Thursday, March 15, 2012

PERIL - Suzanne Hartmann - Free Book

Suzanne Hartmann is a homeschool mom of three and lives in the St. Louis area. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Composition & Linguistics from Western Illinois University. To relax, she enjoys scrapbooking, reading, and Bible study. She began writing fiction when her children were young, and four of her short stories were published in a Milliken Publishing reading workbook. PERIL: Fast Track Thriller #1 is her debut novel.

On the editorial side, Suzanne is a contributing editor with Port Yonder Press and operates the Write This Way Critique Service. Through her blog, Write This Way (, she has become known as an author who can explain writing rules and techniques in easy-to-understand terms. Her popular Top 10 series of articles formed the basis for her e-book on the craft of writing, Write This Way: Take Your Writing to a New Level

Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
They say to write what you know, so I pulled from my personal experience for a few sections in the novel. Like Joanne, I was in a very serious car accident a long time ago. I added bits and pieces of things that happened during and after my accident to scenes to give them more realism. And when I needed to choose a serious illness for one of my characters, I stuck with what I knew and gave him the same illness my dad suffered through. That made some scenes difficult to write, but I knew that if the words I was writing evoked such strong emotion for me as I wrote them, that they would do the same for readers as they read them.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Probably the quirkiest thing I’ve ever done is to write a novel when I had no experience    and no idea what I was doing. I had training in writing non-fiction, and had sold a few short stories to a publisher for a reading workbook, but had never considered writing a novel. So to choose to write a full novel based solely on a prompting that I felt was from God seemed very quirky to me. As a matter of fact, I felt like it was so quirky that I didn’t tell anyone what I was doing for about six weeks. The only reason I spilled the beans then was because my kids caught me checking out bunches of books on NASCAR so I could do background research for the novel. Otherwise I probably would have waited until I was pretty sure I was going to finish the project before I told anyone.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I didn’t even think about becoming a writer when I dreamed up many of the scenes that became PERIL. I just created them to occupy myself during my children’s music lessons and sports practices. I had no intention of writing a novel until one day when I was thinking about the latest story while taking a walk in my neighborhood. A thought popped into my head: “Why don’t you write them into a book?” For a while I considered whether I was having a premature mid-life crisis, but finally decided that it was truly a nudge from God. And He has been faithful to lead me every step of the way through this writing journey since then. 

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I read a wide variety of novels, both Christian and secular. Growing up, my favorites were mysteries. In high school and college, I discovered fantasy and read it almost exclusively. For the last twenty years or so, my preferred genre has been suspense. The only novels I won’t read are horror and erotica.

I’m with you on the horror and erotica. How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
When things get crazy, I have to take some time for myself. Usually that means setting aside some time to scrapbook or make cards, or spending time in the Word.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
I chose character names through a variety of methods. Some characters, like Lady Anne simply have a name that fits. Stuart Jackson, on the other hand, is a composite NASCAR driver, so I gave him a composite name: first name similar to Tony Stewart’s last name, and a last name like Jimmie Johnson’s. For the Arab names, I looked up common names online. And I created one name from the town I live in and the town where I grew up.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I’d have to say that training my children to know and love God is the accomplishment I’m most proud of. God called me to homeschool my children, and through our schooling I have had the opportunity to lead all three to Christ and teach them a true Christian worldview. They have learned that God is involved in every subject and every activity, not just church-related things.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I think I would be a dog. Someone feeds them and takes care of them, and they get to lay            around and sleep all day. That thought is especially appealing when the pressures of homeschooling and writing feel overly oppressive.

What is your favorite food?
I like food, and a wide variety of it, so choosing only one favorite is difficult.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
My greatest roadblock has been not knowing what I’m doing. I was so clueless when I wrote the first draft of Peril, but I followed my husband’s advice to just finish the book and followed God’s promptings, which led me to people who helped me to revise and polish my manuscript.

Tell us about the featured book.
PERIL: Fast Track Thriller #1
A top-secret agent struggles with trusting God to protect her many secrets when she must use her enhanced abilities while escorting a Muslim king-turned Christian to the White house and the Talladega Superspeedway, which not only draws the attention of the media, but also a NASCAR champion…and makes her a terrorist target.

Please give us the first page of the book.

The moment Lady Anne stepped out of the Mashkoori embassy, the Washington, DC, heat hit her like a wall. The humidity wrapped itself around her like a blanket, heightening the tension writhing in her stomach like a dozen slithering serpents. Only minutes from now she would enter the White House, where Husam-Jabbar threatened an attempt on the life of King Ahmad, her companion for the day.

Placing a hand on the arm King Ahmad held out for her, she firmly pushed her misgivings aside. Premonition or not, she had a job to do.

While she settled herself near the king in the rear of the second of two stretch Hummers, two of his personal bodyguards took up positions by the driver’s compartment. She brushed a neatly manicured finger against a miniscule earbud as she tucked a stray strand of curly blond hair into her elegant updo. The wallet-shaped wireless device in her purse would pick up the chatter between the Secret Service agents at the White House. Knowing she would hear if they spotted any danger eased some of the tension that had been building all morning. But would the well-respected agency live up to its reputation and stop the planned assassination attempt against the king, or would she need to display her enhanced strength to protect her charge?

She glanced at the king. Did he know the terrorist group had announced their intentions on the Arab television network Al Jazeera earlier this morning?

“Are you ready, my lady?” Something about the glint in the older man’s sea-green eyes and the set of his jaw told her he was prepared for whatever might come today, whether he’d heard the latest news or not. Perhaps he’d become used to the constant threat. After all, every Muslim terrorist group in existence had pledged to kill the first Arabic king to convert to Christianity.

“Of course, Your Majesty. This isn’t the first time I’ve served as a bodyguard.”

The king opened a cabinet that hid a wet bar and refrigerator, pulled out a long-stemmed glass, and poured himself some water. He waved a hand toward the cabinet. “Please help yourself.”

Grateful for something to focus on, Lady Anne followed the king’s lead. A sip of the water’s coolness washed clarity into her thinking, as though it were a dose of fresh confidence. If this had been a normal assignment, her veins would have pulsed with restrained energy at a reason to unleash her enhanced strength. But nothing about this mission was normal.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
My Website – FastTrackThrillers (
My Blog - Write This Way (

Thank you, Suzanne, for the interesting interview.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Peril - print edition
Peril - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.


Marianne said...

One of my early memories is going as a family to a car race and sitting on the hood of the car (no bleachers) and cheering! Love Nascar stories! Thanks for the opportunity to win

marianne from arizona

mitzi underscore wanham at yahoo dot com

Sandi Coughlin said...

I would love to win a copy of this book. I live in TX and my email is

Suzanne said...

What great memories, Marianne. We have memories of attending races at Gateway Speedway while it was opened, but not the same as sitting on the hood with your family.

Suzanne said...

Thank you for entering, Sandi & Marianne. Good luck!

Jo said...

I would love to win a copy of this book. It sounds like a great read. Thank you for the opportunity!

Jo from Southern Arizona

marybelle said...

PERIL looks like an amazing read & I love the cover.

Mary P


Kandra said...

This book sounds unusual and very interesting! I'm in Tennessee

Suzanne said...

Thank you for your kind words, Jo. You'll love one of the protagonists. Her name is Joanne and she is often called Jo. :O)

Suzanne said...

Thank you, Marybelle. I LOVE the cover! The designers at OakTara did a fantastic job with it. When I first saw it, I was literally hopping up and down excited.

Suzanne said...

Thank you, Kandra. OakTara does a great job of finding and publishing books like PERIL, which are unusual and don't quite fit the standard mold but offer a great read.

Abigail Richmond said...

Enter me!
Blanch, N.C.

Sarah said...

Enter me please!
God Bless,
Sarah Richmond

Faith Hope Cherrytea said...

ok, i'm intrigued!
thank you for this first page intro. now i'm adding myself to the giveaway for sure :) CA
and thank you for your generosity!

Suzanne said...

Thank you for entering, Abigail and Sarah. Good luck!

Suzanne said...

Thank you for your kind words, Faith. Good luck!

Ingrid said...

Thank you for the Interview, would love to win your book, it sounds awesome.


Ginger said...

Oh, I so want to read this book. Please sign me up.

Ginger in AL

Suzanne said...

Thank you for your enthusiasm, Ingrid and Ginger. Good luck!

Sharon Richmond said...

Enter me I would love to win a copy of this book it sounds and looks like a great story!! Thanks and God bless.
Sharon Richmond
Blanch, NC.

Lourdes said...

Hooked book sounds great would love to win.

Lourdes Huntington NY

Patricia Cornelius said...

I would like to be entered into the drawing

Suzanne said...

Thank you for entering, Sharon, Lourdes, and Patricia. Good luck!

Bethany said...

I'd love to be entered!
cbus.blogger at gmail dot com

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

i would love to be entered too! we NASCAR girls have to stick together. :)

the character therapist

Susieq said...

I love reading suspense, too and would love to win this book. sounds like an exciting plot.

~Susie from Hawaii


Suzanne said...

Thank you for entering, Bethany, Jeannie, and Susie. Good luck!

Suzanne said...

You're absolutely right, Jeannie!

Nancye said...

This sounds like a great book! Thanks for the chance.

Nancye from Kentucky

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Suzanne said...

Thank you, Nancye. Good luck!

Janet Kerr said...

"Peril" sounds like an interesting read. Thank you for entering me in the draw.
I am from B.C., CANADA

Aizess said...

Please enter me! Thank you for the chance to win.

I live in New York