AUTHOR SUSANNE MATTHEWS DROPS BY WITH A NEW BOOK AND INTERVIEW

Thanks so much for having me!

My pleasure, Susanne.

On your website I count three publishers plus self published titles. How do you keep it all straight?

At one point there were four publishers, but one recently went out of business. Keeping them straight is probably easier than you think. Other than the Canadian historical novel, The Price of Honor, the work I submit to Solstice consists of short stories, although I do intend to write the sequel to the historical romance next year. For Anaiah Press, I have to keep the content squeaky clean. Since faith is an important component in my life, if I’m working on a story, and I know God and prayer have roles, I’ll develop something that will suit them. Crimson Romance was my first publisher, and I work with the same editor, so I have a pretty good idea as to what they’ll take, and what won’t make the cut. I guess the hardest part is formatting the manuscripts to suit each publisher’s taste.

Crimson Publishing offers everything from contemporary to historical romance. There’s even a reference to “spicy” titles. Which category best describes your work?

With the exception of Just For The Weekend, which is a contemporary romance, my other Crimson titles: Fire Angel, In Plain Sight, On His Watch, The White Carnation and The White Lily are all romance suspense. I think the easiest way to accurately describe them would be suspense with a touch of romance, as if Criminal Minds met Castle. The books are considered sensual, since there are a few hot scenes, but not really spicy.

You have a new release out Oct 12th. Deets please?

The White Lily is Book Two in the Harvester Series. While it’s the second book in the series, like the first, it stands alone, although I think the reader will get more out of it if he or she reads them in order. Essentially, there is a megalomaniac cult leader who sees himself as the Creator’s prophet with a mission.

The story started in The White Carnation which is book one in the series. As the blurb puts it: The last person disgraced reporter Faye Lewis wants back in her life is Detective Rob Halliday, the man she blames for ruining her career and breaking her heart. But when she finds an old friend murdered, he’s the one she calls.

For the past year, Rob and his team have been hunting the Harvester, a serial killer who ritualistically murders new mothers and vanishes with their infants. What Rob doesn’t need is another case, especially one involving his ex-fiancée.

Then Faye is assaulted, and Rob realizes the cases are connected. She may hold the answers he needs to find the elusive killer. But the more they investigate, the more complex the situation becomes. Can they set the past aside and work together, or will the Harvester and his followers reap another prize?

Rob and Faye foil the Harvester’s plans, but they don’t stop him, and the search for him and his followers continues into book 2, The White Lily. In short, The Harvester is out there…watching, waiting, biding his time.

FBI cult specialist Lilith Munroe lives in dread that one day the man who tortured her when a case went bad will find her again. So leaving her sanctuary in Quantico to join the Harvester Task Force in Boston is her version of hell. But the Harvester is kidnapping babies, and Lilith’s profiling skills may mean the difference between life and death for the most innocent in society.

Australian millionaire and former member of the New Horizon commune Jacob Andrews returns to the United States searching for his sister. Instead of the happy reunion he expects, he discovers she is dead and his twin brother may be responsible. He agrees to lend his law enforcement skills to help find his former cult leader before the man can implement his plan to kill millions.

Now uneasy partners, Jacob and Lilith must learn to trust each other even as they fight their growing attraction. But when Lilith’s greatest fears materialize, will Jacob be able to set aside his anger and save the woman he loves?

The story comes to an end in Book Three, The White Iris, due out in February 2016.

You describe your evolution into a micro publishing house. What’s that like?

I was unfortunate enough to be one of the authors sucked in by not one but two corrupt and deceitful women who set themselves up as publishers.

As a new author, getting offered a contract for a book was amazing, and seeing the book published was really something. I was over the moon when Crimson published Fire Angel, and that was my impetus to keep writing. I’d been warned about putting all my eggs in one basket. I had other new author friends who encouraged me to send stuff to their publishers, and I did. In fact, over the course of a year, I sent her three of my own books and one I co-wrote with another author to Front Porch Romance, and another to Entranced. At first it was great, but then, FPR published the books quickly, and although the editing wasn’t fantastic, it was okay, and the covers were nice. Then, people started quitting and she stopped paying royalties or paid for fewer books sold than Amazon said we had. By the time we realized we’d been screwed, it was too late. She declared bankruptcy, never paid what we were owed, but she did revert the rights to my books, but not the edits. I was faced with a choice. Lose all that work for good, try to find another publisher who’d take previously published material, or try to publish it myself. I was just coping with this when Entranced did the same thing, but because that book had never been published, I was able to send it to Crimson. One of my FPR books not yet published went to SCP, the other to Solstice. Friends persuaded me to self-publish the others, and helped with editing, formatting, and covers. That’s how I became a micro-publishing house.

I started with my historical, The Captain’s Promise and then my concurrent Christmas romances about a set of twins, Holiday Magic and The Perfect Choice. I edited all three books, got new covers for them, added significantly to the length of the Christmas ones and published them myself. When Secret Cravings Publisher went under in August, the publisher returned our rights and allowed us to keep our edits. Incidentally, she’s also doing her best to see we get the money we are owed, so very different from my first experience. I republished Echoes of the Past, which is a paranormal/romance/suspense set in Prince Edward County, Ontario. The other indie work I have consists of a sci-fi space opera called Eloisia, which comes out in monthly episodes, the way comic books used to when I was a kid. The story continues each month, the way television episodes do, building on the plot and adding new characters and new crises as needed. Each book ends on a cliff hanger. I don’t know how well it will do, but I’m happy with it. I have a beta reader and a cover artist who’ve been great. I’ll be releasing a novel on November 17, called Secrets and Lies. It’s part of a series of books about a small town called Hearts of Braden. It would’ve been published by SCP, but when the publisher failed, the other authors and I agreed to go ahead and do it ourselves.

Tell us about your Anaiah titles. How do you keep fresh, versatile?

Writing for Anaiah Press is different because of the restrictions—no sex, no swearing, etc.—but it lets me touch on the inspirational aspects of life. All For Love, currently available, and Hidden Assets which will be released in September 2016, are both romance/suspense novels, but while they look at the uglier side of humanity, they let me share my faith and my belief system. It may be naïve, but I firmly believe good triumphs over evil—it may take years, but in the end, good comes through. In those novels, it’s essential that the plot and character development be strong enough to carry the story, without hot spots to smooth over the rough places. My Crimson books have a lot that in them too, but they are grittier, earthier, and somewhat darker.

How many titles do you have to your credit? Give us your top three nearest and dearest. 

I’ve written and published 14 novels on my own since I started writing in the fall of 2012. In addition to that I have four shorts, one of which is a new Christmas story with Solstice called Her Christmas Hero, coming out on November 30, 2015. I also have 2 pieces I co-wrote, Grand Slam a baseball novella is no longer available because my writing partner has decided not to republish it, and a full length novel, to which my writing partner has given me the rights, which edited, revised, and retitled will be released independently sometime next year.

Picking the top three is difficult. Fire Angel will always have a special place in my heart because it’s the very first one I published. The Price of Honor is special because I based part of it on a romanticized view of my family history. The third is an 18 way tie. It’s like children. How does a mother pick her favorite?

Are you a method writer?

No. I’m a “fly by the seat of your pants” writer. I don’t have plot graphs or outlines, character sheets, motivation sheets. When I start writing each day, I have no idea what’s going to end up on the page. After 33 years as a teacher, a high school English teacher most of it, you’d think I would, but when I try to use an outline, it just doesn’t work.

Your thoughts on series writing? Do you use timeline packages like Scrivener to stay organized?

I’ve written what could be called four different types of series books. The first, Holiday Magic and The Perfect Choice, are written concurrently. While a lot of the content in each book is different, there are a number of similar scenes that occur in both books, but you read them from a different twin’s POV. Keeping the characters true to themselves in each book was a challenge.

The second series, the Harvester series, which I’m writing for Crimson, presented a different challenge. The romance in each book is different, but the main plot, finding and stopping the Prophet/Harvester and preventing his evil plans to destroy the country is the same. The characters from book one appear in both books two and three as do new characters, and keeping everybody in line, making the necessary references to the previous books for those who may not remember or for those who haven’t read the book without boring and turning off those who did, wasn’t always the easiest thing to do.

My space opera is the fourth type of series, and in this one, existing characters will grow and evolve as the plot does.

Do I use timelines? Sort of—scribbled pieces of paper to make sure I allow enough time to pass between scenes and keep events in order—but they get written down as they arise. How do I keep it all organized? Magic! That’s my answer, and I’m sticking to it.

What’s next?

Currently, I’m working on The White Iris, the final book in the Harvester series. When that’s done. I have another Christmas story to finish, a YA I promised my granddaughter, a fantasy about angels I want to edit, and a whole slew of plots yet to be written. I don’t know how much time God will give me to write, but I don’t want to waste a single moment of it.

Last words?

People ask me if I’m making money writing. Am I? Yeah. I think it works out to something like .002 cents per hour. I don’t write for the money. I write because the stories are screaming to get out and be heard. Do I wish I’d started writing sooner? Hell yes, but the reality is I wouldn’t have been able to do it any sooner. The technology wasn’t ready and neither was I. Maybe someday, I’ll write that bestseller and actually make some money, but for now, I’m happy that people who read my work enjoy it.

The White LilyThe Harvester is out there … watching, waiting, biding his time.

FBI cult specialist Lilith Munroe lives in dread that one day the man who tortured her when a case went bad will find her again. So leaving her sanctuary in Quantico to join the Harvester Task Force in Boston is her version of hell. But the Harvester is kidnapping babies, and Lilith’s profiling skills may mean the difference between life and death for the most innocent in society.

Australian millionaire and former member of the New Horizon commune Jacob Andrews returns to the United States searching for his sister. Instead of the happy reunion he expects, he discovers she is dead and his twin brother may be responsible. He agrees to lend his law enforcement skills to help find his former cult leader before the man can implement his plan to kill millions.

Now uneasy partners, Jacob and Lilith must learn to trust each other even as they fight their growing attraction. But when Lilith’s greatest fears materialize, will Jacob be able to set aside his anger and save the woman he loves?

Sensuality Level: Sensual

 

Buy Links

Amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/White-Lily-Susanne-Matthews-ebook/dp/B015P79XZ0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1443387932&sr=8-1&keywords=The+White+Lily+Susanne+Matthews

 

B&N:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-white-lily-susanne-matthews/1122682664?ean=9781440591228

 

KOBO:

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/ebook/the-white-lily

 

 

Excerpt from The White Lily:

It was her own fault that she was in this predicament. She’d been so close to completing her assignment, but she’d made a rookie mistake, one that would end in her death and condemn who knew how many young girls to this sick lifestyle.

After weeks of kowtowing to just about everyone living in the compound, she’d finally been allowed into the “holiest of holies” the large building specifically designed to house Rivers’s mates. She’d barely recognized Kelly, now heavily pregnant. Grossed out at the thought of Rivers rutting with girls as young as fourteen, Lilith jumped the gun, approached the girl, and identified herself as a family friend sent to rescue her. Sadly, brainwashed into believing she carried God’s grandchild, Kelly had betrayed her to the man who called himself the son of God.

Before Lilith could call in and report, two men stormed into her room, tore the place apart, and found the cell phone hidden under her mattress. They’d dragged her to this hellhole for re-education and introduced her to the monster. The Spanish Inquisition could’ve learned a trick or two from this guy, but she’d clung to her cover story in spite of the torture.

Licking her swollen lips with what little saliva she could produce, the sharp pain from the tooth she’d lost for joking about a crown of thorns, reminded her that she hadn’t gone down without a fight. In spite of everything those bastards had done to her, she hadn’t broken, and there was still a chance her team would get to her in time.

Her head tipped forward, allowing her chin to brush against her grandmother’s locket. Ironically, while they’d ripped away her clothes, the good luck piece still hung around her neck, its pendant hiding a miniaturized GPS placed there by the FBI technician before she’d entered the compound.

Her legs trembled and threatened to give way again. One mistake. One stupid mistake, but there might still be a chance for good to come from it. When she didn’t report in at her scheduled time, her team would storm the compound. Kelly and the other women and children would be rescued, and Rivers and his sick cronies would pay for their crimes—crimes that would include multiple cases of statutory rape and the murder of two federal agents.

Lacking the necessary strength to raise her head from her chest, unable to stem the tears coursing down her dirty cheeks, she took another agonizing breath and sought the sanctuary inside her head, the safe place she’d created years ago when her heart had been broken, the refuge she’d escaped into during the worst of the torture.

Gunshots echoed through the stuffy basement, rousing her, pulling her out of the daydream and bringing with it all the pain she’d suppressed. Her arms ached; the open wounds from the lashes, cuts, abrasions, and burns stung. Her body was on fire, a seething mass of agony.

Familiar voices shouted her name, but she couldn’t answer. She sighed. It wouldn’t be long now. The secret panel opened, revealing her dungeon. Part of her was humiliated at having her colleagues see her this way; another part didn’t care. It was over.

“What the hell have they done to her? Is she alive?”

Fingers on her throat checked for her pulse, and she fought to open her eyes. Pain from the brightness of the LED flashlight tore through her head, forcing a groan from her parched throat.

“For God’s sake, get her down and get the paramedics in here. Hang in there, Lilith.”

“Did you get them? Did you get them all?” she asked, her voice a mere whisper, but before he could answer, the blackness swallowed her once more.

About the author:

portfolioPic-20150722Susanne Matthews was born and raised in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada. She’s always been an avid reader of all types of books, but with a penchant for happily ever after romances. In her imagination, she travelled to foreign lands, past and present, and soared into the future. A retired educator, Susanne spends her time writing and creating adventures for her readers. She loves the ins and outs of romance, and the complex journey it takes to get from the first word to the last period of a novel. As she writes, her characters take on a life of their own, and she shares their fears and agonies on the road to self-discovery and love.

Follow Susanne on her:  Website    Blog    Facebook page    Twitter @jandsmatt

Amazon author page    and    Goodreads author page

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UPFRONT AND PRESENT: AUTHOR SUSANNE MATTHEWS

The Authors Susanne MatthewsToday, the blog welcomes romance author and fellow Ontarian Susanne Matthews. Educator, visionary, novel crafter, Susanne tackles her storylines with a view to a journey. From first page to last, her characters move and we, the readers, are transformed with them. Welcome Susanne.

The White CarnationThe last person disgraced reporter Faye Lewis wants back in her life is Detective Rob Halliday, the man she blames for ruining her career and breaking her heart. But when she finds an old friend murdered, he’s the one she calls.

For the past year, Rob and his team have been hunting the Harvester, a serial killer who ritualistically murders new mothers and vanishes with their infants. What Rob doesn’t need is another case, especially one involving his ex-fiancée.

Then Faye is assaulted, and Rob realizes the cases are connected. She may hold the answers he needs to find the elusive killer. But the more they investigate, the more complex the situation becomes. Can they set the past aside and work together, or will the Harvester and his followers reap another prize?

Excerpt from: The White Carnation

After more than four hours of hobnobbing with the rich and not so famous, Faye was hot, tired, and exasperated. The engagement tea had been even worse than she’d imagined. Clowns—they’d had clowns—and she hated clowns. You never knew who was behind that pasty white makeup. What kind of adults used a kiddy theme for their engagement party? Alright, so the groom’s family was in the home party décor business. What difference did that make? There had to be hundreds of themes more suitable to the occasion.

Imagine that snooty little bitch thinking she was the help—it might be the society page, but press was press. Thank God she wasn’t one of them anymore. Sure, the money, clothes, and bling were nice—although Faye wasn’t penniless, she did have to pinch the ones she had—but at least she had a valid reason for getting out of bed each day. Hopefully, Abigail and Reginald would be happy, but she wouldn’t count on it. If ever there was a marriage arranged in the boardroom, that was it. Imagining that couple on their wedding night as they completed the merger made her laugh out loud in the car. Miss Ice Cube wouldn’t possibly warm up enough for Mr. Icicle to penetrate in the first place … clowns or no clowns.

She slapped the steering wheel in frustration. The drive from Wellesley to Beacon Hill seemed interminable, and more than once, Faye cursed inept drivers who didn’t know the least little bit about driving or where they were going. She hated being late, and thanks to overlong speeches and bad traffic, she would be.

“Tourists,” she grumbled when a sudden exit off the highway almost caused an accident. “Too bad GPS doesn’t come with idiot-proofing.” When she eventually got off the I-90 and onto the side streets, she spotted a parking space on Marlborough only half a block from Mary’s family home, a neighborhood she remembered fondly from her youth. Well, at least the parking fairy’s on my side.

Glancing at the heavy gray clouds on the horizon, she cursed. It would rain soon, and she’d forgotten her umbrella in her desk. This jacket needed to be dry-cleaned, and she’d already blown this month’s budget for that. Grabbing the white carnation with the rainbow ribbon that her secret admirer had left on the windshield this morning, she got out of the car. That flower was the only bright spot in her otherwise dismal day. As always, there’d been no card. The individual flowers, their stems tucked in micro-vases that held the precious water they needed, arrived on a more or less regular basis. This was the fourth—no, the fifth one. Sloan had joked about the first one.

“Maybe O’Malley learned you hate roses.”

Jerk!

She was convinced her secret admirer was sweet and maybe a little shy. For a while, she’d thought Jimmy might have been leaving the flowers for her, but he’d been out of town on assignment the last two times. At least Mr. Mysterious wasn’t some crazed stalker sending her death threats. It was good to know someone still admired her, and if the only romance in her life was a carnation four or five times a year, so be it. Her crushed heart wouldn’t be in any danger that way. She usually took the flowers home, but this time, she’d give it to Lucy Green. Why not? The woman deserved a bright spot in her day, too.

The neighborhood hadn’t changed much. Did someone ensure that the geraniums in the window boxes looked exactly the same from year to year? Was a gardener paid to fluff the petals just so? The geraniums she’d hung on her tiny balcony had more than one dead bloom that needed removing. These? Not one.

The Greens lived in a unit on the top floor of a renovated brownstone. As she walked toward the building that had practically been her second home, Faye tried to let go of her frustrations and think of the simpler, happier days when she’d lived just a few blocks away. That had been fifteen years ago; Faye had been sixteen when her life had changed forever. She’d been the fun-loving one, the one people sought when they were down.

“Forgive me. I’m sorry.” God, she hated those words, the last ones her father had penned. She’d trusted him to love her and protect her, but he’d let her down. After one too many bad financial decisions, instead of sticking around and trying to fix things, Dad had taken the easy way out and left her and her mother to pick up the pieces. “Trust no one but yourself” was Faye’s mantra. Sadly, she’d forgotten it four years ago when she’d met Rob, and look at what had happened.

Today, her career was on life support and her heart was broken into so many pieces, she doubted it would ever be whole again. Sometimes, the easy way out didn’t look so bad. Maybe she was more like her father than she thought. She’d certainly made a few bad decisions of her own.

About the author:

new picture of meSusanne Matthews was born and raised in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada. She’s always been an avid reader of all types of books, but always with a penchant for happily ever after romances. In her imagination, she travelled to foreign lands, past and present, and soared into the future. A retired educator, Susanne spends her time writing and creating adventures for her readers. She loves the ins and outs of romance, and the complex journey it takes to get from the first word to the last period of a novel. As she writes, her characters take on a life of their own, and she shares their fears and agonies on the road to self-discovery and love.

Follow Susanne on her:  Website    Blog    Facebook page    Twitter @jandsmatt

Amazon author page    and    Goodreads author page

Proustian Questionnaire Image BIG
What are your thoughts on muses and do you have one? 

Muses are an interesting breed. Since I’m a pantser, I have to have a muse, otherwise, where would the stories come from? I can’t describe her, but she’s real. She enjoys tormenting me at night—giving me all kinds of great ideas that keep me from sleeping—ideas that disappear when I finally do, and even if I write down some key idea, that doesn’t make sense the next day. But, essentially, she’s kind, and shows up when I need her most. Since a lot of my books are suspense novels, she’s got to be the one with the experience, right?
Characters have a great capacity to love, yet they’re starved. Why do you think this happens in fiction and in real life? 

Love can be a scary thing. If you love someone deeply, you have to lay it all out there, and when you do, you can get hurt.  I think in many ways people are afraid to love. As a writer, I torture my characters, make it hard for them to find love because in real life, finding love and keeping it is a struggle. If it comes too easily, it’s not necessarily going to last. We value what we work hard for.

Without giving spoilers, would you say you’re a “happy ending” writer? 

Yes, absolutely. No matter what torment my characters undergo, in the end, things will work out for them.
What would you like to be remembered for?

I’d like to be remembered as someone who made a difference in someone’s life. If they enjoyed reading one of my books that would be great.

If you could dine with any historical figure living or dead, who would it be and why? 

William Shakespeare. I’d like to know how he’d feel knowing that those plays he wrote by hand have been immortalized. I’d also ask him why he created two such weak men as Hamlet and Macbeth. Even King Lear was powerless.

Past, present or future? Where does your mind dwell? 

Solidly in the present at least half the time. Since I write historical romance too, I guess 25% of the time I’m in the past. The other 25 % I’m thinking of the future and planning out what I need to do.
What informs your writing most? 

Not quite sure what you mean by this. If you’re asking about my inspiration, then it’s events in the news. I’ll see an article and research various aspects of it until I find a story notion—that’s where the muse kicks in.
Growing up in the Seventies, school kids were encouraged to think globally and act locally. Have you ever flirted with this philosophy? 

Growing up in the Fifties and Sixties, the world was a smaller place. I might dream globally, but I was firmly rooted at home. That really hasn’t changed. I have lots of friends around the globe now, thanks to Twitter and Facebook, but I tends to stay in my own corner of the world.
Guilty pleasures: we all have them. What is yours?

Cheesecake and red wine
Your greatest victory? 

Selling my first novel, Fire Angel. It was a dream come true.
Tell us about the one that got away. Person, place or thing. 

I had a chance to go to Woodstock in 1969, and I turned it down because I didn’t like the idea of having to sleep in a tent. I was 19.
What are some of the overriding themes in your work? Do you have a favorite? 

Good wins out in the end is the overriding theme. I don’t like to see women diminished or minimized in any way. True love always shines in the end.

Who do you admire and why? 

Nora Roberts. She has always been one of my favorite authors and I aspire to be as good as she is one day.

My daughter, Angela, because she has faced adversity and overcome it. She has four young children, and has raised them on her own while working full time. She’s my hero.
Are writers fully formed works of art or works in progress?

A work in progress for sure—one that gets better all the time.

Thank you for dropping by Susanne and much success with THE WHITE CARNATION.

Tomorrow: Author Raegyn Perry showcases LAVENDER FIELDS and muses her way through the Proustian Questionnaire

RP musing

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