The absolutely wonderful book, The Return of King Lillian, is being released on July 9th. When reading it, this lovely story found a place in my heart.
Imagine my happiness, then, when I was fortunate enough to be able to interview author Suzie Plakson.
How did this world, these characters, and this book come about? **
“Decades ago, when I was in a place of frustration and despair, I first saw Lillian in a flash of a dream, galloping uphill on a big chestnut horse, disappearing into an archway of giant trees. And from that moment on, over a period of many years, the story and the world grew through dreams, trials, errors, and, finally, collaboration.”
You mentioned being in a state of frustration and despair when Lillian was conceived. Was writing this book a therapeutic process?
“Perhaps it was, in a subconscious, soul-level, decades-long sort of way! I had a series of flash-dreams about it over a span of years, all along trying and failing and failing and trying to find the form. And then, once the form was found, it’s been processes within processes within processes. So, therapeutic? Likely yes, in countless untraceable ways, I imagine- kinda like Life!”
Can you talk about the importance of having a strong female protagonist? **
“Ever since The Epic of Gilgamesh- which was the first hero’s journey in Western mythology-the star of the show was always a fella, usually with a lot of “I am the conqueror” kind of energy going on. So, with respect to balance, I’m hoping it’s an auspicious time to tell the tale of a seeking soul from the other side of the psyche.”
Lillian has so many positive personality traits- determination, self-confidence, and honesty. Did you have positive role models that embodied those things in your life growing up?
“Well, in parts and pieces, I suppose, in certain people, and in certain fictional and historical characters. And I was always so inspired by the women in old movies, like Kate Hepburn and Rosalind Russell and Judy Garland. I loved their moxie, and their innocent hearts, and their grace and their humor.”
I love that Lillian is mainly recounting her adventures to her Book, instead of having ongoing conversations. What made you decide to tell the story that way?
“One of the dreams prompted me to try writing the story in diary form. Amidst all the odd bits of material that I was accumulating, there was one file in which I played with Lillian speaking in direct address, very conversationally. Her voice came through fully formed, as if she’d always been there.”
I always want to ask authors: do you have favorite books that have helped shape you as a person?
“Wow. So many, and yet, in this moment, what leaps to mind is “Alice In Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass” (I’m more of a fan of “Through the Looking Glass,” actually). I suppose it’s the travelling through a world that feels fascinating but foreign and encountering seemingly mad creatures and belief systems and yet being unafraid to question any of it. Alice trusted the verdict of her own mind over anybody else’s. She was a powerful, polite, independent heroine.”
Finally, do you have another another book in the works (I ask hopefully)?
“Ahhh, well, thank you kindly for being hopeful, but after decades of getting this thing born, for the moment, the only thing in the works is a celebration and a nice, long nap. There is a character that wasn’t in the world of the book, who may well have a story to tell, but first…champagne.”
**Questions with asterisks taken, with permission, from the author’s press kit.