Multi-genre author Susan Whitfield writes the Logan Hunter Mystery series: Genesis Beach, Just North of Luck,Hell Swamp, Sin Creek and Sticking Point. She authored Killer Recipes, a unique cookbook, and wrote a women's fiction, Slightly Cracked. She is currently writing an historical fiction titled Sprig of Broom. Susan interviews authors and industry experts on the blog. Web site: www.susanwhitfieldonline.com
Sunday, October 18, 2015
Susan Noel Sands: Again, Alabama
FREE signed copy of Susan's book to some lucky commenter!
Susan Sands grew up in a tiny Southern town in Northwest
Louisiana near the Texas border. Calling it a town is generous, really. She
graduated with a degree from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches,
Louisiana where the movie, Steel Magnolia’s was filmed during Susan’s time
living there. There’s no more Southern, small town claim to fame than that.
Her characters and setting are pulled from those very
Southern, small towns and open spaces, where the air is clean and the words are
often spoken with more syllables than necessary, y’all.
Her lifelong love of reading and the realization that her
children were growing up and would eventually move on spurred her to try her
hand at writing. Susan lives with her dentist husband and three nearly grown
children in Johns Creek, GA. She is a member of the Georgia Romance Writers and
the Romance Writers of America.
Welcome to the blog, Susan.
Thanks so much for
hosting me today, Susan! I grew up in a tiny town in North Louisiana, I now live
in Georgia, but my novel, AGAIN, ALABAMA, is set in small town Alabama. My own
small town upbringing feeds my stories with the kind of humor and situations
that can only spring from first-hand immersion in this real-life setting. Small
towns are crazy fun!
I am delighted to have you on the blog.
How has your environment affected your writing?
My current environment living in suburban Atlanta, not so
much. My past environment was a fertile breeding ground for some whacky
Southern stuff, let me tell you. I graduated high school with thirty people—in
public school. We had a big class. Between the gassy well water at school and
the toilets blowing up when kids sneaked a smoke in the bathroom, to my class
hosting the first prom in the school’s history where there were more chaperones
than students, let me tell you…
Give a short synopsis of Again, Alabama.
Dragged back to her small town to help her mother recover
from surgery while rescuing the family event planning business should be a
cinch. Even for a disgraced television chef, right? Wrong.
Among the many secrets Cammie's family’s been hiding is
the fact that their historic home is falling down. Oh, and the man hired
to restore the house, Grey Harrison, is the same high school and college love
of her life who thrashed her heart and dreams ten years ago. Yeah, that
Grey, a widower with a young daughter, has never stopped
loving Cammie, and when they are face to face once again, the chemistry is off
the charts. Cammie may be in full-blown denial, but letting go is no
longer in Grey’s vocabulary, even when winning Cammie’s forgiveness and
renovating their love may seem like an impossible build even for a master
architect and carpenter.
As Cammie finds herself forgetting all the reasons she can’t
trust Grey or love again, he finds himself remembering all the reasons he wants
her to stay with him in Alabama… forever.
How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the
Um. I’m almost afraid to look at that too closely. I would
say I’m more in the voice of the characters than in the actual story or
behavior. I do have a good sense of humor—pretty snarky at times. So, if you
know me, you can definitely hear me when reading my work.
What challenges did you face while writing this book?
This book has gone through many versions. It’s been edited
half to death, then shortened and tightened. The title was changed from MISERY,
ALABAMA by the publisher because it wasn’t “romantic” enough. True enough. It
went from a true women’s fiction title to more of a Southern women’s
fiction/contemporary romance. First I found an agent who believed in the book, and
then I found a wonderful editor who believed in the story and was willing to
put in the time.
What do you think is the greatest lesson you’ve learned
about writing so far?
There are so many lessons. I learned the importance of
spending time learning how to write according to a set of rules, and ways to
make words fit together so they tell a story and make reader’s feel.
What advice can you give new writers?
Spend time learning how to write. Buy craft books, attend
conferences, and learn to take criticism with grace. Grow skin thicker than an
elephants. Listen to what your trusted readers tell you. It hurts to get
feedback that isn’t from your mom. And don’t give up.
We all know how important promoting our work has become. How
do you get the word out both off and online?
I beg, borrow and steal. No, I don’t steal, but it’s
challenging as a new author to get your name and work out there. I’ve done blog
tours, been lucky enough to have published author friends host me on their
blogs, share my good news on their author pages and websites, and had news
articles published announcing my book release. I’ve yelled at the top of my
lungs on social media every time any of those things have happened. My
publisher put my book on Net Galley before it was released, which garnered many
reviews by reviewers and bloggers who posted them on their websites and blogs
as well as on Amazon and Goodreads. I set up an author page on Amazon,
Facebook, and Goodreads, then linked my blogs and website to all of those
sites. I tweet about my books and am on loops with other writers and actively
tweet and re-tweet their good news and releases. It’s the hard part of this
Can you tell us your future writing goals/projects?
I am currently working on a connected story to AGAIN,
Where can folks learn more about your books and events?