Today in author cage we have author Susannah Sandlin, author of Lovely, Deep and Dark. We would like to thank Susannah for stopping by and sharing with us. So here we go.
Welcome to Darkest Cravings, tell us a little bit about yourself?
Thanks for having me here! I’ve had fun exploring your site. I spent most of my career as a nonfiction writer in New Orleans until Hurricane Katrina made me reassess things. I turned my post-traumatic stress into my first novel, an urban fantasy called Royal Street (published as Suzanne Johnson as the first in the sentinels of new Orleans series with Tor books). In 2009, as Susannah Sandlin I began writing dark paranormal romance as well, with the Penton Legacy. My newest book, Lovely, Dark, and Deep, is my first foray outside the paranormal realm, and is a dark romantic thriller.
When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?
Funny, because I’ve always considered myself a writer—I’ve made my living in journalism. But I didn’t consider myself an “author” until about the fourth book, when I realized this was real and was something I planned to pursue full-time.
Writing adult fiction isn’t for everyone, how did you end up writing for the toughest audience?
I write for people like me, I guess, and I’m not a teenager or a “new adult,” so I never seriously considered writing YA or NA. I have a couple of friends who like writing YA because it’s such a pivotal part of a person’s life, but those are not the themes that interest me. I like exploring themes of self-identity and moral gray areas that younger characters don’t have the life experiences to tackle yet. YA and NA fiction is dealing with the “who am I” stage of life and the discovery of love. Adult fiction, for me, asks, “How do I stay true to myself with all the stuff life’s handed me? How do I find love in a world where there are no moral absolutes?”
Most of the intimidating parts of being an adult fiction writer is the steamy scenes, how did you overcome the “stage fright”?
LOL. I’m not sure I have. It took me a while to figure out that writing a love scene is very much like writing a fight scene—only with exposed body parts. It has to be choreographed. What the characters do and say has to be true to their personalities and their stories and their pasts. I’ve learned that if I’m having to force it, my characters aren’t ready. I don’t write erotic fiction. I write stories with adult characters for whom sex is a natural part of their relationships and their journeys.
Which fictional character would you like to go on a date with? Why?
Oh, a “date”? I’ll say Rhage from JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series. I mean, I love Vishous and Zsadist, but they’re not so much date material. I’d prefer not to be scared out of my wits on a date, and I think Rhage would be fun. Of my own characters, probably Will from Omega (Penton Legacy Book 3). Not only is he sexy, but he’s charming. He has serious issues, but we’re talking a date, not a relationship!
What was the first adult fiction novel that you read? What was your reaction?
My undergrad degree is in Victorian literature, and some of that stuff is pretty intense and more sexual than you might think. But if you mean “adult” as having explicit sexual content, probably Laurell K Hamilton’s Anita Blake series, back before the term “urban fantasy” had even been invented. I haven’t read much erotic fiction; I got two paragraphs into Fifty Shades and gave up.
Your favorite adult fiction book is-?
JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood. I’m not sure I could pick a single title—the first six were amazing. I have a lot of urban fantasy series I follow, and some paranormal romance. Currently, I have a full-time day job and write three ongoing series, so my reading time is seriously limited.
Your favorite Author is?
One? Yikes. Stephen King. Who can’t write a romantic relationship to save his life, by the way, but he’s a damn fine storyteller. In the romance genre, JR Ward is brilliant at creating these flawed, beautiful heroes.
We all have a treasured possession, what is yours?
I have some family pieces that mean a lot to me. But my real treasures are my pets and my friends. The biggest lesson I learned from Hurricane Katrina—when I was stuck away from home for two months with only one change of clothes and not knowing what if any of my material possessions had survived—is that, ultimately, stuff is nice but it doesn’t matter. Materially, we need very little to live; what we do need is relationships.
Are your characters based on real people or did you create them from scratch?
I might use little quirks from real people (or myself) but I haven’t based a character on an individual.
Do you think adult fiction have reached its full potential yet, or are we still in for a huge surprise?
Neither, really. I don’t think there is a “full potential,” or else there would be no need to keep writing stories. But I also don’t think there are “huge surprises” in store—I mean, there are only a limited number of basic story themes, but the ways that authors can reinterpret them are infinite. Fifty Shades was an exploration of power in relationships—Shakespeare wrote the same thing, only without bondage J Harry Potter was a coming-of-age story, of a boy learning who he is and what he’s capable of and what’s important to him. Nothing new there. That was also the theme of Hunger Games and Twilight. So there won’t be huge surprises in any genre of fiction, adult or otherwise. What there will be are authors who find a new or compelling way to tell an old story that will be discovered by the right people to be the “next big thing.”
Do you think adult fiction helps improves relationships?
Maybe. I think romance fiction plays to our fantasies and gives us a way to explore things we’d never try in real life, and that’s why we love it. Reality is not nearly as pretty. But I think most of us as readers can tell the difference and don’t expect our reality to match our fiction. On the other hand, romantic fiction is about relationships and personalities, and they could lead us to greater understanding of people who are different from us, which is always a good thing.
If you have to pitch adult fiction to someone that’s too shy to read it, what would you pitch?
I don’t read a lot of erotic fiction, so I probably wouldn’t pitch it. I warn people who pick up my Susannah Sandlin books that they’re darker than the books I write as Suzanne Johnson, with stronger language and more explicit sex. But they’re still a FAR cry from being erotic fiction.
What is your motto?
Don’t waste time worrying about “what-ifs.”
If you would like to find out more about this fabulous author check out the book blast below.