A bit of background on our author:
Susan found the proverbial door shut-window open scenario and leapt into the realm of writing scorching romance across several genres including Western, paranormal, and multicultural. A former educator within the fields of special education and biology, she dreams of returning to teaching or mentoring students interested in creative writing. She relishes great lines, laughs, and people who are off the wall. She lives near Nashville with her husband and has college-aged girls along with a slew of animals ranging from furry to scaled.
Thank you for joining us at Scribbler’s today, Susan!
Tell us Scribbler’s a bit about your latest Girls Night Out novel and what makes this one unique from the previous three in the series?
GNO is about the little sister of the bad boys, Cory McLemore and an NFL tight end, Brett Gold.
What inspired this story?
In November 2012, NY Giants tight end Martellus Bennett catches fan that falls from stands after Green Bay Packers game
Do you use a pen name/pseudo name? If so, why?
Yes. Susan Arden. After writing my first couple of books and then delved into even hotter themes, I wanted to have a bit of distance from the subject matter.
What genre do you feel this series fall into; new Adult? erotic Romance?
It’s definitely a mashup. Sports romance because of the overarching theme. But the central issues are what encompass new adult fiction. The search for identity, career, sexuality are key elements.
What’s the first think you know for certain about a new story concept? Plot? Character? Something else?
The story arc between the characters. The what if a man and woman met and they fell in love while doing X.
What made you decide to give your very Alpha hero; Brett Gold a learning disability?
I earned National Board Certification and taught students with learning differences for oh a million years. I have ADHD and dyslexia. I have a beautiful daughter with a physical condition known as Central Congenital Hypoventilation Syndrome (aka Ondine’s Curse) which means she doesn’t adequately breath while asleep and was on a ventilator for 21 years until she had phrenic nerve pacing. Her condition is featured in my next release, Sweetest Curse (a mermaid love story). Long answer, but I’ve much experience with conditions which make people unique and in need of support and understanding.
Do you develop a deep backstory for all of your characters before sitting down to write or do you just have a general idea of who they are?
Well, Cory has been with me since the start. I know that she’s over protected, spoiled, but she’s always been the one to reach out a hand to her brothers and their love interests. The kid sister who sticks out her tongue but has a bandage ready when they fall. I was looking for someone who’d sweep her off her feet, not easy when she’s surrounded by rough and tumble men like her brothers.
What three ingredients do you consider an absolute necessity to writing a hot sex scene?
Tension, LOVE, Pushing boundaries
As a writer do you feel the story line is as important as the sex scenes?
Much more. The story lines builds up the tension/pressure that makes the sexual sizzle between the characters. It the natural consequences resulting between two people who try to connect, the vehicle to go deep.
Do you ever base your characters on people you know?
Tenets. Not wanting to gross people out, but a lot of the strength from the men I leach from my husband. He’s my hero. An environmental engineer who rides motocross. He’s the best father (to three daughters) and he has that ability to be titanium strong yet super sensitive and supportive.
Who are your favorite characters amongst both those you’ve written, and by other authors?
W.P. Inman and Ada Monroe from Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier. Inman in his drive to get to Ada. And Ada for falling in love so deep and holding out, never knowing where or when her lost would come back. I still tear up. It’s a haunting love story, not an HEA in the usual vein.
Mine: oh gosh, it’s hard. I love them all like family…probably Cory and Brett given their story isn’t done. It haunting me. So either I finish it in my head or bring them back in 2015.
Is there a secondary character in the Girls Night Out Series that you feel deserves his/her own story?
Brandon McLemore aka Mr. Cool. He’s been the errant knight in all the books. Double Trouble is in editing now and due out in March. It’s the hottest so far.
If you could cast anyone to play the roles of Brett Gold and Cory McLemore who would you pick?
I LOVE this question. Cory: Blake Lively Brett: Gary Taylor
Can we have an excerpt?
The bachelorette party reconvened on the dance floor. Bodies in motion, it was a sea of people, and Cory felt free to go to town.
“Here.” Gillian shoved a shot glass in her hand. “It looks like you need liquid courage. I can’t, but you can drink for both of us.”
“Looks dangerous,” Cory said, unable to tell what was in the glass. With the colored lights, it looked like layers of red and orange and clear liquid. She didn’t think too hard and downed the drink. “What was that?” she croaked. If Gillian said it was kerosene-laced she’d not argue.
The strobe light flashed blinding glare alternated with moments of darkness. Cory closed her eyes, and the image of Brett filled her. She danced, refusing to care how she looked. All she knew was that this was the first real college break she’d been on and it felt fan-freaking-tastic. The music ripped a hole in her and she moved, letting go of all boundaries.
Hair whipping, body crushed by other bodies, her feet moving to the music, and then, she felt him. Not touching her. It was some force field he exerted on her. Her skin tightened. She opened her eyes, looked up and met fire. Emerald flames licked down her body, setting off a chain reaction within her alcohol-soaked mind. Something deep inside her belly burst free.
“I couldn’t wait. I’m here for my dance.” Brett didn’t wait for her answer. He reached out and pulled her to him. “You look amazing. You’re an incredible dancer.”
She gave in and didn’t fight. Staring upward, she lightly traced fingers over his chiseled jaw and cheeks. His mouth had her attention and all she could think about was kissing him. Oh Dallas! One night to be free.
“I wish…” She stopped, aghast. She’d almost said the words out loud.
“What do you wish?” Brett whispered against her ear, his lips ghosting over her jaw.
Cory reached out and pulled him by the lapels of his jacket closer, making them go from polite dance distance to up close and dirty-personal.
“That you’d kiss me,” she said, staring up him, her heart ready to burst out of her chest.
He smiled, a type she’d not seen on him yet, and thank God for that. Whoa! He had a pair of killer dimples that reached inside her, down deep, and poured more fuel on the smolder he’d already awakened. The flames shot upward, blasting open her desire for hot, crazy, and now.
“Come here,” he said, without shouting, mouthing really, and their powerful attraction came alive. The two words tore through her.
Brett lowered his head, brushing his mouth over her cheek. Every cell in her body responded as though he had a secret weapon that delivered a potent dose of sex appeal and whispered about a dangerous arsenal of provocative moves. A primal chain reaction melted her from the inside out. Watch out!
In his arms, she stood hip-to-hip and he shifted, pressing his erection against her belly. His hardness only made her own ache stronger. Her untamed need for him boiled her into the realm of reckless. She had to feel more of him. Utter madness. She consciously ignored the warning bells going off inside her and ground against him. The feel of him, rigid and ready, buzzed across her nerve endings with a wildfire lust gone out of control. Ironically, steam began to rise up from the floor and she laughed, squeezing his arms under her fingertips.
“So perfect,” she whispered of the moist mists, erotic and the perfect hideout. His erection pushed into her but not enough to assuage her need of him. Reaching down between them, she ran her hand along the length his hard cock, straining inside his pants.
“Sweetheart.” Hissing, he closed his eyes, blocking out his feral expression. He arched against her palm, growing harder. When he opened his eyes, he pulled her against him, reaching down to the edge of her dress. “You’re a minx. So damn wild.”
Was she wild? She’d been many things in her life. Spoiled. Pampered. Sheltered. But definitely not wild. The way he said it made her want to be wild with him, and then some. “You’re the one who’s wild.”
He laughed and moved as if to kiss her, his mouth landing at the corner of her lips. His sandpaper cheek scratched against her face, inflaming her need to taste him. She clung to him to keep from stumbling.
“Please. I’m so close,” she murmured, her thoughts infiltrated by a searing haze.
He pressed into her, his hand held her steady against him. “Then let go. I’ll catch you.”
What was your biggest obstacle in getting from first draft to publication?
Not much. I wrote Tempted by Trouble in NaNoWriMo last year and it was accepted by Crimson in a few days after submitting.
How much time do you spend promoting your books?
In the beginning too much to be sane. It’s really a promotion of an author as a brand. I didn’t understand and still don’t all that’s required. Now, I don’t do enough. My writing scheduled is packed with a trilogy coming out from a Swoon and six releases on top of that. Seriously need a body double.
Do you have a particular daily writing schedule or process you stick to?
Up at four in the am. It’s quiet and I can think (or better than usual). I write until about four in the pm which means not just creation, but the edits, posts, helping other authors, etc. Spend time with husband when he arrives home. Girls are in college so it’s just us and the pets. Do evenings things, then work on the cover art.
How do you deal with writers block, any sure fire solutions?
I don’t know what that is. The blessing side of ADHD is I’ve too many thoughts, a constant stream of visuals and ideas all battling for air time. For others, I’d suggest step away. Do something to rest the mind, free the part of the brain that’s overtaxed. A warm bath/shower, yoga, gardening, cooking, anything to distress.
What writer has most influenced you as a writer?
My father. He was a philosophy professor and wrote.
What are you most proud of about your writing?
That it addressed the deepest emotion we know: love.
How do you respond to negative reviews?
As long as reviewers are polite regardless of star value, it’s all good. Not everyone like yellow Skittles. Authors understand that going in.
Is there any genre you won’t read? Write? If so, can you tell me why?
There are lots I don’t sample because of time. Nothing marked no.
If you could become one fictional character for a week, who would it be?
You just had to ask. LOL. I’ll take the roll of Mary or Edith from Downton Abbey. Just to stroll around the grounds and sit under one of those Lebanon Cedar trees and speak with a British accent. Darling, you must come for tea.
What kind of music do you listen to while you write?
Umm, that would be silence. Do I smell the Actor’s Theatre???
Least favorite word?
Favorite curse word?
What’s one new thing you’d like to try?
If you were to give only two tips to an aspiring writer would they be?
(1) You must show up, no excuses meaning write every day, even if it’s ten minutes.
(2) Never, ever give up.
What’s coming up next for you?
Sweetest Curse – Mermaid fantasy romance
Double Trouble – Bad Boys Book 5
Readers, Please go to the fan giveaway for these releases and enter. I love hearing from people, especially with ideas of what they want to see next. Share the love. Mwah xo!
Thank you so much Roberta. This was loads of fun!
Check out my blog for current giveaways. Right now there’s a monogrammed beach bag for a lucky fan.
Link to mermaid giveaway: http://susanarden.blogspot.com/2014/02/sweetest-curse-erotic-mermaid-fantasy.html