SPECIAL INTERVIEW WITH SUSAN LYONS
International, award-winning author, Susan Fox (AKA Susan Lyons), pens hot contemporary romance. Her sexy novels include engaging characters and real life drama that often push the boundaries of the genre. Creating stories that tug at the heart-strings and keep fans wanting more! As a big fan myself, I especially enjoy reading the tough issues her characters tackle. While her main characters always find true love at the end, the road towards it is always filled with unexpected transformation and passion. Her new series set in a small 'cowboy' town called Caribou Crossing is no exception!
I couldn't wait to ask her about her latest book.
Here is what she said:
1) It is such a pleasure having you here! Can you tell us how you got started writing?
Susan Fox: Thank you so much for inviting me, Steph, and for the kind words about my books. I’m delighted to be here.
As for how I got started writing, I’d always been a huge fiction reader, but I’d never really thought about writing a book myself. I got a law degree and worked as a legal editor, and then a friend gave me Natalie Goldberg’s book “Writing Down the Bones.” I didn’t understand why he’d given me the book and when I asked, he said because I was a writer. He told me to read it. I did. And he was right: I’m a writer. I started my first novel over the Christmas holidays that year, and I was hooked. There was no going back!
2) What attracted you to romance in particular?
Susan Fox: At the time, I mostly read legal suspense books and mysteries, so that’s what I first tried to write. But I realized I cared much more about the characters than the plot, and I kept putting romances in my books. The developing romance interested me a lot more than figuring out “who done it.” I attended a workshop put on by romance writers, and found my home. I started devouring romances and women’s fiction, and refocused my own writing.
What I love about romance is that it’s deeply meaningful. Love is the most powerful force in the world. It’s the thing most people desire more than anything else. But romance novels are about even more than that: they’re about character development, as the heroine and hero work through their personal issues and relationship issues and find the strength to be better people and to build a future together. I think the heroines and heroes of romance novels can make fabulous role models.
3) Your books are so real and heart-felt. I always feel invested in your characters, especially when they face difficult issues that they have to overcome. (From alcoholism, death of a loved one or differences in age and race.) As such a fearless writer, is there anything else you would like to write about that you haven't yet? Is there anything you don't think you would write about?!
Susan Fox: Thank you so much! If I’m going to spend 100,000 words with characters, I want them to be people I care about deeply myself and would want as friends if they really existed. I do tend to throw some serious issues at my characters (like a multiple sclerosis diagnosis in Love Me Tender). It tests them and helps them find their own strength. Characters I have in mind for upcoming Caribou Crossing Romances include the single parent mom of a child with a disability, and a hero who, in his younger days, abused his wife and son and now he’s reformed and wants to make amends and find his way back into their lives. I think those two books will be pretty challenging. It’s good to set challenges for myself, as well as for my characters!
As for things I wouldn’t write about… Well, I don’t want to write books that are depressing or have unhappy endings. I like it if readers find some poignant moments and shed a few tears, but I also like them to smile and laugh and believe that my characters will have a happy ending.
4) Have you based any of your books from your own life?!
Susan Fox: Not really, but there are little bits of me in most of my heroines and probably some of my heroes too. An occasional real-life experience has found its way into a book, but that doesn’t happen often. And none of the story lines are based on my own life.
5) Can you tell us more about the town of Caribou Crossing? How did you conceive of it and the people that live there? Is it based on where you live?!
Susan Fox: No, it’s definitely not based on where I live. But it is based on British Columbia’s Cariboo, a region I’m fond of. When I was a child, my parents and I spent quite a bit of time there, especially in Barkerville, a restored gold rush town. Caribou Crossing is based loosely on Barkerville, but with the idea that, when the gold died out, the town didn’t die as well. Instead, a few miners decided not to keep pursuing dreams of gold but to start ranching. So Caribou Crossing is now a ranching town and also has a lively tourist industry based on ranching and the gold rush history. It’s a small community, casual and friendly, very into horses, Western clothing, country music, and helping out your neighbor. It’s the kind of place where almost anyone can find acceptance and friendship, provided she/he is a decent person.
6) How many books do you plan to write in the series? Can you give us a sneak peek?
Susan Fox: So far there have been five published titles. Caribou Crossing launched the series. It’s an e-novella and is also included in the print edition of the next title, Home on the Range. The next book is Gentle on My Mind. Then there’s Stand by Your Man, another e-novella, and it is also included in the print edition of the fifth title, Love Me Tender. The sixth title, Love Somebody Like You has been written and will be published in October 2015.
Love Me Tender has a minor character, Sally Ryland, a young widow. The reader gets a sense that there’s something going on with her. In Love Somebody Like You, you find out that she was abused physically and emotionally by her husband. She has major trust issues. I matched her with Ben Traynor, a sexy rodeo cowboy who knew her years ago when she was a champion barrel racer. He remembers how feisty she was, and he wants to help her heal. Then, as he slowly wins her trust, he realizes that there’s something else he wants from Sally: her heart.
And after that, Kensington has contracted for two more books, which will probably come out in 2016.
7) I can't wait! I love the hometown feel of Caribou Crossing. Did you want to write about it because you are a cowgirl at heart? Do you secretly love westerns?!
Susan Fox: I’ve never been big on westerns, but I have always loved horses. One of my favorite TV shows – I don’t know if you get it where you live – is Heartland, which is filmed in Alberta. The heroine is a bit of a “horse whisperer” and has a big, complicated, loving family. As for me personally, I think I’m half city girl and half country girl. I truly love both. After years of writing Vancouver-set books, I’m very much enjoying hanging out in Caribou Crossing.
8) Have you considered writing another genre besides contemporary romance and why or why not? Do you think you might write a historical western?!
Susan Fox: I’ve thought about writing women’s fiction or mainstream fiction (whatever you want to call that genre). In other words, books that are about relationships other than romantic ones (although they might include romantic elements as well). In a way, I have done this already with some of my books under my Susan Lyons and Savanna Fox pen names, which straddle the line between women’s fiction and romance. The Awesome Foursome series is about the relationship between four girlfriends as well as about their romances. The Wild Ride to Love series is about four semi-estranged sisters growing closer, as well as being about their romances. And The Dirty Girls Book Club series is about the members of a book club getting to know each other better as they discuss books, relationships, and issues – as well as their romances.
As for a historical western, well, I’ve thought of something kind of like that. I have the idea for a series set in Caribou Crossing back in the gold rush days. But right now I’m too busy writing contemporaries. It also seems that there’s not a large market for historical romances set in Canada or the U.S. Readers seem to want England. But to me, those frontier days are incredibly exciting.
9) Speaking of hot cowboys, I loved the hero, Dave. What makes him and your heroine in your latest Caribou Crossing book, Love me Tender so special?
Susan Fox: Ah yes, Dave. I love him too. I loved him from the moment he appeared way back in Home on the Range (as the heroine’s ex-husband), and he has appeared in every title since then. He is known as the nicest guy in town. He’s kind of an Atticus Finch (from To Kill a Mockingbird). He’s the guy people turn to; he can deal with troublemakers in the bar; he’ll help a stubborn, independent widow who refuses to ask for help. He owns and restored a historic inn; he’s good friends with his ex; he’s a fantastic, if rather over-protective, father to their 10-year-old daughter. And of course he’s tall, fit, and handsome!
His fatal flaw is that his heart is broken. He was engaged to a woman who died, quite quickly, of brain cancer. He’s convinced that she was the love of his life. His heart belonged to her and he doesn’t believe he will ever love again – nor is he willing to risk suffering that kind of pain again.
Obviously, he needs a special woman to shake him up, drag him out of his rut, brighten up his life. So I sent him a free-spirited drifter, Cassidy Esperanza. A girl who, for her eighteenth birthday, got a tattoo of a wild goose flying with the moon on its wing – a symbol of her own desire to fly free and wild. (Her parents had never given her a stable home, and she convinced herself she didn’t want one.) In the eight years since then, she has never had the slightest desire to settle down, and she figures she never will.
I knew from the first time I “met” Dave that his biggest challenge would be moving past his fiancée’s death and having the courage to love again. Cassidy, too, needed to grow and to admit that she secretly did long for a happy home life and some stability, and that she had the guts to go after it.
Character growth usually happens when something major shakes us up. For Dave and Cassidy, meeting each other is major, but I felt they needed something even bigger: a crisis to test them as individuals and as a couple. So, part-way through the book, I gave Cassidy a medical diagnosis that will change her life. Dealing with a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis is a test of courage for both her and Dave – and the catalyst for their deepening feelings for each other.
If love can grow in times of crisis, that’s a pretty good indication that it will stand the test of time, don’t you think?
10) Yes, I do! Okay, I have to know, do you have any other upcoming books planned for your readers? Can you give us a hint, please?!
Susan Fox: As well as Love Somebody Like You, which I already mentioned, I’m planning to self-publish a book in February. Fly Close to the Sun is a book of my heart, set on Crete. It’s set in 1998 and it’s a romantic suspense. I fell in love with Greece when I read Mary Stewart’s The Moonspinners, My Brother Michael, and This Rough Magic. My new book is an homage to Mary Stewart and to Crete – and, of course, to romance, feisty heroines, and sexy heroes. I even wrote part of it on Crete.
Fly Close to the Sun is the story of Kieran Bridge, a Canadian lawyer who has had a career crisis and an emotional breakdown, and comes to Crete because some instinct tells her she’ll find the key to her future there. That kind of irrational, magical thinking is completely unlike Kieran’s normal practicality. Once on Crete she finds more than she’s bargained for: bizarre visions, a cheeky but charming teenage boy, a pair of mysterious English siblings – and a stunningly sexy man who is a complete stranger and yet seems, somehow, familiar to her.
Dr. Stefanos Dimitrakis is not just charismatic and frustratingly macho, he’s also a fugitive, accused of killing his uncle. He’s innocent, of course – or so he says – and as Kieran is drawn into helping him, she learns secrets of her own past, secrets tying her to Crete, to a newly discovered and long-dead grandfather, and to Stefanos. And yes, the key to her future is on Crete, if she’s willing to accept advice from her grandfather’s journal: to fly close to the sun, to risk living the moments of opportunity to their absolute.
I enjoyed having this wonderful opportunity to interview you. Thank you so much!
Susan Fox: You’re most welcome. I’m so happy you invited me.
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:
LOVE ME TENDER BOOK 5 -Dec. 2, 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 24, 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. 3, 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 6, 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 25, 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…