Holy cow, ladies and gents. Sue London has joined me today for Writer Wednesday. Yes, Sue London! *the crowd goes wild*
I’ve had the privilege of meeting Sue in person, as we’re both members of the Virginia Romance Writers, and she’s been a key figure in the romance panels of the Virginia Festival of the Book, which I’ve attended twice now (awesome; y’all should go next year).
She is a hoot, y’all. I hope you enjoy learning more about her and her fabulous books!
What inspires you to write?
Is it inspiration? There’s the underlying need. If I could get away with not writing I would probably avoid it because I’m terribly lazy. I’d rather watch tv and eat ice cream. But the need pushes. The ideas come. The stories. The emotions. Suddenly, without knowing quite why or how, something is scribbled inside a notebook or typed on a screen. It’s incomplete. Chaotic. But the need is satisfied. Is that the Muse? Is it inspiration? If so, it has no interest in a writing career. It would be happy enough scrawling on walls.
Along with the need, there is also for me the desire. I wanted to be an author from a very young age. But in the typical innocence of youth it was more something I wanted to be than something I wanted to do. As any published author can tell you, there is actually quite a lot of doing and very little being to be had.
You see, I’m caught between the two ideas in your question: “inspire” and “to write.” The thing (should we call it inspiration?) that gets me the “butt in chair” time that is critical to having written is actually obligation. Readers are waiting. A date has been set. A bill is going to need to be paid from the royalties that will result. Is that inspiration? If we use the definition of inspire “to influence or impel,” then yes, I suppose it is. But my ultimate answer isn’t nearly as soaring as the question implies.
Which type of romance do you love most, and why?
As soon as I answer one thing I’ll get distracted down another path. Probably half of the romance books I own are historical? Probably. The rest are primarily contemporary with a salting of paranormal. But that’s genre and I don’t think it really answers the question, at least not for me.
I love romance that is hopeful. I far prefer comedy over drama. I want to believe in a better tomorrow and actively seek any information that promises me that. You can’t beat romance for Happily Ever After.
Name one interesting thing you learned in researching/writing your last book.
My last book was Saving Persephone and probably the most interesting thing (to me) was quite peripheral to the plot. It was listings of women who owned businesses in the early 19th century. I tracked a bunch of them down to ensure it was at least reasonable to say Imogen’s mother ran a shipping company. Based on Rebecca Pennock Lukens, who bought out and ran Brandywine Iron & Nail, I deem it reasonable. If you want to feel under-accomplished, just read about these ladies: Remarkable Women in Business History
For my next book, Taming Chiron (out on August 25), I’ve had to research the history of science. THAT has proven to be quite a challenge.
Name two things people don’t know about you.
Well, but then they’ll know…
1. I was pretty good at Street Fighter back in the day, especially when I played Chun Li. In fact, I was good at more video games than you might expect for my g.p.a. and number of jobs I had in college. Ah, youth.
2. One of my first jobs was as an artist. You know those paintings and textiles you see in hotels and think “I wonder how many of those they ordered?” I did that stuff. Stack upon stack of mass reproduced modern ‘art’. Yes, in my teens I professionally dribbled paint.
What fellow romance author do you recommend reading, and why?
Oh, there are so many good ones that I would hate to leave anyone out! The classic that I’m enjoying catching up on is Georgette Heyer.
What one piece of advice do you wish you’d had when first starting out?
Shut up and write faster.
[ML: Ha ha, this cracks me up!]
What’s your favorite romance novel of all time, and why?
The Fortune Hunter by Diane Farr. There was a certain depth and gravity to both of the characters that appealed to me, overlaid with all the wit and fun of a comedy of errors.
A bit on Saving Persephone:
In 1805, Robert Bittlesworth’s little sister and her two best friends decided to create a “boys club” because boys have more fun. Most protective older brothers would have discouraged such a thing. But Robert saw opportunity and began training them.
Robert Bittlesworth has worked tirelessly in the Home Office for years, managing intelligence in the war against Napoleon and the Congress of Vienna. He also executed a plan to have his father exiled. Now that plan backfires when one of his father’s cronies kidnaps the Haberdashers… and the first woman he has ever truly cared about.
Imogen Grant of Boston has traveled the world with her mother’s shipping company. She considers herself an exceptional judge of character, but she has never met anyone like Robert Bittlesworth. He is either the very best or the very worst man of her acquaintance. Can she decide which before she loses her heart?
Find Saving Persephone on Amazon.
Wanna connect with Sue?
Don’t you just love Writer Wednesday and getting to hang out with faboo authors like Sue? I do! Thanks for joining us, Sue! It was a pleasure.
Great interview! I love to hear about other writer’s inspirations!
Me too! I have so thoroughly enjoyed these Writer Wednesday interviews, as they’ve given me a glimpse into the minds and lives of other writers.