Why do you write fiction?
I had always sensed a creative wellspring bubbling inside me, but hadn’t the slightest idea how to express myself. I tried everything — I sang in choirs and rock bands, took ceramics and metalworking classes in middle school, majored in Art at UC Davis. Nothing seemed to click with me until I took a class called “Writing for Publication” at a local community college. I learned about these wondrous things called “submission guidelines” put out by every publisher and magazine out there describing exactly what they’re looking for. Though the class was mostly about writing for magazines, that didn’t suit me. Writing nonfiction smacks of the book report, as Rita Mae Brown stated in her writing manual, Starting from Scratch. And at the time I was practicing law as a trial attorney, writing motions, briefs and so on…
So I needed to do something creative. In the looseleaf notebook of submission guidelines the class provided, I discovered information from houses such as Harlequin, Avon and Bantam. Research showed that Harlequin alone published over 1000 books annually (this was in 1996). I also learned in the class that Rosemary Rogers had written Sweet Savage Love after analyzing and deconstructing several romance novels.
My conclusion was that I could write and sell a romance novel. So I did. And then another and another. At this point, I have written and sold seventeen novels to a variety of publishers, plus a number of short stories and articles on writing.
Please tell us about your book. What ideas or images inspired this story?
Bridling his Vampire is a short story that’s part of my Highland Vampire series from Ellora’s Cave. In one of the books, Temptation in Tartan, an agreement is made between the defeated ten-year-old laird of Clan MacReiver, Edgar, and Kieran, laird Kilborn. An alliance was formed between MacReiver and Kilborn that would be cemented by the marriage of Edgar to Kier’s firstborn daughter.
Bridling His Vampire focuses on the romance between Edgar and Isobel, many years later. Readers will know Isobel from Desire in Tartan which featured Isobel, then a willful, spoiled eleven-year-old. Later, in 1766, she’s an equally willful eighteen-year-old who is not certain she agrees with the life course others have set for her. Traveling to Edinburgh allows her to enjoy the social season, even to be wooed by others, much to Edgar’s displeasure.
Do you have an ideal reader in mind when you write? If so, please describe that reader.
I’ve never thought about that. My ideal reader is someone who loves my stories!
Please describe your writing routine.
That’s changed over the years, and at this point, I can’t really say I have a routine. I know that’s bad. But this year especially, I have a number of stories coming out, so I’m focused on promoting my work right now. Starting in a few days, though, I believe I will be able to get back into the work. I miss it a lot. I can’t describe how wonderful it is to be so immersed in writing that I don’t notice time passing, that all of a sudden it’s two a.m.! It’s a beautiful feeling.
What advice do you give new writers just starting out?
The usual advice one hears is to read a lot in one’s chosen genre. That’s good advice, but I believe in reading great writing. My genre is pop fiction, which I love but isn’t always characterized by great writing. We internalize great writing by reading it and conversely, we create bad habits by reading bad writing. We begin to believe that head-hopping is okay but it’s not. Run-on or clumsy sentences aren’t okay either. Confusing lie and lay isn’t a capital crime, but it certainly should be corrected. And don’t get me started on misplaced apostrophes!
Read great books by great writers, and don’t discount pop fiction. Just be selective. Read Stephen King and Dean Koontz, two popular novelists known for their impeccable craftsmanship. Read To Kill A Mockingbird, in my opinion The Great American Novel. Read Shakespeare and other great playwrights. Read great poetry. Read the King James Bible, not as a religious tract but with the awareness that it is the most influential book ever written in English. Read books about writing craft. Go to workshops.
No one was born knowing how to write a book, but oddly, people who will lavish hundreds of dollars on, say, skiing lessons or scuba diving, won’t fork out some bucks to attend writing conferences to learn the craft and business of writing. There are no shortcuts in art.
More about Bridling His Vampire:
Edgar, Laird MacReiver, has never regretted his decision to wed Isobel, daughter of Clan Kilburn’s laird, until she bites his tongue and drinks his blood.
Still, he’s determined to bridle the wild child of the infamous vampire clan by any means necessary, including bondage and discipline.
But are some women impossible to tame?
How to connect with Suz:
Buy Link: http://www.ellorascave.com/bridling-his-vampire.html