Sunday, March 8, 2015

Author interview: Suzie Waltner

Welcome Suzie Waltner, author, to my blog today! :) 

Suzie is a woman who grew up as a pastor's kid. She loves sharing the good news about God through her stories about fictional settings, characters and situations that draw the reader into her story world. The content of Suzie's books are clean, the characters are memorable and her storytelling style is similar to Erynn Mangum.

Today's featured author is very generous! She offered to give away all three published books in her Remembrance series (Remembrance, Pursued, and Enduring Love) to not one but two people! 

Yes, you read that right: Two winners will each receive three books from Suzie's collection! 

Contest rules: Enter the contest though using the Rafflecopter tool at the end of this blog post. The contest starts now and ends on March 22. 

Now on to Suzie's interview (questions from Alexis in bold, answers from Suzie not in bold)...

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Alexis: Walk my readers through your first three books. Tell us about the significance of each title, plot and characters.

Suzie: The title for Remembrance actually came from something a manager told me once while I was in college. He had heard something on the radio and repeated it to me. It stuck in my head and I even used the quote in the book. The book is about letting go of your failures, mistakes, and heartaches of the past and looking toward the future.

I wasn’t thrilled with the title for my second book, Pursued, but it fit with the theme of the book and has grown on me. Callie, the main character in this book, is not a Christian and she doesn’t want to depend on anyone. Then life happens and she’s forced to lean on the people around her (including a guy she has a little bit of a grudge with) as well as God. While the first book was one I had started in college and finished almost twenty years later, this one was written in a month’s time.

Enduring Love was a little bit of a departure from the other two books for me because I added a tiny bit of suspense (it’s definitely not romantic suspense but there’s something going on that will, hopefully, keep readers interested). The main character this book, Becca, was introduced in Pursued and has been one of my favorite characters to write to date.

What is your current work in progress? Share details.

I tend to have several things going at once. Right now, the fourth and final book in my first series (titled Beauty from Ashes) is making its way through a critique group. This is the first time I’ve done this with one of my books and am getting some invaluable input and suggestions from other Christian authors.

I am also about 2/3 of the way through writing another book (tentatively titled A Lot to Learn about Love). This one has been fun to write as I’ve given my main female character four younger brothers and they’re all competitive so the interactions with her and her family are amusing (I hope they’re as amusing to my readers as they are to me).

If you could choose any of your fictional characters as a real-life best friend, who would it be and why?

This is an easy question for me. Becca Jackson would make the greatest best friend (and she shows it in Pursued). She’s got a terrific sense of humor, is no-nonsense, and generous. And she’s always there when her friends need her most.

What is the category and genre that you write? Why did you choose that as your specialty?

I write contemporary romance. This is the genre I tend to read and enjoy the most so it was natural write in that genre. While I like reading historical fiction, I dislike doing a lot of research (I’ve had to do a little for some of the occupations and settings of my books but nothing like I would have to do for historical fiction). I also think part of my natural bent toward this is the fact that I am still looking for my HEA (Happily Ever After) with my Prince Charming. While I’m waiting, I can dream up the perfect guy in every book I write.

Describe your writing style. Who would you compare it to? Why?

The first thing I would say about my writing style is it’s simple. There aren’t a lot of big words or excessive descriptions about things. The books are easy and quick reads (my sixteen and thirteen year old nieces both like reading my books and I’ve had a few others tell me they want their teenage girls to read them).

Hmm…who to compare to? That’s a little more difficult to answer. I would probably put it in the same vein as someone like Erynn Mangum. While there are a few differences (her books are written in first person and mine in third and her characters are younger than mine), I think our styles are probably very similar. Or perhaps Robin Jones Gunn’s style with the Christy Miller series. Gunn writes only from Christy’s perspective while I switch between the male and female main characters’ points of view.

Where is your favorite place to write? 


I have a nice comfortable chair in a corner of my room that I love to sit in and write. The arm chair is brown with a couple of teal throw cushions. An ottoman sits in front of it and I store my extra notebooks in there. I enjoy writing everything out in notebooks before I begin the editing process because I always have one with me. When I’m writing at home, my little Jack Russell terrier, Roxy, curls up in my lap with me. She’s happy as long as she’s got a lap to sit in. I live with roommates so my room is my sanctuary.

Every creative has a muse. What or who is yours?

Wow, this is kind of a tough question. I think it changes from book to book. I can pinpoint the answer for my first book. When I was in college, I had a major crush on a guy, and he was the inspiration behind a lot of the story. It’s kind of funny to look back on that now and see how life has taken us in different directions.

As a woman of faith, what Bible verse do you remember to keep you going when times get tough?

This varies with the seasons but the one I most return to would be one I quoted in Pursued. Jeremiah 29:11-13: "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."

I’ve always loved these three verses together because while Jeremiah 29:11 is a great promise, the other two require action from me (call on me, pray to me, seek me with all of your heart).

How does your faith in God play into your fictional stories?

I was raised in the church (up until my first year of college, my dad was a pastor) so my faith is a natural part of my life. I was never one of those rebellious pastor's kids (PK’s). In fact, I think my life is pretty boring most of the time. It’s more difficult for me to write characters who aren’t following God or who have had something traumatic happen in their past than it is for me to write about someone whose life is steeped in faith in God. At the same time, it’s kind of fun to live in a fictional life for a little while and determine how God is going to reveal himself to those characters who don’t have a strong relationship with Him.

What do you want your readers to take away from your novels?

First and foremost, reading is an escape for me. I read a lot and love entering a world I may never have the opportunity to visit. It can be something as small as a job or a relationship but it’s something that draws me in. The second thing I want readers to experience is an uplifting and clean read. In a world there a book like Fifty Shades of Grey becomes this huge phenomenon and people flock to read it or watch the movie, I want to offer something that is both real life and innocent and pure (the way God intended relationships).

Who is your favorite author? What do you love the most about that person’s work?

Another very difficult question considering how many books I read each year. Denise Hunter, Susan May Warren, and Rachel Hauck are all authors I enjoy reading every time they have a new release. It will come as no surprise that they are all contemporary romance authors. Their work is what I aspire for mine to be like one day. Although, I feel like I have a ways to go before I’m anywhere near the caliber of their writing.

What is the best benefit of writing for the Christian market?

The ability to express my faith in my writing. When I market my books as Christian fiction, people know what to expect. They’re not going to get smut, foul language or gore. They’re going to read about people who are doing their best to live their lives in a manner that pleases God. But, like with real life, obstacles are thrown in their way that they must overcome before they find God’s purpose in their lives and relationship.

I went the self-publishing route with my books so that gives me a lot of freedom in my writing as well (and I get to release them at my own pace).

What are your writing goals for this next season (springtime)?
Because I’ve spent a lot of time the last few months editing Enduring Love, I have put writing on the back burner. I would like to finish the book I’m in the middle of (and maybe start the next one). Of course, I’ll also be editing Beauty from Ashes so it will be available to readers Winter 2015.

What do you like to do for fun?

Just like my writing, I have a lot of different things I enjoy. Reading is my favorite way to spend a Saturday or Sunday but I also enjoy watching my hockey team play, Zumba, going to the movies, and painting pottery. I like to say that I get bored easy so I like variety in my activities and exercise.

If you were not a writer, what would you be?

In a perfect world, I would be an acquisitions editor who gets to read all of the submissions to a publisher and suggest which ones get a book deal.

Thanks for the interview, Suzie! Please leave a question for my readers to answer.

Suzie's question for readers: What book (or books) have you read over and over again?

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Author bio:
Suzie Waltner graduated from the University of Idaho and decided to make the move to Nashville, Tennessee. After seventeen years, she now claims Nashville as home. She loves all things Jane Austen, reading, watching movies, and cheering the Nashville Predators to victory. While she hasn’t found her true love, she hasn’t given up dreaming about him. Enduring Love is her third novel.
Buy Suzie’s books:

Remembrance - http://amzn.to/1zVogTr

Pursued- http://amzn.to/1BRf1tK

Enduring Love- http://amzn.to/1wRsGcA

Connect with Suzie:

"Like" Suzie on Facebook: www.facebook.com/remembranceseries

Follow Suzie on Twitter: www.twitter.com/nashpredsfan

Check in on what Suzie's reading and see periodic updates about her books on Suzie's blog: www.remembrancy.com

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

1 comment:

  1. What a great interview! I enjoyed getting to know Suzie. Denise Hunter and Susan May Warren are some of my favorite authors, too! The books I've read over and over the most would be Dee Henderson's O'Malley series. I tend to start a series over every time a new book is released.

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