Monday, April 28, 2014

Susanne Matthews

Today we have an interview from romance writer Susanne Matthews. It's wonderful to have you stop by for a visit.  

Brief bio: where you live, any other writing, job related or education info.

Good day. I live in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada. I’m a retired educator. For most of my career, I taught high school English, but I’ve also taught French at both elementary and secondary levels. I finished my career working as a Special Education teacher helping hard to serve students. Prior to becoming a novelist, I wrote and edited curriculum for the Ontario Ministry of Education’s online courses.

SDG: What inspired you to write this book?
My husband is a huge trekker. He has a room full of Star Trek memorabilia—movies, magazines, posters, action figures, tree ornaments, etc. We went to see Chris Pine reprise the role of Captain Kirk in Star Trek a few years ago in costumes. When my husband turned 60, friends and family threw a surprise Star Trek themed birthday party and many of the guest came dressed as aliens and Star Trek personnel of all sizes and shapes. We had a great time. Attending a sci-fi convention is on my bucket list, so I decided to set a book exactly where I’d like to be—in Vegas at a sci-fi convention

SDG: I love that your book is set at a Star Trek Convention! What was your approach to writing it (did it just flow or did you use an outline or other preparatory method)?
I’m a pantser/reviser. I have a general idea of what I’d like to say in the story, the direction I want to take it, and how I’d like to set it up—nothing is written down. Then I start to write. When I finish a section, I go back and revise it. Sometimes, I’ll move sections around, add story or delete things to use later. I research as I go along—basically when the idea strikes—but I do thorough research for all of the information in my books.

SDG: How long did it take to write the complete novel from first draft to edited final?
It took me six weeks to complete the manuscript I submitted. Since I’m retired, writing is my current full-time job, so I devote at least 8 hours a day to it, although some of that time is reserved for blogging and promotion.

SDG: Are your family members supportive of your writing and what do they think about your writing career?  
Yes, my family is very supportive of my career. They’ve all read at least one of my books and are very proud of me. My husband carries around my business cards and hands them out to his clients all the time. The few sex scenes in one of my books surprised my father—he’s 86! 

SDG: Have you written any other novels?
I have written several romance novels in other subgenres. These include Fire Angel and In Plain Sight which are romance/suspense, and currently available.

I have also written a historical novel, The Captains’ Promise, and two contemporary Christmas stories, Holiday Magic and The Perfect Choice. Unfortunately, there books will no longer be available in May because, for health reason, that publisher will cease publication as of May 1, 2014. The books may be reissued in the future, but at this time, I have no definite plans to do so.

I also co-write under the name Misty Matthews. My writing partner lives in Newfoundland, Canada. We have a novella, Grand Slam, available. At the moment, our book, Coming Home, is also a victim of the publisher’s shut down. We aren’t working on anything new just yet and have not made a decision on how to proceed with our previously published novel.  

SDG: Do you have any advice or words of wisdom for budding writers?
Keep at it. Don’t let a rejection stop you. Know your grammar, spelling, and punctuation rules, and sentence structure. Go through your manuscript several times before you submit it. Look for head hopping and plot holes. Last, and definitely most important, research your publisher thoroughly. A place to start is here:  Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the publisher. I wish I had. 

SDG: What are you working on now? Is it in the same genre?

Just For The Weekend is a contemporary romance. At the moment, I am working on the edits for a paranormal/romance/suspense due to be released July 14, 2014, called Echoes Of The Past, set in the present, but based on a Mohawk legend. The newest manuscript I’m currently writing is also romance/suspense.

SDG: Is writing, to you, a lonely occupation?

Not really. I have a huge online support group, and I can always find someone to chat, answer a question, commiserate over a disappointment, or offer advice. I have friends around the world at my fingertips, and consider myself blessed. As well, when you have people in your head waiting for you to get the words onto the computer screen, you don’t have time to be lonely.

SDG: We have a blurb and excerpt pasted below for our readers. Can you also provide your website and places where readers can purchase your book?

My books are available from Amazon, Kobo, iTunes, Barnes and Nobles and ARe.

You can find these links on my website.

Book Blurb for: JUST FOR THE WEEK-END.

Sometimes, you have to step out of the box.
Kindergarten teacher, Cleo James, needs a break. For the past three years, she’s put her life on hold to help her father deal with grief, but now she’s ready to move on. A weekend in Vegas at a sci-fi convention may be just the place to start. She’ll be costumed as an alien and no one will recognize her. What could go wrong? Things get complicated when she’s attracted to a conventioneer whom she believes is a gorgeous Chippendale dancer.  Can Cleo set her strict moral code aside and enjoy what promises to be a once upon a time weekend?
Multimillionaire real estate developer, Sam Mason has sworn off serious relationships. In Vegas to visit family and friends, he’s talked into attending a sci-fi convention for the night. Dressed as an alien, he’s confident he can elude the usual gold diggers looking to star in the role of Mrs. Sam Mason. When he spots a beautiful woman dressed as a green-skinned slave girl, he’s captivated by her and changes his plans to leave Vegas in the morning. The more time he spends with her, the more he realizes she’s unlike any woman he’s known. Fantastic sex and too much alcohol find him married to his alien siren, but before he can tell her the truth about himself and see if they can make their marriage work, the bride vanishes.  Finding her is going to be a challenge.

Excerpt from Just For The Weekend:

“Holy crap! You could have warned me.”
Mitch wore a long black wig, heavy brown makeup, and the facial ridges of a female Klingon warrior. Her body was shoved into a tight, black leather corset-styled top that accentuated her breasts and a long, leather skirt paired with heeled boots with silver toecaps. She had a knife of sorts shoved into her belt.
“Wow! You look fantastic. I could use one of the push-up bras from hell if I ever wanted to look sexy.”
“What are you talking about? You’re one of the sexiest woman I know, and you’re completely oblivious to it. Get your nose out of your father’s ancient history books and look at yourself in the light of the twenty-first century. I love you, girl, but sometimes you frustrate me.”
“Yeah, well, let’s agree to disagree on that. I don’t want to be noticed that way. There’s more to me than a set of boobs and long legs. I’m much happier out of the limelight. Now, are you going to tell me about your makeup?”
“It’s a mask. My friend Hailey works at Paramount and made it for me last year. It gets a little warm after a while, but it’s a lot easier than putting the makeup on each time.”
“I wish I had something like that. Where’s the rest of my costume? I’d better be wearing more than green body paint, blood red lipstick, and gold eye shadow.”
“It’s on your bed.”
Cleo stared at the scraps of fabric and jewelry on the spread.
“No way! There’s got to be more to it than that.”
The costume consisted of a burgundy silk bikini bra, a matching string bikini bottom with gold-colored sheer skirt panels front and rear, gold muscle bracelets shaped like snakes, and two-inch wide metallic fabric ankle shackles without the chain.
“You’ve got to be kidding. I’ll look like a semi-naked leprechaun. How does that fit into a sci-fi convention?”
“It happens to be one of the most popular women’s costumes. For the record, leprechauns wear green, and unless they’re some kind of mutants, they aren’t green. With my five-foot-four figure, the costume loses something, but on you, it’ll be awesome.” Mitch handed her a glass of wine. “Here, take a drink and relax. You showed just as much by the pool this afternoon.”
“Yeah, and whose idea was that? I don’t see why I couldn’t wear my black swimsuit this afternoon. You seem to forget about the moral turpitude clause in my contract. Lying around in the sun half-naked is pushing it. I certainly won’t be wearing that blue bikini to take the kiddies swimming at the local pool.”
“That clause is archaic, and you worry about it way too much—between your father’s ‘rules’ and the school board’s ‘thou shall not’s,’ you’re living in the past. Besides you needed a new swimsuit. Even my mother doesn’t wear a one-piece bathing suit like the one you had. I don’t even think my grandma would wear it. You chose the bikini—there was that gorgeous leopard one…”
“You mean the one cut down to my navel in front, and so high on the hips my ass hung out? No thanks. At least the bikini covered most of my boobs and butt.”
“Whatever.” Mitch rolled her eyes. “Let’s get you dressed. We need to be downstairs in twenty minutes.”
Mitch helped her put on what was surely the skimpiest alien costume in the universe. Cleo stood before the mirror staring at the creature looking back at her.
“I look like a mutant leprechaun belly dancer.” She took a sip of her wine. “It’s a damn good thing you didn’t show me this when you asked me to come. I’d have said no.”
 “For the record, you’re not a mutant leprechaun; you’re an Orion slave girl. Men are powerless before you. Too bad that cutie from the bar last night can’t see you. You’re worth a dozen of the brunette he was with. Come here so I can spray the glitter on you.”
Two glasses of wine in quick succession were easing her embarrassment, but as she allowed Mitch to spray the liquid shimmer on her hair and body, she couldn’t resist one final complaint.
“Well, I’d rather wear what you’re wearing. If the air-conditioning is turned up as high as it was this morning, I’ll be an Orion slave icicle!”
“Seriously, Cleo, relax. Don’t be a prude. No one’s going to recognize you. I know you’re not used to showing so much skin, but you look fantastic, and the men will be drooling all around you. Every woman in the room is going to envy you. You’ll be the most sought-after slave girl here. ”
“God, I hope not. That’s the last thing I want. I feel like a chunk of meat on display for a starving man. You’re the extrovert, the one who wants to be the center of attraction. I’m not. I think that’s why we’re friends—because we’re so different.” Horror filled her eyes as she thought of something else. “Crap, I hope no one takes my picture. The last thing I need is to have someone see us on the Internet and recognize me. I’ll wear this tonight because it’s too late to find anything else, but we’re going costume shopping tomorrow. I’m sure we can find something a little less revealing.”
“Whatever you say, but I don’t think anyone’s going to recognize you.”
Cleo turned around and stood in front of the mirror. Her mouth dropped open in shock. Good grief. It’s even worse than I imagined. Thanks to the glitter, her skin reflected the light and looked alive, shimmering as she moved. Her hair shone the same way, and she looked alluring and mysterious. Her large, hazel eyes seemed more golden than ever. Mitch was right about one thing: she didn’t look like a kindergarten teacher from Gordon’s Grove. She looked like a sexy, alien siren. Just the look I want around a bunch of half-drunk Neanderthals. She remembered how decent guys had turned into absolute jerks at university costume parties.
“If it makes you feel better, you can stand behind the table replenishing the books as I sign them and handing out the bookmarks and the other swag the publisher provided. Come on, let’s go.”
Cleo followed her best friend out of the room. She shook her head. Why do I let myself get talked into these things?
Cleo followed Mitch into the convention hall packed with hundreds of people in various alien costumes, and allowed some of the excitement in the air to calm her fears. She recognized outfits from various sci-fi movies and television shows. There were several Orion slave girls in a variety of shapes, shades, and sizes, and Cleo saw the not-so-friendly glares she got from them—especially when one of their male friends stared admiringly at her. She nodded in return and chuckled when one girl gave the guy she was with a jab in the ribs.
She tried to keep up with Mitch, who barreled across the room as if she were in a speed-walking race. Barefoot as she was, conscious of the icky, sticky carpet, Cleo moved slowly to avoid stomping boots and heels. She’d almost made it to the promised land of booth security when a giant, in snake-like makeup and the dark gray leather and chain mail associated with the Cardassians, grabbed her arm. He spun her around quickly.
“Hey, let go of my …” Her angry words died on her lips.
“What have we here?” He eyed her hungrily. “Are you lost, my pretty little slave girl?”
Familiar chocolate eyes pierced hers, and she couldn’t think straight. His whiskey-smooth voice caressed her; his touch ignited a fire along her spine. Realizing what he’d said, she searched for an answer.
“Lost? No, I got separated from my Klingon friend. She’s over there.”
She pointed to the publishers’ autograph area where Mitch stood.
“Then allow me to escort you safely to her.”
Holding her close to him, he ushered her across the congested convention floor. He bowed to Mitch and gave the Cardassian salute.
“I believe she’s yours, but I’m entitled to a reward for coming to her assistance.”
He smiled wickedly before pulling Cleo into his arms and capturing her mouth with his.
Cleo held herself rigid, but the kiss poured liquid fire through her. Of their own volition, her arms wrapped around his neck both to hold her upright and to encourage the incredible sensations to continue. His mouth devoured hers as if she was his last meal. She’d been kissed before, but never like this. When he slowly pulled away, she was breathless. She read desire in his eyes.
“Later, my Orion beauty.” He turned and walked away, disappearing into the crowd.
 “Who the hell is that?”
“I have no idea.” Cleo reached for Mitch’s blue-tinted Romulan ale and drained the glass.

Buy links:

Amazon         Barnes and Nobles       Kobo       ARe

SDG: Author social media sites:   

Blog: Living the Dream                                                      Twitter: @jandsmatt

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