Susanne: Thank you so much, Siren for inviting me here today.
Siren: You’re welcome. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to join me. Let’s start off by you telling readers a little bit about yourself!
Susanne: I’m Canadian, born and bred in Cornwall, Ontario, which is just across the St. Lawrence River from New York State; there is an International bridge here and at times, it’s quite busy. I graduated from Carleton University in Ottawa and married my university sweetheart, John. We have three adult children, Greg, Jason, and Angela and five grandchildren which I adore – Hannah, Nico, Eleni, Georgia and Tonio.
I worked as an educator for more than thirty years, most of them as an English teacher, and when I retired, I decided to dedicate myself to writing, something I’d always wanted to do. I enjoy camping, gardening, reading, and watching mysteries on television. I love to travel and see new places and hope to be able to do more of that in the future.
Siren: What is the name of your new book and what genre is it?
Susanne: My new book is titled FIRE ANGEL, and it is a Romance/suspense.
Siren: When is your book scheduled to be released?
Susanne: April 29, 2013
Siren: Where can we find you on the web and your next blog stop if any?
Susanne: My website is http://www.mhsusannematthews.ca
I have a Goodreads author page at http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7009276.Susanne_Matthews
Both those sites access my blogs.
As far as blog stops, I’m scheduled to appear on
Tasha Taylor’s blog April 20
Crimson Romance’s blog April 29
Kristina Knight’s blog April 30
Muse Tracks on May 3
Just Romantic Suspense on May 23-24
You can find me by searching for the names on those given dates.
Siren: Where can your readers find your book?
Susanne: My book will be available at Crimson Romance, Amazon.com, and Barnes and Nobles.
Siren: I’m excited about your new book and can’t wait to read it! Tell us a little bit about the book!
Susanne: FIRE ANGEL is a Castle meets Criminal Minds kind of story. Jake McKenzie, recently returned from Afghanistan minus a leg, is a criminal profiler hired to get into the mind of a serial killer who uses fire as his weapon of choice. Jake realizes that he doesn’t understand fire well enough to do the job on his own, so he gets the police chief to send for Alexis Michaels, a fire and arson investigator with a reputation for solving complex arson cases. What he doesn’t realize is that Alexis is the girl he fell in love with at sixteen, the one who ran away, and he’s never forgotten her. Sparks fly between them, but both Alexis and Jake have trust issues to contend with, and they have to set them aside to work together to find the killer who has made it clear that Alexis is his next target.
Siren: How old were you when you realized that writing was what you wanted to do with your life?
Susanne: I wanted to be a writer when I was a teenager, and would pound out stories on the typewriter in the basement at home, but back then, parents had definite ideas about things, and my choices were limited to teacher, nurse, or secretary. Women have so many more opportunities today. The idea of writing was always on my mind, but the realities of life kept it on the backburner until now.
Siren: Who has inspired you the most along your journey as a writer?
Susanne: My husband without a doubt; he’s always encouraging and doesn’t complain when dinner is late or I’m so wrapped up in my writing that I forget the real world exists.
Siren: Lol, you have a good husband. My fiance complains that I spend more time with my fictional men than I do with him. Susanne how did you come up with the idea of your current book?
Susanne: The main inspiration for the crime in the book came from a series of unsolved arson cases in and around Cornwall. The villain is a composite of all the people I have met with the sense of entitlement that makes them believe that what they want is more important than what anyone else wants. My wounded warrior hero was my way of acknowledging that all those who serve in the armed forces lose a bit of themselves because of the sacrifice they make. My heroine was inspired by my daughter who has an uncanny knack of being able to bounce back from adversity and who never quits, no matter how stacked against her the deck may be.
Siren: Your daughter sounds like a wonderful woman. How did you come up with the title?
Susanne: Angels are seen as good and demons as bad. I had thought of Fire Demon at one point, but decided that I liked the contrast of good versus evil better and decided on Fire Angel. When I chose it, I had no idea how popular the title was. I’ll check that out next time.
Siren: I think that’s some advice all aspiring writers should listen to – always google your title to make sure no one else is currently using it. Though that does not prevent others from using it in the future. Susanne what other advice would you give to others who are interested in/or currently working towards becoming a published author.
Susanne: Don’t give up! Keep writing and finish what you start. The worst thing an aspiring writer can do is give up on themselves and their work. I almost did that with FIRE ANGEL. I had written the story specifically for a pitch, and when the editor wasn’t even interested in looking at it, I was devastated. I was ready to throw in the towel and I didn’t write for almost a week, but the writing bug had me and I went back to the computer to start something else. One of my friends in my writing group told me that Crimson Romance was taking Twitter pitches, and I pitched to Jennifer Lawler. The rest, as they say, is history.
Siren: What books/authors have influenced your writing?
Susanne: There isn’t just one author who inspires me, just as I don’t want to write only one kind of book. I’ve read all kinds of books—science fiction, historical, suspense, paranormal, fantasy, but the thing I’ve always look for in a book was its romantic element. I’d have to say that all romance authors inspire me, and my personal favorite is Nora Roberts, who writes in so many different sub-genres, and succeeds beautifully at all of them.
Siren: Do you ever experience writer’s block?
Susanne: Sometimes; when I do, I go and do housework, do some baking, or read for a while. Then, I’ll go back to my own work and re-read the last couple of chapters. That generally puts me back on track.
Siren: Where do you get your ideas for your blogs and manuscripts?
Susanne: Inspiration comes from almost anywhere. Sometimes it will be something that I’ve heard or seen either in real life or on television, something in the newspaper, or just a personal experience. Recently, I wrote a blog about a 3D movie that had me ducking in my seat. Blogging is new to me, so I haven’t run into the ‘I have nothing to say’ problem yet. As far as ideas for manuscripts, I sometimes get those from the places we visit on holidays and the places I’d like to go. I’ve used a small part of my own ancestry in a historical novel, and my writing friends have given me lots of plot ideas. I’m a romantic at heart, so happily ever after is the goal in everything I write – how I get there is up to the characters.
Siren: Do you write an outline before every book you write?
Susanne: All the years that I taught, I religiously preached the need for an outline only to realize that I’m a pantser. I tried writing an outline for the book I’m currently writing and within two chapters I was out in left field.
Siren: Tell me about your characters.
Susanne: My characters are as real to me as any of the people outside of my writing world. I create them on the page the first time they’re mentioned in the story and then they take on a life of their own. If there are children in the story, they will behave initially like my grandchildren do; if it’s a teenager that character might take on a composite persona of any of the thousands of teens I’ve taught over the years. I tend to imbue my female characters with traits I either admire or detest, many times using some characteristic of my daughter that I admire. The males tend to be caring but not overbearing, since I’m not big on controlling men; if there is one in my stories, he won’t be the hero. My characters control the flow of the plot, taking it where it needs to go, suffering and falling in love along the way.
Siren: Since this is a romance and fashion blog I have to ask you a fashion related question – High heels or flats, which one do you prefer when it comes to shoes?
Susanne: While high heels look great on some people, I’ve never mastered the art of walking in the without wobbling. Most of the time, I prefer trendy flats or wedged heels. I love strappy sandals as long as the heel is less than 2 inches high.
Siren: What’s your favorite writing attire?
Susanne: I do my best work in my housecoat early in the morning. In fact, that’s one of the best parts of being a writer; I can work in whatever comfortable clothes I like. During the day, I’ll don jeans and a sweatshirt. This summer, I’ll probably write in loose-fitting sundresses or shorts and comfy tops.
Thank you Susanne Matthews for joining me on my blog today. I’ve enjoyed this interview and I will definitely be purchasing Fire Angel when it is released on April 29, 2013.
By the way – I love this cover! 🙂