Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest book. FUN.
Welcome Susan May Warren, author of When I Fall in Love, to Author Spotlight! To enter to win a copy, leave a comment on this post.
When I Fall in Love is about Grace Christiansen, a woman who is content on staying in her hometown of Deep Haven, staring at her dreams of being a Chef from afar until she is given the gift of a cooking vacation to Hawaii. Set up on a “blind” vacation date by her family, she has no idea she’s going to spend the next two weeks in paradise with the most eligible—and yet mysterious—bachelor from the Saint Paul Blue Ox hockey team. However, Maxwell Sharpe is harboring a heartbreaking secret . . . . Can they take their newfound romance home from vacation?
I love the theme of this story . . . What if you found your true love, but you could only have him for a short amount of time—would you still marry him? This book puts to the test the old adage: “It’s better to have loved and lost than never having loved at all.” Really? We’ll see!
How can readers find you and your books?
Go to susanmaywarren.com. 🙂
Anything new for you on the book horizon?
I just finished the next book in the series, Always on My Mind, a story that picks up the subplot from When I Fall in Love, and carries it into the main storyline with the question: What if you see someone you love headed for trouble–but they’ve told you to stay out of their life. Do you interfere?
Why do you write?
I believe firmly that our time here on earth is meant to prepare us for eternity–and that starts with a relationship with God. So, having been a recipient of so much grace in my life, I try and pass that in into my stories–filling them with hope, and encouragement, filled with real characters who struggle with real issues. Of course, I like to do it all against a great backdrop of intrigue or suspense, or even the beauty of a state like Montana! My desire is that, when people finish my stories, they are inspired to seek after the God they met in my books.
What are you best known for . . . writing or otherwise?
Probably writing–although I do spend a lot of time helping others learn to write at mybooktherapy.com.
Best author moment?
The first year I was published, I was up for a Christy Award. My publisher took a number of authors out for dinner, and when I was seated . . . I sat down next to Francine Rivers.
Best. Moment. Ever.
Worst author moment?
Oh, I hate accepting awards–I always forget people or mess up what I want to say!
If you weren’t able to write, what would you do?
Describe your ideal circumstances to write.
Two months of uninterrupted time, family around on the weekends to help unwind, and a husband who doesn’t mind cooking. 🙂
Right this moment, what does your office look like?
I am sitting under a blanket (yes, in July–it is northern Minnesota!) I have to giant white boards on which my next story is sketched out, a pile of to-do lists on my desk, and my ottoman stacked with current research (I believe in the horizontal method of organizing!)
I like to know my story before I start, even though I know it will change as I go forward. I develop my character with all the essential parts before he walks onto the page, and then, after I have the big plot points, I “tell myself the story” in an extensive story summary that serves as a roadmap for my journey. I give myself the option to change course, as long as I get to the final destination. Then, I sit down and “download” the story, scene by scene, all the way to the end (usually takes me about 20 writing sessions). I go back, then, and rewrite/edit/polish. A story usually takes me 2-4 months, start to finish.
If you could write any book–on any topic–and be guaranteed a publishing contract, what topic would it be? (Or genre?)
A time travel romance. 🙂
Ever had a bad review? How did you handle it?
I had a bad review on Amazon by someone who called me a racist because the story was about a racist. It hurt because I’m not sure she read all the way through to the end to see my character’s redemption. Just because an author writes about something doesn’t mean they agree with it. And, a character has to start in a dark place to be redeemed at the end. It hurts to be called names–especially undeserved, in a public forum–especially in a review. However in the end, I had to forgive her. It does no good to hold onto bad reviews. I try to learn from them and move on.
What’s one thing you learned about the publishing industry in last five years? Last year? Last six months?
That the people who want to build a career do it by staying the course and continuing the journey, despite the twists and turns of trends and industry changes. Just keep writing one great story after another.
How do you solve a grammar dilemma?
I Google it. Or I pull down my Strunk and White.
Are you an introvert? Extrovert? In between?
Do you enjoy public speaking as an author? Why or why not?
I love teaching. I struggle more with women’s events as I don’t feel like I fit the “mold” of a women’s event speaker. But I do like teaching at retreats because I can dig into the Word and the lives of the attendees.
Can a person make a living as a writer?
Yes. But you have to be deliberate about your work and financial habits. And, you have to stay the course and learn how to write books quickly.
What are you working on now? Newest release?
I am just starting a new book in the Christiansen series, Book #5, The Wonder of You. It’s a modern day Jonah story about a man trying to outrun God’s call on his life. He ends up in Deep Haven, Minnesota, working on the Christiansen’s resort and falling for Amelia Christiansen. But he’s about to learn that he can’t outrun God . . . but his efforts just might cost the life of the woman he loves. It’s a romance with a touch of suspense set in the north woods of Minnesota.
Any last thoughts to share?
I’m so grateful for readers! Thank you for enjoying the Christiansen family series–and stop by susanmaywarren.com and drop me a note! I love to correspond with reader friends!