DEB: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
SI: I’ve lived in the South my entire life except for one year in the Netherlands. I’m a mother of two wonderful children I chauffeur to school and various classes during the week. When they are in school, I try to write romances. My family and I have traveled around Europe, and last year, we ventured to Japan. I’ve blogged about some of my travels on www.susannaives.com.
DEB: What was your inspiration for Wicked Little Secrets?
SI: I didn’t really have an inspiration. One day I sat down and started typing. That’s my favorite way, to just let whatever is in the subconscious flow forth unchecked. I wrote a paragraph about a stodgy, religiously fervent woman who was having a Bible study group in her home. From that paragraph, the story was born.
DEB: Is this a single title or part of a series?
SI: It’s part of a three book series set in the Victorian Era.
DEB: Blackmail is an interesting plot point. What made you choose it as a basis for the conflict in this book?
SI: I’m having a difficult time answering this question without giving away the plot. Here is my best shot:
Blackmail added an element of contradiction in a story about proper people in the Victorian era. Vivienne has been told her entire life that she is a “bad seed” because she can’t live up to the calm, meek Victorian ideals of womanhood. Naturally, to resolve her character arc she must accept herself as she is and reject unrealistic cultural models. But wouldn’t it be fun, to change her perception of the people who accused her of being a “bad seed”? What if for once they were far worse?
DEB: What made you decide to write romance?
SI: It’s not really a decision. My head is filled with love stories. When my children were babies and occupied on their activity mat (they never napped), I finally had time to write down my stories. Before that, all my time and mental energy was taken up with my corporate jobs. Well, except for the great Bon Jovi story I wrote in high school for my friends.
DEB: Do you have a favorite author or genre you read for pleasure?
SI: I love reading romances, but lately my analytical editor mind takes over and it’s hard to become immersed in the narrative. So, if I want escapism, I read gothic, noir-ish mysteries – an entirely different universe from what I write.
DEB: What has been you experience with the publishing industry? Getting your work in the hands of publishers etc. Good, bad, easy hard?
SI: It’s been very hard, but at the same time, I’ve been lucky to find people in the industry who champion my work. That is the key. Twice my work has been pulled from a slush pile. Before publication, I entered many romance writing contests. I received a wide range of feedback and wonderful exposure to editors and agents.
DEB: Do you have advice for new writers?
SI: Persistence, passion, and pals. I think passion will only get you so far. It’s a bumpy ride, and you’re going to need persistence to keep going despite obstacles. It’s best to surround yourself with wonderful writing friends who understand the issues and problems that are unique to writers. And they are unique. So if you vent to your non-writer friends, they may stare at you blankly or get annoyed.
DEB: Tell us one thing readers may not know about you.
SI: I adore big band music and Frank Sinatra.
DEB: What are you working on right now?
SI: Another Victorian romantic comedy. That’s all I’ll say. I’m rather superstitious about sharing what I’m working on.
The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Wicked Little Secrets by Susanna Ives.
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