Guest & Contest: Susana Ellis

Hi! I’m Susana and I Write Romance Novels!

Well, to be honest, I’ve had one romance short story published, although I have several projects in progress. In many ways, I’m still more of a reader than a writer. But hey, that one short story has changed my life.

As a former middle school teacher, I wouldn’t have dared admit such a thing when I was teaching. Some people—particularly academics—look down on the romance genre, and I wasn’t about to give my adolescent students any ammunition either. I wasn’t going to tell my parents; I come from a family that is ultra-conservative and we were already estranged at that point.

To make a long story short, the news got out. Since I’m no longer teaching, there was no need to keep it secret from my former colleagues; they can like it or lump it, as far as I’m concerned (and I’ve found many who like it!). But what really gratified me was the way my family (for the most part) embraced the news of my new career. Not only that, but the honest conversation that came about as a result has led to a healing of sorts in our family relationships. Yeah, there are certain topics that we have to avoid when we’re together, but there are many, many more that we can discuss. For the first time in my life, I feel respected and appreciated for the person I am. I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful that is.

Secrets can be extremely damaging to relationships. Of course, you have to be ready to accept that not everyone will be supportive when you reveal your secret. They have that choice. But you may find—as I did—that many will accept the real you. Why should you have to hide the person that you are simply because of a handful of judgmental people?

I can’t tell you how wonderful my life has been since I decided to “come out” as a romance author.

  • My mother made me a Regency gown and pelisse that I wore at book signings and other events at the Romantic Times Convention in Kansas City. I’ve never had so much fun!
  • I passed out Treasuring Theresa swag at a teachers’ conference—with tons of college professors in attendance—and found many more romance readers than I ever expected. Next year I’m planning to wear my Regency gown!
  • On the first day of my recent trip to Scotland, I introduced myself as a romance writer, and found many new supportive friends. Will they decide to read Treasuring Theresa? Maybe. But I don’t really care about that. It was so great to be able to be myself! Ironically, the one tour member who constantly teased me about it also gave me his business card and asked if I could write him into my next story. After I quit laughing about it, I thought, well, why not? A writer always needs new characters, after all.

So…I’m Susana and I love romance novels—reading, writing and talking about them. If you do too, let’s be friends. Friend me on Facebook ( https://www.facebook.com/susana.ellis.5 ) and if you enjoy historical romance, you might be interested in liking our History Lovers Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/historicalfictionbooks)

And if you don’t like romance novels, that’s okay too!

What do you think would happen if more people were open about themselves and didn’t have to pretend to be someone else? What things do you feel you have to keep hidden about yourself and why?

 

* * * * *

At the betrothal ball of the man she had expected to marry herself, Lady Theresa latches on to Damian Ashby, hoping to divert attention from her own humiliating situation. Of course, she’s not seriously interested because he’s a useless London fribble, in her opinion. He is not favorably impressed with her either.

Still, she’s the daughter of an earl, and he’s the heir to her father’s title and estate, so they are destined to spend more time in each other’s company…sooner rather than later. And who knew that the two of them would develop an unlikely attraction to one another?

But can a London swell and a country lady ever make their diverse lives and interests work together?

To read an excerpt, please visit http://www.susanaellis.com/uploads/TT_excerpt2.pdf.

* * * * *

susanaA former teacher, Susana is finally living her dream of being a full-time writer. She loves all genres of romance, but historical—Regency in particular—is her favorite. There’s just something about dashing heroes and spunky heroines waltzing in ballrooms and driving through Hyde Park that appeals to her imagination.

In real life, Susana is a lifelong resident of northwest Ohio, although she has lived in Ecuador and studied in Spain, France and Mexico. More recently, she was able to travel around England and visit many of the places she’s read about for years, and it was awesome! She is a member of the Maumee Valley and Beau Monde chapters of Romance Writers of America.

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38 thoughts on “Guest & Contest: Susana Ellis

  1. Hey, thanks for hosting me on your lovely blog, Jen et al! So kind of you!

    Update: my Christmas novella “A Twelfth Night Tale” was accepted this week for both digital and print release in Ellora’s Cave Blush Cotillion line later this year. Champagne for everyone!

  2. Congratulations on ‘coming out’ as an author. When people used to ask me what I wrote, my response was a humble ‘oh, only chick lit/romance stuff’. Only? Now I confidentally talk about my novels, the blog and so on. Generally people are just amazed that you wrote a novel, never mind the genre (I loved Treasuring Theresa btw – Georgette Heyer is one of my favourite authors!) I hope you continue to get support, you deserve it.

    • Thanks for the comment, Amanda. Hearing that people enjoy my writing is the BEST thing ever! I’m sure you understand the feeling!

      And yeah, I LOVE not having to pretend to be someone I’m not.

  3. may says:

    Congrats! 🙂

    Well… I try not to pretend that I am someone else… Although with my kids, I have to fake it a lot to get them to listen to me!

  4. JoAnne_W says:

    Congratulations on your book and your future books. Love historicals.

    Not sure if I really hide anything. I’m a pretty up front person. Take me as I am or go along your merry way.

    Could be lots more conflicts if people “outted” themselves to those they thought couldn’t handle the outting.

    • Could be lots more conflicts if people “outted” themselves to those they thought couldn’t handle the outting.

      True, JoAnne. I was afraid of that very thing for decades! But pretending to be someone else is really, really awful. I didn’t know how much until the truth came out by accident and I discovered that the vast majority of my family members were ready to accept me as I am. I can’t begin to tell you what a giant relief it is to go around and be myself without having to put on a mask.

  5. Loved your post, Susana!!!
    If more people were able to be honest about themselves I think the world at large would be forced to accept people for who they are. It’s the old adage of agreeing to disagree. The world really won’t stop turning if a bit more naughty entered the atmosphere!! 🙂

    What I keep hidden…oh the stories I could share.
    Collars, handcuffs, hand-prints on my backside, rope burn. Now you’re made my day getting to think about all the nice and naughty things I’ve got to do!!!

  6. Jess1 says:

    Glad to read that you were able to share about being a romance writer. I’m a person who is impressed with others that have creativity in writing, music, art etc since I lack it. Sometimes, I feel that I need to omit or list romances in the middle or near the bottom when people ask me what I like to read.

  7. Marcy Shuler says:

    I’m disabled but it’s something I rarely share since it doesn’t effect my online relationships. I don’t feel I need the sympathy such a revelation would bring.

    • But you’re not necessarily hiding it, Marcy; it’s just irrelevant to your online relationships. That’s the sort of thing you mention to a close friend—which does sometimes happen from online contact. (I really should write a blog post on how I met my good friend and critique partner Selene Grace Silver on the Amazon discussion boards. Talk about luck!)

      I spent so many years trying to live up to the expectations of others and never quite managing it. Believing there was something wrong with me because I didn’t think like everyone else in the family. It got to the point where I didn’t want to be around them at all because I had to pretend to be someone else around them.

      I can SO identify with what gays and lesbians have to go through when they consider coming out to their families. Hiding it for decades because they fear they will be cast out if the truth comes out. They should not have to do this; NOBODY should have to do this. Other people’s prejudices are THEIR problems. THEY are the ones who have to deal with it. Why should everyone else tiptoe around them so that they can live in their fantasy world?

      What it all comes down to is that we all have to do what we think is right. Period.

  8. erinf1 says:

    omg… the world would change 🙂 LOL… there wouldn’t be as many problems if that were the case! I wish I was more confident and stopped 2nd guessing myself 🙂 Thanks for the fun post and giveaway!

  9. Hiding nothing.
    I think I like historical because I have traveled to many places of the world and can picture the area as I read.
    Do these people not watch the HMC?
    I have added your book to my TBR list.
    Thanks.Good interview.

  10. Ashley says:

    I think people would be happier in life if they did not try to be someone or something they are not. Sometimes, I have to fake empathy. I am very rational and empathy at times does not come as naturally to me.

  11. Mer says:

    Interesting! I think it’s hard to be ourselves because of fear: most people react well, but we tend to get hung up on those who won’t accept us.

  12. Pamk says:

    congrats on your 1st story. And with me it’s pretty much what you get lol. I don’t try and hide much except maybe my potty mouth at work.
    Here’s hoping you have many more books in you.
    scrtsbpal at yahoo dot com

  13. I’ve never hidden my writing, but my family are ultra supportive, especially my husband. He likes me to follow my dream. Things might have been different if I’d had children though. I’d hate to think of children being teased because I write naughty romances. Kids can be very cruel!

  14. Inga says:

    If we were more open about our true selves it would cut down on stress levels and people would enjoy life more. I’ve been speaking out more when I don’t agree with certain things that are being discussed. In the past I would have not said anything or avoided it all together.

  15. Anne says:

    I don’t pretend to be anything but whom I really am. Maybe that is why others are not interested in me since I am too real and not phony.

  16. Mary Preston says:

    I don’t know that being entirely open about who you are is a good thing. I don’t need everyone to know all of my business.

  17. JackieW says:

    I’m not one who believes a person should tell all… I think there are times when it is ok to tell a lot about yourself but not to everyone. I think you should keep a bit of mystery about yourself.

  18. Linda Thum says:

    Congrats on your book Susana! I have to admit that I tend to keep a lot to myself with people I don’t know well. I talk about impersonal stuff mainly. Unless I know the person very well & they are a good friend.

  19. There IS such a thing as TMI, of course. Stuff that nobody needs to know except me and perhaps a Significant Other or extremely close friend.

    And things you have to keep quiet about to keep your job. For example, a teacher who writes erotic romance has to keep it quiet or risk losing her job! This is about survival.

    But are there other things you keep hidden because you feel it will influence people’s opinions of you as a person? Eloisa James was a college professor who kept her romance writing secret at first from her colleagues because so many people associate romance with the so-called “bodice rippers” of the 80’s.

    In my case, it wasn’t just romance reading and writing that I felt I had to hide from my family: it was my opinions about their extreme conservatism. It wasn’t that they didn’t KNOW I disagreed with them; it was as though my opinion didn’t count. I was outnumbered. I had to respect THEIR opinions, but since they knew they were right and I was wrong, mine were ignored. Being around them became quite painful because I knew you had to fit in with their views to be accepted—there was a precedent before me—and I *knew* if they the truth about me that I was the next on the list to be shunned. So why not shun THEM first?

    The “outing” of my romance identity was the impetus to some very frank dialogue. I discovered that some of my assumptions were mistaken—oh, not the core disagreements between us, but that these don’t prevent us from caring about each other.

    I feel the same way about people of my acquaintance who disparage the romance genre. Great. Nobody agrees about everything (but have they read any lately?). I can agree to disagree. But I’m not going to hide myself from them either. Why should I? I’m not ashamed of who I am. Not anymore!

  20. I feel like relationships would be stronger, but it would be much easier to form bad relationships as well. Unabashed honesty goes both ways in terms of reactions from others.

  21. Hi Susana,

    I had known the bits and pieces of your story, but it was good to get the whole thing here. I’m glad that you “came out!” I wouldn’t call myself as someone who hid anything–I am an academic, but I teach at a place that is more open to what I do, but my dh didn’t know the particulars of my writing romance. He’s been giving me some more room to do things since the RWA conference, and seems to be more understanding about what I ask for and why I ask for it, so that’s all good!

  22. Johnnie-Marie says:

    If more ppl were open it would and wouldn’t be nice , would then you don’t have to ask so many questions to get to know someone but wouldn’t because their wouldn’t be no mystery in to finding out about them no secrets.

  23. Very insightful article. I was reluctant to tell people at first that I was writing. Then I thought, why? Since I have embraced it I am proud to say I write romance. I am even teaching a class about romance novels (for older adults). I do still worry about relatives, etc. reading any racy stuff I might write. One bridge at a time, I guess.

    I was so glad to meet you at RWA. I was a middle school librarian before retirement and will admit that I felt like I could not write steamy stuff while in that role, but retirement sets you free to do what you want.

    • Diane, I have a friend who does write steamy stuff while she’s still teaching. But she has a pen name and has to keep it quiet, which makes promo difficult. She dreams of the day she can quit teaching and write full-time! Gotta love retirement!

      It was great to meet you too!

  24. Susan Dyer says:

    I think if more people came out about who they really were they would be happier and more at peace with themselves!

  25. cee says:

    One of the reasons I love regency romances is that the characters can be unabashedly feminine and still be feisty, intelligent females. I spend most of my working life trying to act like my aggressive, type-A coworkers. It is a relief to come home to a romance novel and embrace my feminine side reading about dresses and manners.

  26. Nancy Goldberg Levine says:

    Thanks for sending your post and info. Susan. I like historical romance. I write sweet contemporary romantic comedy, but I like to read historicals and contemp. Some people are very good at writing sexy books, but I am not one of them, so I leave that to the experts and read them instead. I never hid the fact that I wanted to be a writer. Sometimes I still get some weird looks when I say it to people. When I was a kid, I hid the fact that my entire sixth grade class bullied me from my parents (I tell this story in more detail in my bio in my first e-book, “Mr. Short, Dark…& Funny.” I wrote a mistaken identity book years ago that I loved but no one else did so it was never published (hero kept the fact that he lived at home with his parents because he didn’t make much money from the heroine). His friend lets him stay at his condo while she’s out of town so he tells the heroine he lives there and all kinds of things go wrong like him telling the heroine he hates coffee but she finds a bunch of it in the pantry. His friend’s cat hisses at him all the time, etc.

    Whew–didn’t mean to be that long-winded.

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