What inspired you to become an author?
Some of my earliest memories are of spending hours in the library. My parents owned a business that stayed open until 5 or 6 p.m., so the library was my after-school babysitter. But it wasn’t until a high school teacher accused me of plagiarism (because my vocabulary was too big, apparently) that I thought maybe I had a knack for words. Which is too bad, in some ways. If I’d stayed on my premed track, I’d be making a lot more money!
Do you have a specific writing style?
My writing is conversational. Sturdy, but not particularly poetic. I think my training as a journalist clashed somewhere with my natural Southern storytelling tendencies and my writing voice came out somewhere in between. I tend to end up putting humor in everything I write, whether I mean to or not.
Do you write in different genres?
I do. In addition to writing paranormal romance as Susannah Sandlin, I also write an urban fantasy series as Suzanne Johnson. These genres are “kissing cousins” and have a lot in common, but they’re very, very different to write. I was surprised at how different.
If yes which is your favorite genre to write?
It would be impossible for me to pick—I love writing both. My urban fantasy has some romance in it, and my paranormal romance has a strong external story arc. So in some ways, I have the best of both worlds. I keep eyeing paranormal historicals and, who knows, I might try my hand at that one of these days.
Do you title the book first or wait until after it’s complete?
I come up with the title first and so far, I haven’t changed a title. My BFF and alpha reader (the only one who gets to read first drafts) tried to get me to change the title of Omega so that it would sound more “biblical” like the other books in this series (Redemption and Absolution), but I stuck with Omega because it has such meaning for the book. The characters are living in a place called Omega, and the climax of the book is their endgame—their Omega—where all that’s been building through the first two books comes to a head and everything is on the line.
What books/authors have influenced your life?
Stephen King, for character and suspense; Rick Bragg, who writes these brilliant Southern memoirs, for voice; Susan Howatch, for the big, sweeping vista of story arc; Jim Butcher, for blending humor with drama. That’s a really warped, um, I mean eclectic mix, now that I see them lined up together!
What book are you reading now?
I just finished the new Kim Harrison Hollows book, Ever After. Holy cannoli, Batman. My jaw was hanging open through the last quarter of the book, in a good way. Next up, I have five books to read as a judge for the Romance Writers of America RITA contest, so I can’t say what those are except, OMG, they are not in categories I normally read. Which is probably a good thing because I can be completely objective.
What is your current “work in progress” or upcoming projects?
I will be trying something new, which is publishing a serial novel that’s a paranormal romance-thriller similar to the Penton books (only no vampires). It will be produced in digital “episodes” that come out every two weeks beginning in March and running through early July. Once all the episodes are released, then it will be available as a regular book in print, digital and audio. It’s a different writing process, a different way of looking at a novel, and I’m having fun with the process.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Not so much in the writing itself as in my schedule. It’s hard to find a balance between the full-time day job, the book promotion/marketing, and the actual writing. Sometimes it feels as if the writing ends up with the short end of the pencil.
Do you have to travel much to do research for your books?
Not really. I have moved around a lot with my day-job career, so I’ve lived in Alabama (several places), Chicago and downstate Illinois, Houston, San Diego, and New Orleans. I have a lot of places I know pretty well. The Penton series is set in Alabama, my urban fantasy series is set in New Orleans, where I still visit frequently, and the upcoming serial will be set in Houston and western Louisiana. Plus, these days, the Internet has made armchair research easy.
Penton Vampire Legacy, Book 3
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Date of Publication: February 5, 2013
Number of pages: 328
Word Count: approx. 88,000
The bloody war between the Vampire Tribunal and the defiant scathe of Penton, Alabama, rages on, forcing its residents and their bonded humans to retreat into the underground fortress of last resort: Omega. There, Will Ludlam is charged with the care of Penton's humans, though he longs to fight alongside his vampire brethren. He knows the risks: as the renegade son of the Tribunal's vicious leader, Will's capture could doom the resistance.
Yet he is determined to prove his worth to his adopted scathe, to his vengeful father and to former US Army officer Randa Thomas, his beautiful, reluctant partner. Randa has little faith that a former member of the vampire elite has what it takes to fight a war. But as their enemies descend upon Omega, Will's polished charm and Randa's guarded heart finally give way to the warrior within.
Fans of Susannah Sandlin's Penton Legacy are sure to devour this long-awaited third installment of the steamy paranormal series.
The Penton Legacy, Book 2
By Susannah Sandlin
Release date: October 9, 2012
Publisher: Montlake Romance
With the vampire world on the brink of civil war over the scarcity of untainted human blood, battle lines are being drawn between the once peaceful vampire and human enclave of Penton, Alabama, and the powerful Vampire Tribunal.
A Scottish gallowglass warrior turned vampire in the early 17th century, Mirren Kincaid once served the Tribunal as its most creative and ruthless executioner—a time when he was known as the Slayer. But when assigned a killing he found questionable, Mirren abandoned the Tribunal’s political machinations and disappeared—only to resurface two centuries later as the protector and second-in-command of Penton. Now the Tribunal wants him back on their side—or dead.
To break their rogue agent, they capture Glory Cummings, the descendant of a shaman, and send her to restore Mirren’s bloodthirsty nature. But instead of a monster, Glory sees a man burdened by the weight of his past. Could her magic touch—meant by the tribunal to bring out a violent killer—actually help Mirren break his bonds and discover the love he doesn’t believe he deserves?
It’s a town under siege, a powerful warrior in a battle with his past, and one woman who can make the earth move—literally—as the Penton Legacy continues.
Book One Penton Legacy series
By Susannah Sandlin
Following a worldwide pandemic whose vaccine left human blood deadly to vampires, the vampire community is on the verge of starvation and panic. Some have fanned into rural areas, where the vaccine was less prevalent, and are taking unsuspecting humans as blood slaves. Others are simply starving, which for a vampire is worse than death—a raging hunger in a creature too weak to feed.
Immune to these struggles—at first—is Penton, a tiny community in rural Chambers County, Alabama, an abandoned cotton mill town that has been repopulated by charismatic vampire Aidan Murphy, his scathe of 50 vampires, and their willingly bonded humans. Aidan has recruited his people carefully, believing in a peaceful community where the humans are respected and the vampires retain a bit of their humanity.
But an unresolved family feud and the paranoia of the Vampire Tribunal descend on Penton in the form of Aidan’s brother, Owen Murphy. Owen has been issued a death warrant that can only be commuted if he destroys Penton—and Aidan, against whom he’s held a grudge since both were turned vampire in 17th-century Ireland. Owen begins a systematic attack on the town, first killing its doctor, then attacking one of Aidan’s own human familiars
To protect his people, Aidan is forced to go against his principles and kidnap an unvaccinated human doctor—and finds himself falling in love for the first time since the death of his wife in Ireland centuries ago.
Dr. Krystal Harris, forced into a world she never knew existed, must face up to her own abusive past to learn if the feelings she’s developing for her kidnapper are real—or just a warped, supernatural kind of Stockholm Syndrome in which she’s allowing herself to become a victim yet again.
Susannah Sandlin’s REDEMPTION is the first in the Penton Legacy series. Book two, ABSOLUTION, will be out September 18, and book three, OMEGA, on December 18.
About the Author:
Susannah Sandlin is the author of paranormal romance set in the Deep South, where there are always things that go bump in the night. A journalist by day, Susannah grew up in Alabama reading the gothic novels of Susan Howatch and the horror fantasy of Stephen King. (Um…it is fantasy, right?) The combination of Howatch and King probably explains a lot. Currently a resident of Auburn, Alabama, Susannah has also lived in Illinois, Texas, California, and Louisiana.
Indie Bound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781612183541