Susan Hanniford Crowley is married with children and a grandbaby. Frolicking in the wilds of Connecticut, she loves writing into the night. Crowley has a bachelor’s degree in Theater and a master’s in education. The family inlcudes a small fluffy dog named Pete and two little sister cats Bella and Buffy. Crowley loves studying about vampires, collecting dragons, learning Muay Thai, and walking on beaches.
Thank you for joining us at Scribbler’s today, Susan.
What would you most like your reader’s to know about you that they might not read in your official bio?
I’m a quiet and somewhat shy person, so if you see me at a conference, please, walk up and say hi. I love meeting readers. I’m making plans to be at Philcon this year and Romantic Times next year.
Tell the Scribbler’s readers a bit about your book?
Max Vander Meer, is a modern day Viking, CEO of VMeer Industries, and a Vampire. He makes a plea to the Goddess Freya to find the only woman who can heal his heart, the woman haunting his dreams. But, the Goddess strikes a bargain with him. To find this special woman, Max must return to the city he helped build–New York, which is threatened by an ancient terror. When he meets Evelyn, he is astounded. Could she be the one who inhabits his dreams? But Evelyn is haunted by loss and betrayal. How can Max win her love when she doesn’t trust him as a man, and she doesn’t want to be a vampire? If Max returns to Iceland without her, he will be encased in ice . . . forever!
What inspired this story?
I dream my stories. Sometimes it’s one dream but usually it’s several for weeks and months on end, until I get the whole story.
What genre do you consider this story to fall into?
Paranormal Erotic Romance. A while back an editor said I wrote erotic romance. I think I just write very detailed romance.
Do you develop deep backstory for all your characters before sitting down to write or just have a general idea of who they are?
I write from the dream but usually gather a deep backstory as I’m dreaming. The challenge is to type all that up.
Which secondary character was your favorite to write?
Laura Cordelais. In the book, Evelyn is always thinking that her sister Laura has everything. She’s married to a hot vampire. She has the ancestral powers over the storm. Evelyn feels that the powers and love have passed her by. I love that Laura and Evelyn can mindtalk—speak to each other telepathically. They also transmit pictures of life to each other. Sometimes it’s very funny what Laura sees about Evelyn’s private life.
Do you write by the seat of your pants or are you an outliner?
I’m definitely a pantser. I don’t know the ending until I have the dream of the end.
Can we have an excerpt?
Maximillion Vander Meer stood in the jagged mouth of the ice cave with a wolf skin girding his loins and fur boots on his feet. A frigid breeze breathed its welcome over his bare chest, arms and legs.
He smiled and closed his eyes to step back into the Viking past he loved, where he was free. He threw back his head and howled in exuberant abandonment. Then he ripped off the wolf skin and kicked off his boots. Max ran to the shadowed alcove he knew so well. A flicker of the past sparked in his brain and Vikings filled the cave, their voices rich in the chant of a ritual forgotten in the modern age, invoking the protection and wisdom of Odin, Thor, and Freya. Then he blinked and they were gone. Their voices silenced by time.
Every time he entered this sacred place hollowed out by his ancestors, their presence worked magic and distracted his weary heart from the curse inhabiting his body. This power brought him back to the Viking warrior deep within him, as only here could he reconnect with his lost humanity. Every passing moment the curse pulled him further from whom and what he’d once been. That was the danger in being a vampire. It wasn’t the chill of his body, but the distance that crept into his heart. He was on the edge of forgetting how the laughter of his son warmed him to his toes. The memory of Svenna’s delicious heat as her soft skin lay against his flesh igniting the fire between them, slipped through his fingers like water. Inhaling the fragrance of flowers in her hair had made him feel powerful. Even the excitement of the next adventure filled with salt spray and swords clashing faded away. His heart no longer raced.
The dire flaw in immortality was the sameness. Centuries of monotony blurred into others. Few ancient ones survived the deadly soul-numbing tedium of every day being the same. Closing on a thousand years, too many chose to lie in the sun and burn in agony over the course of two days until they crisped away in the wind. When the true burning began, night, the blessed night, offered no reprieve. The recent “chosen” death of his friend Coelhus was etched in his memory, making Max’s need more urgent than it had ever been. Coelhus had given up. After centuries of dreaming of a woman named Celeste, he ceased to believe she could be real. Coelhus could no longer bear the loneliness and the endless searching. Consumed by his dashed dreams, he gave his body to the sun. Max stayed with him in his last moments, and while he couldn’t deter his friend, he resolved not to end in ashes himself.
Time had robbed him of love, but today, in this moment, Max meant to get it back. Right now! Only this sanctuary of ice and stone seemed real to him; the human world faded into insignificance. Even the responsibility he owed his own kind lost its meaning. He had come to make a last sacrifice. If it didn’t work, he didn’t know what he would do next. His belief, however antiquated when viewed by others, never failed him.
He had nothing to lose, and everything to gain. Since the death of his wife many centuries before, nothing more could happen to his empty heart. The feeling of being human haunted him from time to time like an elusive fragrance or taste. Memories were a different matter. The curse, as he called it, made every memory eternal, the pain as raw and consuming as the day he’d lost her.
Squeezing the ancient dagger in his fist, Max stepped up to the frozen altar. The three carved stone figures stared blankly at him. Time, and a growing sophistication, taught him that they were nothing but stone, still the part of him that was Viking would always believe. Holding fast to that reverence of a bygone age, he stood before them.
“I do not call on you, Odin, Father to all, but I respect your wisdom.” He bowed. “I do not call on you, Thor, the strength of every warrior, but I respect your power.” He bowed again. “I call on Freya’s mercy to regain my house, to find the only woman who can heal my heart.” Kneeling with his gaze fixed to the ground, he then rose to stand over the frozen altar. Before the feminine carved figure, he sliced his forearm and let the blood drip onto the icy surface. “In the name of Freya, let me be worthy. Lead me to love. Help me find it or lock me in the ice forever. I can no longer bear the torment of life without true love.”
What is your daily writing routine like?
Chaotic! I have so many things to do that I snatch bits of time here and there, so I’m always in writing mode. I will write wherever I have to wait in a waiting room. I sometimes write very early in the morning, but most late at night up to midnight. I try to get in bed by midnight but on the weekends, if I’m on a roll. I’ve stayed up to 2 a.m.
How do you balance the need for self-promotion vs. your writing time?
That is difficult. I’m still trying to devise a system for myself, so I devote more time to writing.
How did you connect with your editor?
I was with another small publishing house and a friend of mine was being published by Soul Mate Publishing. I was thinking of diversifying with more than one publisher, so I asked how she liked them. She spoke favorably, so I submitted a query to them and they wanted to see the whole book.
What was your biggest obstacle in getting from first draft to publication?
Yourself. You have to believe. You have to keep going. You edit over and over until it shines. You do your research to find the possible publishers. You keep sending it out to people until you exhaust your long list. When you get a contract, all the hard work starts over again. Lol. You are your biggest obstacle, because you might give up at any point.
If you could sit down to dinner with any of your favorite fictional character’s who would it be?
Definitely Max. The Vampire King of New York is all class with no expensive spared. He would present me with my favorite flowers and candy. Having lived so much history, he’s a great conversationalist and he has a lovely sense of humor. Oh, yes, and he’s a wonderful dancer.
Go to snack when writing?
Twizzlers. Gummy Bears.
Cat or dog person?
Cat and dog person. Buffy and Bella are little sister cats and Pete is more like a grandfather dog to them. They like to kiss and hug him.
When you aren’t writing what do you like to do to relax?
I love to watch movies. I enjoy making jewelry, beading generally. I hang out sometimes in the virtual worlds like SecondLife. I love playing with my granddaughter. She thinks everything I say is funny.
If you could only give one piece of advice to an aspiring writer, what would it be?
Write every single day and join a good writer’s group that you find supportive.
What’s next for you?
Max’s daughter Noblesse has a fascinating story. It’s in process now. I love Noblesse with her tight brunette bun, French silk blouses and pencil skirts, and she’s an Arnhem Knight. She’s been his bodyguard, since she was killed during the French Revolution and Max made her a vampire.
Thanks so much, Bobbi, for having me on Scribbler’s.
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