Jen: Please help me welcome Susan St. Thomas to Book Talk. Susan, will you please share a short bio with us?
Susan: Primarily I’ve been a Scientist. I’ve had positions as a cancer research assistant specializing in second-hand smoke studies, industrial chemistry assistant, genetic technician, and most recently as a bio-analytical pharmaceutical chemist. Growing up, I wasn’t much of a reader. I preferred outdoor activities or watching television. As a stressed out mother of two small children with a full time career as a scientist, I read my first romance novel to fall asleep. I lost more sleep, but it was worth it. Shortly thereafter, I began to write for pleasure, and set a goal to be published one day. For a couple of years I was an online reviewer for aromancereview.com, and had the pleasure of interviewing my idol, Susan Elizabeth Philips. As a Scientist, turned Science teacher, I spend my days teaching the laws of nature to middle schoolers and evening penning sensual romances that will satisfy your romantic sweet tooth. I live in Central New York with family and friends. Readers are invited to visit Susan’s website at http://www.susanstthomas.com and blog at http://susanstthomas.blogspot.com/
Quirky fact: Susan worked as a cast member for the Disney Store and had to memorize over 300 trivia facts. How fast can you name the seven drawves?? (Hint: there are 2- S’s, 2- D’s and three emotions.)
Jen: At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
Susan: I wrote my first play in the fifth grade. The class made a comedy out of my drama and I never wrote again unless it was an assignment.
Call story- Ya never know who you’re gonna meet and where, especially at Nationals. Originally I’d conversed with someone who I thought was just another RWA member. She turned out to be an editor for another line of TWRP and set up the introduction with the Romantic Suspense editor.
I pitched Meltdown, outside the hotel, at the Dallas conference, in 90 degree heat. She requested the full and I got the call a few weeks later.
Jen: Are there any other writers, published or not, in your family?
Susan: I’ve encouraged my son to write since middle school. Now a college grad with a day job, he still writes amazing fantasies, but nothing he’s ready to submit.
Jen: How does your family feel about your career?
Susan: They are enjoying it to varying degrees. My sister loves telling everyone she knows. My son was a bit of a celebrity in the college dorm cuz him mom writes ‘hot stuff,’ while his younger sister didn’t breath a word.
Jen: Describe your writing in three words.
Susan: Speeds, Global, Warming 😉
Jen: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest?
Susan: Most challenging- having an interesting internal conflict, not an ordinary one. I don’t like the peanut butter jelly ones, like, ‘her husband was killed by a drunk driver so she won’t date a guy who has one drink.’ I keep asking, what really is bothering him/her. I keep asking, why? Why? And eventually, my characters surprise me.
Easiest? For me, the easiest would have to be choosing the hero and heroine. They always pop into my head. It’s love at first sight.
Jen: What’s the most rewarding aspect?
Susan: Before I became published I’d say, finishing the book. Now, to be honest, I love when people come up to me and chat about scenes in my book. It’s a rush. I’m not the only one who loves my characters and my world, and I especially love when readers want more.
Jen: How do you pick the character’s names?
Susan: Depends on the story. Sometimes they come easy. Sometimes I use colors until the right name comes to me. Sometimes I have to do a word search for a symbolic name. But they all are important and I do think it through.
Jen: Do you feel as if the characters live with you as you write? Do they haunt your dreams?
Susan: Yes, they do seem to live with you, but by choice, not like I’m some crazy Sybil-16-personality-psycho. Interestingly, the time my characters are 100% on my mind is when I’m driving. That’s when I do my best plotting, when my hands are on the steering wheel. There’s magic in the air in one 48 mile-stretch of the NYS Thruway between Utica and Syracuse. I know that’s why Evan is a NYS Trooper. I’ve passed so many while driving that I just had to write about one.
One of my favorite authors, Karen Marie Moning, has the knack of going to sleep and dreaming about her scenes. I sleep like the dead, and rarely remember any dreams except the falling from an airplane ones. I wish my characters would haunt my dreams- the sexy ones, not the creepy, stalky ones.
Jen: What five authors or people, from the past or present, have been important to you as an author? What question or comment have you always wanted to say to them?
Susan: Johanna Lindsey, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Judith McNaught, Jayne Anne Krentz,
I’ve met three out of five. When I began to read romance, their books moved me the most. The three I’ve seen I said the cliché- “I love your books.” But I think it would be really neat to sit and chat one-on-one over a decadent chocolate dessert.
Jen: What has been your highlight of your career to this point?
Susan: My book signing. I’d heard stories of one or two people showing up. Of course, the night before I had nightmares that: a.) I missed the event, b.) no one came. Instead, I had friends drive to B&N from hours away. My hand shook as I tried to be cool and sign autographs. You could have knocked me over with a biscotti.
Jen: Most people only dream of becoming a published writer. Now that you’ve accomplished that goal, is there anything else you dream of doing?
Susan: Yes- publishing lots more books. And seeing one made into a ‘made for Television movie.’
Jen: What’s next for you?
Susan: The sequel to Meltdown is another romantic suspense, Love Like You’re Dying. I’m also working on a romantic comedy.
Jen: Where can you be found on the web?
Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Susan: What occupation is your dream hero?
Jen: Susan is giving away am ebook copy of Meltdown and a $10.00 B&N gift card. To spread the wealth around, we’ll pick two winner. To enter the drawing for the ebook, you need to first leave a comment for Susan. For the $10.00 B&N gift certificate, let Susan know what actors you picture as Cassie and Evan. For both contests you must either leave your email address in your comment or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. Only those who give us a way to contact them will be entered in the drawing. The winner will be chosen on Friday, October 23.