Handbags, Books...Whatever

Handbags, Books...Whatever (http://www.vickibatman.blogspot.com) is the website of Vicki Batman, sassy writer of sexy and funny fiction. Handbag lover. Avid Jazzerciser. Mah jong player. Yoga practioner. Movie fan. Book devourer. Choc-aholic. Best Mom ever. And adores Handsome.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Author interview on October 10 with Susan St. Thomas

Hi, Susan. How exciting to have you blog today.
Susan and I met at a party at the last RWA convention in Dallas. We've been emailing ever since. I am happy to have her here to talk about her book, Meltdown. What a yummy title!
Susan, tell us about yourself. How did you get from teacher to writer?
Who is your favorite author?


Susan St. Thomas said...

I'm looking forward to our chat, Vicki. Til then...


Susan St. Thomas said...

Hi Vicki- Two very tough questions from the start!
I've been writing long before I became a teacher. While I was a stress-out scientist I began reading then writing for enjoyment.
As far as a favorite author, right now I'm obsessed with Karen Marie Monings Fever Series, but I have so many favorites my keep library has hundreds of books.

Susan St. Thomas said...

The RWR article, Ten things a Novelist Learned.. struck a chord with me this week. Writing my first romantic suspense, Meltdown, I rode the emotional rollercoaster with my characters, and at times parts were very hard to write. I was captivated when Eloise James spoke about this same topic in D.C.
Writing the sequel, Love Like You're Dying, some scenes were so difficult to face that I switched to writing romantic comedy for a time.

Nancy said...

MELTDOWN is a marvelous title, Susan! Do titles generally come to your easily?

Tell us more about the book!

Nancy Haddock

Chris k said...

good morning ladies -

What a great title - Meltdown - can you tell us more about the book?

And I find it interesting you write both romantic suspense and romantic comedy - Will you have any of your comedies coming out soon? Do you see that market demand improving?

Jason Barret said...

That's a great popint Susan. The author really has to feel it to convey those emotions. When writing one book I got into character very deeply. I called it method writing. Just as in method acting you draw upon personal experiences to bring yourself to that emotional state and then you are more able to write a convencing scene. I loved Melt Down and am looking forward to you new releases.

Michelle McAdam said...

Hi Susan,

I can totally relate to your last comment about getting carried away by your characters emotions. Sometimes I catch myself sinking into a funk or getting irritated over little things my husband or kids are doing and I have to stop and take stock of what might have lead to my mood swings - other than the usual hormonal ups and downs. Often I realize that my emotions aren't really mine at all. They're leftovers from some scene I've just written. Lucky for my family, I try to inject a lot of humor into my writing.

Nita Wick said...

Oh, the Fever series! Isn't it awesome?! Part four is out in hardback. I complained (nicely) at my local library because they didn't have it yet. LOL They said they hoped to have it soon and they'll put me on the list.

And Susan, I thoroughly believe that if you, the writer, aren't moved and emotionally invested in your characters, you're reader won't be either. That's the mark of a good writer-- the ability to make your reader feel the same connection, the same sympathy, and the same exuberance you have for your characters.

Vicki Batman said...

Hi, Chris, Nancy, Jason, Michelle, and Nita. Thank you so much for posting.

I'm with you, Chris, on the title. Susan, can you tell us how you came up with it?

Vicki Batman said...

Susan, tell us about Meltdown?

What is the appeal of writing romantic suspense?

How do you get your ideas?

Susan St. Thomas said...

Nancy- The original title was Never My Love. My first editor wanted something to play up the suspense rather than the romance. The first time she mentioned Meltdown I loved it. I had mentioned the word twice in the manuscript, for making chocolate treats, and when Cassie tries to keep calm when she figures her past has caught up with her.
Most titles I steal from songs. Love Like You're Dying is from Tim McGraw's Live Like You're Dying. The hero is a stuntman. It's perfect for Clay.

Susan St. Thomas said...

I find it weird that I write romantic suspense when I love romantic comedy! I pitched my first romantic comedy to Dorchester editor Chris Keeeslar at this year's National's in D.C. He loved the idea, and wants to see three chapters. So now I'm divided between two stories. I don't think romantic comedies will ever go out of style. Look at the success of writers like Kristan Higgins and Rachel Gibson, who won back to back Rita. They are selling books!

Susan St. Thomas said...

Hi Jason! Method writing, like method acting. I like that term. Jason's in my chapter, CNYWR. When Jason reads at critique it's clear he writes without holding anything back. He delves deep into his characters POV. What did your daughter comment? You're vampire book is better than Stef Myers? ;) Can't wait for it's release.

Susan St. Thomas said...

Michelle, you grumpy? Never.
But I understand the part about leftover emotions from a scene you just wrote sticking around for a while. When my characters are hurting, I go to Walmart and buy a romantic comedy or a paranormal. You've seen my house. LOL How fortunate for me and your readers. In sparing your family your mood swings, you have made me laugh out loud one minute and get a lump in my throat the next. I can't wait to read your new story tonight. ;)
(Lucky me- I'm Michelle's critique partner)

Susan St. Thomas said...

Hi Nina,
When I wrote Meltdown, I used two character from a prior book that didn't sell. Cassie'd really messed up her life- lost custody of her daughter and had no place to go but back home. From that first book I knew her backstory; A high school cheerleader and the spoiled girl that got everything she wanted, and I knew if she could tap into that old confidence she could rebuild her life. Then just as she was about to get her daughter back, I threw her past back at her in the worst possible way- a real test for any person. Naturally I gave her a wonderful, supportive alpha hero, former soldier, now New York State police Sargent, Evan from the former book, who never forgotten the one magical night they shared before his deployment. But war had changed him, too. They meet after three years apart, and he wants to pick up where they left off, but she pushes him away because of her secret. But she's in danger and reluctantly agrees to Evan's protection. Eventually he earns her trust and she finally reveals her secret. I remember feeling her embarrassment, fear, and hope that Evan would understand the reason why she did what she did.

Nicki Greenwood said...

Your point about writing emotion is funny, because while I was writing my first book, EARTH, I found myself getting frustrated at little things while my heroine got frustrated with the hero. Now that I'm writing the sequel (WATER), I'm more prepared for that roller coaster, but it is odd. Great job on MELTDOWN, Susan, and I can't wait to see what you do next!

Vicki Batman said...

I'm with you, Susan, on romantic comedy. I write with humor, too, and love it.

Susan St. Thomas said...

Hi Vicki-
My ideas come from many places. Sometimes a song, I love listening to alternative music or oldies. I collect magazine pictures of men and women and paper my office walls for inspiration- like we did to our bedroom walls at one time. Then I can picture my characters while I write.
The appeal of writing a romantic suspense? Right now, it's hard as hell! I'm crazy for doing this. Trying to write a love story, and keep my readers wondering who the bad guy is while planting clues and red herrings is killing me. Then I get a brilliant idea that changes things and have to thread it through and I want to shoot myself for thinking of the idea but it's too good to drop. This week I should have been working on the romantic comedy that needs to be sent to Dorchester, but I wrote several critical scenes for Love Like You're Dying, where Adrianna is deeply hurt by Clay. Yes, I was feeling a lot of pain this week, and it all came pouring out in her story. I feel much better this weekend. Like Adrianna mentor says, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." Did I tell you she's a criminal psychiatrist, looking for the copycat serial killer of the prisoner she's responsible for remanding to a prison for the criminally insane? But she suspects she's put the wrong man away? Between serial killers, her day job is working in a hospital. Her newest patient is a Hollywood stuntman: classic death-wish syndrome, in denial with bouts of blindness, but he's still planning the biggest stunt of his life. And he doesn't follow her rules, the first concerns the proper 'doctor-patient' relationship.
He's made it clear he plans to sedduce her.

Vicki Batman said...

That story is action packed.

Congratulations on the Dorchester submission! You didn't say anything. I'm crossing fingers and toes.

With all your writing, what is your writing day like?

Vicki Batman said...

To wind up our interview, I have a couple of fun questions.

Fill in the blank: your ideal fictional hero would think you gorgeous if you.....

How much do you like cake?

Susan St. Thomas said...

Thanks, Vicki- I'm very excited about the Dorchester submission. And the same book I have a request for a full to an agent. What is my writing day like? If I'm not too tired after work I try to write about three nights a week and one day on the weekend. If the sun's out, I use a legal pad.
Let's answer your question_
My idea fictional character would think I'm gorgeous if you- make him lasagna.
I like cake as much as I like visiting Vicki's blog!!!
Thanks again!!
Don't forget to check out my interview next weekend, 10/17 at Booktalk:

Vicki Batman said...

Thanks, Susan. I think you mentioned something about a recipe??

Let's post that too.

Susan St. Thomas said...

My chocolate meatball cookie recipe.
They sound weird, but they are scruptcious. Promise. And they freeze well, if there's any left.

Chocolate Meatball Cookies
From Susan St.Thomas

Mixer creamed ingredients:
1 ¼ cup sugar creamed with 1 cup softened butter
1 cup milk
8 oz pkg cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla

Dry ingredients:
4 ½ cup flour
5 tsp baking powder
½ cup Hershey dark cocoa
¼ tsp nutmeg

On low speed, combine mixer creamed ingredients until blended. Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl and slowly add dry ingredients on low speed until the dough thickens. Stop mixer. Continue adding the rest of the mixture by hand. A soft dark brown dough will form.
Optional: ½ ground walnuts or chocolate morsels can be added. (I highly recommend them.)

Put dough in plastic bag and chill for a half hour. It makes dough easier to handle. Or chill overnight and bake the next day. Warm 10 minutes and roll into 1 inch balls. They should double in size.
Bake 375 degrees for about 15 minutes, check your first batch. Slightly brown on bottom. Should make 5 dozen.
While warm, ice with frosting. (confectionary sugar and water and vanilla)

Mary Ricksen said...

Love the title, tell us more!

Vicki Batman said...

These sound delicious and I'm forwarding this recipe to a friend.

Thank you again and again. Can't wait to hear your news.

Ann Whitaker said...

Loved the chat, Susan and Vicki!

I like both romantic comedy AND suspense, so it doesn't seem strange to me you'd write both, Susan.

Great idea getting titles from songs. It's like a built in cue to the reader, something recognizable that grabs their interest. Caught my attention as soon as I read it.

Best of luck with your Dorchester submission.

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