I'm happy to have Sue Dent back to the blog. As I said before, when I heard about a Christian vampire-werewolf novel, I was totally sceptical. Then when I read Never Ceese, I changed my mind. Sue can reach people with the message of God who will never even see one of my books.
Welcome, Sue. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I write books speculative in nature because speculative stories are the kind of stories that appeal to me the most. If I had to give a reason why I settled on a vampire/werewolf story for my debut novel, my answer would have to be that I love vampire and werewolf lore. I love westerns too and subtle romance stories, adventures and mysteries, science fiction and fantasy, legal thrillers-you name it.
Writing speculative is what I lean toward though and I suppose all my stories, no matter what the subject matter, will always be speculative in nature. I might experiment later. Who knows?
Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
I consider coming to know the Lord as the most significant day in my life but not necessarily the happiest. It is certain that I would say the Lord is responsible for the happier days in my life. :-)
Also, my happiest day is subject to change. For now the happiest day in my life would be when my daughter, at five years old, and after celebrating her sixth birthday in the hospital, walked out of the Children’s Hospital in Iowa City on her own accord. She’d been admitted two weeks earlier with Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM) At the time of admission, the coordination center of her brain, along with many other areas of her brain had been attacked by an “outlaw” anti-body. Upon admission to the hospital, Amanda couldn’t walk, stand or even sit-up. Neither could she speak without drawing out her words. The damage was significant. The day she left the hospital with no residual side effects, ranks as the happiest day of my life so far. And to substantiate my claim from above, I’ve God to thank for that and Dr. Afifi who I’m certain God sent our way. :-)
How has being published changed your life?
LOL It’s really too early for me to tell. One change is that people actually read what I write now and some even pay to do so. That’s nice. :-) The interest in my second novel, Forever Richard, shows that people enjoy what I write and want more. For the most part, being published hasn’t really changed my life at all.
What are you reading right now?
As a writer, I find little time to read. When I have any time, aside from raising my daughter and son, I write. I will push most everything aside when John Grisham comes out with a new book, almost always around my birthday. I know it will be fast-paced, enjoyable, and a quick read. Since he’s a Christian, I’m pretty certain he won’t write anything that might offend me and so far I’ve been right. I will admit though that I’ve yet to read Mr. Grisham’s first book, A Time to Kill, because I can’t get through the rape scene. He writes the scene far too well and the account hits to close to home as things such as what he described actually happen here in Mississippi. My brother told me how the book ends though, and I’m sorely tempted to skip the first few chapters so I can read on.
I do make time to read for research though. Currently I’m going through The Secret Commonwealth of Fauns, Fairies and Elves by the “Fairy Minister” himself Robert Kirk.
What is your current work in progress?
The third installment in my Thirsting for Blood Series is my current WIP. The tentative name is Cyn No More. It looks like this name will stick.
What would be your dream vacation?
I’ve never given it much thought. If I want to go somewhere that bad, I just find a way to go. I do love the beach A LOT! But then, I go there A LOT! Therefore, it’s not really a dream vacation. LOL
How do you choose your settings for each book?
No straight answer here. The story writes itself. The characters tell me things and I write. It’s not up to me to decide where they are and what they’re doing. If I did choose the settings, along with everything else, my writing would most likely be very predictable and boring. I have to laugh though. I’ve read reviews that placed Richard’s castle in Wales and not England, Zade has been called Zane and not Zade. It seems like most of my readers create their own world in spite of what I write or choose.
If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
Absolutely no one comes to mind. *gasp* Does that mean there’s something wrong with me? Probably. If I could spend an evening with one person currently alive I suppose I’d prefer being with someone who would want to be with me. Oh, and they’d have to like the Pirates of the Caribbean movies because I’d probably make them watch it with me--over and over. Particularly the last POTC movie as I really enjoyed that one. Yes, there’s definitely something wrong with me. LOL
What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I like scrapbooking but I don’t have time for it anymore. Fancy that! Is driving your kids around a hobby? I guess not since I don’t particularly enjoy doing that and a hobby is supposed to be something you enjoy, right?
I remember the days when I felt like the chauffeur for the world. What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Ending a story? Okay, it’s not really an obstacle. It’s just that I’m in the beginning of a series and I haven’t had to deal with actually ending a story yet. I can see that it might be a problem though and if it turns out to be one-and I find a solution, you’ll be the first to know. :-)
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
The best advice I’d give any beginning author, if that author is seeking to be traditionally published as I was, is to find and hire a professional editor. Use critique groups if you want so that you won’t have to pay a professional editor quite as much, but get a professional edit nonetheless. This is the ONLY reason my work was picked up as fast as it was. A traditional publisher, no matter how small, is NOT going to muddle through what you think is well-edited writing when they’ve got a professionally edited MS from another author sitting right there.
Rarely, if ever, is someone’s first MS ever picked up by a traditional press when that author hasn’t had a professional edit. Ms. Rowling is an exception not the rule so don’t even go there. Also, it would be best to find a professional editor that edits for the market you intend to target. For example, if you plan to write for the specific market of Christians that bigger Christian publishers market to, then you’d best get an editor who is familiar with what those publishers will and won’t allow. The same goes for hiring a professional editor who knows the Sci-fi market or fantasy market or horror market or romance market.
Another piece of advice is to understand your market. Many aspiring authors I know of spend a lot of time attempting to sell their work to a market that doesn’t want the type story they write. This is particularly true for those writing Science Fiction, Fantasy, and horror. I’ve had numerous responses from several of the bigger Christian publishers myself that state quite clearly that since their market doesn’t read these kind of stories, they won’t publish them. It’s why Jeff Gerke left the Christian Booksellers Association to form his own publishing house. Most authors who are Christians want to solicit publishers who are Christian but many Christian publishers market to a very specific group. It may not be your market at all. Ask questions and a lot of them. It will be worth your while.
Actually, Sue, I sold the first novel I wrote without having it edited by someone else. Of course, it took several years. Tell us about the featured book.
I thought you’d never ask.
The saga of redemption and spiritual triumph readers enjoyed in Never Ceese continues in Forever Richard.
Cassie Felts, graduate student and reluctant believer of such things as vampires and werewolves, couldn't be happier for Richard and Ceese Porter. Their curses lifted and after hundreds of years apart, they can now celebrate being brother and sister once more. Even Rodney, Cassie's college roommate and former nemesis, shares her relief. But will the faith that saved Richard and Ceese be enough to defeat the new evil that threatens them all?
Cassie learns that Dr. Clayton Henderson, the corrupt stem-cell researcher, has acquired the vampire's curse and has managed to transfer it to Rodney's troubled, drug-addicted buddy Josh. Addict or vampire, Cassie can see Josh isn't handling his new cravings for blood any better than he did his old habit. Their best hope seems to be taking Josh to Richard's isolated country estate in England. There, Josh can learn to temper his desire to curse another while they try to figure out how to deal with the impossible-to-kill Dr. Henderson.
Their mission becomes more complicated when they find a new vampire inhabiting Richard's castle, a malevolent werewolf stalking Ceese, and a long-lost relative who shows up carrying a sawed-off shotgun and an ancient knife he claims has supernatural powers.
Will the faith that redeemed two lost souls before be enough to overcome the wicked forces that now threaten to destroy them all?
Forever Richard has already received encouraging endorsement from The British Fantasy Society:
“Insightful and thought-provoking. Well worth the wait!” – Maryann Boo
I am anxiously awaiting my copy so I can read and review it. How can readers find you on the Internet?
You can find out more about me through my publishers site at http://www.thewriterscafe.com/. They also have a site where all their authors share at http://www.thewriterscafepressauthors.blogspot.com/.
I have my own site through TWCP at http://www.foreverrichard.com/ and my personal blog at http://www.suedent.blogspot.com/
I’m also a member of The Lost Genre Guild formed by fellow author Frank Creed. LGG is a support group and attention-bringer for those authors whose work is too overt for the general market publishers yet too outside-the-box for the bigger Christian houses or rather CBA and ECPA affiliated houses. Frank is responsible for coining the phrase, Biblical Speculative Fiction though he may truly never get credit. Their web address is http://www.lostgenreguild.com/
And lastly, I’ve been blessed by those who run http://www.shoutlife.com/ as they have become the official book launch site for Forever Richard. This huge and growing family friendly social network has been nothing but supportive. I’ve been featured author more than three times and spotlight author at least twice. Part-owner Steve Mclellan posed for Richard on the book cover with fellow part-owner Hauns Froehlingsdorf taking the photo. Part-owner and wife to Hauns, Laurie Froehlingsdorf provided the *ahem* studio. :-)
I spend a lot of time on Shoutlife.com so do visit me there. They absolutely do a superb job of supporting all artists who are Christian no matter what the affiliation. I must say they have at least one well-deserving author listed this month as one of the featured authors. *winks at Lena* Congratulations! That’s twice for you as well, isn’t it?
I’d like to add a final thanks to you Lena for all your support. Your review of Never Ceese still makes me smile.
Thank you, Sue, for spending this time with us. This month, Shoutlife has debuted a rotating featured author strip on the Authors page. You're on it, too.
Readers, you can order Forever Richard using this link:
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