Changed In An Instant

Susan Speranza
Susan Speranza Author Interview

Ice Out follows a mother who is trapped in the frozen ice after a snowmobile accident, she can’t find her daughter, and her husband seems to have abandoned them. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I have seen many people’s lives turn on a dime. What was a perfect, happy, fulfilling life changed in an instant, and those people found themselves in circumstances they never dreamed of. They then acted in ways they never anticipated. I have been interested in such events, how it changes people, how people react. I was also interested in exploring the processes people go through that brings them from grief to acceptance. And I wanted to explore the idea of forgiveness.

Years ago there was a ferry accident in the English Channel. Many of the men got out, many of the women were left behind. The ferry sank, and it was theorized that it took some physical strength to escape the underwater ferry and make it to the surface. I wondered if some of those men left behind their spouses or partners in their rush to the surface. When I began to craft this story, I thought of this incident and wondered, could you forgive your significant other for leaving you behind in a life or death situation? Should you? What would make someone do this? I used a snowmobiling accident because I live in Vermont, and as a snowmobiler myself I have seen some of these dedicated snowmobilers do crazy things. It’s a wonder there aren’t more accidents! All of this inspired the story.

The form this novel has taken is not quite linear. The action moves from the present to the past and back again over and over as the story advances. The reader is not able to know the full extent of what is going on (until the end). This was inspired by a movie called Jacob’s Ladder. The technique (in this film) is very effective as I believe it adds to the dramatic moment at the end when everything makes sense. Since the concept of time in my novel is very important, I wanted a framework that would accentuate this.

Francesca has a strong personality and learns early on in life that breaking a promise is unforgivable. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

In order to explore the idea of forgiveness, I needed Francesca to have very strong principles about what promises mean to her, and how unforgiveable it is for them to be broken. She admits, early on in the story, that she is quite stubborn and unforgiving of herself and others. And of course, this is the worst possible betrayal to happen, especially to someone like her.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Themes in Ice Out

Forgiveness: I wanted to explore what a person can and can’t, should or shouldn’t forgive.

Reality: The nineteenth century romantic writers believed life was nothing more than a dream, that the line between dreams and reality was tenuous at best. I think they were on to something, so I wanted to explore this idea in Ice Out.

Grieving: I also wanted to explore the process of grieving, whether it is for a job someone has been fired from, a home that had to be quickly abandoned, or a loved one who died. Most people find it hard to go with the flow, and they fight immediate change, especially if it is a change they don’t want and didn’t initiate. They refuse to accept it, they get angry and fight it, then they get depressed. But finally, in order to emerge from that dark place into which their grief has thrown them, they realize they need to accept things as they are and go on.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am obsessed with the larger questions of life – why are we here, what is our purpose, if any, what will happen to us when we die – in short, what is this all about. My next book will explore these questions. I’m hoping to make the form more experimental – in the tradition of Italo Calvino, for example. Not sure when it will be available, but in the meantime, readers can avail themselves of my previous novel, The Tale of Lucia Grandi, the Early Years.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Francesca Bodin has a near-perfect life as an accomplished music teacher and professional flutist living in the Vermont countryside with her husband Ben, and their four-year old daughter, Addie. This ends suddenly when a snowmobiling accident traps the three of them in a frozen lake. Ben, after escaping onto the ice, leaves her and Addie to die.

Francesca believes she sees their dog pull Addie from the lake and drag her into the nearby woods. Desperate to help her daughter, she crawls from the icy waters and follows them. Once she enters the forest, however, she finds herself trapped in a sinister, dream-like world where night never ends, where Addie’s whereabouts remain hidden from her, and where she encounters a group of women who, like Francesca, have been left to die and now seek to unleash their revenge on those who have harmed them. When they have Ben in their sights, Francesca realizes that if she is ever to escape this nightmare and save her daughter, she must first save the husband who abandoned them.

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on February 12, 2022, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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