Fellow NHRWA member, Susan A. Wall is visiting me today, talking about the one year anniversary of her third Puget Sound book, The Sound of Suspicion. Susan is a multi-published author, the number 1 Bon Jovi fan, and one of the greatest cheerleaders I know for fellow authors. Stick around after you read the interview: Susan is doing a giveaway. It’s an honor and privilege to host her today.
Susan, it’s the 1 year anniversary of the publication of your third PUGET SOUND book The Sound of Suspicion. First of all, congratulations! Tell us why you are so drawn to this setting. What does Puget Sound – itself – mean to you as a woman and as an author?
For our third wedding anniversary, my husband took me to Seattle (he’s from eastern Washington). I instantly fell in love with the city, the water, the mountains, all the green (they call it the Emerald City for a reason), the casual nature of the people. I knew someday we would live there and we did for a year (2003-2004). We plan to move back after the kids are all grown up.
We met your Hero and Heroine for the first time in book 1, The Sound of Consequence. Why did you decide to continue telling their story in book 3?
When I wrote the first book, I knew then it would be a three book story for Owen and Stacie because each of their pasts are so complex and have had such a tremendous impact on the people they are. At that point, it was only going to be a three book series, but then I fell in love with Jenny, Bryan, and Morgan and knew the world needed to hear their stories as well. Right now the series is mapped out to include 9 stories because those secondary characters keep wanting to be the center of attention. So we will be seeing Owen and Stacie again in the fifth book, The Sound of Circumstance, out later this year – that story finally gives Stacie closure on her past.
The title of your book, The Sound of Suspicion, informs the reader right away issues of trust are coming their way. Owen and Stacie both seem to have this problem with trust in spades. How did you decide how each character would handle their issues? Did any personal past experiences guide you in how they dealt with their concerns?
How did I decide? Haha. You’re funny, Peggy. My stories are very character driven and the characters like to control the outcome from the get-go. I like to write strong women because that is the kind of woman I am and I have so many strong women in my life. But even the strongest woman faces challenges. Stacie is mature and responsible, but with the traumatic brain injury, she’s lost some of that and it makes her very interesting, but her strength still shines even in the worst situations. She is exactly the kind of woman Owen needs to help him get through his ex-wife’s manipulations.
You are an extremely prolific writer. Tell us a little about your process. Do you write every day? Do you have a certain word count that needs to be completed before you are satisfied and call it a day?
Thanks. I write in layers, so when I sit down to write a book, I write fast and furious and generally have word count goals each day. Drafting is my favorite part of the process, which is probably why I do it so quickly. Once the book is drafted, I go back to add details such as setting, physical details of the characters, the five senses, etc. This part of the process takes longer than drafting. Then I go into editing mode and polish (obsess) until I’m happy with the story. Once I’m happy, I ship it off to my editor and deal with the self-doubt that plagues every writer. Fortunately, my editor is as good at stroking my ego as she is at finding holes in my plots. I generally write every day, but sometimes I get into a slump and you can tell when that is because I’m antsy and irritable. Writing makes me happy and easier to live with.
You are a big NANOWRIMO fan and participant. Did the Sound of Suspicion start as a NANOWRIMO production?
I LOVE NANOWRIMO, the challenge of hitting word count goals every day, how quickly the story comes together. I’ve participated and won four years in a row, but The Sound of Suspicion was written before I started doing NANOWRIMO. Owen and Stacie’s next story, The Sound of Circumstance was my 2nd Nano book and I wrote it in 12 days (really, the book wrote itself). The sixth book in the series is my 3rd Nano novel. I plan to have that book out this year too!
I know you are a big music fan, Hallahhh! Bon Jovi!! Did any music inspire you while writing The Sound of Suspicion? What do you usually listen to while writing?
With every book I write, I create a playlist. Certain lyrics grab me and just speak to the story and the characters. There are 30 songs on my “Suspicion” playlist. A few of them are: You Save Me by Kenny Chesney; You Had Me From Hello by Bon Jovi, Hard to Love by Lee Brice, Every Road Leads Home to You by Richie Sambora, Your Arms Feel Like Home by 3 Doors Down, Glitter In the Air by P!nk, Undo It by Carrie Underwood, Phantoms In the Night by Blabpipe.
Not only are you a prolific writer, you also do all your own graphics and designs on your books – which, BTW, are great! How much time do you devote to the covers and designs of your books, and how do you KNOW when you’ve got it just right?
Thanks. I’m fortunate that my background in instructional design has helped me develop graphic design skills. I spend a tremendous amount of time on covers because I tend to be a perfectionist and a bit obsessive. I send it out for people to give feedback and when I can just sit there and not find anything to nitpick, then I know it’s right. I love doing my own covers because it is such an intimate connection to the story and the characters.
What’s next writing/publication-wise for you? What are you working on?
I plan to publish books 5 and 6 in my Puget Sound ~ Alive With Love series this year (The Sound of Circumstance, which is Stacie and Owen’s final story and The Sound of Reluctance, Holly and Keith’s (Stacie’s brother) story). They are both drafted, so just need to go through the revision and editing process. I’m also polishing a women’s fiction story titled Too Many Daughters (my first Nanowrimo novel) and hope to pitch to an agent at the RWA National Conference in July. And, I’m writing Worth the Fight, the next story in my Fighting Back For Love series – those books will be on sale Feb 3- 5 to recognize World Cancer Day.
I love quick fire rounds, so here’s yours. One word answers ( if you can):
Favorite color: purple
Favorite band: Bon Jovi
Favorite character in literature – not your own!: Colleen O’Rourke (Kristan Higgins)
Best date night location: Pub
Boxers or briefs: boxers
Sweet or salty: Salty
Favorite word: Wicked
Least favorite word: die
Chocolate or vanilla: Chocolate
Patriots or Seahawks: Seahawks
Best song ever written: The Star Spangled Banner
Susan is doing a Goodreads giveaway. Here’s the link for those interested:
Following is a complete list of places you can find Susan’s work and visit with her. Stop by and send her some love!
The Sound of Suspicion (free at Amazon Jan 30 – Feb 3) http://www.amazon.com/Sound-Suspicion-Puget-Alive-Love-ebook/dp/B00I56PSLW
Website (and blog): www.susanannwall.com
Twitter: (@susanannwall) https://twitter.com/susanannwall
Relay for Love and A Flame Burns Inside will be $.99 Feb 3 – 5 to recognize World Cancer Day (Feb 4).
Here are the Amazon links (they are available at other ebook retailers too):