Meow! My guest this week is author Susan Tanner!
Susan Yawn Tanner is published in historical romance as Susan Tanner but has embarked on an intriguing new series. Her latest venture is a romantic mystery showcasing one smart feline named Trouble. In Trouble in Summer Valley, she combines her love of horses with her love of cats and steps into a new genre - contemporary romantic mystery. Writing in the voice of a black cat detective, especially one with a slight British accent (thanks to his addiction to Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes) has spurred a series idea that will be sure to delight readers. Because Ms.Tanner is a horse lover as well as a cat lover, her upcoming Trouble books will have backstories which feature the world of horses, a mini-series within the Familiar Legacy series. Tanner lives on a small ranch in Mississippi and barrel races.
Her previous novels, Highland Captive, Captive To A Dream, Exiled Heart, Fire Across Texas and Winds Across Texas as well as A Warm Southern Christmas (part of a Christmas anthology), were all published by Leisure Books.
1. Hi Susan! Would you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I currently combine a very demanding career in a public utility with being a competitive barrel racer (with my daughter) and with writing – again – but more on that later. I have beautiful children and grandchildren who are the light of my life. After two less than stellar marriages, I’ve given up on romance (except in my books!!!)
2. Do you have anything you would like to say to your readers?
Whatever you have in your heart to do, do it with all of your heart. Never, ever give up on a dream. As long as you can draw breath, there is no good reason to say ‘It’s too late’ or ‘I’m too old’. Life is to be lived. Live it!
3. Please tell us about your newest release Trouble in Summer Valley embodies a lot of things for me. I published previously in historical romance with Leisure Books. When Carolyn Haines approached me about a collaborative effort to bring to life the son of Familiar (do please read that wonderful series!), my first reaction was very skeptical.
Mystery? Never done that.
Contemporary? Never done that.
Cat’s point of view (seriously?) Definitely never done that!
But to my ever-lasting surprise, I not only ‘did it’ I loved every minute of the writing. Okay, maybe not every minute but most for sure! What a challenge and what gratification to know I really could be more, do more than I ever imagined. (And so can each and every person reading this. Dare to dream! Then ‘do’!)
4. What was the inspiration behind this story?
That is a little hard (emotionally) to answer. Long before the world had heard of PTSD, I knew the consequences of it. My father served with pride in WWII but he could never talk about his experiences. He, in fact, would cut you short if you asked. I knew, instinctively, that he suffered still for the things he’d been faced with in those combat zones.
Fast forward to another decade another war. A dearly loved cousin stepped on a land mine in Viet Nam and lost both legs. He was told he would never walk again much less ride but he did both through sheer determination.
In Trouble in Summer Valley, I combined my love of horses with the emotional healing I know they can bring.
5. Tell us about your main character.
Avery Wilson is strong. As strong as I’ve had to be and learned to be. But she’s also very vulnerable as I know I have been and still sometimes am. As a writer, I’ve come to understand that our strongest characters carry our own traits. Hard as that can be to portray, it can also be our greatest achievement.
6. Were you surprised by the behavior of any of your characters or the direction of your plot at any point while writing?
I am ALWAYS surprised by my characters, at least to some extent. I start out one way and they lead me another. The wonderful thing is that they know better than me. They are always ‘in character’ whereas I might sometimes lead them astray.
7. How long did it take you to write this book?
I will be honest. This book took nearly a year. BUT the first half was in fits and starts. I did most of the actual, honest-to-goodness writing in about three months.
8. Of all the books out there, why should readers choose this one? (What makes your book stand out from the rest?)
I think the answer is different, reader-by-reader. If you are looking for lighthearted humor, I’m not your guy . . . er , . . gal! If you want grit and honesty, then I will provide. Some of the scenes with Trouble are definitely written with a touch of humor but – by and large – humor is not my forte’. Honest emotion, yes.
9. Is there an author or book that influenced you or your writing in any way growing up or as an adult?
All of them! Honestly. I loved reading so much I rarely distinguished types of books or styles of writing but all of them influenced!
10. Where can we purchase this book? Amazon!
11. Do you think you may ever go into another genre? If so, which one?
At some point I may return to historical romance. Maybe.
12. Where do you see yourself at in five years—writing wise?
Ha! I’ve learned never to predict much of anything – certainly not regarding my own life. I’ve never ‘landed’ where I thought I would!
13. Where can we learn more about you and your books?
My website is susanytanner.com
1. Pepsi or Coke? Coke, for sure, in the small glass bottles!
2. Favorite kind of chocolate? Ghirardelli’s intense dark!
3. Cats or dogs? Cats absolutely, though, sadly I am cat allergic with miserable consequences to encounters. But, though you didn’t include, horses first, last, and always.
4. Do you read more than you write? This varies; sometimes one more than the other, but I ALWAYS meet deadlines.
5. Favorite movie? Love with the Proper Stranger (You’ll have to go way back to find that one. I was too young to be allowed to watch it when it first came out but found it decades later and loved it!) and Urban Cowboy.
6. Hardback/Paperback or eReader? Still prefer print in hand. I like hardback but not the expense but I ALWAYS pass these on so feel vindicated. Paperback probably more economical but …
7. Favorite color? Depends on the day and my mood. My youngest grandson and I have this conversation often. He doesn’t get that my ‘favorite color’ can vary day to day. Today is green by the way.
8. How many paperback/hardcover books do you own?
Not many currently. And I’m glad the question isn’t ‘how many have you purchased’! I live in a small house that my son built with his own two hands. It’s absolutely beautiful with high end finishes that I love. I deliberately wanted small because my needs are few and I’m not a fan of housework (but don’t think tiny house, not that small!). So, I frequently buy paperback/hardcover but immediately pass them on to the other readers in my family and expect them to pass them on to the readers in their extended families. Books are to be shared!
9. Do you own a laptop or desktop computer?
Laptop. I had a desktop but my day-job requires that I be very mobile. Because of that, I find I’m very comfortable working with a laptop where ever I am, home or away from home.
10. What book are you reading today?
I’m between books but typically something by Jill Shalvis because she makes me laugh. Or Carolyn Haines ‘Bones’ series. My books tend to be very intense so I love books that bring humor.
11. If you could live anywhere in the world it would be:
Right where I am! It is a beautiful, small town that takes pride in its appearance. Where I would like to visit is a whole different story!