SPECIAL INTERVIEW WITH SUSAN FOX
Acclaimed romance author, Susan Fox (AKA Susan Lyons and Savanna Fox) writes sexy contemporary romance with heart-felt and enduring characters. As a fan of her books, I was excited to discover she is starting a new series called Blue Moon Harbor. Her first installment, Fly Away with Me, comes out this July. Set in a quirky, small community on a remote island in Canada, the cast of outrageous but well-meaning characters will delight and charm romance readers.
I couldn’t wait to get me hands on it and ask her what new surprises she has in store for her fans!
1) I’m so pleased to have you on our site! I know this is tough question, but can you tell why it is so important for you to write about romance?
Thank you, Steph! I’m so happy to visit again.
I’m fascinated by personality, interpersonal relationships, character development, how we handle challenges, how we grow and change as we get older – and many other similar topics. So I like to explore those issues in my books, and romance and women’s fiction are perfect ways of doing that.
I think romance is the most important genre of fiction. It’s about love, which is the most important thing in the world. Romance novels are about having the courage to love and the strength to face challenges and become a stronger person. If we all loved and were loved, the world would be a much better, more peaceful place.
2) I agree! Your romances always feel very real and current to today’s issues. How do you balance this realism without making your books feel unromantic?
Thank you! I know some readers choose romance for escapist fantasy, but I like to read about women who could be my best friends and men I could fall in love with – so I choose to write about those kind of people. I choose realism over fantasy.
Realism does often have a dark side (more on that below), but it also has a light side. So I make sure I include that light side, with romance, laughter, friendship, and some steamy sex. (Not to mention food and wine!) I love romance fiction because the reader (and author!) always knows that no matter how much angst the characters go through, they will emerge stronger, and they’ll find love
3) I’ve always admired how you tackle tough issues that many authors shy away from. (Your latest book touches on sexual abuse.) Do you feel that writing about them helps increase awareness to readers? Do you enjoy the challenges they pose to your characters?
Yes and yes! I believe a writer has a responsibility, and so my stories always have messages, sometimes pretty blatant and sometimes more subtle.
Equality and appreciation of differences are strong values for me. I write diverse, multicultural “casts” of characters – for example, in Fly Away With Me, the hero Aaron is half First Nations or indigenous (which is the Canadian way of saying Native American).
I also like to have my heroines and heroes face significant emotional challenges, as do real-life contemporary men and women. I write both functional and dysfunctional families. Aaron’s childhood was seriously dysfunctional, while heroine Eden’s was wonderful – but now her family is facing major trauma as they deal with her mom’s cancer diagnosis and treatment. Both Aaron and Eden have intense family loyalty (his is to his single-parent younger sister and her little girl), and though of course that loyalty is an admirable quality, it presents a challenge to their relationship because their families live thousands of miles apart.
4) I feel the same way. I’ve notice that your recent books revolve around small towns and communities. What attracts you to them?
The smallness and the fact that the pace of life is often slower in small communities (that’s certainly true of Blue Moon Harbor in my new series, as Ottawa lawyer Eden quickly learns!) allows – or maybe forces – people to focus more on face-to-face relationships rather than rushing frantically through life and communicating in short bursts, often via social media. Most residents know each other, which of course has cons as well as pros, and strangers stand out, all of which can make for some interesting dynamics.
Plus, I do love the settings. There tends to be more focus on nature than in a city. Interaction with nature creates a different kind of dynamic, and a learning opportunity for someone like Eden. For example:
Aaron paddled more quickly, heading to shore. She didn’t try to match his pace. In the bay, the water was even calmer, the surface like deep, bluish-green glass. She almost hated to disturb it with the dip of her paddle, and after each stroke she paused to watch a crystal cascade of droplets tip off the end of the blade and splash onto the ocean’s surface, creating rings of ripples. The sun warmed her back and the top of her head; gulls soared and cried overhead. She stopped paddling, closing her eyes for a moment to simply drift with the tide. Utter serenity. Had she ever experienced anything like this before?
By the time she arrived at the shore, Aaron had pulled his kayak up on the beach and was waiting to guide hers into shore and help her out. She caught his arm for balance, raised herself, and then gingerly stepped out into the water. “Brrr.” The soles of her feet met a strange surface, and as she splashed ashore she studied the grayish-white particles that made up the beach. “It’s not sand.”
“Shells, mostly. Pounded by waves.”
The beach felt coarse underfoot but pleasantly so, like an exfoliating massage, if such a thing existed. She’d never had time to spare for massage or mani-pedis. Nor did she have much occasion to wear a bathing suit, and she felt exposed, even though her tee was long enough to cover her bikini bottom. It would be silly to put on shorts, though, because that bottom was damp.
She freed herself from her life jacket and wandered down the beach, picking up a pebble here, a shell there, a colored bit of weathered glass. If she were back in Ottawa, she’d be busy at her desk, dressed in a suit and low-heeled pumps.
5) That makes me feel as if were there. Where did you get the inspiration for Blue Moon Harbor and its characters?
My partner and I have an old wooden boat (a Shepherd, which looks like an old Chris Craft) and for the past few years we’ve spent many pleasant summer weeks cruising around the Gulf Islands near Victoria, British Columbia. We anchor in quiet coves, go for long walks on beaches and in forested parks, and explore charming little towns. We admire sunrises and sunsets, and love seeing all the wildlife. Each inhabited island is its own little community with its own quirks, so the setting has that “small town” thing going on, compounded with the fact that these places are accessible only by boat or by seaplane (hence my seaplane pilot hero, Aaron Gabriel).
I love the Gulf Islands and the ocean is in my blood. Maybe as an island-born person it was inevitable that one day I’d want to use a Gulf Islands setting. None of the existing islands exactly met my story needs, so I created Destiny Island, and the village of Blue Moon Harbor.
6) I have to ask, did you know your Caribou Crossing series would become so popular and span eight books? Will you ever go back?!
Can you believe that the original proposal was for three books, of which Kensington contracted for the first two? My goal was to persuade them to buy the third, and then I figured the series would be done. But then they asked me to do a prequel novella, and then they bought two more books, another novella, and then another two books, and yes, we reached a total of eight! Because I still loved Caribou Crossing, I wrote a proposal for two more titles, but I also thought that eight books was getting a little long for a series. As a reader, I enjoy shorter series that don’t go on and on. So I also wrote a proposal for the Blue Moon Harbor series, and told Kensington that I’d be happy to continue with the Caribou Crossing romances or to move over to Blue Moon Harbor. They decided it was time to launch a new series.
As for revisiting Caribou Crossing, probably not. As you know, with series, readers want the books to come out without huge gaps, so if I did do another book, it likely wouldn’t be out until well into 2019, and that doesn’t seem like a good idea.
7) I understand. Do you plan your new, Blue Moon Harbor series to span eight books, too? Will we read more about the quirky commune characters?
So far I’ve contracted for four titles. Fly Away With Me is, of course, the first. Then in October there will be “Blue Moon Harbor Christmas” in Winter Wishes (an anthology that also contains novellas by Fern Michaels, Jules Bennett, and Leah Marie Brown). Come Home With Me will be out in late December, and Sail Away With Me in the fall of 2018. I know the next heroine I want to write about and even have a title, Come Dance With Me, and I do hope I’ll be able to continue with the series. Eight seems like an ideal number to me!
The future books will include some of the commune characters, as secondary characters.
8) Whoo-hoo! Something to look forward to. Your heroine Eden in Fly Away with Me, is a no nonsense, down-to-earth sort of person. Was it fun to let her let loose and find love?
LOL. As Aaron says to her:
“I have to wonder, does your conscience whack you upside the head every time you contemplate taking a little time to just enjoy life?”
I have a lot in common with Eden. She’s the first child and was an only child for six years (before her sister Kelsey was born) – and I was an only child. We both had good parents, but we felt parental pressure to be responsible and reliable, do well in school, be well-behaved, etc. Eden turned out very organized, analytical, and conscientious, and so did I. But I learned pretty early on that it’s important to have balance in life, and to lighten up, let loose, have fun sometimes. So I figured the best and most “fun” way for that to happen with Eden was to send her Aaron, who’s determined to teach her the meaning of the word “fun.” So yes, both Eden and I had a good time!
9) In contrast, Eden’s sister, Kelsey has always been the free spirit but steps up to become more responsible. Will we be seeing more of her? Will she find her own romance in Blue Moon Harbor?!
Kelsey’s only 21, a university student. While one of Eden’s lessons in Fly Away With Me is about how to have fun and find balance, Kelsey’s is about learning responsibility. She does mature a lot over the course of the book, but she’s still young. Aside from taking care of their ailing mom, Kelsey’s all about enjoying life. She hasn’t found a career direction, nor is she looking for Mr. Right.
But yes, if the series moves a few years down the road, I think it’s entirely possible that Kelsey will be the heroine of her own book.
10) Eden and her sister are such polar opposites. How do you write characters that are so different or so different than your personality and still make them so real? Do certain characters make you ‘work’ harder to do them justice in your writing?
I try to “go deep” with each character – to really understand the various things that have influenced them and how they’ve reacted, to delve into their personality traits and their values, and so on. My psychology degree comes in handy.
One of the most challenging characters in Fly Away With Me was Azalea, the old hippie, and the stream-of-consciousness, free-association way she talked. But I had so much fun with her!
Whew! I appreciate you answering all my questions. Thank you again for gracing us with your presence. Your writing is a true inspiration.
And thank you again, Steph. I truly appreciate your kind words, and your generosity in inviting me to visit with the Bookaholics. You ask the best interview questions!
Interviewed by Steph from the Bookaholics Romance Book Club
For Additional Information about Susan Fox check her out at:
Recent and Upcoming Romances by Susan Fox:
FLY AWAY WITH ME -July 25th, 2017
Known for its rugged beauty and eccentric residents, tiny Blue Moon Harbor is big on love . . .
For busy lawyer Eden Blaine, a trip to a Pacific Northwest island she’s never even heard of is far from a vacation. Eden’s ailing mother has tasked her with finding her long-lost aunt, who once had ties to a commune on the island. Still reeling from a breakup with her longtime boyfriend, romance is the last thing Eden is looking for. But her gorgeous seaplane pilot has her wondering if a carefree rebound fling is exactly what she needs. . .
Aaron Gabriel has no illusions about happily ever after. His troubled childhood made sure of that. But he does appreciate a pretty woman’s company, and Eden is the exact combination of smart and sexy that turns him on. Still, as he helps her search for her missing aunt, the casual relationship he imagined quickly becomes something much more passionate—and much harder to give up. Can two people determined to ignore romance recognize that their heated connection is the kind of love destined to last?
HOLIDAY IN YOUR HEAR - Sept, 27th, 2017
It’s Christmas in the cozy Western town of Caribou Crossing, the season for homecoming, forgiveness, and—just maybe—the gift of a fresh start…
As the holidays approach, the air is filled with the festive sounds of bells chiming and carolers singing. Maribeth Scott loves Christmas, but she’s pretty sure that after years of waiting, Santa isn’t finally going to gift her with Mr. Right. In fact, the only thing she truly wants for Christmas is a baby to love. At thirty-nine, she’s determined to become a mother and she will make it happen, even if she has to do it on her own.
When Mo Kincaid returns to the rustic town after almost twenty years away, he’s seeking redemption from his checkered past. The last thing on his mind is romance, and he’s certain he doesn’t deserve it. But now there’s irresistible Maribeth, showing him the true spirit of Christmas and winning his heart. For the first time in Mo’s life, the future looks bright. Only one thing stands between them: Maribeth’s deep desire for a child and Mo’s conviction that he’s too flawed to be a father. Is his world-weary heart ready to take the ultimate leap of faith?
RING OF FIRE BOOK 7 -May 31, 2016
No one is a stranger in Caribou Crossing, a small Western town made for healing and second chances…
She's raising her son on her own, but that's just fine with Lark Cantrell. Caribou Crossing's fire chief comes from a long line of strong, independent women--who have lousy luck with men. Lark's ex-husband walked out when Jayden was born with cerebral palsy. No matter--Jayden, now ten, is a bright, terrific kid, and the love of her life. When it comes to men, Lark is content with the occasional casual hookup; there's no room in her heart for more disappointment.
Major Eric Weaver is in Caribou Crossing for one reason: to complete his rehabilitation so he can return to active service. Haunted by what went down in Afghanistan, his wounded soul isn't healing as quickly as his body. But it's almost impossible to resist the appeal of the sexy, feisty fire chief and her plucky son--not to mention the friendly, caring small town way of life. In Lark's loving arms, the scarred soldier begins to believe he may finally have found his true home…
LOVE SOMEBODY LIKE YOU BOOK 6 -Sept. 29th, 2015
With its breathtaking terrain and welcoming people, the Western town of Caribou Crossing is the perfect place for a heart to heal, and for love to blossom once more…
Since the death of her husband three years ago, young widow Sally Ryland has kept to herself and focused on her struggling business, Ryland Riding. Folks assume she’s still grieving, because Sally has never shared the truth about her abusive marriage, or the trust issues that remain. But when a sexy rodeo rider from her past turns up for a visit, he’s a reminder of the feisty woman she once was—and maybe still could be…
Ben Traynor was always attracted to Sally, but he didn’t move fast enough. Now what Sally needs is patience and gentleness. With an injury keeping him from his next rodeo, Ben has the perfect excuse to stick around and help with her chores—and her healing. And as Sally finds the courage to face her demons and open her heart again, she’ll have to decide if what she has with Ben is more than safety, gratitude, and short-term passion, but a forever love…
LOVE ME TENDER BOOK 5 -Dec. 2nd, 2014
Pay a visit to Caribou Crossing, the rustic, inviting Western town where broken hearts mend and new love takes root…
Dave Cousins, owner of the Wild Rose Inn, is known throughout Caribou Crossing as the nicest--and loneliest--guy in town. He's had his heart broken more than once, and he's determined not to let it happen again. So it's no wonder he's wary when a free-spirited drifter leaves him longing for more than just a steamy fling…
Like the wild goose tattooed on her shoulder, Cassidy Esperanza goes wherever the wind takes her. For her, a new day means a fresh start. And yet something about her days in Caribou Crossing--and nights with its handsome hotel owner--makes her think about staying a while. But when life takes an unexpected turn, her first instinct is to take flight once more. Is Dave strong enough to help them both face their fears, come to terms with the past, and believe that sometimes love truly can last a lifetime?
STAND BY YOUR MAN BOOK 4 -June 24th, 2014
Karen MacLean is a hardworking, well-respected corporal for the Caribou Crossing detachment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Though she secretly longs for marriage and a home like the one she grew up in, she's made her job her top priority and grown accustomed to being alone. But a handsome sergeant whose will is as strong as her own could change everything she thought she believed. . .
Sergeant Jamal Estevez is often trusted with undercover work, but his greatest challenge has been to conceal his true identity as a recovering alcoholic. A city guy who's never had a real home, he's starting to find peace riding the country roads of Caribou Crossing--with beautiful Corporal MacLean. As the attraction between them grows, Jamal may discover that the life Karen has been hoping for is exactly what he's needed all along. . .
GENTLE ON MY MIND BOOK 3 -Sept. 3rd, 2013
Brooke Kincaid knows second chances don't come cheap. She's spent five years repairing past mistakes and making her life in Caribou Crossing steady and predictable. But now a stranger's Harley has shattered her fence and her peace of mind in one swoop. Brooke is drawn to everything about wounded undercover cop Jake Brannon--his raw masculinity, his tenderness, and the undisguised desire that makes her feel more alive than she's ever been.
By rights, Brooke should curse Jake for complicating her life. Instead she's offered him a place to heal and a cover story as he searches for a wanted man. Jake knows she's vulnerable, but she's also strong, kind, and hotter than hellfire. It's a combination that could make even a die-hard loner long to put up his boots and put down roots at last, and show her just how good a second chance can get. . .
HOME ON THE RANGE BOOK 2 -Aug 6th, 2013
For Evan Kincaid, the best thing about his dusty hometown was watching it fade into the distance. Jessica Bly was the only one who didn’t treat him like an outsider, and their friendship ended with one mind-blowing night of young passion. Now they’ve both got the lives they planned—Evan in New York, Jess with her beloved horses in Caribou Crossing. But business has brought Evan back to Jess’s Crazy Horse ranch on a mission that could destroy whatever’s left of her trust.
Ten years ago, Jess wanted one perfect night to remember Evan by. What she got was a broken heart and a secret that’s kept them strangers ever since. The boy she knew was sexy and sweet;the man he’s become leaves her breathless. And no matter how much she tells herself that country girl and city boy don’t belong together, in her heart she wants to believe his home has been right here all along…
CARIBOU CROSSING BOOK 1 -June 25th, 2013
Wade Bly is certain of his destiny: He’ll marry his high school sweetheart, Miriam, work at his father’s ranch, and eventually inherit the place and make it his own. And of course, they’ll have a few kids once they’ve had time to enjoy married life and save some money. But when an unexpected pregnancy speeds up their plans, Wade can only hope he’s up for the challenge…
Miriam always knew she and Wade would be happy together. He’s a good provider and a doting father to their spirited daughter, Jess. And when the lights go out, he’s the passionate cowboy of her wildest dreams. But when a string of disappointments leaves them both feeling doubtful about their future, they’ll have to rediscover themselves and their love—to see that the life they fear is over is really just beginning…