[Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Wild Montana Skies by Susan May Warren. The winner will be announced in the next Author Spotlight feature. Jordann Langness is the winner of Irene Hannon’s “Tangled Webs.” Email me with your mailing address, Jordann, and I’ll get a copy sent to you.]
Welcome, Susan! So glad you were able to swing through today…and tomorrow is release day! First, draw us a verbal sketch of your life:
For the last fifteen years, we lived in beautiful northern Minnesota. However, just last year we had a complete life change and became empty nesters! So much fun—we lost our minds, packed up our house and moved! We now live in Minneapolis and are loving every moment of it. I live with my hot husband of 27 years, Andrew, and my cute baby labradoodle, Mitty.
Tell us about your new release: What inspired this particular story?
Wild Montana Skies is the first in a 6 book series about the brave men and women who rescue the lost in the PEAK Rescue team, a search-and-rescue outfit located in the shadow of Glacier National Park. With an ongoing thread of mystery that runs through each book, each book highlights one member of the team, exploring their challenges, hopes and romances as they face danger and sacrifice. Set against the rugged, beautiful backdrop of Montana, the stories are taken from real-life events that show us just how faithful God in when our darkest fears come true. It’s epic adventure and romance with a touch of wilderness suspense that I think my readers—both old and new—will love.
How can readers connect with you?
I’m easy to find—
When did you get bitten by the writing bug?
I’ve always been amazed at the journey God has taken me on. I started writing in high school, but I never dreamed I’d actually be an author. I just tried to do the best with what God had entrusted to me, and for me that meant writing missionary newsletters while we served in Russia. I honed my skills through my newsletter, and then, after a number of years, began to write devotionals and magazine articles. Although I tried my hand at writing novels (I wrote 4 before I ever had one published), I never thought I would get anything published. But I diligently studied craft and analyzed books, even though I was hidden away in Siberia. 50 novels later, I’m still learning, and still trying to be a good steward of what God has entrusted to me.
After you started writing seriously, how long was it before you were published?
It took me four years and four novels from sitting down to write my first novel to getting published.
Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well?
POPCORN! No, seriously, there is something about “crunching” that gets my brain working. Or maybe it’s the salt. Or the fact I can sit and watch a movie and NOT write, (usually what is happening when I’m eating popcorn).
In all seriousness, however, I often take a walk with my dog when I’m stuck. (The dog gives me someone to talk to!) And, if I’m really desperate, I call my writing partner, Rachel Hauck.
Do you have any favorite places and routines when you write? How many hours a day do you spend writing?
I write in the chair I inherited from my Grandma. It’s a tall wingback chair, needs reupholstering, and has tiny pink flower. Completely ugly…but it has the magic.
Do you prefer reading physical books or e-readers?
I love the smell of a “real” book. But I love the convenience of my e-reader. Maybe they could make scent packets like they do for cars.
Why do you write?
Oh boy. Why do I breathe? For me, as a writer of inspirational fiction, so much of my own journey in writing a novel is digging in deep in the Word, discovering the truths God wants to teach me as I process my character. As an author, this is my Eric Liddell moment—I feel God’s pleasure when I write. I know God better when He shows up on the page, when I know we are partnering in these stories. I guess you could say writing for me is a way of worship.
How would you describe your writing style?
I’m not elegant writer—I write very deep POV, very much in the character’s skin. I love a great sentence, but I don’t agonize over it. I would rather sacrifice prose for clarity. I try and write honestly, accurately, beautifully and clearly.
What are you best known for … writing or otherwise?
Oh, I think people know I like to have fun. Usually, I’m one of the instigators of the party. I guess the thing is, I work hard, very hard. So when I’m not working, I like to have fun.
If you could write any book–on any topic–and be guaranteed a publishing contract, what topic would it be? (Or genre?)
Can a person make a living as a writer?
Absolutely—I always say that being published isn’t magic…it’s hard work. If you’re willing to do the work, you can make a living as a writer.
What advice would you give to new writers?
Read – figure out why you like the book, Read more, Write, get feedback, implement feedback, Read, Write more, and eventually go to a writer’s conference and pitch your story. Most of all, spend time in the Word, filling up, so you can pour out.
Anything new for you on the book horizon?
I am just finishing the edits on book #2 in the series, called Rescue Me. What happens when the rescuer needs to be rescued? It features deputy Sam Brooks who has to helm the rescue of a group of teenagers as well as his own when their van goes over the side of a mountain. Sam, of course, is not alone—he’s with beautiful Willow Rose, who, unfortunately, is the sister of the girl he is dating, a conundrum that takes on epic proportions when he finds himself falling for her in the midst of their survival. Set in Montana in fall, during the turn of the seasons, Sam and Willow fight injury, the weather and a feral grizzly as they fight to bring everyone home. The story takes a look at the idea of rescue…and asks, who really is our rescuer?
Thanks for having me today!!
Thank you, Susan, for taking the time to drop by!
A little more about Susan…
Susan May Warren is the bestselling, Christy and RITA Award–winning author of more than fifty novels whose compelling plots and unforgettable characters have won acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. The mother of four grown children, and married to her real-life hero for over 25 years, she loves travelling and telling stories about her life overseas (Russia) and northern Minnesota.
Susan holds a BA in mass communications from the University of Minnesota. Several of her critically acclaimed novels have been ECPA and CBA bestsellers, were chosen as Top Picks by Romantic Times, and have won the RWA’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice contest and the American Christian Fiction Writers’ prestigious Carol Award.
Her novels You Don’t Know Me and Take a Chance on Me were Christy Award winners, and six of her other books have also been finalists. In addition to her writing, Susan is a nationally acclaimed writing teacher and loves to speak at women’s events about God’s amazing grace in our lives.
For exciting updates on her new releases, previous books, and more, visit her website at www.susanmaywarren.com