First, a reminder that the giveaway for the new Kindle continues at my sister site HERE. The ebook of Susannah Sandlin’s Redemption is only $3.99 at Amazon right now, and a preorder will get you an extra entry in the Kindle giveaway. See details at Susannah’s site.
Now…I’m thrilled to welcome bestselling author Susan Squires to the blog today! She’s been gracious enough to subject herself to the Preternatura interview and talk about her new book, Do You Believe in Magic, the first in her new Children of Merlin series.
As an executive in a Fortune 500 company, she returned to her love of writing while continuing to hold her day job, much to the amusement of her fellow executives. Her novel Danegeld, had already been purchased by Dorchester by the time she accepted a Golden Heart in the paranormal category from Romance Writers of America. It was the first of an eclectic group of historical and contemporary paranormal stories known for their intensity. Body Electric was named by Publishers Weekly one of the ten most influential paperbacks of 2002, for blending romance and science fiction. Booklist compared No More Lies to the works of Robin Cook and Michael Crichton, but it was also an RWA Rita finalist for Best Published Paranormal. Susan’s Companion Series for St. Martin’s Press, continued to garner attention with admiring reviews and several visits to the New York Times Bestseller List. Publishers Weekly named One with the Shadows a Best Book of the Year, and several of the series received starred reviews. You can read more about Susan on her website.
Read on to meet Susan and comment for a chance to win a copy of Do You Believe in Magic!
Welcome, Susan! Give us the “elevator pitch” for Do You Believe in Magic:
My new series is called The Children of Merlin, about the big and boisterous Tremaine family who are descended from the wizard of Camelot. Each sibling will come into a unique power when they meet and fall in love with another who carries the magic gene.
The first in the series, DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC? follows the bad-boy brother, Tristram. He doesn’t believe in his destiny and hits the road on his Harley to escape his family’s expectations. But in the middle of nowhere, Nevada, he meets tough little Maggie O’Brian who rides rodeo and has a few secrets of her own. Their world is about to get much bigger and a lot more complicated.
What is your favorite scene in the book?
I like this book, so that question is hard. Maggie rescuing Tris after a head-on with a semi? Maggie meeting Tris’s family for the first time? Tris showing just how protective of Maggie he can be? Or the Tremaine sisters transforming Maggie for their mother’s birthday party? Then there are always the sex scenes. Sex scenes aren’t just about sex. They’re about self-doubt, and longing, and not daring to believe in happiness. Okay, so I’m bad at picking just one.
Hardest scene you’ve ever written:
So, we have to start with a definition of what’s “hard.” The big emotional scenes (if you’ve really got the character right) aren’t hard. I’ve written scenes that made me cry while I wrote them, but they just flowed out. So I’d define “hard” scenes as the ones that take the most thought and get re-written the most. In which case, almost EVERY beginning of every book is the hardest scene I’ve ever written. It’s so difficult to start fast, get the right tone and the right amount of information out, and be intriguing enough to lure the reader into wanting more. I have discarded whole first chapters and started all over again so many times I can’t count. And I re-write the beginning about fifty times. I’ll post the original beginning to DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC? on my website, just to prove my point.
What’s on your nightstand or top of your TBR pile?
The TBR pile is always big. Charlaine Harris’s latest is calling to me. I’ve known Charlaine for years. We spoke on several panels together, and she’s a lovely person. I have James Lee Burke’s latest on my Kindle. He’s my favorite mystery writer. He has a way with language you wouldn’t believe. And since I’m a closet country music fan, my husband gave me Brad Paisley’s DIARY OF A PLAYER.
Favorite book when you were a child:
You’re going to laugh, but the first book I read (I think I was eight) was ROBINSON CRUSOE, and it had a big impact on me. Whenever I resolved to run away from home after an argument with my parents, I would make big lists of things I’d need to survive: a small axe for cutting wood, a lighter so I could start campfires, a back pack and a canteen–you know the kind of thing. Luckily, I spent all my energy making the list, and then made up with my parents. In many ways, that book has stayed with me. The impulse to research how things would really happen is direct from Daniel DeFoe.
Your five favorite authors:
I hate to be unoriginal, but… Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice was a revelation. Georgette Heyer. I’ve read every one of her books a zillion times. Patrick O’Brian who wrote 20 books in the Master and Commander series. I’ve read all 20, twice. Ray Bradbury, because he knew how to create a whole world in a few sentences. Kurt Vonnegut because he could be funny and poignant and critical of society all at the same time.
Book you’ve faked reading:
I admit it. I never read James Joyce’s ULYSSES all the way through. (Suzanne says: Has anybody?!) I wrote that paper as a graduate student in English Lit at UCLA using examples only from the first part of the book. I know it changed the way we write in the 20th Century. I know it was a work of genius. I also think I wasn’t alone in not getting through the whole thing.
Book you’re an evangelist for:
I’m the last person to read every new hot novel. Thank goodness I read THE HUNGER GAMES before they finally got around to making a movie out of it. So I’m not the go-to person for the next new thing. But there’s a relatively obscure Scottish author of the most nuanced detective novels ever, who I just love. His name is William McIlvanney. He wrote one about every five years, with the last one in the nineties. His language and his characters are extraordinary. LAIDLAW is one of my favorites.
Book you’ve bought for the cover:
This is very silly, but I was in the airport once, and this book’s title grabbed me: DIE BROKE. I was fascinated. Who actually wanted to be broke? I bought it just on the title, which was the only thing on the cover. It turned out to be a book on how to invest money so the check to the undertaker bounced. It had to do with buying annuities or something. I didn’t have much money to invest but it was still interesting. It had some insightful observations on how retirement had changed over the years. And it said your kids would just be spoiled by inheriting money anyway.
Book that changed your life:
Georgette Heyer’s THESE OLD SHADES. Harry and I read each other our favorite books aloud. Early in our marriage, he read me THESE OLD SHADES. I didn’t’ know enough to call it a romance, but I loved it. It would have been absolutely perfect if it had had a little sex in it! Both Julian Davinoff of SACRAMENT (the first book I ever wrote) and the Duc d’Avon from TIME FOR ETERNITY, owe a debt of gratitude to Georgette. I, of course, owe a debt to Harry. A guy who loves Georgette Heyer? How rare is that?
Favorite line from a book:
“It is a well-known fact that any single gentlemen of good fortune must be in want of a wife.” You know this one. See above: first favorite author. (I may not be quoting exactly. Forgive me. All our books are packed up down in the garage while we’re remodeling!)
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
I think it must be the first Harry Potter book. I loved the magic of the situation. Who doesn’t want to believe that they have secret talents? And the details were magical in themselves: Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Jelly Beans, Hermione’s desire to be the perfect student, magic mirrors, a wise old wizard…etc., etc. It was a magical world.
Most horrifying moment while reading a book:
I’m going to declare a tie. Reading about how BLACK BEAUTY was mistreated when I was eight scarred me forever. I give to the SPCA to this day, as long as they don’t send me pictures of mistreated animals. And I was alone in my apartment in college, reading the scene in THE EXORCIST where the devil begins speaking out of the little girl’s mouth. It was getting dark and I didn’t dare stop reading to look around at the shadows while I got up to turn on the light. After a while it was pitch black and I didn’t have a choice. Is it any wonder I don’t do horror movies very well to this day?
Favorite book about books or writing:
I really enjoyed Stephen King’s ON WRITING and I am not even a huge Stephen King fan. PET SEMATARY pushed me over the scary edge, and I didn’t read another of his books. But his book on writing is insightful and very brave.
The next book in The Children of Merlin Series is HE’S A MAGIC MAN, the story of the oldest sister Drew. It should be out in late July. Here’s a short blurb: Drew is sure the magic in her DNA will come alive when she meets her one true love. Lightning strikes when she glimpses a gorgeous man on television and gets a vision of the future. Her power has arrived. So she’s off to Florida in search of the man who is her destiny.
Dowser can find things, anywhere, anytime. But he uses his gift only to find sunken treasure for rich dilettantes when he needs money to stay drunk. When Drew finds Dowser, she’s shocked. This derelict can’t be her destiny. Perhaps even worse, he still loves the woman who first raised his power–his dead wife, Alice.
Now a shadowy group wants Dowser to find a mysterious Talisman handed down from Merlin with the ability to intensify their power. In return they can bring back to Dowser the one thing he’s always wanted: Alice.
Thanks, Susan! Want to win a copy of Do You Believe in Magic? Leave a comment, and you know the rest of the drill. One entry for comment, another for blog follow, a third for a Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and a fourth for a Tweet or Retweet. Now…Go forth and comment!