Hello fellow Coffee drinkers! Grab your cup of coffee, cocoa, tea, or latte. Then sit down, relax, and settle in as we get to know a little about a very talented author: Suzanne Rock.
Hi Suzanne. Thank you for taking the time to answer some of my questions. Why don’t you start off by telling the readers about Up on the Housetop?
Thank you so much for having me! “Up on the Housetop” was written in response to a call for submissions from my publisher, Loose Id. They requested stories that had titles of popular Christmas carols. I really wanted to take advantage of this new opportunity, but couldn’t think of any ideas. When I stumbled across the “Up on the Housetop” song, I knew I wanted to write about two lovers who reunited on a rooftop.
EEK! Now I am humming the song!
Here’s a short summary of the story:
Desperate to escape her controlling family, Chloe Bradford scrambles up to the housetop of her Texas home on Christmas Eve. There she discovers a sexy stranger cloaked in shadow. He convinces her to shed her good-girl image and give into her most secret desires. The man's low, raspy voice tugs at her memory as much as it awakens her passion. Is he a Christmas miracle, or some figment of her imagination? When he tries to leave, she follows him, eager to learn his identity.
Zach can't stop thinking about Chloe, or their reunion on the roof. His wolf-half urges him to reveal his identity and claim her, but he doesn't dare. For both their sakes, he must remain in the shadows until he can control his inner beast's bursts of rage. After over a decade of struggle he thought he could handle his curse, but Chloe's presence causes his control to slip. As the moon-rages become more frequent, he knows he's slipping toward the insanity that claims many of his kind. Only Chloe can save him, but will she want to after he reveals his identity and the reason he broke her heart over a decade ago? The book trailer
This is an amazing video! I love how it captures the heart of the story without giving it all away. Some people may see Chloe as a bit of a pushover but she eventually shows how strong she really is. Was it your objective all this time for her to make such a huge transition?
Yes. A big part of this story was Chloe discovering her inner strength. Zach goes through a similar transition, but Chloe’s transformation is much more dramatic since the story centers on her. Both story arcs feed into the story’s theme: we all have the strength we need to overcome whatever life throws at us. Sometimes we just need to dig very deep to find it.
Zach is missing for eleven years. When writing the story, was there a reason you chose eleven years versus say five, six, or even ten years?
Good question! When Chloe and Zach first met, they were in high school and very sheltered. In their innocence they took many things for granted. They loved each other with that breathless, dramatic love of youth, but both were too selfish and immature to fully appreciate what they had. In short, they needed time to grow up.
Chloe’s family needed a lot of time to deal with the accident. Her brother was to become the heir to the family fortune, and his death changed that. In their grief, Chloe’s mother turned to outside relationships and Chloe’s father turned to her. He placed all of the expectations he had for his son on her shoulders. At the time, Chloe was too grief stricken to stand on her own and was swept up in her father’s dreams. She used her grief to isolate herself and became depressed. It was through her depression that her father was able to tighten his control of her. This began the downward spiral that would last many years. Chloe really needed to hit bottom emotionally before she could find the strength she needed to confront her father and move on with her life.
Zach also had a lot of growing up to do. He had become a werewolf and had to learn how to handle the physical and emotional changes that came with that, including find a support system and learning the new society’s rules. He had to establish a place for himself in the pack hierarchy and gain enough social standing so that when he brought Chloe, a human, into the pack, they would accept her. On the emotional side, Zach needed to deal with the insecurity and shock that come with the life-changing event. For a long time after the accident he felt that he wasn’t good enough for Chloe, and that he was a danger to her and her family. He vowed to stay away from her. The catalyst that brought them back together again was the turf war between the werewolf packs. This also needed time to develop, as the grudge between the packs took years to develop.
Making the timeframe eleven years (say over ten or fifteen) puts Zach and Chloe at twenty nine when the story opens. I felt that the transition from their twenties to their thirties was a good metaphor for shedding their old lives and starting over again.
When I read this book, I felt Karl was a bit sinister. Was this your intention?
Karl is a product of his environment. He was a good kid, but social pressures and family expectations got the better of him. He was raised to believe that power and status were the things that mattered in life, and in the story he sets out to achieve them. I think that with the right woman, Karl could begin to understand that what he was taught would not bring him happiness. Chloe just wasn’t that woman.
Chloe talks about how she used to dream of being a concert pianist. Did you write her character after anyone you know?
Not really. I wanted someone artistic and a good foil to her analytical-thinking father. I took piano lessons as a kid, so it seemed like a good choice.
When Zach disappeared, it was because he was climbing with Chloe’s brother. Is that a sport you yourself have done? If not, would you ever try it? Why or why not?
I’ve been hiking and camping, but not climbing. I like being outside, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve gotten less adventurous, lol. So no, I probably wouldn’t try climbing in the future.
Your website mentions that you spent a decade in the scientific world. What did you do?
My day job involves working in scientific research. I take drugs and try to make them work better/longer/faster. It involves a lot of computer modeling, lab work, and reading of scientific journals. It requires a lot of analytical thinking and over time I felt that I needed more of a balance in my life. I tried a variety of creative outlets but nothing really stuck. I was about to give up when someone suggested writing. With their encouragement I started typing my first story and never looked back.
You tried a mesh of different ways to amuse yourself before you finally settled on writing. Did you immediately start with paranormal writing? If not, what did you write? If yes, why?
When I first started, I wrote light-hearted contemporary romances aimed at the Harlequin Presents line. I kept getting rejected and couldn’t figure out why. Then I met some friends through the eharlequin community who were trying to break into the nocturne line. It was then that I started reading paranormal romances and discovered a new love. Over time I learned that my dark, suspenseful writing style was better suited in the paranormal genre.
Your bio also mentions that you test your husband’s latest creation. What does he like to create? What is your favorite?
I’m lucky in that I have a husband who loves to cook. Recently, he made some melt-in-your-mouth spare ribs that are out of this world.
(And you didn’t invite me to dinner? I am HURT!!! LOL)
My favorite dish has to be his sushi, however. It’s a fair amount of work, but the results are fabulous. The smoked salmon with avocado is my favorite.
I see you like to read romance novels as well as write them. Who are some of your favorite authors? What about movies? And songs?
Goodness, there are so many to choose from. I really like Charlotte Featherstone’s erotic historicals and the mythology twist in Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld series. I could read Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter books over and over again. She has a good balance of dark and humor. I love a good Lisa Gardner thriller, or a Jim Butcher urban fantasy. Right now I’m reading “The Gift” by a new author, Deb Stover.
As far as movies, you can never go wrong with “Bridget Jones’ Diary” in my opinion. I think it’s the perfect romantic comedy. I also like mob stories. “Goodfellas” and “The Godfather” are among my top picks.
Songs…this can change on a daily basis, lol. Lately I’ve been listening to “Uprising” by Muse. My current work in process centers on escaping captivity, so I think the song puts me in the right frame of mind, lol.
Are you working on anything else right now?
My third story, Cria, was just accepted at Loose Id.
This is about how a Brazilian tribal princess has to choose between her freedom, ancient tradition, and a lover who won’t let her forget her turbulent past. It will be released sometime in 2010. Keep checking my website as I will update it as more information is made known to me.
I’m currently finishing up the sequel to “Up on the Housetop,” tentatively called “Down on the Boardwalk.”
(I was hoping to hear about a sequel, especially with how Chloe and Zach’s story ends!)
This story follows the Kyron pack to Atlantic City and into the heart of enemy territory. There, two Kyron pack brothers are captured and held prisoner beneath a casino with a feisty female werewolf. As the full moon approaches, sexual tensions escalate, but great sex alone won’t give them their freedom. Each of them must confront their fears and open their hearts if they ever hope to escape the Boardwalk alive.
Is there a specific genre you have not written that you would love to try to tackle? What about a genre that you would run screaming from before attempting to write it?
I don’t think I’d ever write a “sweet” or “inspirational” romance. I like to read them, but feel I can’t do the genre justice.
Right now I’m plotting my first Urban Fantasy involving a totally different type of paranormal creature. The world building is a lot of fun. At some point I would also like to try romantic suspense. I think my dark, edgy writing would be a good fit with either of these genres.
(I agree. You have a certain cadence to your writing voice that speaks about a darker and more intense world.)
I myself love to read paranormal books, but there are times I just shake my head at some of the inane things in the books. What is your biggest pet peeve that you have read in a paranormal book?
Unique world building is probably my favorite thing about paranormal romances. Books rehashing the same paranormal characters and settings tend to turn me off. On the flip side, if I find a book that’s a little outside the normal conventions, I’ll grab it off the shelf.
Thinking of the paranormal world, there are an immense array of species and characters within the world. If you were to become a paranormal being, what would you be and why?
Hmm… tough question. I think I would be a shifter of some kind -- perhaps a hawk. Being able to fly would be pretty cool, don’t you think? *grin*
(Yeah, although with my luck as soon as I took off I would crash headlong into danger.)
Along with your website, you also have a blog. Do you have any other social websites like Facebook, MySpace, etc that you belong to?
Embrace the Shadows is a group blog, geared toward lovers of paranormal romance. It is run by six author, all who write in the paranormal romance genre. J I post there every other Tuesday. We also do give-a-ways, run contests and hold author interviews. An offshoot of our blog is our companion yahoo group of the same name. There we hold special member-only give a-ways, support each other, and have a lot of fun. I’m also a member of facebook and twitter, Goodreads and Shelfari. You can also learn more about me and my upcoming releases at my website. Feel free to contact me through any of these venues and introduce yourself. I’m always on the lookout for new friends. *grins*
And one last question I like to ask all of my interviewees. In keeping with the Coffee Time Romance Theme, if you were to be described as a flavor of coffee, what would it be and why?
Oooh, I like this question. I’m a coffee addict myself and have tried a wide variety of flavors. Let me see… I think I would have to choose my favorite Starbucks blend: Pumpkin Spice Latte. It’s a little spicy, a little sweet, and when this holiday flavor makes an appearance, you know good times are just around the corner. *grins*
Thank you once again Suzanne for taking the time to answer my sometimes quirky questions.
Thanks so much for having me. This was a lot of fun!
To read my review of Up On the Housetop, please visit this link. For more information on this novel or to purchase the book, please visit my publisher.