Wednesday Author Interview: Meet Susanne Bellamy!
One Night In Sorrento
Today, I’d like to welcome romance author Susanne Bellamy to Bookin’ It. Susanne, we are delighted to have you here, and can’t wait to get to know you better. Let’s get started! Tell us a bit about how you became a writer. When did you decide that’s what you wanted to be, and what steps did you take to prepare for a writing career?
SB: Most writers, unless advanced in their careers, are a writer plus something else. Let’s face it, most writers don’t actually make a ‘living’ wage so we mostly write in our spare time and work to support our writing habit. I’m a teacher as well as a writer. That being said, I love being able to add “I’m a writer” when people ask what I do.
For many years, I taught and raised my family. I was born with a book in my hands and I’m an English teacher too so you see, it was fate that I’d end up where I am! My writing career began four years ago when my husband was away on his fourth trip to Nepal. I wrote to while away the evenings and was encouraged to enter that book into the RWA’s Emerald Award. White Ginger came third and was picked up by a small publisher and I’ve never looked back!
BI: I think being an English teacher would be wonderfully helpful, especially during final revisions and editing. Were you inspired by any particular authors, past or present, and what is it about their work that impresses you, or moves you?
SB: There are many authors whose works have inspired me across a broad range of genres but the key elements are good writing and great characters at the heart of all of them. Early influences were Georgette Heyer and Mary Stewart; later ones include Anne McCaffrey, Margaret Atwood and Arundhati Roy. I must give a shout out to Anna Campbell and Annie Seaton though; these two romance writers have really encouraged and inspired my writing journey with their fabulous stories and their friendship.
BI: I’ve read all but one of those authors, and have enjoyed them immensely, especially back before I got caught up in the world of Urban Fantasy. Those who haven’t read them yet should give them a try, for sure. What genres do you read most often for pleasure…those books you gravitate toward the minute you walk into a bookstore?
SB: Historical stories pull me in; well researched and firmly set within their time period. I also enjoy mysteries and delight in working out whodunits before the reveal! And all sorts of romance, but especially historical romantic suspense—the best of all worlds! J
BI: It’s nice when there’s an overlap between your favorite genres. As you say, the best of all worlds. Let’s talk about where and how you work. Do you have a dedicated workspace, and are you consistent with the amount of time you spend writing each day?
SB: My armchair and laptop go together very well. Sometimes when a story won’t progress properly, I change my working space; a different perspective often opens up other channels. Working to a deadline keeps me well focused as I aim for a set word limit each day. The internet is a distraction that has to be managed. Some days I just have to turn everything off.
BI: A laptop is on my wishlist, so I can change positions once in a while. And I finally learned to turn the volume down so I don’t hear email arriving. How about visual aids, like Inspiration Boards/Photos or maps of your book’s setting? What reference books or other material do you consult most frequently as you write?
SB: *Laughs* Check out my boards on Pinterest! I’m a visual person. For each novel/novella, I create a Pinterest board of characters, places, small details. I love researching to ensure what I write is accurate. Most recently, I had lots of fun checking out fashions of 1960 for Emerald Quest: Winning the Heiress’s Heart. It’s set in Hawaii just after Statehood and I’m the fourth of five writers in the Emerald Quest continuity series. Other boards are to inspire me—men/heroes of all types, women who inspire me, fashion, SHOES, food, travel. I even have one board called Romance for all those special moments.
http://www.pinterest.com/susannebellamy/ Have a peek; you’ll see what I mean!
BI: Okay, now you’ve really got me! I call Pinterest the crack cocaine of social media, and I can’t wait to check out all of your boards! When you have an idea for a new book, do you sit down and start typing, or do you start with an outline, and figure out all the major plot points first? In other words, is your working style structured and organized, or more organic and free flowing?
SB: I’m an organic writer although working with my editor at Entangled Publishing, I’m learning to plot in greater detail. My stories usually begin with seeing the meeting between the protagonists, then I work backward as far as I need to set it up. Places often inspire stories for me. One Night In Sorrento leapt into being in my head while travelling the Amalfi Coast road and Engaging the Enemy was born during a tram ride in Melbourne. I saw an old red brick building, abandoned and unloved, and suddenly there was Andie de Villiers and Matt Mahoney battling it out for ownership of that building.
BI: I never thought about approaching a story from the first meeting of the characters. Very interesting starting point. Can you tell us a little about your personal reading habits? Do you prefer reading eBooks, or print? Why?
SB: I read both but my iPad is brilliant for when I want to read and my husband needs to sleep! However, there is nothing like the smell of opening a new book, running my fingers over the cover and anticipating the pleasure of diving into the pages.
BI: I think all true book lovers love that new books smell. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could bottle it? J Time to learn about the books have you published, and where we can buy them.
All available on Amazon and Engaging the Enemy on other e-retailers as well.
Amelie Mackenzie chases her artistic dreams in Hawaii after a life detour. That means no more ex-fiancé…and definitely no men to distract her. Should be easy, but how will she resist the hot and sexy marine biologist fighting a battle against a corrupt developer?
Arne Keloki is fighting a resort development which will damage the reef protecting his small Kauai town. Although being with Arne could be dangerous for Amelie, in more ways than one, some attractions cannot be ignored. Will she succumb to the smoldering attraction or will Arne lose his chance forever?
ONE NIGHT IN SORRENTO
Rhiannon steps out of her comfort zone when she travels to Sorrento for a meeting in borrowed business clothes. The last thing she expects is to miss her meeting, and end up in the company of Luca, a sexy Italian bike rider. What will one night in Sorrento bring? (novella length)
ENGAGING THE ENEMY
One building, two would-be owners and a family feud that spans several generations.
Andrea de Villiers couldn’t lie to save herself. But when developer, Matt Mahoney, buys the building that is home to the safe house she and a friend have established in the Melbourne CBD, she decides that protecting The Shelter is more important than her aching heart. Mahoney blackmails her into becoming his fake fiancée but she discovers his reasons throw up more questions than they answer. Pity there isn’t an app for her love life since her landlord and fake lover really seems to bring out the worst in her and make her want things she shouldn’t.
How can Andie protect the building and the families depending on her without losing her heart to the charming Irish developer?
BI: They all sound like fun to me, and have been added to my TBR list. Are you currently working on a new book? When do you expect it to be available?
SB: Emerald Quest: Winning the Heiress’s Heart will be released in early 2015. I’m the fourth of five writers in the series which spans two centuries in a search for a fabulous emerald and diamond necklace. The series starts in New Orleans with pirates and preachers and moves to England with dukes and soldiers and on to Hawaii 1960 where my book is set. The fifth one will complete the circle and the series. It’s exciting to work with such talented writers on a big project like this and I think readers will enjoy the different styles through the five time periods of the series.
Three author friends and I are working on a Christmas anthology of four novellas, A Season to Remember. Keep an eye out for it come December!
BI: I love the continuity series concept. What a great idea! Last question, a two-parter. What is the best thing about being a writer? The worst?
SB: Controlling the lives of my characters! And taking them to exotic places. Writers are sadistic when you consider how we torture our characters. They have to really work hard before we let them reach their happy-ever-after! Research is so interesting, although I have to be careful not to get lost following a thread too far!
The worst? Wrangling my abysmally slow internet when trying to research or move through my social media. Seriously, how could there be anything bad in spending time crafting stories for readers to enjoy? It’s the best job in the world!
Susanne, thank you so much for visiting with us today! I’m really looking forward to reading your books, especially now that you’ve shared your approach to writing with us. Great interview!
My heroes have to be pretty special to live up to the real life one I married. He saved my life then married me. We live on the edge of bush land on a mountain in beautiful sunny Queensland, Australia. We have two children and two dogs. I write contemporary romance and historical suspense novels set in exciting and often exotic locations.
Paris will always be one of my top spots, and I fell in love with Scotland when we visited the west coast (nothing to do with fine single malts!), and recently had my first real trip to Italy–tick off one of my Bucket List items! I’ve enjoyed New Year in Kathmandu and trekked in the Annapurnas, sailed in Ha Long Bay on a junk, and stayed on a floating hotel beside a tethered elephant in Thailand. I love the Peak in Hong Kong and the cable car ride in Singapore. I also love travelling to new places and exploring the culture and history and meeting new people, experiences which are gradually being incorporated into my stories.
You can find me at the following:
And you can buy Susanne’s books here: