"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
Love at First Bite
Susan Squires has written five novels and a novella for Leisure Books and has a three book contract with Jennifer Enderlin at St. Martin’s Press to continue her Regency vampire series. Her books have won numerous reviewers choice awards, as well as the Golden Heart, a Holt Medallion, and several PRISM awards. Body Electric, was named by Publisher's Weekly as one of the most influential mass market books of 2002. No More Lies was a Rita finalist. Romantic Times Magazine has nominated her for a life-time achievement award.
Susan still has a day-job working as an executive for a Fortune 500 company. She lives in Southern California at the beach with two Belgian sheepdogs, a warmblood mare and her husband, Harry, who writes thrillers and paranormal mysteries.
PNR: Can you tell us a little about how you started writing; was it something you have always wanted to do?
Susan S.: I always wanted to write. I amused myself telling stories to myself instead of reading class assignments. I wrote my first novel when I was 12. It was a first person narrative from the point of view of my dog. I actually got fifty pages on an old typewriter before I threw in the towel. I graduated to writing bad poetry in high school. I changed my major in college back and forth between theater and English literature before I finally finished a Master’s degree in English from UCLA. But then I went to work, and the dream faded. It was Harry who encouraged me to try again during one of my many mid-life crises.
PNR: Are you able to write as much as you would like? Tell us about your writing schedule.
Susan S.: I still have a day job, so writing every day is just a dream for me. I have to schedule writing time over a week to fit it in. And I can write in the middle seat of an airplane, in hotels—really anywhere, because I don’t have the luxury of waiting for the perfect moment. In some ways, that keeps me from using excuses as to why I can’t write. I struggle for those bits of time, and I’m almost always eager to use them.
PNR: Which author(s) is your favorite? And who has most influenced you work?
Susan S.: Oh, this is a tough question. I have been influenced by so many authors over the years. I spent my teenaged years reading sci-fi from Robert Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke. I discovered Jane Austen in college, and my husband introduced me to Georgette Heyer, believe it or not. I loved them both, and thought their books could only have been enhanced by one thing - a little more sex! Now I read everything. I love mysteries, from James Burke to Janet Evanovich, and I’ve read all twenty books in the Patrick O'Brian Master and Commander series twice. You can recognize all those elements in my books.
PNR: THE COMPANION is your second vampire story set in Regency period; was it difficult being true to Regency period and writing the fantasy and sensual aspect in these stories?
Susan S.: I actually thought that having the chaos of the supernatural and the unknown (vampires) intrude into the ordered society of the Regency period would be really interesting, so I have enjoyed that immensely. And regardless of what they wrote about during the Regency, they MUST have been having sex, so I'm just bringing out what they weren’t willing to admit!.
PNR: I understand that THE COMPANION is the first of a trilogy? Can you tell us more?
Susan S.: It actually may run to more than a trilogy, but right now I know the series will be at least three books. THE COMPANION is about a man made vampire in North Africa by a very evil vampire woman, Asharti, without knowing any of the rules. He has to figure them out himself as he tries to return to the life he knew in England. The heroine is an archeologist sent home to the stifling society of England. They meet on board ship. Of course, she is the only one who could understand him and help him accept what he is now...
The second book THE HUNGER, will be out in October. It’s actually a prequel to THE COMPANION and shows us the original relationship between Asharti and a secondary character from that book. This time the heroine, Beatrix Lisse, is the vampire, burdened with years of experience. The hero is a spy for his government during the Napoleonic wars. What they share is knowledge of the dark side of existence and a secret life.
And the third in the series, THE BURNING, takes a secondary character from THE HUNGER, a vampire with a tortured soul who has a long history with Beatrix and Asharti, and shows his need to find redemption for his sins. He meets a woman with some startling and burdensome powers of her own. I’m just finished the first draft of this one.
All of them are filled with adventure, lots of history, and some fairly steamy sex. I’m really having fun with them.
PNR: In THE COMPANION you return to the world of Sacrament, how do you provide a reader who is new to your work with background without slowing down the story?
Susan S.: This is actually quite difficult. What I try to do is stay firmly inside each character’s head and reveal only what they would actually think about (if they are the vampire,) or what they discover (if they are not). That way the reader gets to discover the facts about the world slowly and doesn't get them dumped on her like a cold bucket of water…. You can tell me if I succeeded or not.
PNR: It is said that you don't write romance as much as you write stories of complex human relations. THE COMPANION seems to be a character driven story. Do you feel this is harder or easier to write than plot driven stories?
Susan S.: It almost doesn’t matter if it’s easier. It's the only way I know how to write. I imagine the characters, and what they want, and an initial conflict. After that, they drive the story. I’m there to reveal it.
PNR: Which of your characters was your favorite to write? The most challenging?
Susan S.: Oh, dear. Now this is a REALLY tough question. At the time I'm writing them, I love all of my characters. Davinoff and Sarah in SACRAMENT were my first love, since that is the first book I wrote. I particularly liked Vic in BODY ELECTRIC, though she was very tough and flawed at first in that book. I loved Jeff in NO MORE LIES - I tried to make him into as real a “guy” as I could—not easy. I liked Ian and Beth in THE COMPANION. Ian is one tortured hero. But I think the one I have the softest spot for, and the one who was hardest to write was Jodie in BODY ELECTRIC. How do you make an Articial Intelligence coming to life as a man believable? That was tricky.
PNR: All your books so far have a paranormal element and are suspense filled - several are award winning stories - contemporary (No More Lies), sci-fi (Body Electric) and Historical (Danegeld & Danelaw) as well as your Regency vampire books. It seems your first love is writing suspense, do you have a preference for any time period or genre?
Susan S.: I’m not sure I write suspense in the classic sense. But I do know that I like to have lots of things going in the book. I definitely write “cross-genre. What intrigues me is what you mentioned in an earlier question—I like complex human interactions under extreme circumstances. All of those settings allow me to juxtapose conflicting elements or societies (Saxons and Danes, science and love, the order of the Regency and the chaos of the supernatural). After that, I guess you would say I like to experiment.
PNR: What do you feel are the essential elements of a great story?
Susan S.: Of course, compelling character (I would, you know.) But I also think that a story has to move fairly fast. We’ve been trained by movies and MTV. The leisurely pace of classic books wouldn’t sell any more. The trick is to have a book move without losing telling detail or allowing it to feel rushed. Finally, I think a writer has to have the courage to really take the story to its limits. I read many books today that I think didn't do the great original idea justice.
PNR: I know your husband is a writer as well; does this help keep you motivated? Provide a little friendly competition?
Susan S.: Harry is indispensable. He and I brainstorm when we’re stuck. We read drafts and provide both the toughest criticism we can muster and encouragement. He is a fine writer himself (he writes as H.R. Knight) and I’m very fortunate. We have honed our ability to talk about each other’s writing by being in critique groups together. If a marriage can withstand that, it can withstand anything!
PNR: Thanks Susan for taking the time out to talk to us. Where can readers find out what's new and how can they contact you?
Susan S.: Of course, my website is a good source. www.susansquires.com. Stay tuned, because it’s undergoing a redesign which will be up soon. You can also sign up for our newsletter there, Squires and Knight, which comes out about monthly and says what’s new, as well as gives recipes and wine pairings our characters might have enjoyed, travel tips, gossip and special contests.
THE HUNGER - Discover a realm where anything is possible. Where peril and passion collide. Where a woman is tempted by a man she wants but can never have. A man she could destroy with just one kiss. Discover THE HUNGER...
An Undeniable Desire...
The year is 1811, and vampire Beatrix Lisse has spent six hundred years trying to atone for her sins.Yet she can't forget the one man she loved many centuries ago—until she meets John Staunton, the Earl of Langley. John is London's most notorious rogue, but he sees an innocence in Beatrix that she no longer believed existed. But Beatrix can't bring herself to reveal her true nature to John, even after they surrender to their fierce passion. It's only after John abandons Beatrix that she learns he has a secret of his own...
Leads to Love that Burns Eternal...
An undercover spy for England, John's mission is to find out who is behind the sudden shift in power in the French government. If he allows himself to get too close to Beatrix, John knows he'll put her life in danger. But as John gets closer to completing his mission, the very person he seeks is none other than Beatrix's centuries-old rival. With the world unraveling around them, John and Beatrix unite to fight a nemesis whose fury has no limit—even as their unquenchable passion grows more dangerous by the day...
Featured in this Issue:
THE COMPANION - England, 1815: Ian Rufford was captured, enslaved, and then abandoned in the lonely dunes of Egypt's desert. His tormentor was a woman of magnificent beauty...and the blackest of souls. Now, Ian prays for a death that will not come. Only after his rescue does he begin to realize how he has changed. But he understands very little. Just that he is carrying something strange in his blood known only as "The Companion."
Elizabeth Rochewell's home was Egypt. After her father's death, however, she is being sent home to live a conventional life in London. On board ship, she finds herself drawn to her mysterious traveling companion, Ian Rufford. He awakens feelings in her that disturb and tantalize her senses. But he hides a shocking secret that Beth can only begin to unravel.
Now, journey with two linked souls who are determined to stop one woman's evil quest. A journey that will take them to the heights of desire and the depths of depravity. THE COMPANION is an unforgettable, sensual, and erotic novel that take you places you've never gone before...and it will make you believe in the power of true love.
More Paranormal Romance
NO MORE LIES - Dr. Holland Banks is head of the Century Psychiatric Hospital and president of the Schizophrenia Research Foundation...but is she going insane? The rest of the world seems to be. There's a sniper on the loose, she's being stalked, her father is conducting deadly experiments, and she's begun to hear voices: other people's thoughts. But a man was just admitted to her hospital--one who searched her out, whose touch can make her voices subside. Is he crazy, too, or a solution to her fears? A labyrinth of conspiracy is rising around her, and Holland's life is about to change forever. Very soon there will be .....NO MORE LIES.
THE ONLY ONE = They came from the darkest places: secluded monasteries, the Carpathian mountains, galaxies under siege. They were men with the blackest pasts—warriors, vampire monks, leaders of armies—but whose passions burned like dying stars. They had one purpose: to find those women who fulfilled them, completed them, and made them rage with a fire both holy and profane. They sought soul mates whose touch consumed them with desire, yet whose kisses refreshed like the coolest rain. And each man knew that for him there was only one true love—and in finding her he would find salvation.
February 2, 2003
- She waits under the sign of the White Horse for the man who will
father her girl-child. Will it be Saxon king or Danish outcast?
Her choice will change the world. In Viking fire burns her destiny.
Out of Darkness, light. War swept England, and the dark ages grew darker as Vikings put Saxon strongholds to the torch and promised new rule. The horde found Epona, Daughter of the Goddess, on the hill beneath the Sign of the White Horse. There she had lived, awaiting the man who was fated to give her a child. In Viking fires burned her destiny.