We’re just a few days away from Christmas (for those who celebrate it), so I’m bringing you an early present in the form of a mini-interview with Tina Susedik, author of books “where love abides through time.” Wahoo! Who doesn’t want THAT?
So grab that hot chocolate, kick up the feet, and take a break with Tina and me. 🙂
What inspires you to write?
Just about everything inspires me to write. I can’t imagine what it would be like to travel, go out to dinner, go for a walk, take a shower, etc. without thinking about writing a story, or having story ideas come flying at me. I’ll have to live to be two hundred to write all the ideas I have.
What one piece of advice do you wish you’d had when first starting out?
I wish I’d known how hard writing is. Not just writing the story, but the editing, editing, editing. Sometimes I’ve read my stories eight times before they go into print.
I also wish I’d known how hard it is to promote my work and how much I’d hate that part of the business.
Name two things people don’t know about you:
I’m also a photographer. I love taking pictures of old barns, birds, and nature. I also write under a pen name: Anita Kidesu.
One more thing: There is a scene in Never With a Rich Man that takes place in a restaurant. This scene actually happened to my (now husband) on our first date. Thankfully he asked me out again. The scene that follows, though, didn’t happen to us – we were only 18 at the time!
Cassie Jordan has been lied to, cheated on, and passed over for a promotion. All by men. She was tired of men. She didn’t need a man, and certainly not a rich man. Then she met Hogan Wynnters, and ordinary salesman – or so she thought.
Hogan Wynnters is part owner of a family business and has the kind of money Cassie despisese’s tired of women coming on to him because he’s rich. He decides to never tell a woman about his financial status until she gets to know him as a person. As an undercover FBI agent, he uses his knowledge of antiquities to find the people who are bringing stolen WWII artifacts into the country. Unfortunately, the woman he’s falling for is in the crosshairs of the FBI.
Can they work through their preconceived notions and find true love?
Tina has been married for over forty years and lives in northern Wisconsin. After careers in accounting and teaching (not necessarily at the same time), she found her career in writing is what fulfills her the most. Besides Romance, she writes children, military, and history books. When not writing, she loves camping, hiking, photography, reading and playing with her five grandchildren. She also writes as Anita Kidesu.
She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Wisconsin Romance Writers of America, and PAN (Published Authors Network).
Most weeks I bring you a fellow romance author, usually with one or more books to their name. But occasionally I like to break the pattern and feature someone who writes in a different genre, or someone who is “pre-published” (as I heard it called at a Virginia Romance Writers meeting – isn’t that a great term for authors whose work isn’t quite on the shelves/screen yet?).
Welcome to Writer Wednesday! Yes, I said Wednesday, even though it’s Thursday.
Sadly, someone attacked my website and it went down in flames yesterday. But thanks to my computer science professor husband, it’s back up and running, and so I can finally bring you author Dana K. Ray. Just a day late.
My apologies to Dana and to all of you!
But now I invite you to sit back, relax, and get to know Dana and her gutsy, true to life Christian stories!
What was the inspiration for your latest book?
When I wrote A Second Chance it was a form of therapy. It’s a story about forgiving others, forgiving yourself and giving another chance to those who may not deserve it.
Real life is messy. People hurt you and you hurt people. There’s no way around it. Many times we have to offer forgiveness, not for the other person, but for yourself. It’s freeing to forgive. I wanted to show others it can be done.
Name two things people don’t know about me.
Always. I felt odd because I always had movies playing in my head. I was so concerned with it that in college I wrote a paper on “fantasy thoughts” because I wasn’t sure if it was normal. I was a stay-at-home mom which gave me the chance to write my books down. The images are very vivid. I see the characters 3-D and in color but the fun of it, is I can change things. I can watch a scene and if I don’t like it, I mix it up. I do this until I love the scene then I go write it down.
I am an AVID football fan!! I mean I do nothing on the weekends but watch or go to games during the season. I love college and pro, but college a little bit better! I will take any free tickets. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have some freebies I could have! Ha ha.
How much of yourself is reflected in this book (for example, professional expertise, personality, or other), and how?
In A Second Chance are some lessons I’ve personally lived and learned, yet it’s purely fiction. I can honestly say that there is a piece of me in every character in the book. I’ve been Raven; done so many bad things that I felt like God and people around me would never forgive me. I’ve been Matthew; way too judgmental towards others to the point people couldn’t stand to be around me and choosing to go down a road that God didn’t want me on.
I’ve been touched by one friend and two family members that have fought Leukemia. I’ve experienced the effects of suicide four times in my life, from a close friend’s attempt to two friends and one relative following through with it. Suicide is never the answer and I’d plead with anyone thinking about it to please, please, please reach out for help. Your life is SO important and you are loved more than you can even imagine, even if you don’t feel like it.
Why should we read this book and what sets you apart from the rest? What makes your book unique?
A Second Chance is a gutsy, real to life story. It’s a fun and fast (as in you can’t put it down) read. It touches on real to life experiences with drugs, alcohol, suicide, death and cancer. Things that so many of us go through or have gone through. In A Second Chance, there are valuable lessons of how the characters overcome the darkness in their worlds.
Can you tell us something quirky about this book, its story and characters?
I’m from Iowa and grew up in Des Moines but we had a farm outside of town. I moved to Missouri when I was seventeen to go to college, but Iowa holds a special place in my heart.
Like Raven, I’ve walked through tall fields of corn and weeds. I’ve seen the beauty of the state. It was my inspiration for the setting of A Second Chance.
What is your writing process?
I usually turn on some loud music, grab a Diet Coke or a Mocha and start writing. No process at all. I just write and see where the characters end up. Then there is a lot of editing, editing and more editing. I send chapters to my three critique partners, who then edit some more. After a lot of rewriting and editing, you get a book and if you’re truly lucky and blessed, a publishing contract.
Raven will do just about anything to forget a horrific event from the past that still haunts her. Forced to attend church because of a promise she made at a party, she is immediately attracted to the young, handsome preacher but is unconvinced of his promises of a better life.
A future he refuses to accept…
Matthew has everything planned out until Raven walks into his church and turns his life upside down. Repulsed by her lifestyle, yet fascinated by her beauty and charm, he finds himself drawn to her by a force he can’t explain.
Raven and Mathew’s unlikely friendship leads them through escalating troubled waters that threaten to doom their growing relationship. Will they survive to learn valuable lessons of grace, forgiveness and love?
A Bit About Dana:
Dana K. Ray has been writing gutsy, true to life Christian stories since she became a teenager. An avid Mizzou Tiger fan and a full-time children’s minister in her church, she and her husband reside in the Midwest with their four children and four dogs.
Look for Dana’s second book,Absolution, to be published by eLectio Publishing in July 2017!
I’d always intended on writing Regency romance. In fact, it’s the only thing I thought I’d ever write, but darn if my muse didn’t have other plans, since the first big story idea she brought was not set in the Regency at all! A Man of Character takes place in 2012 in Charlottesville, Virginia – with nary a duke or grand ball in sight.
Until the end. Because if my heroine Catherine Schreiber wasn’t going to be a Regency gal, at least her Jane Austen-loving sidekick Eliza James could, right? And what better way to tie my modern magical romantic comedy in with a Regency novel than by sending the sidekick from book one back in time in book two? That’s how the idea began.
Brainstorming what kind of duke Eliza might meet was a blast. Slick and debonair? A frilly, froofy dandy? Or a Darcy in disguise? Of course I chose the Pride and Prejudice–inspired latter for Deveric Mattersley, Duke of Claremont, and melded him with a Beauty and the Beast sort of touch, in part because bubbly Eliza needed a more Eeyorish counterpart, and in part because those are two of my favorite romances ever!
But the most fun part, however, came when I gave Deveric two sidekicks – Morgan Collinswood, Marquess of Emerlin, and James Bradley, Duke of Arthington. Because, well, I’m totally obsessed with the BBC show Merlin and the two lead actors who played Merlin and Arthur – namely Colin Morgan and Bradley James. Turn them around, dress them up a little bit, throw in some Merlin references here and there, and voila! I had my counterparts to Deveric Mattersley. And I love them so much that they each shall eventually get their own books.
What was the hardest thing about writing A Matter of Time?
First and foremost, aiming for historical accuracy in details. And I’m sure I still made mistakes, but I tried to do diligent research and ask questions in the Romance Writers of America‘s wonderful Regency group, The Beau Monde.
Second, there were a few key scenes I had originally written from a third character’s perspective (Deveric’s mother, the rather dragon-like Matilda Mattersley). But my editor believed I should stick solely with Eliza’s and Deveric’s view points, so, well, having to rewrite those scenes from a different point of view while still showing Matilda’s character development proved rather rascally.
Do you always include pets in your books?
Yup! I decided from the start I’d include some sort of beloved animal in each of my novels, just because I’m a cat fanatic myself (yes, if I didn’t have husband, I’ve have more cats and be Crazy Cat Lady, indeed). So A Man of Character has a cat, Presley, A Matter of Time has a puppy named Pirate, and A Scandalous Matter has a cat named Ada Lovelace. It’s just a silly little thing for me to do, and I enjoy the feline and canine characters. Do you?
What’s coming up in 2017 for Margaret Locke?
To be honest, I had hoped to publish my next book, The Demon Duke, in December or January. But life has had a way of knocking me down this year (gallbladder surgery, tooth gone rogue, mom had major surgery, my beloved cat Scilla died), so it’s been pushed back a little, but hopefully it will debut in the late spring of 2017. It’s the first in my Put Up Your Dukes series, and a pure Regency, no magic at all. Hopefully my fans will still love it.
I also am working on a draft of A Delicate Matter, which takes a surprise character from book three in the Magic of Love series, A Scandalous Matter, and gives her her own story.
Want to join me for A Matter of Time’s birthday bash?
Pop on in to my Facebook party tonight (November 30th, 2016) from 8-11 pm EST to meet a number of other great authors and learn about their books (and we’ve got an awesome variety, with several romance authors but also a couple of YA fantasy writers and an espionage writer!), and have the chance to win great giveaways and prizes from them and from moi!
Because I want to give back to all of you who’ve given me so much in this past eighteen months of being a published authors. It’s been amazing, a roller coaster full of thrills, and it’s taken me beyond my wildest dreams!
And for those of you who aren’t familiar with A Matter of Time, here’s its blurb:
Can a man with a past and a woman from the future forge a love for all time?
Nobody would blame widowed doctoral student Eliza James for giving up on Happily Ever After; at twenty-nine, she’s suffered more loss than most people do in a lifetime. But Eliza’s convinced her own hero is still out there, waiting for her, just like in the beloved romance novels she devours. Every Jane Austen-loving girl deserves a Darcy, right?
Only Eliza doesn’t dream of a modern-day affair: she wants the whole Regency experience. When a magical manuscript thrusts her back two hundred years into the arms and life of one Deveric Mattersley, Duke of Claremont, however, Eliza realizes some fantasies aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, especially when her duke proves himself less than a Prince Charming.
Convinced he’s at fault for the death of his wife, Deveric Mattersley has no interest in women, much less marriage. Determined to atone for his sins, he decrees himself content to focus on running his family’s estates, and on raising his son–until the mysterious Mrs. James appears. Who is she? What does she want? And why does she make Dev’s blood run hot in a way no woman ever has?
A charming time-travel Regency romance full of wit and humor, A Matter of Time reminds us that, like books, you can’t judge people by their covers, and that love often comes when least expected.
And a few reviews, just because they make me giddy. I can’t believe they’re talking about my novel!:
“A love story and so much more, A Matter of Time should be on every fantasy, paranormal, contemporary and Regency romance readers “to read” list…I would definitely recommend this novel – you will be charmed, captivated, have a few good laughs and shed a few tears as you cheer Eliza and Dev on to find their happy every after ending.” – Marsha, KeeperBookshelf.com
“This was one of the best fantasy, paranormal romances I have read in a while. I loved the characters and even the secondary characters were great. I would most definitely recommend this book and I look forward to more from this series.” – Cat, NerdGirlOfficial.com
Thank you so much for hanging with me, not only today, but all the time! I love you guys. Seriously.
If you want to connect with me further, you can find me here:
Welcome to Writer Wednesday, everyone! If you’re from the United States, you’re likely celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow. Well, what better to whet your appetite than a tasty, bite-sized interview with a fellow romance author?
Today we’re serving up Arlene Hittle, author of sports romances, geek romances, reimagined fairy tales, and more! And if her author pic doesn’t make you totally want to hang out and split some pie with her, well, I don’t know what will!
So settle in for this calorie-free but oh-so-delicious appetizer of Arlene and her books. Take it away, Arlene!
Which type of romance do you love most and why?
To write, I love contemporary romance. I enjoy taking a thoroughly modern look at love, life and family—both the kind we’re born into and the ones we choose. When I have time to read, it’s a toss-up between contemporary (a la Jill Shalvis, Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Kristan Higgins) and historical, preferably set in Victorian times—although Regency will do in a pinch. Anything with a duke or earl—or even the Duke of Earl—and a feisty heroine makes me happy.
Name two things people don’t know about you.
I’m not much of a drinker. With the way my characters booze it up, you’d never guess it!
I haven’t turned on the TV since moving into my new place in May 2015. The set’s not even plugged in. I do, however, watch a select few shows on Hulu—and I’m sorely tempted to subscribe to Netflix in time for this week’s “Gilmore Girls” reunion shows. [ML says, “Do it!” Though I still have to get through season 7 of the original.]
What’s your favorite romance novel of all time, and why?
So I’ll go with Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ Lady Be Good. I fell in love with the hero, Kenny Traveler, a disgraced pro golfer trying to restore his career, from his first appearance on the page. Heroine Emma is captivating from Page 1, too.
A potentially career-ending injury sends Arizona Condors pitcher Luis Castillo home to Miami to rehab and recuperate. He hasn’t even unpacked the rental car when he runs into his ex-best friend’s kid sister. She’s not a kid anymore, but she remains the main reason he ran as far and fast as he could six years ago. A successful college baseball career and two good years on the mound with the Condors did nothing to change what they did, or help him forget its consequences. He doesn’t deserve Randi’s warm welcome—and she sure as hell shouldn’t still look at him that way.
Miranda Vega sets out to convince Luis to take a chance on their relationship, which came to a premature end the night her brother found his baby sister in the arms of his best friend. The discovery sent Ricky into a vehicle, a near-head-on collision and ultimately a wheelchair. To get the boy—now man—she started crushing on at puberty and still loves today to believe Ricky’s accident wasn’t his fault, Randi needs a game plan. With any luck, she, Ricky and a Little League team in serious need of coaching will be able to notch the win.
Even with a bum left arm, Luis is a skilled opponent, adept at getting in his own way. But Randi grew up stubborn. And this time, she’s playing for keeps.
Arlene Hittle is a Midwestern transplant who now makes her home in northern Arizona. She suffers from the well-documented Hittle family curse of being a Cubs fan, which can no longer be considered a curse, courtesy of the 2016 World Series Champion Cubbies. Longtime friends are amazed she writes books with sports in them, since she’s about as coordinated as a newborn giraffe and used to say marching band required more exertion than golf.
Want to connect further with Arlene? Find her online here: