BIO: Author Susan Kearney is a native of New Jersey, writes full time and has sold books to the industries' top publishing houses. As an award-winning author, Kearney earned a Business Degree from the University of Michigan. Her knowledge and experience spans throughout the romance genre, and her fifty plus books include contemporary, romantic suspense, historical, futuristic, science fiction and paranormal novels-- with Lucan and Rion available now as part of this series, and Jordan coming in March 2010. She resides in Tampa, Florida with her husband and children.
Thanks for being here yet again, Susan. It’s a pleasure having you back a third time. This could get to be a habit I enjoy.
#1- Tell us a little about yourself outside of your writing career… I love sports. I competed as a diver for the University of Michigan. Over the years I’ve taken up tennis, karate, belly dancing and figure skating. I also love to travel and took a fantastic trip last year to the Orient. I have two Boston Terriers and live by the water—apt for an Aquarius.
#2- You’ve worked with several different publishing houses in your career. What were your experiences like and was it challenging working with so many editors? Oh my. Answering this question could be a book in itself. Last count, I was up to 19 editors. The great part about this business is that almost all of my editors loved books. They want to make the books better. Sometimes we agree . . . it gets sticky when we disagree. I’ve found the best way to handle any differences of opinion is to ask, “What is bothering you?” Then if I like the editor’s suggestion on how to fix it, I use their idea. Sometimes I think of another solution and have found most editors are open to my ideas. The important thing is to listen. Really listen. Often what is in my head is NOT on the page. And if something stops an editor, it will stop readers, too. Once when I was writing for Harlequin the copy editor had never heard of ROTC—she was Canadian. But I do have Canadian readers so they probably wouldn’t know the acronym either. So I clarified.
A few of my editors have been fabulous, Amy Pierpont, Brenda Chin, Patricia Smith, to name a few They think of new angles, new subplots, new ways to employ characters that are already there. And that collaboration is thrilling. It’s also difficult to tear apart a book and put it back together. I love the challenge. And when the editor is spot on—it frees the writer to just do your thing because you know the editor will pull you back if you go too far out there. That kind of team work makes for brilliant books. And I’ve been lucky to work with several editors who really have raised my work to the next level.
As for different publishers, this is always tricky. At some houses I personally knew the marketing, production, and art department staffs. In other houses we email. And at some publishing houses, your editor is always the go-to person. So when I switch houses I try really hard to ask the “rules” to avoid stepping on toes.
#3- You’ve written in almost every sub-genre of romance. What do you feel was the most well-received with your audience and why? This is a very difficult question. Because what I do best is a relatively small genre. While my romantic suspense books have been very well received—because it’s a larger audience, I think my futuristic romances are more unique. My pacing and voice match the genre. Plus the science fiction elements are unusual. Especially since I mix paranormal elements with my science fiction. But first and foremost to me is the romance and I think many readers will switch subgenres for a good romance.
#4- Have you ever suffered writer’s block or worry you might let your fans down, and if so, how do you work through it? I’ve never had writer’s block, but I do worry about my readers. And yet, everyone has different tastes. Readers are with my books for a few hours or at most a few days. I’m into my stories for months. So in the end, I have to please myself.
#5- Assuming you get any time to read, what authors do you like to read, and were there any books that stand out from your childhood as favorites? As a child, I loved the Noddy books. And English series about other worlds. As a teen I read Asimov, Heinlein, Clark and EE Doc Smith. Now, I try to read new authors to keep up with the markets and a few of my favorites, Linnea Sinclair, Sandra Hill and Julie Leto. Occasionally I reread my all-time favorite, Atlas Shrugged.
#6- You are an avid sports fan, dabbling in figure skating and belly dancing. What draws you to those in particular? I’ve always loved flying through the air. That started with tumbling and proceeded with diving. Figure skating, floating across the ice and spinning in the jumps is a similar feeling. And you have to concentrate . . . or you fall. After a practice session I realize I haven’t thought about a book for an entire hour. So it’s mentally relaxing. Sitting in a chair typing all day is not good for the back. Belly dancing strengthens the abs. And it makes me listen to music—a new mental skill.
#7- This about concludes it. Thank you again for joining us. Is there anything else you would like to share? I would like to tell readers that if one of my books appeals to them, they can read them out of order. Each book, LUCAN, RION, JORDAN has its own love story. Of course I hope you’ll love one story enough to read the entire trilogy—but you can enjoy JORDAN even if you’ve never read a Susan Kearney book. And all of the books are still in print. You can read excerpts at www.susankearney.com