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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Interview of Author Susannah Sandlin

Today I'd like to present an interview or romance author Susannah Sandlin.

Latest Book: Redemption (The Penton Legacy, Book 1)
Buy links:

Susannah Sandlin is the author of paranormal romance set in the Deep South, where there are always things that go bump in the night! A journalist by day, Susannah grew up in Alabama reading the gothic novels of Susan Howatch, and always fancied herself living in Cornwall (although she’s never actually been there). Details, details. She also is a fan of Stephen King. The combination of Howatch and King probably explains a lot. Currently a resident of Auburn, Alabama, Susannah has also lived in Illinois, Texas, California, and Louisiana. Her novel Redemption won the paranormal romance category in the 2011 Chicago North RWA Fire and Ice contest, and is the first of three in a series that debuts this year. Book two, Absolution, will be released September 18 and book three, Omega, on December 18.

Q: What part of the book is the easiest for you to write? Why?
A: Any scene where the characters have some kind of  snappy banter going—where they’re teasing each other, or poking fun at each other, or even trying to annoy each other or push each other’s buttons. I’m not sure why, but I usually just fly through those kinds of scenes. I hope it’s not my inner-14-year-old coming out!

Q: What part of the book is the hardest for you? Why?
A: Love scenes! OMG. I guess that is a strange thing for a romance author to admit having problems with but they’re difficult for me. It’s not the choreography—a love scene has to be choreographed very similarly to a fight scene. But fight scenes don’t bother me, so it has to be the words that are used in a love scene. How to say “Insert Part B into Slot A or Slot C” in ways that don’t sound silly or purple or \ clinical or  melodramatic. I wish I could find a love-scene ghostwriter!

Q: Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
A: In this book, it’s probably Mirren Kincaid, a 6-foot-8 alpha male vampire who is second-in-command in my hero Aidan Murphy’s vampire community. Mirren doesn’t get a huge amount of page time—the second book in the series, which comes out in September, is his story—but whenever he’s “onscreen,” he threatens to steal the story. He’s a big grump who’s not too concerned about who he ticks off but he has a wicked, understated sense of humor.

Q: If one of your books became a movie, which celebrity would you like to star as one of your heroes? Tell us about your hero.
A: I would cast French actor Gaspard Ulliel as Aidan, the hero of Redemption. I found Gaspard Ulliel when I was flipping through a magazine, saw this guy in an ad for Chanel’s Bleu for Men, and immediately said “That’s Aidan.” Then I had to go on a search for who the model in the ads was. He’s a little young, but he scruffs up well. Aidan Murphy was a farmer and soldier in 1601 Ireland when he was turned vampire during the siege of Kinsale. He’s now a master vampire who’s bought up all the land in a small, isolated Alabama town and has populated it with his vampire followers and their willingly bonded human familiars. It’s a big, happy family…well, until the apocalyptic war starts and he has to kidnap a human doctor to treat his people. And we all know love can’t be far behind.

Q: Do all your heroes and all heroines look the same in your mind as you “head write”?
A: No, I have a specific image in mind for each character and how he or she looks. I really try to cast my heroes and heroines with an actor or model pretty early in the writing process. It helps me to have a visual reference point. For the Penton Legacy series, of which Redemption is the first book, I cast all of the principal players for three books before I started writing. I have another series (urban fantasy) under a different pen name that has a longer story arc, and in that one I’ve been “casting” each book as new characters are added.

Q:  What’s your strongest point as a writer?
A: I’d say plotting and worldbuilding, which are big elements in paranormal fiction. I spend quite a bit of time working out plot points and rules of the world before I start writing. I don’t plan everything down to the last detail—I always want room for my characters to surprise me—but I usually have an outline of up to 10,000 words by the time I start writing. Part of that plotting process is necessary because I’m writing series, so there is an ever-expanding cast of characters whose relationships need to be included and grown and changed in the background while the primary story of the book plays out.

Tell us where to find you:

The world’s vampire population is on the brink of starvation since the vaccine to treat a global pandemic rendered human blood deadly to them. Their only hope for survival is a handful of rural areas that the vaccine never breached.

The tiny town of Penton Alabama, is one such enclave, where Aidan Murphy has established a community of vampires and their willingly bonded humans. Together, they live in peace—until Aidan’s estranged brother descends upon the town and begins attacking its humans. Whether the rampage is a result of his centuries-old feud with Aidan or the civil war threatening to erupt in the vampire world matters not. All that matters is the blood.

Desperate to save his adopted family, Aidan breaks one of his cardinal rules, kidnapping an unvaccinated human doctor—and unexpectedly falling in love for the first time in nearly four hundred years.

Dr. Krystal Harris, forced into a world she never knew existed, must face up to her own abusive past to learn if the feelings she’s developing for her kidnapper are real—or just a warped, supernatural kind of Stockholm Syndrome in which she’s allowing herself to become a victim yet again.

“That first night, did you feed from me?” Krys sat on the sofa again, facing the fire, not wanting to meet his eyes. “Did you do something to make me want to…” She ran out of words, or at least words that weren’t too humiliating to say.

He slid closer and caught her hand in his before she could move away. “You mean did I do something that made you want me?” His thumb soothed small, warm circles on her wrist. “I feel your pulse speed up when I touch you.”

Krys swallowed, trying to will her galloping heart to slow. “How do you know it’s not because I’m afraid of you?”

“Because I would be able to sense your fear. You aren’t afraid of me, even though you probably should be.” He unbuttoned the top few buttons of his shirt and drew her hand inside it. His chest was hard and warm, and she could feel his heart beating beneath her fingertips. “Feel that?”

She nodded and jerked her hand away, liking the feel of it way too much.

“That’s what you do to me.” He slid even closer, till his thigh touched hers, and her heart almost stopped. “I wanted you as much as you wanted me, and it didn’t have a damned thing to do with me enthralling you. All it did was give you the nerve to act on your feelings.”

He slid an arm around her shoulders and leaned in to graze his lips across her neck. Was he going to bite her? Was he going to kiss her? Was she going to let him? “I thought vampires were not really alive. You know,” she said, her voice shaky. “Undead.”

He kissed her neck and trailed his warm breath till his mouth hovered just above hers. “We don’t die, we evolve.” He kissed her softly. “Don’t I feel alive?”

Oh no. This wasn’t going to happen again.

Thank you for having me on the blog today!


Sandy said...

Great blurb and excerpt. I really enjoyed reading them.

Susannah Sandlin said...

Thanks, Sandy! This was a fun one to write :-)

Roger said...

Received Redemption yesterday. Starting chapter 22. A pandemic. A ghost town. An old grudge. A new love. And vampires. [From the bookmark] Who can ask for anything more! There is!

Susannah Sandlin said...

Thanks for stopping by, Roger!

miki said...

Great ^^ and i don't think so strange that' is hard for you to write love scene after all when we love them we want them well written and it's not so easy to give the reader the feeling we want to too while using a simple, litteraly vocabulary for example

jean hart stewart said...

Sounds like a little different take on vampires...and a compelling one.

Susannah Sandlin said...

@Miki...Good point. I'm always afraid of it sounding silly...or too mushy...or something :-)

@Jean...Thanks! It's hard to come up with new twists on an old trope like vampires but we keep trying!

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