Welcome to my special guest this week, a New Zealand author of award-winning romantic suspense – Suzanne Perazzini. Interspersed amongst her answers as an author you will discover some more personal facts.
Inspired in Italy
I started writing a thriller in my early twenties when I was teaching in Italy but I made the big mistake of letting a friend read some of it and she said it sounded like a Mills and Boon. I was highly offended and stopped writing. I have since realized that those little romance books take incredible skill to get just right and mine would never have cut the mustard. So it was years before I tried again – more than twenty, actually. My first attempt had a request for a full and that was the start.
Suzanne’s favourite food: As you can see on my lifestyle blog www.strandsofmylife.com I cook mostly healthy, one-dish meals with a base of pasta, couscous or rice etc. for my family and I love that kind of food. But put a box of chocolates in front of me, and I will eat the lot, then complain about feeling sick.
Your ideas come from…?
I have discovered that I have a very dark mind and the story ideas come from that dark place of worst case scenarios.
Your fave colour: I am an autumn in colouring and fortunately I love all those colours – gold, orange, green.
“Rejection used to hurt”
Rejection used to hurt but it doesn’t really touch me any more because I have had well over a hundred and it’s so subjective anyway. Fortunately I have only had good reviews for my books except one strange one but I ignored it because there will always be someone who doesn’t like your style. Right from that first submission, I have had a lot of great encouragement from editors and agents but that doesn’t necessarily translate into an offer. That encouragement keeps you going when it all seems hopeless. I admire those who get no positive feedback and continue anyway. I don’t know if I could have done that.
Suzanne’s fave time of day: The evening after work when I can do the things that I want to – exercise, cook and blog.
Why are you published with two different publishers?
Wild Child Publishing was my first publisher and the owner is amazing (I met her at the EPPIE Awards in Las Vegas when I was a finalist) but they are quite small so I decided to go with the bigger Red Rose Publishing for my next book because I had heard good things about them but I have not been impressed at all, unfortunately.
Your fave flower? I don’t have a favourite and love informal bunches of flowers whether bright and colourful or all one colour.
What do you wish you had known about being an author before you were published?
That the road is long and thorny before and after; that you probably won’t make a living out of it; that e-publishing is a lot of hard work for very little return; that writing across genres is a big mistake; that you have to follow the rules closely if you ever wish to become published, with the hope that you can flaunt them a little once you become established; that staying true to yourself doesn’t always work, that you have to play the game their way to have a chance.
Your fave season? Summer in New Zealand though this year the autumn has been far nicer than the summer so I could change my mind if this crazy weather continues in this vein.
Jo from Beneath the Surface is a fascinating character. She appears as tough as nails but she is driven by her past and it keeps her on the move as she tries to outrun it.
If you could have any car, which would it be? I have no interest in cars but like mine to be reliable, not too old-ladyish but also not too aggressive and sports cars are out because at a certain age they have a stigma attached to them which is not so kind.
What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given?
Alex Logan, editor of Grand Central Publishing, told me a couple of years ago that I was writing across genres and that if my story didn’t fit directly into a pigeon hole which helped them package it, then they wouldn’t consider it no matter how well it was written.
Fave actors and actresses: Liam Neeson, Leonardo di Caprio, Johnny Depp, Meryl Streep and Cate Blanchett.
Author role models
I love Jodi Picoult for her ability to draw you right in from the first words and to hold you by the throat for the whole story even though hers are not action stories or thrillers. That takes a special knack. I admire Nora Roberts for her versatility and the emotional punch she injects into her books. The third person who inspires me with her writing is Nevada Barr, who many won’t have heard of. She writes murder mystery stories, each set in a different national park in the US – she used to be a park ranger. The mysteries are wonderful and I have also learnt so much about the parks.
Fave non-alcoholic drink: Diet coke; Fave alcoholic drink: Rum and coke.
Are you working on anything new?
I used to write a story straight through and finish it before starting a new one (I have 18 completed manuscripts) but in the last year or so I have started half a dozen and stopped at between 50 and 100 pages. I am doubting myself and my ability to stay within a genre because I do very little planning before I start a new manuscript and it evolves day by day. I no longer wish to be e-published with small firms and so have not sent any out to them since my last one. My aim now is to be print published or possibly e-published with a big firm.
Where in the world would you choose for a romantic date? Up at Machu Picchu in Peru. It is the most amazing place I have ever been and I’ve been to over 40 countries. A picnic lunch with nothing else but the surroundings would be the perfect date.
How do you find the time to write?
With great difficulty so I don’t. I work fulltime and get home about 6pm. I then do half an hour on the exercycle, cook for the family, photograph what I cook and then create the daily post for my blog, www.strandsofmylife.com around what we ate. Then I go to bed and sleep. Writing manuscripts has taken second place to my blog at the moment.
Beneath the Surface is a variation of the first manuscript I wrote back in 2001. It won the R*by Award for Romantic Elements in 2009. It was also a finalist in the International EPPIE Awards.
Jo has the darkest of secrets in her past, which drives her to seek out the most traumatic of hotspots in the world as a war correspondent so she never has the time to confront what she did. A fellow reporter, Craig, accompanies her into war-torn Sergavia to recover rolls of film from a dead colleague and along the way Jo finds love and a reason to go back to the beginning so she can move forward.
Crash into Darkness was written much later and came second in the R*by Awards in the same category in the same year.
Amber, a counsellor, and Jaden, a sailor, who both possess extra-sensory skills, are thrown together on a prison ship when the inmates rebel and an explosion breaches the hull of the ship during a storm. Together they battle the elements, a new, cold-eyed prisoner who has Amber in his sights and their traumatic pasts which sent them to the ship in the first place.
Rough Justice is set in Zambia where my uncle has a fishing lodge. I didn’t enter this one into the R*by Awards even though it was published in the same year as the other two because it was already such a monumental task printing out and posting the above two entries. The contest required seven copies of each entry so you can imagine the big box I had to send off to Australia. Maybe I could have come first, second and third. LOL.
When Niki’s partner, Logan, is kidnapped by poachers in Zambia, she tumbles into the sordid underbelly of a world where survival reigns and animals are sacrificed for financial gain. In order to rescue her man, she will fight all the way to the top and be stunned by what she finds there.
Visit Suzanne at the sites below and enjoy her delicious recipes!
Suzanne – thank you so much for your time, and best of luck for the future.
Suzanne would love to chat with you and answer any questions you may have so please don’t hesitate to post a comment. It’s easy!