I had characters and stories in my head that would not go away, so I had to write them down. Other novels and movies would spawn a character idea in my head, and the plot would swirl in my mind for months. As my eldest was diagnosed with Autism and we were forced into the heinous world of dealing with health insurance and public school administration (both which are notorious for shoving those with special needs to the side), writing these characters down and fleshing out those plots helped me release stress and deal with reality.
What do you like best about being a writer? What do you like the least?
I love being surprised by my characters. I’m a big believer in outlines and following them (loosely) until my character decides to take a different route, or throw in a plot twist I didn’t expect. Those surprises always make me so excited to keep writing and see where it leads.
I definitely don’t like the querying and rejection part of being a writer. Over time, you develop a thicker skin to those criticisms, dealing with one rejection or bad review after another, or a critique that leaves you bleeding as you walk out the door. But seeing the finished product and the sense of accomplishment is worth going through all of that. A dishonorable mention would be to the marketing/promotional side. I’m not the kind of person who likes to flaunt my work or become the pushy salesperson. But it’s a necessary evil in the publishing business.
You’ve written two novels and are working on a third novel. What’s your favorite time management tip? Finding the schedule that works best for you, and sticking to it as much as humanly possible. For me, that’s even more difficult due to 1 child with special needs and another toddler running around. But I’ve learned that I have to write when both of my kids are out of the house or someone else can watch them (so I can leave the house and write somewhere else). I’ve actually written four novels, but the first two will never see the light of day (by my choice). They were manuscripts that I learned how to write with. How to develop characters and plots and make a novel worthy of publishing.
I hope to have the sequel to PRINCE OF SOLANA out by early 2016. And the final novel in the trilogy by end of 2016.
Are you a plotter or a pantser, i.e., do you outline your books ahead of time or are you an “organic” writer? Definitely a plotter. I have to outline a book prior to sitting down and writing it. I have tried to ‘wing it’ before, and I end up writing myself into a corner that I can’t get out of. I’ve learned I have to use at least a loose template of where the story needs to go. If I veer off because a character springs a surprise on me, I can follow that. But at the very least I have to know how the books ends prior to writing it, as well as have all of the main characters fleshed out (goals, motivations, conflicts, both internal and external) before I start writing. I know many other writers who are total pantsers. That works for them, this works for me.
If you had one take away piece of advice for authors, what would it be?
Keep writing forward. Don’t let a rejection letter get you down (at least not for too long). Keep writing. If you’re waiting for responses back from editors/agents/beta readers, keep writing while you wait. Work on another story. Don’t stop writing. If you stop, it will be so much harder to get back into it. The words don’t flow unless the faucet is turned on.
Did music help you find your muse with this book? If yes, which song did you find yourself going back to over and over again as you wrote?
Not only does music help me, I create entire playlists for books. As I’m writing and I hear a song that fits a scene, I make a note of it while I write. So that I have a complete playlist to release along with the book when the novel is published. Music is a huge factor in how I write. For PRINCE OF SOLANA, two of the primary songs that I kept listening to while I wrote is Secret by Ocean Lab, and Iridescent by Linkin Park.
Tell us about PRINCE OF SOLANA.
Prince Andre Peralta of Solana spent the last eight years in exile, drowning himself in liquor and gambling in casinos. When his father is assassinated by the Lozano cartel, duty to his tiny island country in the South Pacific trumps his fear and guilt. But he’s next on their hit list and he’s forced to hide on a remote Texas cattle ranch, where he meets strong-willed Gemma Westfall, a fascinating and trigger-happy ranch hand who pushes the limits of his self-control. Gemma has no patience for liars and gamblers, and something about this visitor crawls up her spine. His penetrating coffee eyes heat up her core, reigniting a dark passion and history she’d buried long ago. But when assassins find Andre and destroy Gemma’s home, vengeance guides both of them into dangerous waters.
How about an excerpt from PRINCE OF SOLANA?
“When we do this again,” he panted. “We’ll do it right.”Where can readers find more about your stories, books and you on the Internet?
Gemma opened her eyes and looked over his head.
“We’ll take all night,” he murmured against her neck. “Be in our own private yacht beneath the stars, instead of next to a hold full of fish.”
“We’ve already done it under the stars.” She grabbed his hair and pulled his head up, locking her gaze with his again. “The same night my world was destroyed.”
His smile slipped.
“This doesn’t change anything, André,” she panted, a tinge of anger flashed in her eyes. “You took what you wanted back on the ranch. This was mine. Now we’re even.”
B&N Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/prince-of-solana-susan-sheehey/1121179473?ean=2940150186200
Wild Rose Press: http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=242_245_137&products_id=6108
Susan, thank you so much for being with us here today. I know my readers will enjoy your work and your interview.