Alexis: Today we have historical romance author, Susana Ellis, who is giving away a Christmas treasure box with a A Twelfth Night Tale Christmas charm bracelet.to one lucky commenter! Welcome Susanna.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Susana: I’ve been a reader from my first encounter with Ted and Sally in first grade. I didn’t read books—I devoured them. And I used to tell stories to my younger siblings too. What else could I do with all these stories in my head but write some of them down? I found a book about freelance writing in the high school library, but I didn’t serious pursue it as a career because I knew I was a dreamer and the prevailing opinion was that it was nearly impossible to make a living writing. So I went into another career instead, but never stopped reading…and dreaming.
Alexis: Which authors inspire(d) you?
Susana: Charlotte & Emily Brontë, Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, Mary Balogh, Kathleen Woodiwiss, Julie Garwood, Johanna Lindsey, Amanda Quick, Diana Gabaldon, and many, many others. I’ve always been fascinated by history—not what they teach you in school with battles and dates and stuff—but by how people lived, dressed, and thought. And I’m a sucker for a good happy ending too!
Alexis: That makes two of us. So everyone has their own writing process…how they come up with ideas, how they name their characters, how they choose the setting. Can you describe your writing process?
Susana: The best way to come up with ideas is through reading. I know many authors won’t read in the sub-genre they are writing while working on their current project, but I definitely do. While I read, I often wonder what would have happened if the author had done it this way or that. I try to write stories I myself like to read. For example, I prefer it when the hero has a rival for the heroine’s heart, so that he has to work harder to win her. I don’t care for heroines who are too easily won. I also try to avoid characters that are too good or too evil, silly heroines—I dislike heroines who behave like Lydia Bennet and somehow get a happy ending—and cliffhanger endings. I like stories with children, and I’m planning to include more animal characters in future too.
Alexis: What are you working on now?
Susana: I’m working on a time travel novella with a heroine who was snatched from her real parents in the 19th century and brought up in foster homes in the 21st century. She’s always felt as though she didn’t belong, and then she meets a Gypsy lady who helps her travel back to find her family. The story features the time-traveling Regency lady from my blog, Susana’s Parlour, and a romance, of course. I’m hoping to finish it this month and after revisions, submit it sometime in January.
Alexis: As a writer, I know you don't go it alone, you have support, a critique partner. What do you think everyone should know about her?
Susana: I met my first critique partner (who is now a close friend) on an Amazon discussion group. Unbelievable, really. I was just beginning my second career as a romance writer and happened upon a thread about self-publishing. All the advice I’d read over the years convinced me that traditional publishing was almost impossible for a new author, and I was thinking that self-publishing might be a possibility. I was really just trying to assure myself that my goal of becoming a published author wasn’t actually impossible.
So I was on this discussion group, and found myself chatting mostly with one person, who seemed to say what I wanted to say just before or after I did. Seriously, it was like we were in each other’s heads! Once we both realized we were kindred spirits, we took our conversation to email and began sharing intimate details about our lives. Both of us had always wanted to be published authors and had recently come to the conclusion that it was now or never.
It was she who convinced me I should write a short story, and when it was finished, to submit it. Without her encouragement, I’m sure I would still be struggling to finish the same novel I was stuck on at the time. Treasuring Theresa quickly found a home, and life has never been the same since for me. I owe her a great debt.
Isn’t it funny how things come about?
Alexis: It definitely is. Thank you so much for visiting us today.
Be sure to leave a comment in response to her question at the end of this post for a chance to win her lovely giveaway! And check out the blurb for
A Twelfth Night Tale
A wounded soldier and the girl next door find peace and love amidst a backdrop of rural Christmas traditions.
Without dowries and the opportunity to meet eligible gentlemen, the five Barlow sisters stand little chance of making advantageous marriages. But when the eldest attracts the attention of a wealthy viscount, suddenly it seems as though Fate is smiling upon them.
Lucy knows that she owes it to her younger sisters to encourage Lord Bexley's attentions, since marriage to a peer will secure their futures as well as hers. The man of her dreams has always looked like Andrew Livingston, her best friend's brother. But he's always treated her like a child, and, in any case, is betrothed to another. Perhaps the time has come to put away childhood dreams and accept reality…and Lord Bexley.
Andrew has returned from the Peninsula with more emotional scars to deal with than just the lame arm. Surprisingly, it's his sister's friend “Little Lucy” who shows him the way out of his melancholy. He can't help noticing that Lucy's grown up into a lovely young woman, but with an eligible viscount courting her, he'll need a little Christmas magic to win her for himself.
A 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 the UK and visit many of the places she’s read about for years, and it was awesome! She is a member of the Maumee Valley, Central Florida, and Beau Monde chapters of Romance Writers of America.
Alexis: Now, for a chance to win a Christmas treasure box with a A Twelfth Night Tale Christmas charm bracelet, Susana asks: “what sort of things you like or dislike in a romance, regardless of sub-genre? Anything you feel strongly about.”