I think this author interview thing is off to a fine start already. Don’t you? Let’s keep it going. Next up is Susan Haught.
At home in a small town in the mountains, Susan Haught lives in Arizona’s Rim Country with her husband and Shih Tzu, Mercedes, who believes her princess status earns her the right to sleep on pillows, ride shotgun, and sit at the table. Thankfully, her husband isn’t quite as spoiled, and Susan will share her Australian black liquorice with him. On special occasions.
When Susan isn’t creating quaint settings with captivating characters, you’ll find her tackling an overgrown garden, engrossed in a movie, glued to a craft project, or curled up with a good book—Mercedes and a stash of Australian black liquorice close at hand. She and her husband have one son.
Susan writes contemporary women’s fiction and romance with the belief that love is ageless and has the power to change lives–one step, one touch, one kiss at a time. She is the author of Shall We Dance?, Under the Mistletoe, and Paper Hearts, which will soon become the heart of a full-length novel, Seasons of the Heart.
Look for new releases from Susan in 2016, and you can stay connected at:
Facebook, Google+, Pinterest & Goodreads as Susan Haught, Author
Let’s start with something fun. What’s your favorite hobby?
That’s a great question, Connie. My favorite hobby is eating Australian black liquorice (yes, that’s spelled correctly) because I’m secretly addicted. I limit buying it, or I’d seriously need a “liquorice eaters anonymous” group therapy intervention. Other than my passion for Australian black liquorice, I enjoy all kinds of crafts and recently discovered scrapbooking. What fun! In the spring, summer and autumn, you’ll find me tinkering with our flower garden—although nature and I share a love/hate relationship. I love to grow things. Nature hates me. I tend to kill flowers I want to grow, and weeds thrive. Hobbies are a great way to escape writing for a bit and let my mind wander.
If you had the opportunity—who would you like to spend an afternoon with and why?
Another great question. I’m going outside the box here because there are actually three I’d love to chat with. The first is Stephen King. The way his mind works fascinates me, and he’s deliriously funny in interviews. He’s a master with the written word and an afternoon wouldn’t be enough time, but I’d take it in a heartbeat. The next is Mark Twain. One of my characters in A Promise of Fireflies (coming January 2016) resembles him in looks (quite by accident) and when I saw his picture one day in the newspaper, I said, “That’s him! That’s Ambrose!” While doing research on Mr. Twain, I became quite intrigued with him, and I think it would be delightful to chat with him. He’s also quite humorous. And the last is my mother. She always told me I could do anything I wanted to do, but she passed away before I’d become an author. I keep her picture above my desk and I know she’s encouraging me with her heavenly smile.
Coffee, tea, soda or something else?
Oh, coffee, no doubt! Unless it’s the occasional Diet Coke with a splash of Jack Daniels. And did I mention Chocolate Shop wine? Red wine infused with a hint of chocolate. Oh my! Coffee gets the day revved and keeps me going through the afternoon, and a glass of wine or mixed drink occasionally end the day either with a celebratory salute or if it’s been “one of those days”. The latter seems to outweigh the former quite a bit.
What are you working on right now?
A Promise of Fireflies (women’s fiction with romantic elements) is in the hands of my editor and I’m working with a graphic designer on the cover. It’s scheduled for a January 2016 release and I’m very excited about sharing this story. My focus now is on Seasons of the Heart, a heartwarming story of a young nurse who chooses to start her career in a nursing home. Rachel has a soft heart and risks her job to help the elderly realize their dreams and in some cases, their last wishes. Three of the stories were traditionally published as separate novellas, but I’ve received the rights back and I’m adding to the stories, elaborating on Rachel’s relationship with Ben (the nursing home’s resident psychiatrist) and Nico (an orderly) and combining them into a novel. I’m also working on several novellas to be published after Fireflies that either add to or elaborate on the storyline.
How would you describe your writing style?
I’ve been told my writing is emotional, lyrical, and with dialogue that creates banter and intimacy between characters. I dig deeply into the emotional side of the characters I write about, and I love creating vivid secondary characters. Actually, I don’t create them—they usually just show up unannounced, knock loudly inside my head and demand their page time. (No, I haven’t had a Jack n Coke today) I also try to create settings that have a character of their own—many times the setting can be as emotionally tantalizing as a person, and have as much impact. I hope it shows in my stories. I’m a slow writer—I tend to agonize over sentence structure, rhythm, and the overall “feel” of the scene. So it takes me longer than most writers to finish a novel.
Do you have any advice for a person just beginning their writing career?
LEARN the craft. Write your story, but learn HOW to put your story on the page. I learned this the hard way. My manuscript was complete, but I didn’t have a clue about point of view, scene, setting, plot, emotional writing, dialogue, sentence structure, etc. I joined writer’s groups and attended workshops, online classes, read books on craft, entered contests, and I realized I knew nothing about the craft of putting a novel together. I’d learn a new skill and revise. Then another and revise again. It took forever until I was comfortable with it. I still have a lot to learn, but I love it when a new aha! moment pops up and I can incorporate it into my work. I’m always learning and becoming a better writer for it. Start with learning the craft, and if writing is your dream, never, ever give up.
Do you immerse yourself in new situations for writing ideas or do your ideas come to you through your normal, day-to-day life?
I think both. I recently visited Butterfly Wonderland (amazing place) in Scottsdale, AZ not far from my hometown, and I knew instantly that this experience or at least the setting would someday end up in one of my novels. I never would have thought of this had I not visited. As an older person, I’ve been through a lot in my life and I take from those experiences quite often. But as a young writer, I’m like a kid in a candy story—itching to get my hands on a new and exciting treat. You won’t find me bungee jumping, or scaling a rock cliff (back. away. from. the. edge) or anything remotely life threatening or scary. I’m too big a chicken and an extreme introvert. But when I do discover something new and fun, you’ll see me jotting notes like a fiend.
Where can we find you on the interwebs?
You can find me at www.susanhaught.com @srhaught on Twitter; on Facebook, Pinterest, Goodreads and Google+ as Susan Haught, Author. I also have an author page on Amazon.
I want to thank you, Connie, for inviting me to this interview today. It’s been a blast answering these great questions, and to you and all the readers out there—I wish you rainbows of happiness and wishes come true. Hugs!
Many thanks, Susan, for taking time out of a busy day to chat with us.
If you liked Susan’s interview, please check out any of her sites.