Welcome back, Susan. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
Oh, I think to be authentic, a writer has to dig around inside and pull out pieces of their own journey, whether it be experiences, or truths, or life lessons or emotional situations. One of my techniques for getting into character is to ask: when have I felt the way my character is feeling, or been in a similar life situation? What authentic emotion, thoughts and actions can I bring to the page? In that way, each scene, each character has a little piece of my own experience or emotion. (even if I haven’t experienced the actual event!)
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Quirky? Oh, I don’t know—my son Peter says that if you tied my hands behind my back, I’d be unable to speak. (and it’s true—my videos are a blur of my hands moving on screen! Ack!)
I’ve been told the same thing. We’re just more expressive. When did you first discover that you were a writer?
First grade. No, seriously—I wrote a book in first grade, and it won the school-wide book writing contest. J I have been writing stories ever since.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I read all genres—historical fiction (LOVE!), contemporary romantic suspense, thrillers, memoirs, westerns, biographies….but my favorite? TIME TRAVEL. No, seriously, I’m silly over time travel books!
I thought no one could write a Christian time travel book that I would accept. Lisa Tawn Bergren and Lynne Gentry changed my mind. The way their time travel happened was believable, because our God could have worked that way. Maybe He actually has. How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I have a motto—work hard, play hard. Which mean, when I’m working, I’m all in. But when I’m NOT working, like in the evenings, or the weekends, I cast it aside completely. And, I try and get away complete a couple times a year. Also—I keep it simple. It’s okay to have $5.00 pizzas from Papa Murphy’s once a week. Or to buy a big pre-made salad at the grocery store and toss it up with rotisserie chicken. I figure … hey, enjoy people, enjoy what you do, enjoy God, and don’t worry about what the world tells you to do.
I like that last statement. How do you choose your characters’ names?
They have to embody the character, so I am always looking at the meanings of the names, and how they feel on the page. I go through a few iterations before I settle on the final name.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
My four amazing adult children who love Jesus, love their families, are hard workers, and show up in life to be everyday heroes.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
Oh, I’m a Labrador retriever. I’m super loyal, like to play, like to run around the woods, and will sit at your feet and sigh happily for hours. (okay, the RIGHT feet).
We had one when I was in high school. They’re wonderful dogs. What is your favorite food?
Popcorn. With parmesan cheese and real butter.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
I love to write! But it is hard—you have to take your time, think through all the layers. Give yourself white space. That’s the hardest thing for me—I ALWAYS have something on my to-do list, so taking time out to just sit and think and pray is the one thing I must do and yet it is the hardest to give myself permission to do. (That, and exercise. Don’t get me started.)
Tell us about the featured book.
Playing With Fire is book #2 in my Summer of Fire trilogy. It features Conner and Liza, two Team Hope and Deep Haven. They showed up together in a Christiansen family book (Take a Chance on Me) and I’ve been waiting to write their story ever since. It was a fun story to write—I went back three years and put them in Deep Haven, into the situations from the previous book, got to revisit previous characters, and was able to dive more into the current mystery. Plus … Conner finally got his girl. J
Please give us the first page of the book.
Excerpt from Playing with Fire
This was not how Liza Beaumont wanted to die.
Not that anyone ever wanted to die, but certainly Liza could think of a dozen or more ways that would be preferable to ending up as an early-morning snack for a six-hundred-pound grizzly.
First choice might be tucked into the embrace of Conner Young, their golden years fading into a molten sunset, perhaps drifting off into sleep, to wake up in glory.
There she went again, wishing for things she didn’t have. Like bear spray. Or a tranquilizer gun.
Or maybe even better than spotty cell service here, high up on a remote trail in the middle of the
Mountains in western Montana.
She glanced down the trail, back up at the bear now rocking back and forth. What had the camp wildlife expert said about bears? Stop, drop, and roll—no, no—
Drop. Play dead. Except her instincts, frankly, were to scream first, then—well, run.
Of course, that was always her instinct.
But this time it felt right, because, really, who had the courage to just lie there while a grizzly sniffed her prone body, ready to take a tasty bite out of her neck. Not when she had heaps more life to live, hopes, dreams …
Only, one of those included a six-foot-two blond smokejumper with devastating blue eyes, wide sinewed shoulders, and a body honed by the rigors of fighting fire who claimed to love sunrises as much as she did.
But Conner wasn’t here. Just her, her sharpened colored graphite pencils, and a fresh canvas to paint her artist’s view of the sunrise. The perfect place to remind herself—and her fellow camper—that they didn’t need men to live happily ever after.
Can’t wait to read it. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Stop by www.susanmaywarren.com or visit my facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SusanMayWarrenFiction/
Thank you for having me,
It's always a pleasure to host you, Susan.
Readers, here’s a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.Playing With Fire: inspirational romantic suspense (Montana Fire Book 2)
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