Please help me in welcoming author Susan Vaughan!
Kari: You've lived quite an adventurous life, traveling all over and doing adventurous things. What's the most adventurous thing you've tried? And what was it like living with a French family in Paris and attending the Sorbonne?
SUSAN: Adventurous? Moi? I'm about the least adventurous person you'd ever meet. Except on paper, of course. The most adventure I ever had was the camping and canoe trip I took to research Primal Obsession. I'm so not the outdoors girl, except for light hikes and gardening. But I didn't feel I could write about my characters on a wilderness trip without experiencing some of that myself. It goes without saying that on my group's trip, we had no serial killer.
And living in Paris? Yes, that certainly was an adventure, but when you're twenty-one, it doesn't seem that daring. The family had hosted other Americans before and had a daughter only a few years younger than me. They treated me like another daughter. We spoke French almost exclusively, just what I wanted. The mother let me help some in the kitchen, not that I was much help, but I learned to make a darn good omelet. They took me on excursions on Sundays, once to Montmartre and another time to play boules (sort of like bowling) in the park. The daughter and I did some excursions of our own, nuff said. I loved Paris and saw as much of it via the Metro and on foot as I could. On some weekends, the school sponsored trips outside the city--Versailles, Mont St. Michel, the castles of the Loire Valley. Merveilleux!
Kari: I see you taught 7th grade and wrote a Young Adult book. Now you write romantic suspense. What was the biggest challenge in writing for adults versus teens? Which genre do you prefer?
SUSAN: I wrote the YA when I was teaching that age. It was half romance and half mystery, so the switch to romantic suspense wasn't that big a change, except for the sensuality level. The challenge in writing YA was twofold. Keeping current with teen interests and lingo was one. More important was handling the coming-of-age aspect. I prefer writing romance for grownups who remember those teenage years but have no interest in reliving the angst.
Kari: Your latest book Primal Obsession sounds amazing. Can you tell us a bit about it?
SUSAN: Thanks for calling it amazing. Here's a blurb I wrote about Primal Obsession. Reporter Annie Wylde and Mother Nature are lifelong enemies, but she signs up for a Maine canoe trip to honor a promise to her friend who was murdered by a serial killer dubbed the Hunter. When she meets the wilderness guide, former Major Leaguer Sam Kincaid, a look from him makes her toes curl, but she wants nothing to do with an ex-jock like her former lover. Sam finds Annie a sexy challenge but believes he's a failure and they're too different. He needs to prove he can succeed at something, even with a bum hand. When the Hunter stalks the group, Sam and Annie must borrow from each other's strengths to defeat him.
Kari: What is your new trilogy The Protectors about?
SUSAN: I prefer not to say much about this series yet because it's not sold and still sort of in development. I will say that it features three hunky government agents who are trying to take down a Mexican drug cartel leader.
Kari: How do you come up with your ideas and what is your writing schedule like?
SUSAN: As you might guess from the plot of The Protectors, current headlines sometimes play a part in firing my imagination. Actually, story ideas are all around--the news, a passing stranger on the street, a chance remark, a what-if thought. The hard part is turning that idea into a plot with believable, compelling characters. Lots of what I thought were great ideas have ended in the round file.
My writing schedule? I'm at my desk from after breakfast until noon, with about twenty minutes out to walk the dog. I try to set a goal each day for how much I'll get done. If I'm writing something new, it's at least two pages. If I'm revising, it depends on how much work the project needs. Some of that time can be email, especially if I'm stuck and need a break. E-mail and Facebook can be a lure to take me from what I really need to do though. I have to discipline myself and I'm not always successful.
Kari: Who are your favorite authors?
SUSAN: I have lots. How much time do you have? Seriously, I enjoy a wide variety of books, not just romantic suspense, but romance and mystery and thrillers. I don't want to list fave authors because I'm afraid I'll leave someone out and later think of him/her when it's too late. I will tell you the three most recent books I've read. One is Alexis Morgan's latest in her Paladin series, Defeat the Darkness. Also, Virginia Kantra's haunting conclusion to her Children of the Sea trilogy, Sea Lord. And Ann Voss Peterson's latest Harlequin Intrigue, Rocky Mountain Fugitive.
Kari: Any writing tips for your fellow writers?
SUSAN: I would tell others to persevere, above all. Getting published these days is part talent, part skill, part luck, and part perseverance. Learn the craft, hone your skills and keep writing. As Billy Crystal says in Throw Momma From the Train, "a writer writes."
Thank you so much Susan! To find out more about susan, go to her website at: