Bella: Do you find your writing influenced by TV, movies, etc? If so, how?
Susan: Iīve watched movies and realized the plots wouldnīt have unfolded the way the director had them unfolding and I remember never to make the same mistakes. I find holes in plots that remind me to shore up my own stories. I get turned off by character inconsistencies and character flaws that make movies and television shows unbelievable. Most of all, though, I too often see sitcom writers īselling outī a story idea or character for a cheap laugh and I hate that.
But sometimes I see a character type in a nonromantic movie and decide to tell his or her story. And there is no better place to study character than in movies or television because you have the added dimension of seeing expressions and body language, which, once studied, can enhance your work tremendously.
Bella: Some people have the idea that writers lead very glamorous lives. How about a run-down of your typical day?
Susan: I work in pajamas. I have very nice pajamas because I got accustomed to wearing expensive dresses and jewelry and I like that feeling. So Iīm a frequent shopper at Victoriaīs Secret buying work clothes that preclude me from answering the doorbell when it rings.
But I also vacuum and make dinner in between scenes. I rarely have lunch dates and donīt accept daytime phone calls. Just like everybody else, I have a certain amount of work to produce and if I donīt produce it I have to work overtime. Nobody wants that, so I stick to my schedules. And sometimes they are grueling.
Bella: What one thing do you hope to accomplish with your writing?
Susan: I love showing the commonality of our human experience. It was a huge relief for me to discover through romance novels that other people shared my insecurities and fears. It was also encouraging to discover that many people shared my belief in the human spirit and the power of persistence. I like to show those things in my writing because I think they give readers hope. I also think reinforcing family values supports all of us. While many people believe romance is fantasy, I donīt agree. I think itīs more realistic and more life affirming than most people know.
Bella: What can we expect to see from you in the future?
Susan: I love writing for Silhouette. I have an incredible editor, Karen Taylor-Richman, who helped me to see my strengths and weaknesses and then guided me so I could use both. We have a good working relationship that makes writing fun. So, I would like to stay there, though I want to branch out into longer books. Like I said, I love subplots. I love the impact of secondary characters. I will do some experimenting first, but Iīm fairly certain that will result in some longer books, hopefully for Silhouette, while I continue to write the traditional stories for Romance.