Interview & Contest: Susan Wiggs

Jen:  Today we are excited to welcome Susan Wiggs to Romancing the Book.  Susan, will you share with us a short bio?
Susan:  Susan Wiggs’s life is all about family, friends…and fiction.

She lives at the water’s edge on a Puget Sound island and finds inspiration in the rhythm of the seasons, and in emotional dramas of everyday life. She’s been featured in the national media, including NPR’s Talk of the Nation, and is a popular speaker locally and nationally.

A #1 New York Times bestselling author, she has received three RITA(R) Awards and numerous starred reviews from Publishers Weekly. Her novels have been translated into more than two dozen languages.

The author is a former teacher, a Harvard graduate, and a passionate supporter of libraries and literacy. She loves hiking, biking, yoga and skiing, yet her favorite form of exercise is curling up with a good book.

Please visit her at And check out her Facebook page at

Jen:  Tell us about Return to Willow Lake.
Susan: It’s the story of Sonnet Romano, one of my favorite characters. She’s smart, ambitious, but clueless when it comes to matters of the heart. At the wedding reception of her best friend and stepsister, Daisy Bellamy, Sonnet starts something she can’t stop…

Jen:  How do you keep such a long running series fresh and new?
Susan:  By letting the characters take on a life of their own. People endlessly fascinate me–the things they love, the things they fear, the way they treat one another….These will always be fresh because people behave in such surprising new ways, all the time. A well-rounded character will never let you down, even when she’s misbehaving.

Jen: Do you have a writing routine?
Susan:  I create an outline and discuss it with my writers’ group, my agent and editor. Then I put it all away and just dive in and write until the characters seem to take on a life of their own. In RETURN TO WILLOW LAKE, this happened at a very specific moment–when Sonnet goes to meet her dad at a restaurant in New York City. She was so vulnerable at that moment, I could really feel for her.

I fit my writing into my life however I can–not the other way around. I write my first draft in a Clairefontaine grid-ruled notebook with a fountain pen using peacock blue ink. I’m not quirky, just a creature of habit. I tend to drag my manuscript along wherever I go.

Jen: If you could travel in time, where would you go and what 3 things would you take with you?
Susan:  I’d go back and give better advice to the teen me. 🙂 I would take some stock tips and winning lottery numbers along, just in case. 🙂

Jen: What’s next for you?
Susan: A nap. A trip to Alaska, a fall conference in Seattle, and many many hours of writing! Thank you so much for having me.


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15 thoughts on “Interview & Contest: Susan Wiggs

  1. Maria D. says:

    Fun interview! I do like to read books in a series – I feel as if I get to know the characters better and the world the author has created better too. I also like to see the primary and secondary characters interact and like for everyone involved to get a HEA. As to when a series should end – when the author decides it should end – when the author feels she’s done everything she can and wants to do in the world she’s created. I always think that if an author has reached what she thinks is the end and then a couple of years later wants to revisit because she has new stories to tell that she should be free to do that too:)

  2. Linda Mc says:

    I love the series. I find reading all the books a getaway of my own to Willow Lake. And I’m excited to read Sonnet’s story. As far as how long a series should go….as long as there are characters to populate it, I’m good with a series being many books. I tend to really like “settings” and places like Willow Lake, so taking me back there with character after character is fun for me.

  3. Barbara Elness says:

    I love series because it gives more time to really get to know the characters, especially in a series with the same main characters. Even if it’s a series with different main characters, there are usually secondary characters that we get to see all along the way. I don’t usually want series I love to end, but if they began to be too similar to each other, or not up to the standards of the previous books, then I think the author should end the series and work on something new.

  4. erinf1 says:

    Thanks for a great interview! Congrats Susan on the newest release!

    I love series. I love revisiting w/ characters that I’ve fallen in love with and getting to know secondary characters better. I don’t mind if each book is a different character, just as long as I can still get a glimpse of my other characters, especially enjoying their HEAs.

    I think that series should end when an author is revisiting the same stories and it’s not “fresh” anymore. A certain long, comedy mystery series with numbers comes to mind. When the characters aren’t moving forward or don’t experience any major growth. If I read an addition to a series and go “meh” or wow, this feels familiar, then usually I cut myself off. I have too many books and not enough money to spend on a series that’s just “rinse and repeat”.

    I have read such awesome reviews for Susan’s books, I feel like a dud for not reading her sooner 🙂 But one of my reading goals is to start this series! 🙂

  5. Carol L says:

    I love reading series books because the characters you meet in all the books continue and they become like family and friends after awhile. As for how long a series can last, I wish some would go on forever. Like the Outlander series, I never tire of it or Sherrelyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunters and the same with Gena Showalter, JR Ward and Larissa Ione just to name with long running series. I enjoyed this post and can’t wait to start this series.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  6. kelly mann says:

    I love this series and have been anxiously awaiting this next release. I love reading books in a series. I like to be able to keep up with all of the previous characters. I think it is time for a series to end when the stories start to seem the same.

  7. Diane Sallans says:

    I haven’t read this series yet, but I do enjoy stories about small towns. Series can go on as long as the author has different ideas for each book so that they don’t seem repetitive.

  8. JoAnne says:

    Interesting interview with some quirky but interesting questions.
    Read and reviewed the book. It definitely wasn’t my favorite of the series but I enjoyed reconnecting with the characters that have become like family.

  9. Maureen says:

    I do enjoy series as long as each story can stand on it’s own. I think a series can go on for quite a while, depending on the author.

  10. bn100 says:

    I like books in a series so you find out what happens after a happily ever after. I think a series should end when the author runs out of characters and stories to tell.

  11. Bridget O'Neill says:

    I believe that a series should end when the author feels that there is no more that she can do with the characters, or when the books seem to tread the same ground over and over again.
    I’ve never read Susan Wiggs’ books before, but they sound very interesting, and I plan to start soon!

  12. Crystal Newman says:

    Well I love to read your books. I also love series books. I believe that you should only stop when you are done with all the characters. When you no longer have no one else that is begging for their own story and nothing else to add. That is when I believe a series should end.

  13. latanya says:

    I like series and feel they should stop once there is nothing else for the writer to write about for the characters.

  14. carole says:

    I loe this series and looking forward in reading this book-like reading series for they can be about alot of characters and you get to feel them like your one of the family, they grow on you…Susan writes about her characters in such a way that you feel the happpiness or the sadness they are going thru…i like her books alot!

  15. Brandi F says:

    I love series and when I find favorite characters I never want that series to end as long as there is happiness throughout…….

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