Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Welcome, Susan Vaughan

Primal Obsession

Welcome to From the Pages, Susan. I'm so glad you could stop by and visit today. I've got lots of questions to ask, so I'm just going to begin. I know readers want to get to know you better as much as I do.

First, where do you write?

If you mean where geographically, I live in the state of Maine. On the coast, so there's plenty to distract me from my WIP. If you mean where in my house, I write in what could be a bedroom but has been converted into an office. My handy dh built me a computer desk with bookshelves above and plenty of desktop space. The window looks out on the lawn and woods, though not coastline, enough to distract me if my mind wanders.

Maine is such a beautiful spot. It sounds like you've got the perfect writing space!

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

Writing a short book for Silhouette typically took me 9 months when I was working full time and 6 months when I quit teaching. Writing a full-length novel like PRIMAL OBSESSION or the other I've completed took about a year. What can I say? I'm slow. I know some people write four books a year. My process is deliberate, stop and go, revise and start again even though I plot ahead.

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

Right now I'm working on what for me is a very emotional story. "Once Burned" (working title) is about a man convicted of the arson murder of his girlfriend. When he's freed due to a technicality, the only person who can help him find the real murderer is the girlfriend's twin sister, who was burned trying to save her twin. Both divide their lives by before the fire and after the fire, and both have good reason not to trust the other.

Sounds interesting!

Tell us a little bit about your book, please.

My sixth book and latest release, PRIMAL OBSESSION, is about two people trying to defeat a killer who has followed them on a wilderness canoe trip in northern Maine. Injured former Major Leaguer Sam Kincaid needs to prove to himself he can be a success at something besides baseball. And investigative reporter Annie Wylde wants the killer who murdered her friend caught and punished. When they realize the killer is after Annie, Sam faces the challenge of his life.

Where did you get the idea for this story?

A few years ago, my husband and I took a six-day canoe and camping trip in northern Maine. Once we'd signed up, I started thinking of what story could be set there, so the trip was research for the book. Many of my experiences on the canoe trip were fodder for the book. We canoed ten or more miles a day, paddled white water, made our own camps and slept in tents, and bushwhacked with compasses, but we had no killer along. Thank goodness.

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

Hardly ever. I usually have to go out at some point during the day, so I dress before breakfast. But I do occasionally suffer from insomnia. When my brain just won't shut down and I can't sleep, it's usually the story that's keeping me awake. And even it it's not, I pad down to the computer for a while in my pjs and write.

What are you reading now?

I'm reading Marley and Me, the book the movie is based upon. I've had three dogs, none of them Labs, but I sure see a lot of the same behaviors no matter the breed. The author is so great at describing the puppy's antics and expressions. I was reading just today at the gym and I know people were wondering about the crazy lady giggling on the elliptical machine. I know there's a sad part in the book, but I'm enjoying the humor for now. And I can't wait to see the movie.

You’re in an Italian restaurant. What do you order?

That's easy. Eggplant parmesan. I love the dish but can't fix it at home since the dh loathes eggplant in any form.

Great choice! We had that for dinner last night.

Do you speak a foreign language?

I speak French, having studied it as a French literature major both in college and grad school. I lived in France for a summer, which greatly increased my fluency, but that was many years ago. I know a little German, Italian, and Spanish, just enough to be dangerous.

Do you have a pet?

I have a wonderful border-collie-chow mix named Sasha. She's the third of our dogs, and I hope the other doggie angels aren't listening, but the best dog. We brought her home from the local Humane Society shelter at ten months. She'd been brought up from New Orleans with some other dogs and cats. New Orleans doesn’t have enough homes for strays, and that's what she was, a stray puppy at three months. She's beautiful, loving, quiet, calm, and, best of all, comes when we call. She lies on the futon beside my desk while I'm writing. I can feel her staring at me, willing me to decide it's time for a walk.

She sounds like a sweetie!

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

Now that you mention it, yes. With the economic difficulties these days, many people are finding it difficulty to keep their pets and are surrendering them to animal shelters. Worse, some people are simply abandoning their loving animal companions. Those who care for abandoned and stray animals need as much help as we can give. Anyone who can help, please give to the Humane Society at, the ASPCA at, or to my local shelter here in Maine at

Sarita, thank you for giving me this opportunity to climb up on my soapbox.

I'm so glad you came to visit today, Susan! I've loved getting to know you. I do hope you'll come back to chat with me again in the future, maybe when your next book is released.

Readers, Susan has generously offered a copy of her latest book, Primal Obsession, to one lucky commenter. Check back soon to see if you are the randomly chosen winner!

Blurb for Primal Obsession:

Guiding a canoe party through the Maine wilderness is more than just a job for former Major-Leaguer Sam Kincaid. After hitting rock-bottom, he needs to prove he can pull himself out of the bottle and succeed at something. He can't let himself be distracted by an ambitious, obsessed female, even if she's sexy, witty and smart. Investigative journalist and confirmed urbanite Annie Wylde embarks on the canoe trip to keep a promise to her murdered friend and intends to use the outing to study her notes on the notorious killer called the Hunter. She banters with Sam but rebuffs his advances, considering him just another egotistical jock. But when Annie realizes the killer has followed her into the woods, she learns there's more to Sam than testosterone and dimples. And Sam faces the challenge of his life to keep Annie safe and defeat the Hunter.

Buy link for the ebook: PRIMAL OBSESSION, is
The print release, ISBN 1-60154-390-5, at


Mary said...

I have always wanted to take a canoe trip. It sounds like fun!

Nice interview!

Susan Vaughan said...

Hi Mary,
Thanks for commenting. Exactly why I embarked on my trip. I'd always wanted to see the "real" Maine and a canoe trip was the only way.

Nina Pierce said...

Oh, the story you're working on sounds wonderful! And Primal Obsession is definitely on my TBR list!

Susan Vaughan said...

Thanks for commenting on both stories.

Shelley Munro said...

The canoe trip sounds wonderful and I can imagine it will make a great setting for your story, making the hero and heroine depend on each other.

Dru said...

Nice interview.

Joelle said...

Hi Susan. Lovely interview.

Susan Vaughan said...

Shelly, Dru, and Joelle,
Thanks for your comments.
And Shelly, you're exactly right about the h/h having to depend on each other on a canoe trip. And for your perception, I declare you the winner of my giveaway copy of Primal Obsession. Please contact me at with your USPS address. Congrats.