Author Interview: Susan Dennard

It’s been a month since my frend Sooz’s debut novel, SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY, hit the shelves. One whole month!

I devoured my copy in one sitting. It’s a fast-paced, dark, sexy romp with an utterly endearing heroine. I loved it! Definitely one of my top-five reads for this year.

So I’m beyond thrilled to have Sooz let me mark the occasion with her. We’re celebrating with a special author interview and the chance for you all to win a hardback copy of your own—stay tuned for that.

A bit about Sooz:

Susan Dennard is a writer turned marine biologist turned writer again. SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY is her debut novel. Among the traits she shares with her heroine Eleanor are a weakness for Shakespeare quotes, a healthy appetite for baked goods, and an insatiable curiosity. Sadly, Susan does not get to wear a corset or wave a parasol on a daily basis.

You can stalk her on several platforms: her blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. She is also a contributor to Pub(lishing) Crawl, a resource for aspiring writers on all things to do with books, the writing craft, and publishing industry.

And here’s a little on SS&D:

There’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia…

The year is 1876 and Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper—

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor…from her brother.

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including their maddeningly stubborn yet handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.

Now, onto the interview:

1. What does your perfect day look like?

Hmmmm…perfect day… It would start around sunrise with a hearty breakfast (and coffee–of course). Then a trip to the nearby lakeshore for a walk and swim with my dogs. After that would be a leisurely shower and then WORK! Writing, revising–something with my stories. A fresh lunch (sandwiches perhaps?) followed by more coffee and more work. In the mid-afternoon, I’d take my dogs for a walk to the post office so we can check for mail, and then–you guessed it–back to work until my husband gets home. Then we’d cook together, eat out on the patio, and probably watch an hour of TV together. Finally, I’d curl up in bed with a book and read until I fell asleep.

Sigh. That sounds like a lovely day.

2. What are you reading right now?

I am reading BOUND by Erica O’Rourke. It is just mindblowingly good. I knew it would be–TORN and TANGLED were nothing short of phenomenal–yet somehow BOUND manages to be even better.

3. Are you as impulsive as your heroine, Eleanor Fitt?

No, no, no! Ha! I wish I was more impulsive, actually. I’m one of those people who has to think through everything and I’ll spend days and days mulling over a simple decision.

4. What’s your favourite line from SS&D?

“You have the curiosity of a cat and common sense of a goldfish.” Daniel says that to Eleanor, and it’s pretty much true. ;)

5. What inspired you to write about necromancy?

Garth Nix’s ABHORSEN series actually gave me the idea. I adore that trilogy, and I knew I wanted to incorporate some form of walking dead into my book. But–like SABRIEL–I wanted these to be magical dead instead of the viral zombies we see so much today. It only made sense that I’d turn back to the original form of zombie–a corpse controlled by a necromancer. :)

6. What was the first story you ever wrote—and what was it about?

The first story I ever wrote from beginning to end was about an archaeologist in Egypt whose research was interrupted by Nazis (um, Indiana Jones rip off, much?) and ended up meeting a wounded American soldier. Since he was on the run from Nazis, it only made sense that they would join forces and–in their flight–conveniently solve the mystery of her research too.

Needless to say, it was a pretty terrible story. I think I was about 12 when I wrote it.

7. Can we get a glimpse of where the magic happens (read: your writing space)?

I literally JUST moved, so I have a totally new, disaster zone writing space. I also don’t have nearly enough shelf space, so it would seem a trip to Ikea is in order soon…

8. What’s the hardest part of writing?

The self-doubt. I find that’s the hardest part, and–oddly enough–it’s much, much stronger now that I’m published than it ever was before I had an agent. There are so many more things for me to worry about now. It’s not just a matter of wading through the slush, but getting my book into readers’ hands, satisfying my publisher with sales, meeting deadlines, dealing with reviews (good and bad), and on and on. I thought things would be easier once my book was in the world, but the truth is that they aren’t. I have a lot more fear, and I literally have to lock myself in dark room–shut off the rest of the world so my inner editor has no fodder–when I want to get any writing done.

Sounds pathetic, I know, but I also know I’m not the only author like this…

9. What’s next for you, besides the rest of the SS&D series? Or is that too far ahead for you to even think about?

I have a few other manuscripts under my belt. I think I’ll pull out my epic fantasy, SCREECHERS, after SS&D is all wrapped up. I have about 60K in that, and I’d really like to finish it. (I adore it so very much!)

10. Can you give us any sneak peeks into what we can expect in ‘A Darkness Strange and Lovely’?

Well, there are new forms of undead including a mischievous demon. Eleanor and the Spirit-Hunters are in Paris for most of book 2, and–as I’m sure you can guess–there’s a lot of tension between Eleanor and Daniel. ;)

Do you want a chance to get your hands on a hardback copy of SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY? If so, then be sure to leave a comment letting me know what YOUR perfect day would look like, and I’ll announce the winner next week! And yes, the giveaway is international.

To enter the giveaway, please follow this link to the Rafflecopter page.