By Susan Sloate
Susan will be awarding a notebook perfect for journaling to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. So please be sure to leave a comment below along with your email address. To increase your chance of winning stop by the other tour stops. You may find the other tour locations here... http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2013/06/virtual-book-tour-stealing-fire-by.html
Crystal: Today as part of the Goddess Fish Virtual Book tour, I have the opportunity to interview Susan Sloate. Would you share a little bit about yourself with us today?
Susan: Sure! And Crystal, thanks for inviting me to visit you today!
I’m the author of more than 20 published books, with three more coming out this fall. The first, STEALING FIRE, is a love story between unlikely soul mates, set in the world of the Broadway musical theater in 1980’s New York and L.A. My lovers meet in a phone call over a New York hotel switchboard, and their conversations start in anger, turn to interest and become something very passionate and lasting.
FORWARD TO CAMELOT (50th Anniversary Edition) is a new edition of a book I wrote with my co-author, Kevin Finn, and first published in 2003. It’s a time-travel thriller about the JFK assassination, which of course is very timely with this being the 50th anniversary of the event (hence our subtitle). Our story is unlike all other JFK time-travel stories (which I think is its own cottage industry): in our novel, the antagonist is not crazy Lee Oswald. Ours is a story about an organized conspiracy that our heroine must somehow try to save the president from. That may be why our readers for the past ten years have enjoyed it so much. I’m really looking forward to the new edition coming out in October!
My third novel, co-authored with Ron Doades, is REALIZING YOU, a self-help NOVEL with full-blown characters, storylines and situations, but meant more to help people change through understanding themselves. That should be out in October too.
Crystal: Do you have a favorite scene you would like to share with us?
Susan: It’s funny, because though I do like a lot of the passionate love scenes in the novel, my favorite scene doesn’t have anything to do with the love story at all. In the story, my hero, Beau Kellogg, is a Broadway lyricist who’s been passed by in the rush toward Andrew Lloyd Webber productions. When he has an unexpected freak song hit, he gets an early-morning phone call from a Broadway producer he couldn’t even get in to see a few months before, though they’d worked together years before. Beau has a great time on this call, because the producer is pretty much begging to see what he has, and for writers who get very little respect, it’s a wonderful moment. I loved writing it, and every time I re-read it, it makes me smile.
Crystal: Where did you come up with the idea for STEALING FIRE?
Susan: This is almost totally autobiographical. I actually had a very passionate soul-connection-type love affair years ago, and started writing this while I was in the middle of the relationship. I was very young and didn’t understand a lot of what was happening at the time, but have learned a lot through the years. I wrote a lot of pages, mostly disconnected scenes, and didn’t consciously think much about the plot or the structure. Just kept writing scenes and storing them away. I eventually transferred the whole thing to computer and then just kept the files, though I never did anything with them. When Amazon had its first Breakthrough Novel Award contest in 2007, I dug out the files and in a week, more or less finished the book. This spring, when Drake Valley Press asked to publish the book, I did the final edits. But it took 30 years from the first typed pages to the finished product.
Crystal: What are you currently working on?
Susan: There’ll be a sequel to FORWARD TO CAMELOT, probably next year. And I have a half-finished novel about my experience running a recent political campaign. That will be ready for publication pretty soon too.
Crystal: Do you have any special routine that you follow when you are writing?
Susan: I find that I do my best work if I sit down at the computer early in the morning. This often means going to my desk as soon as I get out of bed and holding off on personal grooming for several hours. If I kick off the day with some good writing time, it tends to make everything go better. I’m told a lot of writers prefer to get an early start on their writing day; I’m not the only one. I don’t have any particular rituals for writing, just sitting down, re-reading what’s already there and jumping back in.
During Nanowrimo in November, I do have more rituals. Nano is a mad marathon to write 50,000 words of an original novel in 30 days, so quantity is king during that time. I’m constantly looking at my word count in Word, hoping to pump it up high. And when I’ve finished a Nano writing day, there are places to mark in my little blue book given by the city Nano leaders. It makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something … or I’m a lot more anal than I realize.
Crystal: Did you have to do a lot of research for this book or any other? If so do you have a fascinating fact that you have learned you would like to share with us?
Susan: I didn’t do much research at all for STEALING FIRE. This was the ultimate case of ‘write what you know’—I set the story in the world of the Broadway musical theater because I’d loved it since childhood and grown up knowing it. I had to check a few facts and spellings, but very little: knowing all these scores and the stories behind them was a big help. I did get some friends to help me research hotel management, and they were very helpful.
I did much more research for FORWARD TO CAMELOT, and Kevin and I are proud that we’ve uncovered so many little-known facts about the JFK assassination, things that are tied in to gunrunners who were stealing weapons to fight Fidel Castro with, that kind of thing. Unfortunately, we didn’t find out till five years after we first published the book that the central premise of our story—JFK’s personal Bible that was used to swear in Lyndon Johnson on November 22, 1963—was not lost, as we had read in one source. Turns out it’s actually been on display in the LBJ Presidential Library for many years. We had double-checked with the JFK Presidential Library but never thought to check anywhere else. Ah, well. It makes a great premise for a treasure hunt in the story.
Who are some of your favorite authors that you like to read?
Dick Francis: my favorite mystery writer of all time. Daphne du Maurier. Ayn Rand. I like Robin Maxwell’s historical fiction a lot. My friend Robbie Branscum, who was instrumental in getting me to finish STEALING FIRE—it was her favorite work of mine. Robbie published 23 books in her lifetime, young-adult stories about the Arkansas back hills, where she grew up. They’re excellent.
Crystal: Is there any genre you haven't written that you would like to try?
Susan: I’ve actually written multiple genres: history, historical fiction, biography, sports, mystery, romance, self-help. They’ve all been enjoyable. I’ve also written stage plays and screenplays (both stage plays were produced, and I’ve optioned a couple of the screen properties to Hollywood companies). I have projects I still haven’t finished, about subjects that matter to me (like 1950’s New York). But I don’t think there’s a genre I’d like to write that I haven’t tried yet. Maybe it’ll come up. If so, I have a great adventure in store!
“How do you recognize your soulmate?
In glittery 1980’s Los Angeles, Beau Kellogg is a brilliant Broadway lyricist now writing advertising jingles and yearning for one more hit to compensate for his miserable marriage and disappointing life.
Amanda Harary, a young singer out of synch with her contemporaries, works at a small New York hotel, while she dreams of singing on Broadway.
When they meet late at night over the hotel switchboard, what begins will bring them each unexpected success, untold joy, and piercing heartache ... until they learn that some connections, however improbable, are meant to last forever.
STEALING FIRE is, at its heart, a story for romantics everywhere, who believe in the transformative power of love.”
STEALING FIRE was a Quarter-Finalist (Top 5%) in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest.
Oh, God, it was him, the bastard who had upset the switchboard operators and bellowed through the lobby loudly enough to alert all five boroughs. At three o'clock in the morning, asking for room service. Unbelievable.
Amanda leaned back in her chair. Her stomach was tightening inexplicably. "I'm sorry," she said finally, when she could control her voice. "Room Service closes at midnight."
There was a pause. "Oh. What time is it now?"
She looked at her watch. "Ten after three."
"Then whom am I speaking to?"
"I'm the night operator. This is the main switchboard."
"Well, main switchboard, you must all sound alike down there. I could swear I talked to you earlier tonight."
Well, how about that. "You've got a good ear, 704. I was on duty earlier."
"Good Lord. How long are the shifts around here?"
"Eight hours for everybody else. I’m working a double today."
"Maybe I just love it here."
"I guess you do. But I hope you're well compensated."
Trust a man to think of money first. "That’s not my major concern."
"Glad to hear it."
Okay, enough's enough. It's been a long day, made even longer by him. No reason to shoot the breeze with this guy. "Excuse me, I have other callers. Sorry I couldn’t help you."
"Well, better luck with them."
"Look, if you'd called earlier—"
"Absolutely. My fault entirely, for falling asleep after a cross-country flight, a time change and a screw-up in hotel administration. Forget I even mentioned it." The phone clicked in her ear.
She sat for some moments before she noticed she was trembling. This was the second time he'd undermined her—and it bothered her.
Susan Sloate is the author of 20 published books, including FORWARD TO CAMELOT (with Kevin Finn), an alternative history of the JFK assassination, STEALING FIRE, an autobiographical love story, and REALIZING YOU (with Ron Doades), for which she invented a new genre – the self-help novel. FORWARD TO CAMELOT was a #6 Amazon bestseller, took honors in 3 literary competitions and was optioned for film production by a Hollywood company. STEALING FIRE was a quarter-finalist in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest. Susan has also written young-adult fiction and non-fiction, including RAY CHARLES: FIND ANOTHER WAY!, which won a silver medal in the 2007 Children’s Moonbeam Book Awards, AMELIA EARHART: CHALLENGING THE SKIES, a perennial Amazon bestseller, and MYSTERIES UNWRAPPED: THE SECRETS OF ALCATRAZ, which led to her appearance on a special for The History Channel in 2009, as well as books for five girls’ fiction series. As a screenwriter, she has written an informational film for McGraw-Hill Films and optioned two scripts to Hollywood production companies. As a sportswriter, she’s covered the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the New York Mets. She’s also managed two recent political campaigns, founded the East Cooper Authors Festival (which put 18 professional authors in 17 area schools in one day) and serves on the Culture, Arts and Pride Commission of the Town of Mount Pleasant.
Amazon Buy Link: Stealing Fire
Susan's Website: http://www.susansloate.com/