In Celebration of our recent release, Tales of Summer Romance. We're going to be taking a few posts to introduce the authors behind FictionFlurry. Today we're interviewing Susan Gee Heino.
FF: How long have you been writing?
I've been writing since before I could read. I'd sit at the kitchen table scrawling out stories, forcing my poor mother to spell out every word for me. In college I studied creative writing in its various forms, and discovered playwriting. After graduating with a degree in Theatre, I had several plays produced at small theatres here and there, and then moved into writing drama for church productions. Always my dream was to publish a novel, though, and in 2003 when my children were small I turned my focus toward that. I joined Romance Writers of America and worked very hard to educate myself and slowly move toward my goal. I had six completed manuscripts before I finally made my first sale in 2008.
FF: What genre do you write in?
I adore stories with happy endings about people who discover that life is better if we can learn to love. I write romance. Specifically, my first published novels have been set in the English Regency time period, but I do have some other projects in the works so hopefully I'll be expanding my scope a little in the near future.
FF: Tell us a little bit about your story in the anthology.
The story I have included is "The Sister Solution" and it is set in the Regency time period. If you're not familiar with this, just think of Jane Austen. Her works were published during the English Regency (1811-1820), so think Mr. Darcy in a starched cravat and Lizzy Bennet with a scuttle bonnet. I just love that time period and all its social strictures. This is one of the elements I've capitalized on in my story. It was very much a man's world back then and women had few options if they wished to better themselves. Basically, if a girl was not blessed to be born with a fortune, the best she could hope for was to marry well. And that, of course, would never happen if her family members were prone to scandal. This is Lizzy Courdray's dilemma as my story opens. With her father deceased and her mother behaving quite shockingly, how is poor Lizzy to look after herself and her flighty younger sister? What's to become of them if their reputation in town is dreadfully ruined?
FF: Are you currently working on a novel?
Yes, several! I just turned in the forth novel in my current Regency series and I'm in the brainstorming process for the next. Also, I'm polishing a contemporary-set romance that I just love and my agent is getting ready to start shopping it. And as if that's not enough, I've got a really fun YA thriller series that I'm working on, as well. My agent is very excited about this and is stalking me to get it finished up so she can shop that, as well. I'm a busy gal!
FF: Best/worst advice you've received?
I've gotten lots of "best" advice over the years. Depending on what stage I was at in my writer's journey, different things have turned the light bulb on for me. One of the really brilliant things I picked up a long time ago was, "Don't write the boring parts." It seems like this ought to be intuitive, but believe me, I really want to write the boring parts. It's a constant battle in my brain: Is this scene really necessary? What does the reader learn about these characters? How does this build the conflict or the tension? Trust me, even the funniest/sexiest/most tragic scene is wasted paper if it does not move the story along and help develop your characters.
What's the worst advice I've gotten? That's hard to say, since I tend to filter this out and toss is aside so it doesn't take up space in my already too-cluttered mind. I think some of the worst advice is the stuff people love to tell beginning writers: "Don't use words like was and that." "Avoid all adverbs." "Write only what you know." And the very worst, "Hardly anyone ever gets picked up by the big New York publishers. You might as well give up now."
Susan Gee Heino Bio Information: In 2008 I was honored to win Romance Writers of America’s coveted Golden Heart ® Award in the Regency Historical category. My winning manuscript sold at auction and I signed a two book deal with Berkley Publishing. MISTRESS BY MISTAKE was published in 2009 and became a national bestseller.
DAMSEL IN DISGUISE followed in 2010 and I signed another two book contract. Now this summer TEMPTRESS IN TRAINING has just hit shelves and PASSION AND PRETENSE will release in April, 2012. I live in rural Ohio with way too many pets, my very supportive husband, and my two adorable (and frighteningly creative) children.
I love to hear from readers! You can contact me through my website at www.SusanGH.com or check out my neglected blog at www.susangeeheino.blogspot.com.