Susan Dalessandro’s new young adult novel, “Complex Solutions” will be published later this year by Rhet Askew Publishing. It has a very unique and interesting plot and I’m looking forward to reading it.
I researched the Riemann Theorem that Susan describes below—very intriguing!
Let’s get to know Susan:
Q: Please tell us a little about your book, and how you came up with the idea/plot for it?
A: It’s about Lexi, a teen who loses her parents to a car accident (one she believes she caused) and then receives a letter saying her parents proved The Riemann Theorem, the most famous, unproven theorem in mathematics, that describes the behavior of prime numbers. But the proof was hidden away by Lexi’s parents before their deaths. Lexi shares her parents’ talent and affinity for math, but she also struggles with her emotions and self-harms. It’s her way of ‘dealing’ with anxiety, loneliness, anything she’s overwhelmed with and the physical pain gives her something to focus on instead of the emotional pain.
The story follows her as she discovers her parents’ secret, learns there’s someone else who wants to steal the proof and the credit for proving it—and ultimately stalks her for it—and falls for a guy whom she asks for help to find the proof, but as they get closer, it becomes more difficult to hide her secret of self-harm. She worries he’ll be disgusted and want nothing to do with her when he finds out.
I came up with the idea while running and I knew I wanted my story to involve math, since that’s my background. I have an M.A. in Applied Math. The Riemann Theorem has an air of mystery surrounding it. The person who proves it will be world-famous and regarded as one of the greatest mathematicians of our time. The self-harm aspect is something I wanted to include from the beginning. Self-harm, such as cutting, which Lexi does, is unfortunately something many people, especially teens, turn to in order to push away their emotional pain and cover it with physical pain.
Q: Since “Complex Solutions” is a young adult book, is there a lesson to be learned and/or moral? Is there a message that you like your readers to derive from it?
A: The teen years are tough and there’s so many expectations on kids during that time. But it’s important not to keep things to yourself, let them eat away at you. As difficult and as hopeless as things may seem, there is always someone you can talk to. And you’re not alone in going through things. Even though it certainly feels that way sometimes. This, of course, applies to adults as well.
Q: What other articles/stories/books have you written?
A: I have a YA novella coming out in a Romance Box Set with Rhet Askew late this year. I’ve also written a YA contemporary with paranormal elements I’m beginning to query.
Q: What or who inspired you to start writing and how long have you been writing?
A: I’ve always enjoyed reading and always had story ideas floating around in my head, ideas that seemed to take flight while running. I don’t think there was one specific author who inspired me, just a desire to create a world of my own. I started writing about twelve years ago, but didn’t tell anyone!
Q: Are you a self-taught writer or have you formally studied language arts/writing?
A: I am definitely self-taught, with a lot of help from other writers I’ve met through social media, writing groups I’ve joined, and reading books, such as “Story Genius,” by Lisa Cron. There’s so much support out there, you just have to ask for help. The writing community is wonderful.
Q: Do you have a writing routine? Where/when do you usually write?
A: I work a full-time job, so I try to get writing done in the morning (my best time of the day) lunchtime and weekends. Sometimes I’ll take a day off just to write.
Q: What do you enjoy the most about writing?
A: Creating a story where I can make happen whatever I want. Within reason, of course, LOL, since I write YA contemporary.
Q: What is the most difficult part of the writing process for you?
A: Having enough time, with work, family and life! Being patient, waiting for your story to get out in the world!
Q: What advice do you have for those who are thinking about writing a book and getting it published?
A: Go for it! Write your story, write what you’re passionate about and don’t give up. There’s a lot of rejection, but if you keep at it, it’s well worth it.
Q: What do you think makes a good story?
A: Complex, flawed characters and a compelling plot. Once you have that, the ability to make your readers feel what the characters are experiencing is everything. I want the readers of my books to feel the way I do when I’m reading a great story, one where I’m inside the character’s head and experiencing everything they experience. A story that sticks with you long after you’ve finished reading.
Q: What are some of your favorite books/authors to read?
A: I love Jennifer Armentrout, both her contemporary and fantasy YA. I loved Karen McManus’ first two books, ‘“One of Us Is Lying’”and ‘”Two Can Keep a Secret.‘” ‘“One of Us is Next’” is on my TBR list. I’m a big fan of Robyn Schneider’s YA novels. Of course, I loved the Harry Potter Series, by J.K. Rowling.
Q: What other interests do you have besides writing?
A: Running. I’ve done five marathons. Running relaxes me and it also gives me time to create and work through story ideas. Reading. Spending time with my family, which includes my beagle, Buddy. I’m also a big sports fan. I live and die with my Phillies and Eagles.
Q: Do you have any other books currently in the works? If so, do you have an estimated publication date?
A: I have the novella for the Askew Ever After Box Set. I think the release date is December 21, 2020. I’m also starting to query a YA Contemporary with Paranormal elements, “Truth in the Treetops.”
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