Suzi Quatro: writing about a post-Suzi Quatro rock chick

Suzi Quatro
Opinion - Books Wednesday, 14 June 2017

The rock star and poet on getting stuck and then unstuck while writing her first novel


Why a novel?

Well, why not?!

I am and always have been a prolific creative writer, be it poems (Through My Eyes), my autobiography (Unzipped), or my first novel, The Hurricane. I am somebody who needs to communicate, whether on a stage doing my music, acting a role, writing a song, book or poem, or having a damn good debate with lots of people from different walks of life who don't agree with me... that's heaven.

Writing my autobiography - even with its ups and downs and having to relive some very painful things - was enjoyable. I found I had a flair for it. Jackie Collins, who (among many other famous names) was kind enough to give me a quote for the back of the book, told me I should write a novel, that I indeed could write, so I always kept it quietly on my bucket list. She also said, "My advice is to stick with what you know" - so I did.

For my novel, I wanted to create a rock chick, post-Suzi Quatro - that is, after the doors had been kicked down by yours truly: an in-charge female who was not afraid to go out and push the boundaries. I started this book about four years ago, and then - horror of horrors - writer's block: something was preventing me and I could not work it out. I kept going up to the third floor, reading and re-reading what I had done so far. Then I found it. I had stuck too closely to what I know. I didn't want this to be my life, with lots of siblings. So I hit the delete button on everything "family", and started to create again. Then Alison, the main character, truly came to life. Without giving too much away, she is an only child... with lots of surprises and tragedies in store. It has twists and turns that you definitely do not see coming.

As I wrote this story, it took me places I never expected it to. I was reading what I had written and wondering: what will she do now? Then I knew it was working. Of course, as any author, actress or songwriter will tell you, you always use bits of yourself in every project, to make them come alive. So there are parts of me in Alison, but not many, not many at all. She is her own person 100%. Sometimes I don't like what she does!

I worked on this book every time I had space in a hotel room, which occurred frequently with my lifestyle, and in fact I did a lot of it during my last tour of Australia, in January and February of this year. I would write until I didn't know what would happen next. Then I'd come back the next day, read it, and see where it took me with a fresh mind.

The most perfect thing to me is that I finished the book on a recent trip to my hometown, Detroit. What a great omen.

Naturally, since this is the first outing, I am anxious to hear people's opinions. I recently did an interview with a journalist who had read the book. The first thing I said when I sat down was, "Did you like it?" - I was vulnerable as hell. Fortunately he loved it and waxed prolific about the characters... hooray and phew.

I have been told that I have written a real page-turner. I have been given opinions about each character, and boy, do they differ from reader to reader. All comments have been welcome, negative or positive. I have affected a lot of people with this story.

Writing this book was something I had to do. Yes, it is putting my neck on the line, but hell, what is life without risks?

I love the end of the book, because you truly think, "Oh my God, what happens now?"

Watch this space folks.

Suzi Quatro is "the first rock'n'roll chick": lead singer, bass player, DJ, and actress in Happy Days. She has sold more than 50 million records. Her autobiography Unzipped is published by Hodder; last year, New Haven Publishing brought out her poetry collection Through My Eyes, and it published her novel The Hurricane in May.

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