1: Thank you so much for being here, Suzie.
First up is the obligatory question. When did you first begin writing?
That would have been high school, but after I left school, life interrupted, as life often will. But that’s okay. I didn’t know enough about life to write anything interesting then. I know more now.
2: What inspired you to write?
Reading inspired me. I get completely lost in a good book. A good story makes me want to add to what’s out there.
3: What do you like the most and least about writing? As far as I’m concerned, writing is the most fun I can have with my clothes on. When it’s going well, you’ll find me cackling over my keyboard, making life run less than smoothly for my characters. My least favorite is the interruptions, like going to work. If I just didn’t have to eat, I’d be okay.
4: What do you do for fun and relaxation when not writing?
I read. Yeah, that’s a big surprise. I have brunch with friends, and every once in a while, I go out dancing.
5: Which authors do you like to read?
Jennifer Crusie is my favorite. Especially her old stuff. It doesn’t matter how often I read it, I still laugh out loud. Toni Blake is a favorite, too. The best new writer I’ve found is Mira Lyn Kelly. I liked her Harlequin debut so much that I found her on facebook and forced myself upon her. She hasn’t complained too much.
6: What’s the one thing you’d most like people to know about you?
Oh, criminey. I don’t know if it’s what I’d MOST like them to know, but they should probably be prepared for the fact that what you see is what you get with me. I’m sometimes honest to the point of tactlessness. It’s something hardwired in me because I can’t be any other way. Trust me. I’ve tried. I can only bite my tongue for so long. Fortunately, I have friends who like knowing where they stand.
7: Tell me about your current novel, where I can find it and your website/blog.
My current release is A Knight in Cowboy Boots from Pink Petal books. It’s the story of Maddie, a woman who’s sister was murdered by her abusive boyfriend. When he beats the rap, she takes her sister’s child (also his) and runs. She lands in Galveston where she meets a cowboy (Zach) in a hotel bar where she’s applying for work. It doesn’t take him long to figure out that she has “issues” and that she’s not who she claims to be. She’d like to hold him at arm’s length, but he doesn’t let her. It was fun writing their opposing priorities and I hope readers enjoy reading about them.
Besides the publisher’s site, it’s available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and maybe a few other place.
My website is at http://suziequint.com/ and I have a writer’s blog at http://suziequint.blogspot.com/ The blog will be part of my website as soon as I can figure out how to get the feed to go there.
8: Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
The ability to easily self-publish is an awesome innovation, but make sure you and your manuscript are ready. Most people think they’re ready before they are (I know I did), but just because you’ve written something the best you can today, doesn’t mean it’s ready. You don’t get a do-over on that first impression. Be sure you won’t cringe in five years when you look back at what you published.
9: Do you base your characters on real-life people?
God forbid. Of course, I might steal a characteristic, attitude, or mannerism from real-life people, but I don’t think I know anyone as well as I know my characters, so it would be difficult to model them on someone real. I think if I tried, the character wouldn’t come to life for me the way they do.
10: Where do you get your ideas and what inspired you to write this book?
For me, the stories start with characters, followed closely by a situation. Something that forces the characters together but also keeps them apart.
The McKnight clan was born because I was trying to figure out how to make my characters’ voice unique. That led me to study dialect, so I wrote a story just for practice that had several characters from different regions. I fell in love with one of those characters (Jake, who is a secondary character in A Knight in Cowboy Boots) so I started writing about his family.
11: What are you currently working on?
I’m working on another McKnight Romance. This one will feature Sol, the oldest of the McKnight boys. He had a very short-lived marriage right out of high school, but he’s never been able to emotionally let go of his ex-wife Georgia. I’ve also written a short story about Sol and Georgia that’s I’m planning to offer as a freebie, so folks can sample how I write. I don’t just want readers; I want satisfied readers.
I should perhaps mention here that a second McKnight romance will be released in November. Knight of Hearts is Zach’s sister’s story. Rachel is the oldest girl in their large family, so she has a tendency to be bossy, and she has an inborn need to fix things. That makes her good at her job as a hotel concierge but not so good at relationships. She and Mac were a joy to write, and I hope the readers will love them as much as I do.
12. Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?
The one thing that took me by surprise about being published is how much I enjoy hearing from readers who like my characters. I knew I’d like it, but I had no idea how much I’d like it. It’s like heroin. Very addicting.
This is my favorite excerpt from A Knight in Cowboy Boots.
“Let me get that there drink for the lady, Pete.” Mr. East Texas Drawl stepped up to the bar. “That is, if the lady don’t mind?”
She turned her head cautiously, afraid moving too fast would blur her vision.
Mr. East Texas was watching her, waiting for a cue his offer was welcome.
Maddie cleared her throat. “Thank you.”
Oh, crap. She sounded all Marilyn Monroe breathy.
He handed the bartender a ten. Maddie expected him to pull up the next barstool. Instead, he shoved it over with his foot and leaned one elbow against the bar. “So what’s a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?”
Maddie laughed. It should have sounded old, trite, and corny, but nothing said in that drawl could sound anything but enchanting to her. Her laughter lit something deep in Mr. East Texas’s dark eyes. Maddie suddenly felt warm. Sitting-in-front-of-a-raging-fire-on-a-cold-winter-night warm. The flutter in her heart moved into the pit of her stomach.
“Don’t tell the bartender, but I’m casing the place to see if I want his job.” Maddie said, keeping her voice conversational. The bartender's eyebrows rose, but he didn’t comment. He’d no doubt seen this dance often enough.
“Ah, well. Looking for employment. That’s respectable then.” Mr. East Texas nodded sagely. “Though I gotta admit, I was hoping you was here for less reputable reasons.”
“You mean like looking for a man to take me away from all this?” Maddie's open-handed gesture included the entire bar.
“Even the best watering holes have a long tradition of that sorta thing. Why, my daddy met my mama in a place a lot like this.”
Maddie fought to keep a grin from breaking out across her face. How long had it been since she’d engaged in light-hearted banter, never mind flirting? It seemed like eons. “Really?”
“Well, maybe there wasn’t as much brass and mirrors. Or the selection of beverages this fine establishment has. And there ain’t no straw on the floor nor fiddle player in the corner . . . ” He looked away as though seeking a fiddle player. “And they had dancin’.” His nostrils narrowed with an indrawn breath. His eyes came back to hers. “Damn. A man oughta take a woman dancin’.”
The flutter in Maddie’s stomach moved lower.
“What kind of dancing do you do to fiddle music?”
“The spirited kind.” He let a beat pass before he continued. “But I think you’re the kinda woman a man takes slow dancin’. Someplace where there ain’t much light, so’s nobody’d see when I kissed you.”
He held her eyes, waiting for her response.
Someone down the bar hollered for Pete’s attention and he moved away. Their audience gone, Maddie swiveled on her barstool to face him straight on.
“What if I didn’t want to be kissed?” she asked, knowing her body language sent a completely different message.
“Why, ma’am . . . ” He leaned slowly closer as he spoke. “I don’t think I’d ask first.” His lips brushed hers lightly. Just a gentle touch, as though she’d been kissed almost in passing. He pulled back, but only a couple of inches. Neither of them had closed their eyes. Maddie swallowed, trying to work up some moisture in her suddenly dry mouth.
“My daddy says sometimes it’s better to ask for forgiveness than for permission.”
“Does he?” Maddie forced out.
“Oh, yeah.” His tone was heartfelt. “And I think I may need a passel of forgivin’,” he said just before he kissed her again.