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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Author Spotlight and Q&A with Susan Bischoff!

Hush Money (Talent Chronicles)

Paromantasy would like to shine the spotlight on author Susan Bischoff. Susan's debut novel, Hush Money , is a fantasy book that was released earlier this month and quickly caught my attention. This is the first of the Talent Chronicles series. I am reaching the end of this book, and will post my review tomorrow. I can tell you that it is filled with everything I love: mystery, romance, danger, and talents that are just plain hot! Talk about page turner,  I can't seem to put this book down! I was lucky enough to meet Susan via Goodreads, and she was kind enough to do a Q&A with Paromantasy about her life, her book, and what it means to be a debut author.

Let's give a warm welcome to Susan Bischoff!
Tell us about yourself.

I’m just a girl who wants superhero romance! Is that so much to ask? Why must it always be a tragedy? Why does Angel walk away? Why does Spike—what did happen to Spike? Why did Wonder Woman go back home after the end of season 1 and WWII, then come back, work with Steve Trevor’s grandson, and still not hook up? Seriously! And let’s not even talk about Superman 4, ok? Let’s. Just. Not.

When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always been into making up stories, the way kids do, but I’ve always lived very much in my own head. When I played dolls as a kid, for example, I never voiced them out loud, they just had their dialogue in my head. I never stopped doing that, and never stopped having words (and yes, voices) in my head. There’s no big leap to putting those to paper, it’s showing the paper to someone else that can take a bit of prompting.

When I was in high school, I had a teacher take me aside and tell me, “You are a writer, and you’ll never be happy unless you’re writing.” Man, that’s stuck with me. Sometimes, in living with these characters and all their demons, I have to wonder if I’m happy while I’m writing either. But at the end of the day, I’m always happy, having written.

Where did you get the idea for Hush Money from?
Hush Money is the first story in the Talent Chronicles, and the series has long been in development, pulling bits of inspiration from lots of different places. But the short story on Hush Money is that I had taken a break from writing for an extended period and was having trouble getting back into it. My critique partner, Kait Nolan, suggested that I put the Talents aside for a while and start something fresh, maybe that would give me a jump start. But nothing appealed.

It was during yet another back-to-back, marathon viewing of the whole Buffy series on DVD (downtime is always used wisely), that I thought, Man, I would just love to have a character like that, to take a girl and grow her into her power, into who she’s going to be as a person. To see her struggle with responsibility and shoulder the burdens of a superhero.

That’s when Joss was born. The rest of the story was just about giving her what she needs in order to become what she can.

Who is your favorite character in Hush Money and why?
Well, it’s got to be Joss, right? There are a few that I love, and Dylan can be quite the charmer, but Joss is special.

Are your characters based on people you know?
First of all, every character is a facet of me. In order for me to hope to write a character with any sort of realism, there has to be a bridge, some kind of common ground I can cross. That doesn’t mean that they’re all the same, or that they are all me (oh my goodness!), but there’s something that I, personally, relate to in every character. It’s my hope that those bits of me are also things that my readers can relate to, so that they can make connections with the characters too, because that’s part of what makes reading rewarding.

Other than that, it’s random selection. Looks like this one, talks like that one, has the annoying habit of that guy over there. I mix it up. Kat looks like an absolutely beautiful girl from my high school, whom I didn’t really know, but always seemed sweet, and far less pushy than Kat. There are things about Dylan that remind me of my husband at that age, and yet he is also completely different. I’m sure that there are lots of quirks and traits that I’ve drawn from real people without being conscious of it.

Who are some of your favorite authors and why?
Ayn Rand was a big inspiration to me, as far as writing in general, and I really love the…bitterness I feel coming off of some of her characters. I’ve loved reading Shannon McKenna’s romantic suspense (adults only, please), for the way she can craft so much emotional intensity into such masculine Alpha hero packaging. Nora Roberts is where she is for too many reasons to talk about. Elizabeth Haydon’s Rhapsody, Prophecy, and Destiny books blew me away when I read them. And I absolutely swooned over reading the Mars manga series by Fuyumi Soryo. Fabulous teen melodrama.

Recently, I’ve been reading more indies. My good friends and mentors, authors Kait Nolan  and Zoe Winters write fantastic paranormal romance of the magical people/creatures variety, and have some serious world-building skills. New finds and friends are Stacey Wallace Benefiel and Imogen Rose who write paranormal romance with teen characters. Both of them rock and write characters you can’t stop thinking about when you have to be away from the book.

What books are you reading now?
I’m reading The Synthesis , first book in the Powerless series by Jason Letts. Opposite to mine, it’s about a girl who has no special ability in a world in which everyone has a superpower. Very imaginative and well-told. I can’t wait to finish it.

I’ve also got School's Out - Forever (Maximum Ride, Book 2), City of Bones (Mortal Instruments, No 1)) , and Wicked Lovely started and need to finish them. But any day I’m expecting Brody’s Ghost by manga artist Mark Crilley, whose Miki Falls series I adored, to arrive in the mail, and then who knows what will happen.

Was writing and publishing your book exactly how you imagined?
Hmm…It took longer to get Hush Money out there than I thought it would. I just deleted the long version of the story. The short of it is that even for an indie, it’s not all you. You need other sets of eyes on the project, and those eyes need time because, get this: their lives don’t revolve around your writing. Seriously, it was a shock, but that was what I learned. So getting those go-aheads put weeks into the process that I hadn’t counted on.

Other than that, not really. Maybe how not such a bit deal it was to format my work for Amazon and Smashwords. That was all smooth sailing. I’m currently work on getting the print version out as well, and so far that also seemed intimidating before but doesn’t seem like it’s going to be as bad as people make it sound. (Message for indies: don’t let anyone convince you that you can’t do this stuff until you give it a try.)

Are you working on any other projects we should watch out for?
Like I said, I’m working on getting the print version of Hush Money out through CreateSpace. I’ve just sent the details to Robin for the full version of the cover, and I need to do some additional proof-reading for the formatting changes I made. I hope that will be available through Amazon in a few weeks.

I’m working on the next book in the series. Heroes ’Til Curfew picks up about a month after the end of Hush Money. It’s a book of more: more action sequences, more romance, more new characters and supernatural powers. More work for me, but I love it. Joss will continue to weigh the issue of personal safety vs. the greater good. She’ll find herself under some pressure to become both a crime-fighter and a leader. Dylan will have to deal with his protective feelings for Joss without holding her back, and that’s not going to be easy. […on today’s Oprah: Dylan Maxwell, author of Kick-ass Super Chicks and the Guys Who Love Them]

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book or publishing experience?
The only real thing is that I wouldn’t have waited so long. Everything about this, from the moment I started page one, has just been so positive. So for something to gripe about, I have to feel like I wasted a lot of time being scared and dithering.

But, you know, it is what it is. Two years ago, I didn’t know some of things I do now, and Hush Money would have been less if I had done it then. But then, if I’d been putting stuff out there for the last two years, imagine what I’d be writing now??

Is that circular logic? That’s just evil. Moving on…

What do you do when you are not writing?
I just got the first three discs of the last season of Lost in the mail today, so we know what it is this week. Other than that, I’m really girly. I knit, and do all kinds of other needlework stuff. I collect dolls, sew for them, and sometimes they have stories. Do not tell Joss.

Tell the readers what to expect from Hush Money.
What I wanted to give you in Hush Money was a well-paced read that pulls you into Joss’s world, into her life. I think you’ll root for her as she finds her way through the complications of the story, because I think a lot of people can identify with things she goes through. I think you’ll be charmed by Dylan as his interest in Joss and her problems helps him grow as a person. I think you’ll hate Marco. You should. He’s a dick. I think you’ll do some laughing, roll your eyes a few times, possibly growl, and say, “Yep, been there, done that too…only, you know, without the superpower thing.”

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
As a practical consideration, I’d like to remind the readers that indie authors have virtually no promotional budget. We aren’t even on the bookstore shelf to catch your eye. Word of mouth is all we have. If you enjoyed an indie book, the best thing you can do for the author is to tell people. Every review on Amazon is a huge boon to an indie. Any tweet that you can spare helps us. They say it takes at least five mentions for someone to try a new product. From us, it’s spam, but from you, it’s a recommendation. You’re the ones selling the books now, and you get to decide who sinks and who swims.

But most of all, and most sincerely, thank you. Without you, there’s just no point, and I’d just be sitting around playing with my Talent World Brain-Doll Action Playset in my head. And it’s not half as fun playing alone. 

Can't get enough of Susan Bischoff? I got the perfect solution, follow her! Not literally people, that's called stalking! She can be reached at the following links:

Susan is a wonderful writer. great person, and has such a lively spirit. I think you can tell what a talented author and person she is from this interview. Let's give Susan our support!
If you have read her book, love the interview or just want to know more, leave a comment and we will get back to you!


Kait Nolan said...

Read it, loved it, dying for more. That is all.

Oh, and as her crit partner, I'll get to see the sequel before anybody else. Does that make me want to go neener neener neener? Yeah, maybe a little... :D

Susan Bischoff said...

Thanks for this opportunity to tell your readers a little something more about Hush Money and the Talents. And also for the lovely things you said about me.

And thanks, Kait, for being the first to chime in and say something supportive, as usual.

Dana said...

Great Interview! I cannot wait to see your review on her book. It sounds like it is going to be good. I am adding this book to my list. I enjoy finding new authors so thanks for the interview and bringing Hush Money to my attention.

busywriting.net said...

Thanks for the interview. I love hearing about how other writer's work and how they get their ideas, etc.

I also like your point about readers supporting the writers, esp. the self published ones. I've been making it my goal recently to purchase Twitter Writer books as I am able (ie: books by authors that I come across on Twitter) (I've managed 2 so far, though I've created a wish list for more)...and then when I'm done I'm going to donate them to the library (those that aren't ebooks, that is!) so they can have, hopefully, even more readers!

But I think I'm also going to add reviews on amazon etc. as you mention, as another means of support. Thx for the great idea!

Of course, I will be adding Hush Money to my wish list...sounds great!


Julie Johnson

Paromantasy said...

Thanks Julie! I truly believe that there are so many talented writers, and I especially love to find those that are self published. Many have tried to go through the traditional channels, like Susan, but many talented writers are overlooked. Case in point again is Susan Bischoff. I have just finished reading Hush Money and I thought it was wonderful. I'll post my review tomorrow. I am so glad that there are others who share my sentiment for the indie writers! Thanks again for your wonderful comment, for supporting the undiscovered authors, and for adding Hush Money to your TBR list. You won't be disappointed :-)

Paromantasy said...

Kait, thanks for your comment! It is a must read, and I am so jealous that you get to read the second installment before the rest of us. I also want to add that I have your novel on the TBR pile a well! Thanks again for supporting Susan by being numero uno in the comment section! You deserve first crack at her next book for being so supportive. I see why she admires you!

Susan, I thank you for letting me interview you, and for giving me the chance to read Hush Money. That book is all kinds of awesome! You are not only a great person, but a wonderful and witty writer. I can't wait for the next installment!

Thanks for the wonderful comment, and for adding Hush Money to your TBR list. I can guarantee taht you are going to be dying for the next book in the series, like I am :-)

Natalie (Mindful Musings) said...

I was just looking at this one on Goodreads, and then I happened across this post! I think it's definitely going on my TBR list now. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I guess I will be reading this book. Thanks for the insight.

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