I first met Susan in Kansas City at the first national conference for American Christian Romance Writers. Of course, we had been online friends before that. She's a warm, funny lady, who is a wonderful author. I'm glad to call her my friend.
We will be giving away a free copy of Everything's Coming Up Josey. Be sure to leave a comment for your chance to win this book. I've read it, and it is delightful. Since I've been in third world countries, I especially like the sense of setting that is so much a part of Susan's books.
I think, in order for the characters to be real, they have to have a touch of myself in them…whether it’s their dreams or spiritual angst, or fears…I try and find something I relate to and impart them into the characters so there is real emotion, real responses. The closest character I’ve found to myself, however, however, is Josey Berglund, from my new book, Everything’s Coming up Josey. She’s a Minnesota girl who goes to Moscow for a year to teach English. I used so many of my personal missionary experiences in the book, it’s probably the closest thing to an autobiography that I’ll get!
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I can’t remember the last time I did a quirky thing…I mean, I do “Susie” things all the time…like redo my daughter’s bedroom while she’s gone for the weekend. Or go into town in my pajamas…but really, that’s not quirky, right?
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I think I realized that writing would be a big part of my life when I was a teenager…but I never considered myself a writer until I started writing novels. Until that time, I was a “missionary who writes.” Sometimes, it’s still hard to believe that I’m a writer…I just don’t have that sort of “artist” aura about me. I think I’m more of a storyteller.
That's interesting, Susie. I think of myself as more of a storyteller, too. Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I love Romantic Suspense (and thus, that is what I write) and I really enjoy Chick Lit (again, what I write). I don’t read for pleasure much anymore, however…it’s not that I don’t want to, it’s that I’m constantly trying to learn to be a better writer. And I get that by reading and thinking and applying it to my own writing.
Well, I’ve written in nearly every genre…Historical Fiction (Letters to the Enemy, the Heirs of Anton), Romance (The Deep Haven series, The House Love Built, Chance Encounters of the Heart), Romantic Suspense (Team Hope), Thrillers (In Sheep’s Clothing), Chick Lit (Josey), and Mystery (Novel Crimes). I haven’t written straight “women’s fiction” yet…*grin* And I don’t think Fantasy is in my future. My brain doesn’t wrap around dwarfs and elves (unless they look like Orlando, of course).
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Sanity, what’s that? *grin* I think it is constant evaluation and knowing that this is the only life we have…we need to live it well, and enjoy it. So, some things just aren’t as important as others.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
Well, now that I have used all my kids names, my siblings names, my friends names and my in-laws names, I am having to make them up. *grin* I usually find their strongest characteristic and go to a baby name site and see what matches. OR, I’ll find an actor or character on television who embodies that characteristic and morph that name somehow. Just depends on the story and the setting.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
My four kids. Although that’s not an “accomplishment” so much, I do prioritize being a mother, and the fact that they all love Jesus and are developing into people of character brings me the most joy.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I’d be a male lion. I’d get all the girls, they’d hunt for me, I’d look really good, and I’d get to roar and people would just say, Oh, she’s a lion, that’s normal.
What is your favorite food?
Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. I know I’m 8 years old inside, but seriously, it’s my comfort food.
What would you like to tell us about the featured book?
It’s funny and authentic and has a message of hope. I hope the reader will come away with a sense that no matter where you are, God has a purpose for your life. Embrace it.
Thank you, Susie, for letting us get to know you better. My review for Everything's Coming Up Josey is in the June 2006 newsletter on my web site. www.LenaNelsonDooley.com