Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Interview: Susan Crawford, author of Saving Justice

Today, I'm introducing you to a wonderful new author whose first book is a true hit!

Susan Crawford is the author's name and Saving Justice is her debut novel which she is going to talk about today.

But Susan is doing more than stopping by for an author interview, she's hosting a book giveaway contest! Yes, that's right YOU, my wonderful readers, have the opportunity to enter this contest and WIN one e-book copy of Susan's book, Saving Justice! 

The contest starts today (Sept. 29 and will end on October 14). So that means you have several days to participate in this contest! You can participate by reading the my interview with Susan then answering her question at the end of the interview. When you answer Susan's question please remember to include your e-mail address with your words in the comment section so if you win, Susan can reach you and make arrangements for you to receive your prize! 

Please note: The winner will be selected via an old-fashioned random drawing performed by me  (Alexis, founder of God is Love blog) and then the winner will be announced in the comment section of this blog post on Oct. 15. 

Sounds good to you? I hope so! :) Enjoy your visit with Susan.

*Interview questions from Alexis in bold, answers from Susan not in bold.

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Alexis: The cover to your novel Saving Justice looks beautiful and intriguing! Who designed it? Is this the look you wanted?


Susan: I really wasn’t sure how I wanted the cover to look, but when my publisher sent it to me, I absolutely loved it! Lacy Williams is the managing editor and cover designer for Redbud Press, and she does amazing work. This is actually the second cover design Saving Justice has had, and I love them both! Here’s a photo of both covers…


Saving Justice is your debut novel. Did you go indie or traditionally publish this work? What did you appreciate the most about your publishing experience? Share details on your journey.

I went the traditional route and signed a contract to publish with Redbud Press. I love so many things about Redbud—they’re a small, boutique publisher (meaning they focus on a specific niche in the market—Christian romance); they’re new on the Christian publishing scene and I love that I get to be in on the ground floor of a new venture; the managing partners are amazing authors and businesswomen who know the industry, and I so appreciate the way they have taken this newbie and integrated me into their family of authors. Before I got the contract, I had my dream publishing plan mapped out (1. Get dream agent. 2. Sign with dream publisher. 3. Become a bestseller.), but God said “No” to that plan and eventually opened the door for me to work with Redbud. I’ll be forever grateful that He did because it has been a wonderful experience. His dreams for me are always better than mine.

When did you “know” that you wanted to be a writer? Share the (short) story of how your dream became a reality.

I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up until I was almost 40 years old. I’ve always loved to read, but didn’t consider writing fiction until about five years ago when I had a moment with God and suddenly had an overwhelming desire to write a compelling Kingdom story. I had no idea how to write a novel, though, so I went to my local library and checked out a stack of books on writing. I studied on my own for about six months, and then wrote my first manuscript during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) that year. I was hooked! Soon after that, I joined My Book Therapy and ACFW and continued to learn how to improve my writing. I pitched my first book to a few editors and got rejected, so I set it aside and wrote another one. I pitched that one and got a little more traction, and it went on to final in the Genesis contest. Before the contest results were announced, I got the call from Redbud Press and signed my first contract. After a lot of revising and editing, Saving Justice was released into the world.

Let’s talk more about your book. Where is the setting for Saving Justice? Who are the main characters? How and why did you choose their names?

It’s set in Oklahoma City. I chose to set it there because it’s my hometown and I love it. Most books I’ve read that are set in Oklahoma are about small-town cowboys—which is great, who doesn’t love a cowboy?—but I wanted to show our urban side, too. The main characters in the story are Kinley Reid and Nash McGuire. I chose Kinley’s name because my husband and I were thisclose to naming one of our daughters that. We ended up giving them other names, but Kinley has stayed at the top of the list for years, so I was happy to finally have a reason to use it. As for Nash’s name, I just thought it sounded cool.

Describe your heroine Kinley. What is her main motivation? What are her goals? What is the conflict that makes her journey challenging? What or who makes her heart melt? What makes her so determined to save Justice?

Kinley is fiercely passionate about helping people, and her main goal is to keep Justice out of trouble and out of danger. She’s so determined because she’s following in her late brother’s footsteps, and she wants to make a difference like he did. She’s also spontaneous and fun, and more than a little disorganized. She has a tendency to rush into situations without thinking, and she has a bit of a “fixer” complex—she thinks, given enough time, she can fix everything that’s wrong with the world around her. But in helping Justice, she comes up against things she can’t fix (like drug dealers with guns), and has to learn to surrender to the only One who can.

Describe your hero Nash. What is his main motivation? What are his goals? Why is he an entrepreneur and not in another career? What role does his work as an entrepreneur play in the story?

Nash grew up in the poverty-stricken Martindale neighborhood, and he overcame a lot of obstacles to become successful. His goal is to renovate his childhood home, sell it, and get out of the neighborhood for good. He’s still carrying the scars from the choices he made there, so he’s trying to move forward and forget about his past. I made him an entrepreneur because I needed him to have a flexible schedule, but I also wanted him to be wealthy as a contrast to Kinley. His career isn’t really a main feature of the story, but it provided the framework I needed to get him on the page with and Kinley and Justice.

Describe Justice, the catalyst for this story. How old is he? Where did he grow up? How does Kinley first meet him? Why does Justice need to be saved and from what does he need to be saved? Is there a special reason why you named him “Justice”? If yes, explain why.

Justice is ten years old. He’s in Kinley’s fourth-grade class, and he’s one of her most promising students. He’s growing up in Martindale, where crime and gang activity are a regular part of the landscape. At the beginning of the story, Justice gets into trouble, so Kinley takes it upon herself to keep him on the right track. She wants to save him from getting caught up in the destructive aspects of his neighborhood and point him towards the good. I named him Justice because the word conjures the idea of God coming and making things right. To me, this little boy is a reminder that God shows up for us.

Why did you make Kinley a schoolteacher? How does her passion for children and her personality play into your story?

I have such a deep admiration for teachers, whether they teach in public school, private school, or home school. My husband is a teacher, and so are my two closest friends, so it seemed like a good idea to pattern my heroine after them. In one sense, it was a case of “write what you know”, but it was also a chance for me to create a fun composite of these people I love so dearly. I’ve watched my friends give their whole selves to invest in a kid’s life, and that inspired Kinley’s passion for children. She’s also fun, quirky, and spontaneous, and that combination of traits is what makes her story work. If she were cautious or a rigid planner, she wouldn’t get into as much trouble and that just wouldn’t be any fun.

What do you want your readers to remember most about Saving Justice?

First, I hope they remember it as a story they enjoyed. Beyond that, I hope they’re inspired to love the people God has placed in their lives, no matter where they are or what season they’re in. We can touch hearts and lives, even when our efforts seem small or we don’t do it perfectly.

As a woman of faith, how does your belief in God affect your storytelling style?

I see the world through the lens of my relationship with Him, so even if I’m telling a story where God isn’t specifically mentioned, I think He shows through. My favorite stories highlight the things I love most about God—His power to redeem anything and everything, His justice, His mercy and grace, His unending love. I want to tell stories that put those things on display.

Did you ever imagine your first book release would be such a hit? What’s next for you as an author

Never in my wildest dreams! Every step along this journey has been such a gift of God’s grace in my life. Next up, I have a novella called Reclaiming Brynn that will release on October 20, 2015 as part of a collection called The Boy Next Door, and the second book in my Heart of the City series, Redeeming Cade, releases December 15, 2015.

Complete this sentence: I write because__________ and__________I cannot live without______________________________!


I write because it helps me see God more clearly in my own life and I cannot live without chocolate!

Thanks for the interview, Susan! Please leave a question for my readers to answer that will qualify them to enter your book giveaway contest. 

Susan: Tell us about your favorite teacher. How did he/she make a positive impact on you?

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Author bio:
Susan Crawford is an author of inspirational contemporary romance, published by Redbud Press. Before publication, her debut novel, Saving Justice, was named a finalist in the 2014 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis writing contest. 

Susan lives in Oklahoma City, where she happily crams writing in between being a wife, mom, and small business owner. 

Visit her online at www.susancrawfordbooks.com to sign up for her email newsletter and be the first to hear about her writing news and upcoming releases.

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Book blurb for Saving Justice:

After losing her brother to gang-related violence, elementary schoolteacher Kinley is on a mission to help her at-risk students. When one of them, Justice, is caught in an act of vandalism, she intervenes.

Entrepreneur Nash McGuire has gone to great lengths to overcome the poverty he grew up in. When working on a renovation project in his old neighborhood he collides with a juvenile delinquent and his do-gooder teacher.

Kinley believes Justice can overcome the influence of his environment; Nash knows the odds and has little patience with Kinley’s naivety. But as the boy’s mandatory community service forces Justice and Kinley into Nash’s life, he can’t help but discover a boy searching for love and purpose–a boy very much like he once was.

Then Justice is accused of another crime. And Kinley’s stubborn belief in the boy’s innocence is just too much for Nash to accept…

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Buy Saving Justice: 
Kindle - http://amzn.to/1xv0diM
Kobo- https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/saving-justice-3
iTunes - http://apple.co/1L1kf91
Paperback - http://amzn.to/1FTfuuV
Nook - http://bit.ly/1KORwAw


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Visit Susan's website www.susancrawfordbooks.com where you can sign up for her newsletter. She'd love to keep in touch with you! 

3 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for hosting me today, Alexis! Such a fun interview. :-)

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  2. Replies
    1. Congratulations, Pauline! You WON a copy of Susan's book! :)

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