And our Sue's Clues Mystery Author is:
You never know what Susanne Knight's book might be when it comes out. She's a chameleon when it comes down to it. It might be a Regency one release, and a contemporary the next. Maybe a mystery or a science fiction book in between just to keep it interesting. Something for everyone and never boring. Susanne shares much about herself and her books in the interview below. Enjoy!
You can visit Susanne at her website: http://www.susanneknight.com/
1. Can you tell us a little about your family? I know that you are married and have a daughter.
I have a wonderful hubby who allows me to roam the galaxy at will! He's my sounding board for plot scenarios and I confer with him when I need a male point of view. His job allows him to divide his time between working at home and traveling through exotic-sounding locales like Fishtrap!
My daughter just graduated from high school and is college-bound. She likes to run (cross country), dance, swim, and also works part-time at a restaurant close to home--which really is convenient if I don't feel like cooking!
The other member of our family is a ten-year-old Siamese cat, who served as the inspiration for Eins the cat in my 2007 paranormal suspense COMPETITORS! My not-so-little guy likes to "sun" himself under the lamp on my desk and gives advice whenever I get writer's block.
2. Your bio mentions that you are from NYC originally and "She lives in the Pacific Northwest, by way of Okinawa, Montana, Alabama, and Florida." That's a rather circuitous route to the Northwest. What took you to all of these places?
I could say wanderlust was the reason for my many moves, but actually my job took me to Florida and Alabama. In AL, I met and married my military hubby, then proceeded to his assignments in Big Sky Country (which is one of the locations for THE COMING--paranormal suspense), overseas in Okinawa, and now to our present home in Washington.
3. Your writing covers a wide spectrum - contemporary, mystery, ghost, paranormal, regency, time-travel, suspense, sci-fi, and fantasy. Is there one or two styles that you are particularly partial to?
I really love them all, Sue! If I absolutely have to choose, then science fiction and Regency. Very often I combine genres so that there's a touch of mystery, suspense, paranormal, etc. in my writing. For example, I always have fun with time-travel Regencies. My 2006 re-release TIMELESS DECEPTION has career woman Alaina Sawyer finding herself switched in time due to the unwanted services of a mystic, and wakes up married to the attractive Lord Saybrooke, who unfortunately despises his wife. Now there's an interesting predicament!
4. What do you find to be the hardest part writing a novel? The easiest?
When I write, I like to experience what I'm writing about, and I want to describe it to the reader so that she lives through the experience too. This can be emotionally draining, depending on what's going on in the story. But I find it particularly difficult to write if the setting is someplace I've never been, or seen in pictures, or experienced somehow. What I'm really saying is, world-building in science fiction stories can be very hard to write about. In my award-winning JANUS IS A TWO-HEADED GOD, the locations include Earth of the future (that wasn't hard), deep space and wormholes (that wasn't bad), and the center of the galaxy on the planet Xaspaar--ouch! Creating and populating a believable world and culture from scratch takes some heavy research. My work-in-progress is a sequel to JANUS, so you might think writing about the location would be simple. Nope. This novel is based in our solar system, mostly on the moon, and carving out an underground lunar city is not as easy as it sounds. Phew!
The easiest part about writing a novel: getting the ideas!
5. You've mentioned that you often get ideas the simplest things - a comment or even just lying in bed. How does your everyday life influence your stories in other ways?
I enjoy using bits and pieces from real life to add realism to my novels; answers to these interview questions are peppered with examples! For example: waking up one morning, I felt my husband's arm around me. Since my eyes were still closed, I wondered what would a character's reaction be if the man next to her wasn't her husband? This idea sent Hillary Logan back to early nineteenth century England and into a nobleman's bed in LORD DARVER'S MATCH (time-travel Regency).
In THE RELUCTANT LANDLORD (Regency), young Freddy likes to insist he's the Duke of Wellington, a hero from the Napoleonic Wars. I can thank a child from my daughter's pre-school for this. Out of the blue, a boy walked over to me and with a serious face, told me he was Batman!
For ALIEN HEAT (futuristic science fiction) the secondary character of Will Flagg was inspired by a boy I knew in seventh grade, and generated this passage: "There were two things Will Flagg hated above all else. The first was to be called 'short.' The second was to be a disappointment to someone he thought highly of. Unfortunately, the latter was just about to happen."
When I was writing PAST INDISCRETIONS (paranormal suspense), I created the Colby clan with three boys and a girl. One weekend, my family met a couple with three boys and a girl in the same birth order. My daughter mentioned, "Mom, they all have the same face. It's scary!" I pounced on this sentence because it was a perfect fit, especially since my book deals with cloning.
6. You are a graduate of Manhattan's school of Music and Art, received Bachelor of Arts Cum Laude from the City University of New York and a Master of Science degree in Natural Health. What did you study in music and art? What exactly is a degree in Natural Health? Would that involve homeopathic medicines and such?
My field of study was in art, and what I learned back then has really come in handy designing newsletters, cover art, and websites. In fact, my main website (http://www.susanneknight.com) has even won a few design awards. And art also plays a part in my writing. Two examples of this are THE CONTRARY CONTESSA (Regency) where Robert Weston felt disdain for his father, who had left England to study art. Also, in my 2007 Regency A CONTINENTAL MARRIAGE, American Nicolette Turner's life is also influence by art, and her British grandfather's disapproval of it.
As for natural health, when I was a child, I wanted to heal people... but I wanted to do it the easy way: by wishing it to be so! A few years ago, I had the opportunity to study natural health, which involves alternative methods of healing. Learning about homeopathy medicine is one area of study. Also included are courses in nutritional health, herbal remedies, therapeutic touch, mind/body medicine like biofeedback, yoga, and meditation. I combined my interest in anthropology (my major in college--which helped with COMPETITORS!, a 2007 paranormal suspense dealing with Neanderthals) with natural healing for my thesis. I've also used this interest in healing in at least two of my novels. Amanda Barclay from THE MAGIC TOKEN (Regency) uses healing remedies on people in her village, and ALIEN HEAT's Glyneth also is a healer who uses energy medicine to help others.
7. How long have you wanted to be a writer and when did you start?
I've always enjoyed writing, be it a novel, short story, or even a business letter! So I was hooked by the writing bug early on. The more I write, the more I want to write. :)) I've been at my "Romance Writing with a Twist!" for about eighteen years. Back then I started a time-travel Regency novel, SOJOURN THROUGH TIME, mainly because this genre wasn't invented yet, and I wanted to see how a modern heroine would handle the society constraints of the early nineteenth century. I'm very pleased to say that this book is due out later this year or 2006.
8. What did you do before becoming a writer? Any interesting occupations?
I've held a variety of positions, but probably my most unusual job was as an accounting tech for a federal correctional facility. Even though I usually had minimal contact with inmates, it really was an... interesting environment. :)) I even received training on how to use firearms! I used some of my experiences to write GRAVE FUTURE (paranormal ghost suspense). Here are two more examples of jobs influencing my books:
I used to work in a New York City personnel department as Cassidy Romanelli does in LOVE AT THE TOP (Contemporary Romance.) Also, I'm writer/editor for a TV exercise program, and I used my fitness background while writing TAINTED TEA FOR TWO (murder mystery suspense).
9. Congratulations on winning the Dream Realm Award for Speculative Fiction Romance with your book, THE COMING! Tell us about both the book and the award.
Thanks so much, Sue! Winning this award is quite an honor. The Dream Realm Awards recognizes excellence in science fiction, fantasy, and horror In electronically published books and is dedicated to bringing attention to the quality of electronically published speculative fiction books available to the reading public. As soon as I receive the beautiful trophy, I'll post pictures to my website.
THE COMING is about a World War II fighter pilot stuck in the Bermuda Triangle. Here's a short blurb:
Despite her fear of the ocean, Larissa Parish travels to the Caribbean to scatter her grandfather's ashes in the spot where his best friend's plane disappeared during WWII. As she carries out her grandfather's request, a freak storm sweeps her overboard. She washes up on a tropical island, and comes face to face with a young man who claims to be her grandfather's friend, Jack Harrington. How can she convince Jack and his crew that more than five years have passed since his plane went down, and how will they escape this outpost in the Bermuda Triangle?
Thank you so much for this opportunity to be Sue's Clues' "mystery" author!