Dear Readers, this is a new author to the blog, introducing her debut novel. Let’s give her a warm welcome.
Welcome, Susan. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I have to work hard not to assign my own emotions and opinions to my characters, so I’m sure there’s more of me in them than I even realize, but I do like to add in some fun personal things. The heroine in Saving Justice has a couple of my quirks. For example: I consume warm chocolate chip cookies like they’re going out of style—I bake them when I’m stressed or bored or happy or you name it—and so does Kinley. Also, I’m not exactly a neat-freak. When Kinley can’t find her laptop because it’s shoved under the couch that’s piled with stuff, that may or may not have been a snapshot of my living room while I was writing the scene. (My husband loves this about me.)
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I’m sure I’ve done lots of quirky things, but the one that my family comments on the most is that I only eat one thing at a time. If I have a plateful of food, I finish each serving completely before moving on to the next item. I don’t like to mix all the tastes up. I have no idea why, but I’ve done it this way for as long as I can remember.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
My family heritage is rich with writers and storytellers of all kinds, so a love of words was nurtured into me as far back as I can remember, but I didn’t grow up wanting to be a writer. In my twenties, I began to think that I might like to write something, but I always thought it would be non-fiction. I’ve always loved to read, but never considered myself a creative type, so I was very surprised in my late thirties when the urge to write a novel hit me out of nowhere. I decided to give it a try and discovered that I love it!
I don’t believe it came out of nowhere. I believe that God wove that talent into your DNA, and that was the time He had chosen to pull it out and use it. Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Anything with an element of romance is my favorite—contemporary, historical, suspense, women’s fiction—I like it all. I also enjoy reading young adult books and some speculative fiction, though I’m not a big fan of fantasy and sci-fi. In non-fiction, I love memoirs and anything that challenges me to dig deeper in my faith.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
It’s a struggle, not gonna lie. Like many writers, I’m an introvert, and we need to be alone in order to recharge, but that’s really hard to do when there are so many obligations and activities clamoring for our time and energy. I’ve found that I have to purposefully, intentionally step away from all the noise and movement that surrounds me, even if it’s just for a few minutes. I think God has been trying to teach me how to do this better for a while, but I’m finally learning how to regain my balance when I feel overwhelmed. It can be something as simple as taking a bubble bath or going to a quiet room to read, but those kinds of things can make a big difference in my level of sanity.
I’m one of those extrovert writers. How do you choose your characters’ names?
I keep a running list of names I like. It has several leftover baby names I didn’t get to use for my own kids, so it’s fun to be able to use them on my fictional people. My husband and I came thisclose to naming one of our daughters Kinley Reid, but we didn’t, so now Kinley gets to be the heroine in my story. When I choose a name, though, it has to fit the character. If nothing from my list sticks, I pull out the Name Dice app on my phone and roll the dice until something strikes me.
I hadn’t heard about that app. I’ll have to download it to my phone. What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Staying married for almost 22 years. It’s a miracle that my husband has put up with me for this long. Ron Crawford a patient and gracious man. J
James Dooley and I will celebrate our 51st anniversary in November. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I don’t know, what kind of animal likes to eat junk food and be left alone for long periods of time? A bear? Yeah, maybe I’m a bear. They seem cute and cuddly from a distance, and they get to hibernate for months. I could live with that.
What is your favorite food?
Chocolate chip cookies, fresh out of the oven.
Sounds good to me. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Fear. I often battle with the voices that tell me I’m not a good writer, that I can’t do this, that it’s too hard and I should just quit and leave the storytelling to the talented ones. But God has been so gracious to surround me with people who speak truth over me. He’s given me family, friends, a fantastic publishing team, and an amazing community of writers who constantly speak words of encouragement. Also, I hold onto the scripture that says His power is made perfect in weakness, and I pray like crazy every time I sit down to write.
That’s why “The Voice of Truth” is one of my favorite contemporary Christian songs. Tell us about the featured book.
Saving Justice is my debut novel and the first book in my Heart of the City series. It’s a contemporary romance set in
Oklahoma City, my beloved hometown. It’s the
story of a schoolteacher, a man who’s running from his past, and a boy from a
poverty-stricken neighborhood who brings them together.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Kinley Reid had expected poverty, but this was worse than she’d imagined. Infinitely worse. The baby-blue house in front of her looked as sturdy as a cereal box. She matched the address on her purple sticky note with the numbers near the front door, though with the paint peeling off, they were hard to make out. Unfortunately, she’d come to the right place.
As she tiptoed over bits of trash in the so-called yard, untamed weeds brushed her ankles and the reality of her students’ living conditions crashed in on her. The Martindale neighborhood sat just five miles from her own quaint little housing addition, but the differences were so extreme, they were hardly measurable. Homes on her street were well-built, though small, and lawns were nicely kept, but terms like homes and lawns were far too generous to describe Kinley’s present surroundings. How could such poverty exist in
Or maybe the better question was how could she have been blind to the severity
of it until now? She knew her fourth-graders faced significant challenges, but
she hadn’t seen their lives from this angle before.
She reached the porch, paused, and then climbed the crumbling concrete steps. Squaring her shoulders, she pasted on her best teacher smile and knocked on the rickety door. A plump woman with cocoa skin and cropped gray hair answered, a crying infant in one arm and a toddler clutching her leg. The stink of sour milk hit Kinley, and she fought the urge to turn her head.
“What you want?” the woman asked. “I ain’t buying nothin’.”
Kinley broadened her smile and raised her voice over the baby’s squalls. “I’m not selling anything, ma’am. Are you Justice’s grandmother?”
“I’m Kinley Reid, his teacher.” She extended her hand, but the woman only deadpanned in return. Kinley’s hand hung there for several awkward seconds before she surrendered and pulled it back. “Is Justice here?”
I’m hooked. I can’t wait until my book arrives. How can readers find you on the Internet?
You can find me at the following links:
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/SusanCrawfordBooks
Twitter - https://twitter.com/SuCrawford
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/SusanCrawford
Pinterest - https://www.pinterest.com/sucrawford/
Instagram - https://instagram.com/sucrawfordAnd I’d love for you to stop by my website and sign up for my newsletter. www.susancrawfordbooks.com
Thank you, Susan, for sharing your debut novel with us. I know my blog readers are as interested in it as I am.
Readers, here’s a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.
Saving Justice: Heart of the City (Hometown Romance)
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 Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link: