

Susan Leigh Noble: I think with all stories, at least for me, it is the characters that pull me in. If I care about the characters, I want to continue reading.

I also believe that if you are creating a fantasy world, you need to make everything as believable as possible. You need to establish rules for your magic. By this I mean set a consequence of using magic because otherwise your magician would be all powerful and then what would be the conflict in your story? They need to have some weakness as in using magic drains them or is so dangerous that a simple mistake could kill them.

And when you create a world with mythical creatures such as telepathic cats and dragons, then your characters shouldn’t find anything odd about seeing them (unless they perhaps are rare). If your characters accept these then your reader will too

 Q: I admit I’m a cat-lover. I have two who keep me in line. However, neither of them is telepathic, although they certainly appear to know it all. When you write about Tosh and your other characters, how do you make them credible and compelling? What makes your readers care about your characters?

Susan Leigh Noble: I grew up with cats and find it very easy to have them as characters in my story. I chose to make them telepathic, so they could have a bigger role, but I am certainly glad none of my cats have that ability. I can just imagine them nagging me to feed them now - and I mean right NOW.

I think part of what makes any character believable is the details. With cats, even telepathic ones, you need to add cat-like behavior; they rub their cheeks on your hand or flip their tail in anger. And with all characters - cats, humans or dragons - you have to have bad qualities as well as good. And I think it is the recognizable insecurities and frailties that connect readers to the characters.    

Q: Do your characters push you around (I’m sure Tosh does. Even if telepathic he’s still a cat) and make you write what they want? Or are you in control?

Susan Leigh Noble: Oh, I think every author likes to think they are in control just as every cat owner likes to believe that too. But we all know the truth. Actually, I never really consider myself in control of my characters but like to just let the story unfold.

Q: What makes a hero/heroine? And on the flip side, what makes a villain?

Susan Leigh Noble: A hero/heroine is someone who goes through the conflict, whether it is an internal struggle or a physical feat. I think a true hero/heroine is someone who puts others first.  On the other side, and this is a very stereotypical answer, the villain is usually self-absorbed and only seeking to please themselves. He or she seeks to gain something for him/herself without caring about others. Of course, there are all sorts of variations on both heroes and villains and that is part of the fun of creating these characters and writing their stories. 

Q: As a parent, you write about the need for balance between pursuing your writing and other interests and participating in your children’s lives. What would you advise the busy parents who also want to be writers?

Susan Leigh Noble: My advice would be to get used to writing whenever you have free time, whether that means getting up early or waiting to write when the children are in bed at night. I find that carrying a notebook in my purse allows me to jot down story ideas or plan out chapters while waiting to pick up the kids from school or while my son is at his karate class. You have to be willing to find the time to write and realize that writing a novel will take longer than if you could devote all your time to it.  

Q: Tell us something about yourself, e.g., do you like to read? Eat? Go to plays? What’s your favorite holiday, book, author, character, play, movie, celebrity? What do you do when you’re not writing? Do you have a muse? What's your favorite charity? If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?

Susan Leigh Noble: Wow that is a lot of questions. I do love to read but honestly don’t find a lot of time lately between my own writing and taking care of the kids. I am a big San Antonio Spurs basketball fan, so I also try to find time to watch the team, though I usually also use that time to organize my files or go through all the paperwork the kids bring home from school. (Yep, I’m always multi-tasking.)

I guess my favorite holiday is Christmas. I love all the decorations and music and the fun of buying and receiving gifts. It is just such a happy time of the year. But I have a hard time picking out other “favorites” such as movies, books, and authors because I just love so many things that it is difficult to pick a favorite. I certainly couldn’t tell you, which was my favorite child or cat. 

About Susan Leigh Noble

Susan Noble has always loved dragons and magic so it is no wonder that she became an author of fantasy novels. As a cat lover, she also had to throw in a telepathic cat to the mix in her The Elemental trilogy.

When she isn't writing, Susan is an active volunteer in her neighborhood and at her children's schools. She lives with her husband, two children and three cats in Texas

Book 3 of The Elemental

Destroying Quietus should have stopped the destruction to the Land. But it hadn't. Slowly, the barren areas continue to grow destroying everything in their path. None of Lina's Elemental powers can repair the damage while the Land remains contaminated by magic.

But there is an ancient scepter created by a Learner that they believe will lift this magical barrier. Before Lina can claim it, the scepter is stolen. Now Lina and Val must race to find the scepter and end the destruction to the Land once and for all.


A loud crashing sound behind her caused Lina to whirl around. A third Gunn entered the clearing. Val ran to confront it with Cole right behind him.

Cole swung at the beast. His battle ax bounced off its thick hide. The Gunn
swung at him, but the guard danced out of the way. Val worked his way behind
the beast as Darnel distracted it by shooting an arrow into the beast's
vulnerable neck.  

"Watch out!"

The call came from behind her. Lina swung around in time to see the Gunn
open his mouth to spew his deadly poison right at Drake. Without a thought,
she sent a swift wind toward him, directing the poison harmlessly toward the
ground. She didn't see Royce running to Drake's aid. The poison hit the man
in the face and shoulder.

Royce screamed. It was a gut-wrenching cry of sheer agony. Lina watched in
horror as the green liquid melted away his skin. Royce clawed at his face as
he fell to his knees. Suddenly, the horrible sound of his scream died away
as he fell to the ground.

"No!" Lina cried, falling to her knees in disbelief. Tears streamed down her
face as she looked at the lifeless body on the ground; the body of the man
she had killed.

Other Books by Susan Leigh Noble

Book 1 of The Elemental

At the age of four, Lina discovered she could start fires with a mere thought - a trait which had died out long ago. Cautioned by her telepathic cat, Tosh, she kept this Elemental power a secret to avoid being an outcast. That was easy to do growing up in the remote grasslands of Zena.

Now as an adult, she had no plans to leave her beloved homeland. So when a strange urge compels her to travel north to an unknown destination, Lina resists this unnatural feeling. But her plans to stay in Zena are taken out of her control when she is kidnapped by gypsies and wakes in a foreign land.

Book 2 of The Elemental

The Learner Ben Dar had been destroyed by the reluctant use of her powers. In the shadow of his fallen fortress, she had learned the truth – that she was the center of a thousand-year-old prophecy claiming the rebirth of the Elementals – an ancient race dedicated to caring for the Land.

Now Lina and those with traces of Elemental power train in the mountains of South Point in the hopes that they can defeat this unknown danger to the Land. Will her powers be enough to stop the destruction of her homeland?

For over a thousand years, telepathic cats known as STACs have faithfully searched for those wit power over the elements looking for the one foretold to save the Land. None have questioned their duty to fulfill this ancient task. 

But when Tosh’s latest charge is murdered because of his Elemental powers, Tosh considers abandoning The Search. Will a glimpse of the future destruction be enough to change his mind?

Links to Author

Twitter - @SusanLeighNoble

Purchase Links:


  1. Joyce - Thank you so much for having me here today. This was such a fun interview.

  2. Nice interview and those cats sound wonderful.