I'm very excited to have Sue Swift with me today! Sue is an accomplished romance author. Her recent novel is Big Girls Don't Cry and isn't the typical story of boy meets girl. I've always loved romances. You can say that I cut my teeth on them as a reader. I'm still an avid romance fan today. The blurb for Big Girls Don't Cry got my attention immediately with a scene set for high emotions and real-life drama. Read about the book and then find out more about the author.
After being left pregnant and alone by her college crush, Linda Travers has made a good life for herself and her six-year-old son, Mac. As the only physical therapist in her small mountain town of Renegade Ridge, she’s not surprised to find herself the first stop for the local population after being treated for injuries. But she’s more than stunned to find herself face to face with the newest patient, Dave Madsen--the man who’d loved her and left her. Mac’s father.
After being injured in the Amazon, Dave returns to Renegade Ridge for some nice, quiet recuperation. He remembers Linda as the girl who’d mysteriously left him without a word--strange, since what they’d shared had been so good. But Linda can’t get past the resurgence of pain and anger, which she’d thought she’d put behind her. Dave had always been her hero, but neither of them are the same people they’d been. Can she trust him to stick around? Or will letting herself love him again only tear her—and Mac—apart?
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Sue, I'd love to know about your writing background.
Sue: I encountered romance when taking a class at a local community college called "Writing for Publication," and learned that romance is by far the best-selling fiction genre. At that time, over a thousand print manuscripts were purchased by print publishers every year, and I said to myself, "I bet I can do that, too." Now, of course, with the blossoming of ebooks, the number has increased dramatically, but romance is still the biggest fiction genre. I'd actually never read romances before deciding to write them, with the exception of Georgette Heyer's Regencies. So it was fitting that my first book sale, to Zebra, was of a Regency era romance. That book, which won the Beacon award for the best historical romance of its year, is going to be re-released shortly by Etopia as "Lord Devere's Ward."
Big Girls Don't Cry was released in August this year. Please tell us about this story. Was this one easy or difficult to write?
Sue: This was a tough one. I exploded into a frenzy of writing when my father was diagnosed with mesothelioma, which is always fatal. I wrote six manuscripts in about eight months, and "Big Girls" was the last of the lot. By then I was pretty spent, even though I was excited about the setting of the book and its concepts. The book is set in the Nevada City area of the Yuba River valley, in the Sierra foothills of northern California. It's an area rich in Gold Rush history, and the town is so cute. I modeled the town in "Big Girls" partially on Nevada City, with its charming shops and beautiful Victorian architecture.Conceptually, I was thinking about character archetypes when I was formulating the characters and conflicts in "Big Girls." There's an archetype called The Nurturer, and I wondered what conflicts such a benign personality could spawn. The overbearing mom occurred to me. I chose to pit her against a a professorial , brainy type of guy, for a couple of reasons. First, I like brainy guys :) Secondly, there are already a number of romances that would have selected a bad boy, charming man as the hero, and the story would then have become a classic, even cliched book in which the heroine "tames" the wanderlust of the hero and they form a family. But I avoid cliche whenever possible, and there are a lot of romances out there that do nothing but bore me. So I chose a different sort of character and wrote a different sort of book.On top of that, "Big Girls" is a secret baby book. Secret baby books are a cliche of the romance genre, and most of them are pretty unbelievable. How does one hide a pregnancy and a baby? I sought to write a believable secret baby book, and I think I succeeded.The links below will tell more about the book.
Review link: http://singletitles.com/?cat=468
Buy link: http://www.etopia-press.net/shopping/pgm-more_information.php?id=54
What is your favorite part about being a writer and your least favorite?
Sue: When it's good, it's great. When it's bad, it's awful. When one's Muse is cooperating, the words flow almost naturally. When she's gone AWOL, writing is torture. Just thinking of the next word to put down on the page can get excruciating., This is why I edit--editing gives me something to do other than Freecell when I can't write.
When did you decide to become a writer? Did any person or event influence your decision?
Sue: Like I said, I took this class from a friend, Bud Gardner. Bud, a retired instructor at American River College, has singlehandedly "given birth" to scores of writers through his class. Before taking Bud's class, I had no idea how people wrote and sold anything from short articles on how to clean your bathtub to full length novels. Bud's class introduced me to the mechanics of the wirting business, which is just as important as the mechanics of writing a book.
Please choose a favorite book from a particular genre?
Sue: Books of mine or others? There's a universe of books out there! In YA, I like Cassandra Clare, Libba Bray and Melissa Marr, so there's a definite tilt toward the paranormal :)
You are a world traveler. What's your favorite tourist destination and do these places ever show up in your stories?
Sue: Whoa. that's a tough one. I love London, though it's gotten hecka crowded. Oxford Street, a major shopping area, has become MAD. Last time I visited, I didn't go there--too scared! Really, if a person fell down, s/he'd get trampled. But London has fabulous museums. The British Empire plundered the world, but the Brits take good care of the booty.
And one can still find streets, shopping and restaurants that aren't overrun. And I love to see my extended family, many of whom live in north London.
Tell me about your writing process. When and where do you write?
Sue: Being in the grip of writers' block, I don't write much. But I'm going to have to--one of my publishers is interested in buying a book I wrote that was planned as the first of a series. I did write a follow-up short story, but I at least have to finish the novel that was planned to be the 2d in the series. So I better find my Muse--fast.
Are you a plotter, panster, or neither?
Sue: I've written both ways, and I like to know where I want the book to go and how to get there. Having said that, some of my best writing is as a pantser.
What are your writing plans for the next year?
Sue: I'm working on a series of vampire books. One's already written and I have about a third of another. I'm also planning to re-release old stuff.
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