Date Published: Originally August 31, 2010, New release Nov. 21st
Divided by Centuries
Diana Dearborn knows all about romance, at least in the books she writes. But passion eludes her in real life—until she’s offered the chance to travel back in time to Camelot. The world of King Arthur and Guinevere is nothing like she pictured, and neither is the knight she encounters upon her return to San Francisco: Gawain, the hero of her current project. He’s complicated, mysterious, and sexier than anything her imagination could conjure. And he’s been waiting for her…
Entwined by Desire
Now, joined together in a desperate race, Diana and Gawain must prevent an ancient, evil force from wreaking mayhem in the all-too-real present. Diana must learn to trust Gawain, even while she encounters secrets about her own past. But even if their mission succeeds, does Diana’s destiny lie with this man from another time—and will their love alter history forever?
What is the hardest part of writing your books?
The hardest part of writing isn’t getting the idea. I have lots of ideas, and I bet you do too. The hardest part is fleshing out that idea until it can seem “real” to readers. What would REALLY happen in this situation? What is this character REALLY like? What kind of past experience would that character have? What are the main turning points of the plot and why? This stuff has to be fleshed out before I can even start writing the book. But then as you write you have to answer questions like “How would the characters REALLY react to that situation?” “What does the setting of the scene look like?” “How does it smell?” “What will make this scene fresh and new?” It’s hard work to make yourself focus on all the detail that goes into a novel. Even into the editing phase, you must ask yourself questions like “Do the chapters end in the right place?” “How can I start the book faster without losing clarity for the reader?” “Does this scene drag?” Writing a book is an exercise in perseverance, long after the sexy, fun idea part is over. But there is a wonderful satisfaction in hearing from readers that they couldn’t put the book down, that the characters seemed real to them, or that they can’t imagine how I got the idea for the book. That’s what writers really live for. It makes all those hours of sitting at your computer figuring out what living that story would REALLY be like, worth it.
What songs are most played on your Ipod?
I don’t write to music. I prefer quiet. But I do take my music to the weight room at the gym, and right now I’ve been into all those sexy baritone voices in country music. Chris Young? I would walk a mile over broken glass just to hear him say, “Hello.” I also like the hooks in country songs. They can teach you a lot about keeping readers engaged.
Do you have critique partners or beta readers?
I am very fortunate to live with my beta reader. My husband Harry is a writer too, and our marriage has survived years of critiquing each others’ books. We have a rule—you have to say something nice first. But then the gloves are off. We so want to write good books that taking critiques semi-gracefully seems a small price. We used to be in critique groups, but after we got publishing contracts, we were writing faster than we could get critiqued, and it was tough to find partners who had more writing experience than we did. Nevertheless, if I find I am really unsure about a book, I have a writer friend who reads it for me, and tells me the hard truth. I try not to abuse her generosity by sending her every book but she has helped me out of a jam on more than one occasion.
What book are you reading now?
I’m reading The Pale Horseman, the second book in the Saxon series of historical novels by Bernard Cromwell. (The first in the series is The Last Kingdom.) He’s a wonderful writer who works in a period I love. My first book, DANEGELD, and the sequel, DANELAW, were both set in Dark Age Britain in the time of Alfred the Great.
How did you start your writing career?
I decided I wanted to write in one of my many mid-life crises. I was working in the insurance industry and making good money, so I couldn’t just quit to write books. So I wrote as a second job. My first book was much too long, and frankly not very good. So I took classes at UCLA and joined a critique group. My second book (Danegeld) took me four years to write. It got me an agent, who I met at the San Diego Writer’s Conference. She couldn’t sell it though. So while I was writing my third book, BODY ELECTRIC, I joined Romance Writers of America and entered DANEGELD in contests. It placed in 11 regional contests and I got valuable feedback. By the time it won the national RWA contest for unpublished novels, I had sold it to a smaller New York publishing house—Dorchester. They were willing to take a chance on a book that wasn’t just like every other romance. I reworked my first awful book, SACRAMENT (vampires!) into a book I’m very proud of and they published that and BODY ELECTRIC. too. By that time I was getting great reviews and I was on my way. Later, I switched to McMillan at St. Martin’s Press, where I wrote the majority of my books.
Oooh! I am so excited! What may be the last in my Magic series is coming out. The Magic series follows the big, loving Tremaine family as they cope with the fact that they have Merlin’s DNA. His magic was lost—dispersed down the ages. But now the magic wants to emerge again. And if you have that gene in your DNA, when you meet another with that gene, you fall in love, irrevocably. Your magic comes alive and you get a magic power. Sounds great, huh? But it’s never that easy. And of course there are those who got their genes from Mordred and Morgan LeFay. They have very different ideas about what to do with it. I have come to love the Tremaine family, and in THIS MAGIC MOMENT I’m writing about the baby of the family, now a woman grown. She’s fallen in love with the worst possible guy, at least so she thinks. Look for THIS MAGIC MOMENT in the spring. If you haven’t dipped your toe into the Magic series, start with Do You Believe In Magic? It’s a series that benefits from reading the books in order.
Susan Squires grew up among the giant redwoods of California. She thought she was being practical by changing her major in college from theater to English literature. Immersed in a PhD. Program, she slowly realized that none of her graduating friends had work. So she dropped out after receiving a Master’s degree to take an paying job in the business world.
As an executive in a Fortune 500 company, she returned to her love of writing while continuing to hold her day-job, much to the amusement of her fellow executives. Her novel Danegeld, had already been purchased by Dorchester by the time she accepted a Golden Heart for Best Unpublished Paranormal Manuscript from Romance Writers of America. It was the first of an eclectic group of historical and contemporary paranormal stories known for their intensity. Body Electric was named by Publishers Weekly one of the ten most influential paperbacks of 2002, for blending romance and science-fiction. Book List compared No More Lies to the works of Robin Cook and Michael Crichton, but it was also a Rita finalist for Best Published Paranormal Romance by Romance Writers of America.
Susan’s Companion Series for St. Martin’s Press continued to garner attention with admiring reviews and several visits to the New York Times Bestseller List. Publishers Weekly named One with the Shadows a Best Book of the Year, and several of the series received starred reviews. Her books have won the many regional contests for published works of paranormal romantic fiction.
Susan no longer has to use tales of romance and adventure to escape budgets and projects. She finally left her day job, and researches and writes her books at the beach in Southern California, supported by three Belgian Sheepdogs and a wonderful husband named Harry who writes occult mysteries as H.R. Knight