Coffee Time Romance has the pleasure of speaking to author, Susan Lyons. Thanks so much for granting us this interview. The readers are anxious to learn about Susan and her delicious books.
Is there any special news that you would like to share with your readers before we begin our interview?
I’d like to thank you for inviting me here, and to mention that I write under three different names: Susan Lyons, Susan Fox, and Savanna Fox. I’m published by Berkley Heat, Harlequin Spice Briefs, and Kensington’s Zebra, Brava, and Aphrodisia lines. I am also doing some self-publishing. I’m excited that a number of my titles are becoming available as audio books, and also in foreign editions.
Why not tell us how your day begins?
Every day except Sunday, I’m up at 6:00. I do e-mail, have breakfast (and read!), shower and dress, exercise, then I’m back to the computer to write.
Now let us get to your release, Bound to Be Dirty, the third book in The Dirty Girls Book Club, written under your other author name, Savannah Fox. Readers are eager to learn more about your latest delectable story.
First, let me tell you about the series. Imagine a female book club sitting around discussing the latest weighty, yawn-worthy tome, and one asks, “Is there a rule that says a book club can’t ever read anything fun?” Another chimes in with, “Or sexy? What’s wrong with sexy?” Well, of course the club votes to read a sexy book every now and then. Now comes the second part of my premise. Each time the club chooses a sexy book, one of the members has a personal sexual – and romantic! – journey that in some ways parallels that in the book.
There are four women in the club. In The Dirty Girls Book Club, when the club reads historical erotica, marketing executive Georgia Malone finds her unlikely soul mate in hockey star Woody Hanrahan. In Dare to Be Dirty, artist and confirmed city girl Kim Chang discovers that the words “cowboy” and “erotic” go together very nicely, when she meets sexy rodeo star Ty Ronan.
In Bound to Be Dirty, the club has decided to research the popularity of BDSM. Will their selection, Bound by Desire, be the catalyst that puts the spark – and the love — back in Dr. Lily Nyland’s faltering ten-year marriage to helicopter bush pilot Dax Xavier?
Why not enlighten the readers where you got the idea to compose this story?
Most romance novels are about the falling in love stage, and end with a commitment, a proposal, or even a wedding. That’s what is referred to as a HEA (happily ever after). Except, marriage is just the beginning, right? It’s certainly no guarantee that two people are going to remain happy together, or stay in love. I was intrigued by the idea of a marriage that started with all that wonderful youth and passion, then began to falter. It seems to me that when you talk to couples who are celebrating their 30th, 40th, or even 50th anniversary, most of them say that it took a lot of hard work over the years, and that there were periods of “down” as well as of “up.”
So, with Lily and Dax, I took two strong-minded, independent, successful people who, at the ten-year point in their marriage, are physically and emotionally distanced. They’re so unhappy and confused that they aren’t sure if they still love each other.
That’s where they’re at when the club starts to read BDSM – and both Lily and Dax read Bound by Desire. Certainly a number of married women have said that their sex lives have been spiced up by reading BDSM. But a spicy sex life isn’t enough to save a marriage. On the other hand, if a little experimentation in bed raises issues of trust, communication, and sharing… And those are the very same issues that are at the root of Lily and Dax’s problems… See where I’m going with this?
And, just so you know, Bound to Be Dirty is not a BDSM novel itself. Neither Lily nor Dax turns out to be a dominant or a submissive, nor do any of the other women in the book club. But they do have some intense discussions about why BDSM erotica is popular with so many women.
What is your best time of the day to write?
Morning and afternoon both work for me. Not the evening – my creativity seems to go to bed early. I can handle admin tasks in the evening, but that’s about it.
While you are composing is there a certain ritual that you usually have with you to work on your story?
The one thing I pretty much always do is figure out a work plan, working backwards from the deadline date. That lets me know roughly how many words I should be writing or editing each week, so I know if I’m falling behind and can do something about that before I start to panic. I don’t enjoy panic! For me, it’s not productive. I was never one of those people who wrote papers the night before the deadline, or left the studying until the night before the exam. That kind of pressure has a negative effect on my creativity.
Can you describe your work station to the readers?
LOL. Which one? Well, there’s my nice big desk in my home office. The desk has a flat screen monitor, a wireless keyboard and mouse, and my netbook. Around me are printers, reference books, files, etc. That’s my admin center. But I have some back and hip problems which prevent me from sitting for very long in a straight-backed chair. I do much of my writing and editing in a recliner chair in the living room, with my netbook on my lap. Sometimes I write standing up at the kitchen island; sometimes I take the netbook to a coffee shop. I like being flexible about it. I also do a lot of getting up and wandering around while I’m writing. It isn’t good to sit for more than 20 or 30 minutes at a time, plus I find that movement seems to fire up my creativity. If I’m feeling stuck, going for a short walk, stretching, or even walking from room to room often helps.
Do you prefer to start with an outline when you write or just go with the flow?
I don’t prepare a detailed outline, scene by scene. For some of my books, I need to write a synopsis in order to get a publishing contract. For other books, I just have a general idea of the characters and their issues, then I dive right in. I discover the characters, themes, and story as I write. Even if I start with a synopsis, the book is likely to diverge from it once I’m writing. I like the flexibility and the sense of discovery, even though it does mean that I often have to do a fair bit of rewriting and editing as I learn more things about my characters.
Are there any other soon to be released books that you would like to share with us?
I’ll have a new release on June 24, “Stand by Your Man.” It’s an e-novella, and the fourth title in my Caribou Crossing Romance series from Kensington Zebra. The fifth title, a novel titled “Love Me Tender” will come out in December, and the print edition will also include “Stand by Your Man.” These are sexy and heartwarming contemporary romances set in a small Western town made for love, adventure, and second chances.
What is your favorite part of being a writer? What do you like the least?
I love the characters and stories. I’ve always been an avid reader, losing myself in the worlds created by authors. Now I love creating those worlds myself, and exploring themes that intrigue me. My characters often have serious challenges (e.g., bipolar disorder, alcoholism, multiple sclerosis, single parenthood, death of a spouse, career issues). I often include multicultural characters. I want my books to resonate emotionally with readers, to satisfy their craving for a heartwarming romance, and also sometimes to make them think about the world a little bit differently.
Of all the genres to read, which do you prefer to read the most?
I love romance and women’s fiction. I’m also very fond of some romantic suspense, YA, and mystery – though nothing too dark and gritty.
If you could travel to any place in the world, for a week, where would you go for some rest and recreation?
I love the Greek islands. I’ve never been to Corfu and would really like to give it a try.
What is your ideal romantic weekend getaway?
To go to some peaceful, beautiful secluded spot with an ocean beach. A place that’s easy to access with the minimum of travel hassles! One that has all the comforts and even a few luxuries like champagne and fabulous food, but without any kind of pretentious vibe. Nothing to do but walk the beach, talk to my sweetheart, eat and drink, and of course read. Oh, and of course the weather is perfect, the skies are clear, and the moon is full.
If you could choose anyone to be with you on a sinking ship headed to a desert island, to be stranded for a month, who would you choose?
I’m not sure if this is romantic or boring, but I’d actually choose my long-time partner. We’ve learned to live with each other’s foibles, and to support each other. I can’t imagine being stranded with anyone other than him and having both of us actually survive without killing each other! Plus, he’s pretty darned resourceful and handy to have around (for all sorts of things!).
What would a carefree day be like for Susan, if she could have anything to her liking?
I’d sleep in until the sun urged me out of bed – which would likely be around 7:00 because I’m a morning person. The morning would be warm enough that I could have breakfast on the deck. Fresh fruit and yogurt, a latte, and some kind of wonderful pastry like a croissant or fruit scone. While I ate, I’d read and gaze at the scenery, and then I’d have a second latte and spend some more time vegging. And, well, that would be pretty much the pattern for the entire day! The weather would be perfect. I’d have a nice long walk, on the beach or in a park. I’d visit a garden like the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific (Victoria) or VanDusen Gardens (Vancouver) with my camera, spending hours wandering and taking photos. There’d be great food for lunch and dinner, with a glass or two of sparkling wine at lunch and probably a nice red wine for dinner. I wouldn’t have to do anything at any particular time. Lots of reading. Some hugs and conversation with my sweetie, but other than that I’d probably spend most of the day alone (yes, I’m an introvert). And I wouldn’t go near email or social media!
Finally, any last thoughts you would like to leave with our readers?
Only to say thanks again for inviting me here – and thanks to the readers who read this interview, and especially to those who leave comments. And, of course, very especially big thanks to those who read my books! I love to hear from readers. You can contact me via my website or my Facebook page.
Susan, thank you so much for sharing time with us today.