BIO: Author Susan Crandall lived in Chicago and worked as a dental hygienist before pursuing her writing career. This title, SLEEP NO MORE, follows other titles: Pitch Black, A Kiss in Winter, On Blue Falls Pond, Promises to Keep, Magnolia Sky, Seeing Red, The Road Home, and Back Roads. She resides in Indiana with her husband and two children.
Thanks for being here again, Susan. It’s a pleasure.
The pleasure is mine, Kelly!
#1- Tell us a little about yourself outside of your writing career…
I live in the same Indiana town where I was born. I did have a seven year stint in Chicago right after I was married (which, brace yourselves, was when I was eighteen). I attended college there and our first child was born shortly before we returned to Indiana. In my first career I was a dental hygienist (does it make you wonder if the transition from hygienist to suspense writer says I really enjoy making people uncomfortable?). Food for thought. I’m still married to that same guy and have two grown children (a son and a daughter) and a humane society rescued dog, aptly named Bear for he looks like a black bear and sleeps a lot. I love reading, movies and music (listening only, as I have absolutely no musical talent whatsoever). I prefer being in small towns and open spaces over cities. I like to cook … and eat. I dislike clowns and looking at wind farms (don’t ask me why, I’m all for the energy thing, but those giant arms silently turning just creep me out).
#2- You write mainly romantic suspense. Any plans to venture out into a different sub-genre of romance such as paranormal or historical?
Funny you should mention those two particular sub-genres. I wrote in both of them before I was published and really enjoyed both. For now I’ve settled into suspense, I love the pacing and creating the lacy tension that holds the reader to the page. I’m not an ultra speedy writer, so one genre is all I can concentrate on at a time. Maybe someday I’ll venture back into paranormal and historical. I really think your voice needs to be different for historical. It might take a while to get back into that rhythm when I take the step.
#3- In this new book, SLEEP NO MORE, the heroine has been plagued by sleep-walking most of her life. Where did you come up with this idea, as most people know someone who has this condition, and what interesting things did you learn about it in your research?
When I begin working on an idea for a book, I like to search for ways to make the suspense personal as well as psychological. I tend to shy away from the hunt for serial killers. The idea of using sleepwalking as a way to put my character in peril came from one of my late-night-lying-in-bed-awake-thinking sessions. I can’t really say how it popped into my mind. But once it did, it stuck … and grew. I mean, how scary is wandering around with no conscious control of yourself? It would be nearly as disconcerting as having other people being able to see your dreams. My original plan had been to have my heroine witness something while sleepwalking (and to have the bad guys discover that she’d been present and likely seen what was going on) and then to have her slowly begin to remember scraps of vague memory that lead her to discovering the truth. Alas, as I researched sleepwalking I discovered sleepwalkers never have any memory of what they’ve done while sleepwalking. So the storyline had to be adjusted. I also found that more females than males suffer from sleepwalking. It normally begins in childhood (lots of times in pre-pubescent years) and most sleepwalkers cease the disorder before adulthood.
#4- What advice would you give to other aspiring romance writers?
I was writing for nearly ten years (five novels) before I had a book published, so clearly the one of the most important things is persistence and tenacity. There are tons of really good writers out there who have not yet been published. There’s a great deal of luck (right place at right time kind) involved too. And while you’re being persistent and tenacious, learn as much as you can about your craft and the industry. No matter how good you are, there’s always something you can improve upon. Network with other writers, it’s not only a great place to learn, it really nourishes the writing soul. Most of all keep writing. Don’t stop while you wait for your first book to be picked up by a publisher. When the time comes, you’ll have more material to offer, which is very valuable too.
#5- You are self-proclaimed to hate structure and schedules. What is the perfect setting for you to sit down and write a book and what does work for you?
I’ve discovered I’m much more productive creatively in the afternoon and at night, so I’ve learned to stop fighting it and write during those hours. I love sitting outdoors on my screened porch to write – which of course is impossible now when it’s 17 degrees out there. I have a bright and sunny office for winter months and night time (in the summer the bugs banging against the screen after dark drives me crazy). The key for me is silence. I have to be totally alone and have quiet. No music. No people milling around.
Oh yeah, and either a cup of coffee or a diet coke at hand.
#6- Are there any upcoming releases we would like to know about, and could you give us your web site so readers can check it out?
I don’t have a release date scheduled for my next book as yet. I’m working on a mainstream psychological suspense that I’m really excited about. I also have a women’s fiction idea brewing. To keep up with the latest news about my books visit: www.susancrandall.net
#7- This about concludes it. Thank you again for joining us. Is there anything else you would like to share?
For anyone who is interested in hearing more about my books and my writing process, I have a couple of video interviews on my website. I invite you to check them out.
Thanks so much for this opportunity, Kelly. It’s always enjoyable “chatting” with you!