Tuesday, April 30, 2013

5 Questions with Susanne Matthews!

Hi, readers! Its my pleasure to welcome debut author Susanne Matthews to the blog today. Susanne's sharing an excerpt from her book Fire Angel and answering 5 simple questions. Ready, set, go!

Hi Kristina; thanks for having me here today.

Kristina: Sit back and grab a cuppa...ready? Okay. What do you wear when you're writing?

Susanne: It depends on the time of day and the weather. I like to be warm and comfortable when I write, so most often I’ll be in a nighty or my housecoat and slippers in the morning and then later in the day, I’ll don jeans and a sweatshirt. I’ve no doubt that I’ll be writing in loose-fitting sundresses if the weather here in Eastern Canada ever warms up.

Kristina: When was the last time you argued with one of your characters? And were you caught by a real person?

Susanne: I don’t think I’ve ever actually argued with my characters out loud, but I know that I’ve certainly given them a mental talking to! I write with a text to voice program, so after I’ve written a section, I listen to it, and if the characters and the words just don’t sound right, I’ll stop and go back and talk to them—questions and comments like “Would you really do or say it that way? But you you did and said the opposite not ten pages ago. Why do you want to do this? Where is this going?” When my grandkids come over either to visit or because they’re sick and can’t go to school, they’ll often catch me listening to what I’ve written and are quite fascinated that the ‘puter talks to Grandma.

Kristina: How do you keep gremlins – like your family – out of your office/writing habitat?

Susanne: The only full-time gremlin at our house is my husband who also works at home. He’s an accountant, so this is the busy time of year for him. We can go almost a whole day without even seeing one another. I have an office, my writing cave upstairs, while his office is downstairs. If I’m on a roll, I close my door, and he’s very good about not bothering me. He’ll even make his own lunch!

The gremlin that bothers me the most is the phone which, on some days, seems to ring constantly, and can interrupt my flow. If he’s out, I’ll sometimes answer it, but if I’m on a roll, I let it go to voice mail. Occasionally people will bring stuff to the house, and I have to answer the door; I feel a little guilty if it’s after lunch and I’m still not dressed! I just look at them and say; I’m working and smile. I can just imagine the kind of work they think I do!

Kristina: lol - I live in fear of the mailman (who is the husband of my daughter's teacher) catching me still in my jammies at noon. Have you ever taken your frustrations with the Real World out on your characters?

Susanne: All the time! I make my characters suffer quite a bit, both physically and emotionally, so I think some of that might have to do with years of pent up emotions against the injustice I’ve seen around me both as an individual and a teacher. I might use circumstances in a story to voice my opinion on something like child or spousal abuse by having the character overcome such a tragedy. I also feel strongly that people shouldn’t always play the victim in life and should be able to stand up for themselves, so I’ll often put them in situations where they have to choose their fate. At others, I’ll reflect the reality of our world and take the choice out of their hands so that, as they say, they have to play the hand they’ve been dealt and make the best of things.

Kristina: *nods* If you could be one character from this book, who would it be? And why?

Susanne: I would be Alexis, the main character, because I admire her determination. She’s a survivor. She did what she had to do as a young person and as an adult, she’s risen above it. She also has a great job, an unusual one for a woman, but one that sounds far more exciting than the career I chose for myself. Somehow being a fire and arson inspector, travelling all over North America sounds more exhilarating than being a high school English teacher.

She’s managed to earn the respect of her peers and become tops in her field, but she’s not a man-hater or a hard woman. She’s vulnerable, lonely almost lost, at times, but able to laugh at herself when circumstances call for it. To me, she is a very real person, one I’ve learned to love and admire.

Kristina: Thanks for joining me today, Susanne! And, readers, catch an excerpt:

An excerpt from Fire Angel:

“Hey, hold on He-Man! Back off!” She stood and crossed her arms, defiance in every inch of her stance. He had obviously pushed her buttons; it seemed the lady resented someone making decisions for her; he should have realized that.

“No one tells me what to do. I’m a big girl now, and I can take care of myself.” She held up the sheet of paper on which the message had been printed. 

 “I’ll get this to the police as soon as I can; maybe they can find fingerprints or DNA on it. We can’t be certain that this sicko actually knows me personally; he might just know of me. My uncle had lots of friends back then; I’m sure he still does. This guy could be anyone, even one of James’ buddies; as I recall, there were quite a few bad apples in that barrel.” 

She took a deep breath, the color in her cheeks ebbing. Maybe she had realized that he was just being solicitous, and if she bristled at that kind of treatment, well, that was her problem not his. Somewhat calmer, she continued.

“Whoever slipped this guy the information that I was arriving today could have told him about my past, and he probably realizes, from the rumor mill that travels at warp speed around here, how good I am at my job and sees me as a threat; otherwise, he wouldn’t worry about me. That gives me power. I’m not unreasonable, Jake. I agree that when it’s feasible, we can travel together, but we each have our own work to do. We may be partners, but that doesn’t mean we have to be together twenty-four/seven; I don’t operate that way.” She paced across the small room and turned to face him once more.
“Let me do my job and worry about this jerk. He isn’t the first to try to stop me, and I doubt he’ll be the last. Now that I know he’s out there, I’ll watch for him; I’ll find him, and I’ll stop him. I don’t like threats.” 

When he didn’t argue further, she relaxed and sat down once again. She quickly described her encounter with Bullwinkle, as she referred to the moose. Although there had been nothing funny about the incident, her dry sense of humor manifested itself in the way she related the story. Sometimes, you just have to laugh at yourself, he thought. 

“So when the rental agency gets the car back, they can say the finger grooves in the steering wheel are for improved navigation control.” She chuckled. “I don’t think they’ll be open to returning my security deposit though.” She reached for her beer and took a drink. 

“Now, let’s forget my stalker for a minute and talk about the fires. You people have not been very forthcoming with information. Since there doesn’t seem to be anything specific in the files that I’ve been given, I’m a little confused about this so-called link. From what I’ve read, the first fire could have been set by a careless squatter, the second sounds like a kitchen fire, and the third is most likely the result of that dropped cigarette; there doesn’t appear to be any connection at all. Accidents, plain and simple; what do you know that I don’t?”

About the Book:

A malicious serial killer is out for revenge in Paradise. Using fire as his weapon, he strikes at random, and the bodies are piling up.

Criminal profiler Jake McKenzie has returned from Afghanistan minus a leg and afraid to trust his instincts. When the police ask for his expertise in identifying the killer, he agrees knowing this is his chance to prove he can still do the job.

Sixteen years ago, fiercely independent Alexis Michaels escaped an abusive uncle and a deadly fire to become one of the country’s top fire and arson investigators. Her uncanny ability to put herself in the arsonist’s place is the skill they need to find this maniac. She reluctantly accepts the assignment and returns home to lead the hunt for the killer, knowing she will have to confront the unpleasant memories.

When Jake discovers that his new partner is the girl who haunted his dreams all these years, he finds himself enthralled, but memories of his dead wife make him doubt his emotions. Alexis has few pleasant memories of Paradise, but Jake is one of them. Undeniably drawn to him, she longs for a deeper relationship but believes he isn’t ready to move on yet.

Until they catch the killer, they must set aside their conflicted emotions and work together. The clock is ticking, and the killer has made it clear: Alexis is next.

Fire Angel will be available April 29, 2013 from Crimson Romance ebooks | Amazon | 

About the Author:

Susanne Matthews grew up as an avid reader of all types of books, but always with a penchant for happily ever after romances. In her imagination, she travelled to foreign lands, past and present, and soared into the future. Today, she has made her dreams come true. A retired educator, she now gets to spend her time writing, so she can share her adventures with her readers. She loves the ins and outs of romance, and the complex journey it takes to get from the first word to the last period of a novel. As she writes, her characters take on a life of their own, and she shares their fears and agonies on the road to self-discovery and love.

Susanne lives in Cornwall, Ontario with her husband. She has three adult children and five grandchildren. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, chatting on the Internet with her writer friends, and hearing from her readers. You can learn more about Susanne at www.mhsusannematthews.ca