Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Interview With Suzanne Johnson and Giveaway

Southern Magic is proud to introduce Suzanne Johnson (writing as Susannah Sandlin)!  

She will be at our luncheon in Hoover, Alabama November 5 with Jennifer Ashley, Hildie McQueen, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Lynn Raye Harris, Dianna Love and 20 plus authors.

Who are your top five authors to read?
The authors on my auto-buy list are Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs, Alex Bledsoe, Rick Bragg, Kim Harrison. But I read all genres and also read a lot of nonfiction. A whole lot of nonfiction.

What is your go-to book to read over and over again?
Stephen King’s The Stand. I couldn’t even tell you how many times I’ve read that book, beginning way back when it was first released. The older I get, the more I appreciate the universal themes of good versus evil, and the nuances of the characters. It’s still probably my favorite book of all time, but Sai King (in-joke for anyone who’s read The Dark Tower series) still can’t write romance worth a crap.

Who influenced your writing the most? Why?

I cut my teeth on Stephen King, obviously, so I guess if I had to point to an early influence it would be him, as well as the poetry of Kenneth Patchen and WB Yeats. Romance readers tend to write King off as a horror writer, but he writes really intriguing characters and rich stories. (Well, and horror.) But the authors who actually got me started writing fiction were Simon R. Green and Jim Butcher, and their Nightside and Dresden series, respectively. I binge-read both series beginning-to-current back in 2008 and said, “I want to write that genre.” I found them intellectually exciting and they began churning up all kinds of ideas and possibilities that I wanted to explore. The Nightside series almost made my brain explode (that’s a good thing!).

Describe where you are the most productive when you write.
It’s not so much a place, although I do the majority of my writing in my home office, but a state of mind in which I’m most productive: under deadline. Maybe it’s because the bulk of my career has been in journalism but I thrive under deadlines; even a tight deadline doesn’t freak me out—it just makes me work harder. If I don’t have a firm deadline, I find it difficult to motivate myself and I’ll end up doing something like what I did the entire, deadline-free month of July: binge-watching “The Deadliest Catch.” All twelve seasons, twenty episodes a season. LOL. So I need a hard, tight deadline or I will dawdle around imagining life as a Bering Sea crab fisherman. Despite the fact that I get motion sickness and can’t swim.

Tells us a little about your current book?
I’m currently dawdling over the fifth book of my Penton Legacy paranormal romance series, written as Susannah Sandlin, which might or might not involve Bering Sea crab fishermen. My next release, on October 18 (which I’ll have at the Southern Magic Readers Luncheon!) is BLACK DIAMOND, also as Susannah Sandlin. It’s the second in my Wilds of the Bayou romantic suspense series set deep in the heart of Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana. The series follows a team of wildlife enforcement agents (the law-enforcement type of game warden) as they find danger and love in the wilds of the bayou. In BLACK DIAMOND, agent Jena Sinclair gets caught up investigating a series of aggressive alligator attacks that happen at the same time a dangerous designer drug called Black Diamond is flooding the parish. There’s also a sexy reclusive man living back in the bayou, way off the grid, who’s definitely involved…but how? Book five of my Sentinels of New Orleans series, BELLE CHASSE, written as Suzanne Johnson, comes out on November 8. Nice of my publishers to set release dates three weeks apart. Not!

Show us your one favorite scene of dialogue from that book.

From BLACK DIAMOND…Both the hero and heroine are very damaged people, especially the hero, and their conversations tend to be intense. I couldn’t find one that didn’t have spoilers, so I chose this conversation between Jena and her partner, Mac. She’s planning to meet with the hero, Cole Ryan, who is living way off-grid and no one knows anything about him. He claims he has information about a drug called Black Diamond but will only talk to her. Mac is not a happy camper. I like this scene because it shows the growing friendship/partnership between Jena and Mac, who’ll be the hero of a future book in the series.

Mac waited until they were back in the truck and on their way to Gateau’s in Houma to ask her the obvious. “Why are you meeting with that Ryan guy today, and who’s your backup?”

“He left a note for me last night while I was at dinner. It was lying on the mat outside my front door.” Jena watched the passing scenery and didn’t look at Mac, which told him she was measuring her words and didn’t want her face to give anything away. “He says he has information on the Black Diamond case but he won’t talk to anyone but me. He wants to talk to me alone.”

Mac let that process for a minute. Maybe half a minute. Maybe ten seconds. “He left a note at your freaking house? How would he know where you live, Sinclair? That’s just one of a dozen reasons not to meet with him, much less alone.”

Jena gave him a brief glance. “Yeah, it bothers me too. I have an unlisted landline number. He called my cell from a pay phone, but didn’t leave a message. Instead, he drove to my house and left a note.”

“So I repeat, who’s your backup?”

“Mac, if he sees another officer there, he won’t talk. I can guarantee you that from my one conversation with him.”

He took a deep breath. She was his senior officer, but this had to be said. “Jena, there’s an easy solution to this. We call the sheriff’s office and tell them this Ryan guy could be a person of interest. Then you’re out of it. He’d never even have to know you had anything to do with it.”

She twisted in her seat to look at him, her hazel eyes serious. “No. I mean it, Mac. No. There’s something about this guy that’s on the level; I can just feel it. He’s . . . I don’t know . . . fragile.”

“Fragile? Fragile? He’s built like a solid f***ing tank, pardon my Français. He’s as fragile as a bull gator in a small bayou.”

“I don’t mean physically fragile. Obviously.” She smiled. “I mean emotionally fragile. We connected in some way the day I talked to him, and I don’t want to scare him off.”

“You are not talking to this guy alone, even if I have to park a half mile away and hide in the bushes.”
At that, she grinned. “Only if I get photos.”

He pointed at the laptop computer lying atop a pile of paperwork on the center armrest of the truck. “In the meantime, have you run a search on him? Even a simple Internet search? See if he shows up?”

“No, things have been too crazy with Jackson and . . .”

Jena pulled the computer into her lap and began to type and scroll. “Oh my God.” Her eyes widened more with each click of the keypad.

Mac almost lost control of the truck trying to crane his neck to see the screen. “Did you find him?”

She closed down the page she’d been reading and twisted the laptop back to its usual resting place. “Oh yeah, I found him, all right.”

What do you believe makes a man sexy?
A good sense of humor. Without that, it doesn’t matter how sexy they are physically. Humor makes up for most things with me, as long as it’s not humor at someone else’s expense.

Here's her short bio.
Chapter One: I am born. Oh, wait, I’m not Dickens, am I? The “boring official bio” is below [on my website]. In the unofficial bio, I am ridiculously nearsighted, have a weakness for reality shows (anyone for a marathon of “Cutthroat Kitchen?”) and am somewhat obsessive-compulsive. Well, okay, my critique partner calls me “Rain Man.” Whether writing as Suzanne Johnson or Susannah Sandlin, you can count on quirky characters and a lot of action.

Look for Suzanne at the following places.
Twitter     Facebook      Pinterest   Website

Today's giveaway is a $15 gift card to Amazon. 

Question: What is the last TV series (or Movie series) that you binge watched? 

Leave an answer to be entered to win.  The winner will be announced this Saturday in the comment section.


Roger Simmons said...

Thanks for the snippet from Black Diamond. Getting excited for that release. It's just too long a wait between books. Soon now. Hope you guys have a great luncheon. Waiting for lots of pictures.

H.B. said...

Thanks for the interesting post. The last show I binge watch was Rizzoli and Isles. I started from season 1 and worked my way to the current season.
hum humbug AT yahoo DOT com

Suzanne Johnson said...

@Roger--Thanks! At least the Black Diamond wait is six months instead of two years (unlike some other series I know--cough cough)--LOL.

@H.B. I haven't watched that one, so I might check it out in my next spurt of unproductivity :-)

Suz and Allan said...

I get on reality show kicks every now and then so you aren't alone! They've changed since it was Survivor and Real World (wasn't that the MTV one?). The last show I binge watched was this past season of OITNB and the last series of movies would be Murder She Baked. I'd recommend both!

Suzanne Johnson said...

Good to know I'm not alone! Ah.....Real World. I used to love that show! And I still haven't missed a season of "Survivor," although I threaten to quit watching every season at least once or twice. My favorite is probably "The Amazing Race." (Well, besides "The Deadliest Catch"--LOL).

SandyG265 said...

My boyfriend took out season one of Masters of Sex from the library and we watched the entire season in a couple of days.
sgiden at verizon(.)net

miki said...

Criminal minds

oh i sure like Jena and i can, imagine Mac face during that exchange^^ can't wait for this new release

Aidee Ladnier said...

I'm currently binge watching old favorites.

My latest - Quantum Leap! Netflix makes it so easy.

Connie Thompson said...

The was good

Connie Thompson said...

The was good

Connie Thompson said...

The was good

SuzieQ said...

Faceoff..the skill of the make up artists is amazing.

smeek1958 said...

I have never binge-watched anything. My husband has binge-watched Buffy, Angel and too many others to count, but not me.

Suzanne Johnson said...

@ Sandy...I had to look that up to see what it was--LOL. It sounds interesting!

@Miki. I like "Criminal Minds." The whole profiling thing is interesting to me. It's one of those shows I'll stop on when I'm flipping channels, but I've never binge-watched. I like Jena too. This has been an odd series for me to write. My heroes usually overshadow my heroines a little, but the heroines in this series so far, Celestine and Jena, are strong, strong women.

@Aidee: I've never watched "Quantum Leap." How could that have happened? Oh, 90-year-old mom rules the TV. Tablet streaming has become my only new outlet to TV unless I watch endless John Wayne and Clint Eastwood westerns :-)

@Connie...I wanted to watch this when it first came on but never had a chance. It sounds like a good binge-watch!

@SuzieQ....I haven't seen Faceoff but I bet I would like it as a big fan of "Project Runway" and "ANTM."

@Smeek....Susan, you're probably more sane for not binge-watching. I suspect it kills brain cells--LOL.

Juana said...

The last series that I binged watched was Stranger Things on Netflix.

Rebecca Tang said...

I admit to watching myth busters and BBC Top Gear. I sound like a nerd but I also have a couple of boys that dictate our show choice. Maybe that is why I enjoy reading romance. :) I can hardly wait for Black Diamond to come out!

Rebecca Tang said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Galena said...

I recently rewatched Parks & Rec because that show is the best <3

I also watched Stranger Things to see what all the hype was about, and I'm currently watching The 100...which might be about a bunch of teenagers on The CW, but damn if they don't make it insanely-watchable tv!

Bube said...

Vikings :)

JenM said...

Does the Olympics count? Even though it's over with and we know some of the outcomes, we taped everything and are still binge watching it. There was so much coverage available. We don't like the team sports, but we love all of the swimming, track and field, archery, rowing, shooting, gymnastics, cycling, etc.

Di said...

Big Bang Theory - it lightens my mood!

bn100 said...

don't do that

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Bethany C. said...

I'm such a tv junkie; let me think what was the very last thing I binge watched? I think the last show I technically binge watched was Flesh and Bone. Although the show I've most recently binge watched the fastest was Outlander because Outlander.

pailofpearls said...

Pretty Little Liars

Suzanne Johnson said...

@Juana...I don't know "Stranger Things"--I'll have to check it out. Or is it a Netflix original?

@Rebecca...I like "Mythbusters" (haven't watched "Top Gear"). I'm pretty much a sucker for anything on Discovery or History or the Food Network.

@Galena--I liked "Parks and Rec" the few times I've seen it; the writing is good. I think that would be a fun binge watch. I have to admit I haven't watched anything on the CW except ANTM when it moved over there. That was a binge-watch too :-)

@Bube...Now, I think I'd enjoy Vikings!

@JenM...The Olympics definitely count--they lasted longer (hour-wise) than most TV series! I tried to catch most of the women's gymnastics and the swimming. Missed the diving, which I also like.

@Di...Another show I have never see, although my friends assure me I would like it if I'd give it a chance!

@bn100....You're probably wise!

@BethanyC...Ooh, "Outlander" would be fun to binge-watch. Maybe more than once!

@Pail of Pearls...I have not watched "Pretty Little Liars" before. Hm....

Post a Comment

Jess said...

I would say the Olympics too. It was able to enjoy other sports that don't often get much coverage.

strive4bst(AT) yahoo(dot)com

Beautiful Disaster said...

Greys Anatomy 😊

Liz S. said...

Loved the snippet! I almost never watch TV so the last binge watch was The Olympics. Looking forward to reading Black Diamond!

Mary Preston said...

I have been binge watching VIKINGS!! It is amazing.


Janhvi said...

The last TV series I binge watched was Modern Family. It was hilarious!
Thank you so much for the giveaway! :)

justjanhvi at gmail dot com

Ashfa said...

Don't watch too much TV so I'm going to say the Olympics!

Chris Bailey said...

I've read about binge watching--does that count? 😎

Suzanne Johnson said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone! Congrats to GALENA for winning the gift card!

Carla Swafford said...

JenM, congratulations! You've won the $15 Amazon gift card. Please email me at and I'll forward your info to Suzanne/Susannah!

Thank you for commenting!