Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Welcome, Susan Palmquist

Welcome, Susan! I'm so pleased you've stopped by to visit with us. I look forward to getting to know the lady behind the writing, so if you don't mind I'm going to begin asking questions straight away.

Where do you write?

I have two spots where I do most of my writing. As well as writing fiction, I'm also a freelance writer so one of the rooms in my house is used as my office. It's downstairs, has a window that faces the side of the neighbor's house and therefore has very few distractions besides the odd bird or squirrel flying or running by. I use a desktop computer for my non-fiction work and then in the evenings I take my laptop and head into the family room and start to work on my fiction. In the winter there's not much to look at besides snow, but in the summer I open the windows and the patio door to listen to the waterfall in the pond by the patio.

How long does it typically take you to finish a writing project?

It really depends on what I'm working on. The children's book. The One and Only, that's just been published took me just a couple of weeks. But A Sterling Affair took about six months and then a couple more months for rewriting and editing. A lot depends on how much thought I've given the plot and characters before I start working. Sometimes I'll just get an idea and wing it.

When you're not writing, what do you like to do?

In the summer I spend lots of time outside gardening. And I love to cook. For me, it's a way of relaxing and a chance to iron out on scenes that aren't working out for me. I also enjoy riding my bike, photography and I sometimes knit.

Can you tell us anything about what you're working on now?

For the first time ever, I have several projects and a rewrite going on at the same time. I'm reworking another paranormal romance that's set in Ireland. I'm about 14,000 words into a mystery novel and then I'm about 10,000 words into a contemporary romance.

The question most readers want to know but never get the chance to ask, do you ever write in your pajamas?

No, most of the time I head to my office in a t-shirt, sweatpants, slippers and many times wet hair when I'm working on deadline and just need to get to work.

What circumstances led you to writing?

My degree is in psychology and I had every intention of becoming a child psychologist. My first job was as a children's advocate in a shelter for battered women and I was taking everyone problems home with me. I was going home in tears when I saw some of the awful things one human being can do to another and it made me realize I'm just a too sensitive a person to be in that line of work. Panic set in when I realized that I'd wasted my time studying for a career that wasn't right for me. I went to the library to research other lines of work and the first book I found was about public relations and noticed the main job requirement was writing. I'd been writing short stories since my great aunt's neighbor told me she was collecting royalties from a book she'd written 20 years ago and me thinking it was a great way to make money, got caught up with the whole writing thing. So I eventually went to work in PR, did lots of writing, became a freelance writer and still kept writing short stores and eventually novels.

Do you have a pet?

Yes, a cat named Flynn who's appeared on two calendars. He likes to either sit in front of the computer screen while I'm working or put his whole body over the keyboards on my laptop. Besides that annoying feature, he's my best writing buddy. I used him as one of the characters in the paranormal romance I'm rewriting…and yes, he plays himself.

Do you listen to music while you write?

Always. Depending on what stage of writing I'm at, determines what I listen to. If I'm just starting a project then I'll listen to all my old favorites …many from the mid 80s to 90s. Peter Gabriel, Sting, U2, Tears for Fears. When I start working on the next draft, I'll switch to instrumental music, no lyrics so I can hear the characters talking. Sometimes it will be classical music, sometimes New Age.

What frightens you?

Easy one…the dentist. When I was three, my mom took me along to the dentist while she was having a filling to prove to me that going to the dentist's office was no big deal. Bad idea, it just so happened that particular day, the dentist let the drill slip in my mom's mouth. I've hated the dentist ever since and I have to drag myself in there every single time.

Have you ever laughed so hard something has flown out of your face?

No, but when I was at school I laughed so hard the teacher made me stand outside the classroom for an hour as punishment. I never understood why laughing would need to be punished. Back in those days I didn't have the nerve to challenge him on that one.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us today?

Just that I feel very honored to spend some time with everyone, to thank you for dropping by to read this and hope that you'll buy my book…just kidding on that last bit!

I've loved getting to know you, Susan. Thanks so much for stopping by!

A Sterling Affair

Widow Deana Adams gets the shock of her life when she discovers a naked man in her living room. It's an even bigger shock when she learns Sir Ian Ashby is over 200 years old. Wanting nothing more than to return him to his grave, Deana soon realizes that Sir Ian offers her a second chance at love.
Madam, are you afraid of me?”
Deana couldn't speak, so she just shook her head. But then she got up the courage to answer him.
“Why would you think I'm afraid of you?”
“The fact that I can feel you shake in my hand. That I can see your body trembling.”
“It's just that I've never seen a ghost before,” she said quickly. The shaking wasn't because she thought he was a ghost, or even spooky for that matter. She was in awe of this magnificent man.
“A ghost. I do not believe that I am a ghost. Ghosts are dead. I believe that I am alive.”
He took her hand and pressed her palm to his chest. She could feel a network of well-defined muscles, and the little mats of curly hair tickled her palm. If he hadn't come back from the dead, she would have taken a guess he'd been working out a couple of times a day. He moved her hand across to the left side of his body and she suddenly felt his heart pounding against her palm.
“Are you now convinced that I am alive?”
Deana felt her knees go wobbly again, and it definitely wasn't because she was standing next to a supposedly dead man. There was only one simple explanation for the way she was feeling. She was attracted to him, and found him, well, the only word she could think of was sexy.
He let go of Deana's wrist, so she stepped backwards away from him. “The clothes,” she said, holding them out to him again.
He took them with one hand while managing to keep the cushion in place with the other.
“Perhaps you should tell me your name, Madam.”
“I'm Deana Adams, and those are my children, Todd and Amy.”
He looked across the room at them. “Yes, imps who enjoy a lark. And I would very much like to speak with their father as soon as possible. I would like to recommend to him what their punishment should be for this game they have played.”
“That won't be possible,” said Deana.
He looked back at her.
“And why not?”
“Because I'm a widow, their father is dead.”

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Judy said...

I loved the excerpt on your book, it definitely peaked my interest.