February 2006

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F&H Spotlight

 Susanne Marie Knight: Writing Romance With a Twist

 An Interview by Norah-Jean Perkin

Love and a lively interest in, well, just about everything, fairly bubble over from writer Susanne Marie Knight’s website and work.

Susanne’s motto is "romance with a twist", and you see that romantic bent and those unusual twists in literally every short story and novel she’s written. Cross genre is her forte.

A five-time [now seven!] Eppie finalist and winner of the 2004 Dream Realm Award for Speculative Romance Fiction, Susanne has produced more than a dozen [42] novels in the twenty years she’s been writing fiction, as well as numerous short stories. Many of them mix genres, for example Lord Darver’s Match (time-travel Regency), The Coming (paranormal romantic suspense), Alien Heat (futuristic sci fi romance) and Tainted Tea for Two (murder mystery romantic suspense).

Her upcoming releases show her continued fascination with a broad spectrum of ideas and genres. Sojourn Through Time, a Regency time travel, tells the tale of a nearly-betrothed duke discovering an unexpected "package" on his estate. Competitors, a paranormal romantic suspense, plays with the idea of the supposedly extinct Neanderthal man. A Continental Marriage, a Regency romance, is about an Earl’s unwanted American grand-daughter and how she decides which side of the Atlantic she prefers.

The one constant, however, is love and romance, not surprising for a woman who was born under the sign of Pisces, has been happily married to the same man for 24 years, and bills herself an incurable romantic.

"Yes, I do believe love can conquer all," she says. "And I’m not the only one who believes this. That’s why romances are so popular and will never go out of style. Who can resist a good story of two people from dissimilar circumstances who overcome their differences? One of the strangest pairings I created was with a human and a being who was more flora than fauna ("The Convert"). They bridged the gap separating them with music. Love is an extremely powerful emotion – physically, mentally and spiritually."

Though Susanne claims a low level of energy, her enthusiasm, love of life and empathy come through in the wonderful characters she’s crafted and the fascinating worlds she’s developed. Age, experience and life’s challenges have all helped her grow as a writer and develop more complex and interesting stories. Among her favorite characters are Lexia Cappello, heroine of The Contrary Contessa, and Sophia (Sam) McLaren, of Janus is a Two-Headed God.

But when it comes to her heroes, she refuses to choose. "How can I? I’m in love with all my heroes!"

Susanne, who attended high school and college in NYC, now lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband. Writing has always been a big part of her life. "I like to write, and to rite, and to wright . . . okay, you get the idea," she jokes.

Fiction is her first love, but she is also the editor/writer for a newsletter for a small non-profit organization that produces a TV exercise program.

"When I write something, and my heart is in it, whether it is fiction, non-fiction, a business letter or an email, I enjoy the way the words convey exactly what I have in mind."

That doesn’t mean it’s effortless. "When I write, I like to experience what I’m writing about, and I want to describe it to the reader so that she lives through the experience too. This can be emotionally draining, depending on what’s going on in the story. I find it particularly difficult to write if the setting is some place I’ve never been, or seen in pictures, or experienced some how . . . world-building in science fiction stories can be very hard to do. In my award-winning Janus is a Two-Headed God, the locations include Earth of the future (that wasn’t hard), deep space and wormholes (that wasn’t bad), and the center of the galaxy on the planet Xaspaar– ouch! Creating and populating a believable world and culture from scratch takes heavy research."

Susanne enjoys writing both novels and short stories. Lucky 13, a collection of 13 of her short stories, will soon be available again at Amazon.com. "If this were a perfect world, after I finished a novel, I’d write a few shorts before I geared up for another novel. The only time I was tempted to change a short into a novel was for my time-travel Regency "Lady Elisabeth’s Excellent Adventure". Here, the Regency heroine falls into the Thames River and resurfaces in an NYC cop’s hot tub in Maui. The possibilities for that one are endless, but I just don’t have the time."

Barring interruptions, Susanne regularly writes three days a week, usually in the morning and early afternoon when she’s most energetic. "What’s best for me is to have a solid block of time so I can ‘lose’ myself in the story. The first thing I do is read over the last scene or chapter that I wrote. This is to get back into the story. Then I start with new writing. My goal is to continue until I finish a scene or until a new character enters the mix. Then I’m usually done writing for the day. I use the evening to do research or curl up with a good book."

For more information about Susanne Marie Knight, visit her at www.susanneknight.com. At Susanne’s lively website, not only can you learn about the author and her books, you can also participate in an on-line writer’s workshop.

Norah-Jean Perkin has written three paranormal romances and one contemporary. They are: Night Secrets, Blue Dawn, Crazy in Chicago, and Outrageous.


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