Saturday, December 21, 2013

Water the inspiration for Susan's career

Hello Susan and welcome to Adventures in Authorland. Please get comfortable and share with us your writing journey.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I joined a professional writing organization. Two of them. First, Romance Writers of America and the local chapter. I also joined a local critique group for all genres and I realized how little I knew and how far I had to go to improve. I’d not made any money on my manuscripts and had no published works to my name. But it was that moment that I decided to take my ‘hobby’ to the next level and be more serious about it. That is when I considered myself a writer. Not just a dabbler.

 In which genre do you prefer to write and why?
I’d have to say it’s a tie between contemporary romance and romantic suspense. As I’ve improved in my writing and character development, I’m more confident and willing to take more risks. But its not the genres themselves that pull me in; it’s the concept of throwing together two completely different characters that wouldn’t normally connect otherwise without the crazy situation in the story.
That’s not to say that those are the only genres I read. Of course not. I love paranormal, historical, and young adult as well. But I’m the most confident in writing the contemporary and suspense.

You’ve recently signed with a publisher. Tell us about your writing journey before and after this point.

My first contract was on my third manuscript, if that gives anyone an idea. The first two were my ‘practice’ manuscripts, although I didn’t think they were just ‘practice’ at the time. As my skill and voice improved, so did my confidence. I went to conferences and sat in on craft sessions, I took online workshops and read so many books on various topics of fiction writing. When I completed the manuscript for AUDREY’S PROMISE (which took about 8 months, including editing), it was another full year of querying to agents and editors. The Wild Rose Press offered a contract after having the full manuscript for three months, and it was published six months later.
            This business takes A LOT longer than I anticipated to see any results, but it’s not just the destination that drives me, it’s the journey of discovering the characters and growing with them.
            I’m currently working on a romance suspense trilogy. The first is complete, and I’m nine chapters into the second. This is my first ‘series’ story, so there’s a whole new set of things for me to learn and absorb.

Can you give us some details about your upcoming release/s?

AUDREY’S PROMISE was released from The Wild Rose Press in November with Amazon and Barnes & Noble (ebook came out in August). It’s a contemporary romance about a Texas State Senate candidate who reluctantly invites a journalist home with her for Thanksgiving (to see the family side of her life). Things do not go well and chaos ensues. The small town dynamics pull on the emotional side of an otherwise unflappable candidate, all in the presence of a witty yet tortured journalist. While this story is completely fiction, I always throw in small bits of reality. For example, the turkey recipe at the family dinner is my mother’s real recipe. Also, the town of Mackineer is fictional, but the pond by the graveyard is real.

What place inspires you the most?
Water. Oceans, lakes, ponds, rivers, swimming pools. All of my stories have had some form of water in them that inspires or is the safe haven of a main character. I was born in Puerto Rico and lived the first five years of my life on the beach. I was then a springboard diver for twelve years. I LOVE the water. It’s where I hope to retire at some point with my family. For some reason, when I write a setting with water, I’m able to immerse myself in the story and see the characters more clearly.

Do you have any advice for new writers beginning their adventure?

Never quit. Keep going. This is a rough journey for most, but don’t stop. Work on growing a thick skin for the critiques and advice you’ll receive. Take each of those critiques with a grain of salt, but don’t disregard them completely, especially from people who are experienced in this business. Learn to decipher the difference between people who are truly trying to help you improve your story and craft, vs those who are just curmudgeons (there are plenty of those out there). Lastly, do not surround yourself with people who keep telling you nothing more than “I really like it,” or “good job.” Those comments do not help you improve (and EVERYONE can improve). Once again, never quit. Keep writing forward.
Side note: I wrote a short blog post on rules of fiction writing back in 2012. I think it will help here as well.


     Audrey Allen is poised to become the youngest Texas senator, a position that fits her nickname, The Peacemaker. But she's unable to make peace with many in her hometown, where memories and grudges run deep from a decade-old tragedy.
     Ethan Tanner, an ambitious and tantalizing journalist, joins her at Thanksgiving for an in-depth look at the promising candidate. But he has an agenda of his own that's not entirely honorable.
     Ethan could stir up trouble for her budding career, or awaken the deep passions she's buried for so long. Will Ethan find that he values love more than getting the story?


“I’ll be up front, Audrey.” Ethan pulled out a hand recorder. “What ghosts do you have in your closet?” The wink he threw at her didn’t disguise the seriousness of his intent, despite the playful tone.
     “Don’t you mean skeletons?” Miranda interrupted.
     “Nope, ghosts.”
     “What’s the difference?” Miranda eyed the recorder.
     “Skeletons are only scary. Ghosts from your past can truly haunt you.”
     “Aren’t you a little old to believe in ghosts?” Audrey asked with an infectious smile.
     “No. They make my job the most entertaining.” The light flashed in Ethan’s eyes and his grin became wicked. Audrey’s heart thudded against her sternum. It wasn’t fair to look that enticing.
     “Sorry to burst your pubescent bubble, but Halloween is over.” Audrey smiled through Miranda’s chuckle. But she couldn’t take her eyes off Ethan, assessing his resilience. Would he push and badger just like every other journalist? Were his cojones as big as he flaunted?

Susan Sheehey Biography:
Susan writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense and women's fiction. After spending six years in the corporate world, her true passion wouldn't let go and she's been writing ever since. She lives and laughs in Texas with her husband and son.


  1. Thanks for having me!!

  2. This book sounds like a great Holiday read. Best wishes with your book and for 2014!