1) How long have you been writing?
I’ve been a working journalist for more than twenty years, but have only been writing fiction since 2009. I started out writing a story as a way to deal with my issues from Hurricane Katrina (I lived in New Orleans) and it turned into a novel, then two. By then I caught the fiction-writing bug big-time.
2) How many balls do you juggle on a daily basis, and how do you manage to keep them all in the air (usually), (ball = work, writing, family, etc.)
Ugh. Waaay too many balls. I have a full-time day job that’s pretty high stress. A lot of politics and a lot of deadlines. I have two fiction series that are being published simultaneously. I have a daily book blog. I do blogging for Tor.com and a couple of other sites. I’m the sole caregiver for my 87-year-old mom. I have two geriatric dogs. I’m tired just thinking about it. I work hard to manage my time. I don’t take a lot of time off. I have a “virtual assistant” who helps me out with research and actually posting blogs after I write them—he’s been a lifesaver. If one part of my carefully constructed schedule goes off the rails, though, it throws everything into chaos. So I try my best not to let that happen.
3) What can you tell us about your release Omega. What I’m looking for is the story about how the story came to be, not just the blurb and what not. J
Omega was planned from the very beginning as the climax of the Penton Legacy series, which I originally conceived as a trilogy: Redemption, Absolution, and Omega. I’d been writing urban fantasy and wanted to flex my writing muscles and try something different. So I came up with the idea of a vampire utopia of sorts that was located in a rural ghost town at a time when the vampire world was in danger of annihilation after a vaccine turned human blood deadly to them. I wanted to try this sort of post-apocalyptic story that was also a paranormal romance where the overarching story would cross all the books but the hero and heroine would change with each book. At the same time, after writing my urban fantasy novels in first person, I wanted to experiment with writing multiple points of view in third person—so each book has anywhere from three to six point-of-view characters. It presents a big juggling act for the author but, in the end, I think it worked really well.
4) What is it about paranormal romance that you like so much?
I love paranormal romance and urban fantasy (sort of twin daughters of different mothers, or something like that) because of the great “what if” factor—they are the perfect crossroads of reality and fantasy, like there might be another world just around the corner that you might stumble into.
5) Do you think you’ll move to another genre, and if yes, what to and when?
I’m veering with my next project into more of a paranormal-romantic-thriller mashup, which I’m not quite sure is even a genre! It’s a book tentatively called Storm Force, and it will be initially released in serial form for Kindle beginning on March 19. Then, in July, it will come out as a regular book in print, digital and audio. So it’s a new type of venture for me and one that’s proving really interesting! I also have an urban fantasy series that I write under the name Suzanne Johnson, and the third book in that series, Elysian Fields, will be released by Tor Books in mid-August.
6) Sweet or sour?
Serious sweet tooth!
7) Chocolate or vanilla?
I know it’s almost sacrilegious, but I much prefer vanilla to chocolate. (TM - Hrmph. Vanilla. Hrmph. ;) )
Susannah Sandlin is the author of paranormal romance set in the Deep South, where there are always things that go bump in the night. A journalist by day, Susannah grew up in Alabama reading the gothic novels of Susan Howatch and the horror fantasy of Stephen King. (Um…it is fantasy, right?) The combination of Howatch and King probably explains a lot. Currently a resident of Auburn, Alabama, Susannah has also lived in Illinois, Texas, California, and Louisiana.
Following a worldwide pandemic whose vaccine left human blood deadly to vampires, the vampire community is on the verge of starvation and panic. Some have fanned into rural areas, where the vaccine was less prevalent, and are taking unsuspecting humans as blood slaves. Others are simply starving, which for a vampire is worse than death—a raging hunger in a creature too weak to feed.
Immune to these struggles—at first—is Penton, a tiny community in rural Chambers County, Alabama, an abandoned cotton mill town that has been repopulated by charismatic vampire Aidan Murphy, his scathe of 50 vampires, and their willingly bonded humans. Aidan has recruited his people carefully, believing in a peaceful community where the humans are respected and the vampires retain a bit of their humanity.
But an unresolved family feud and the paranoia of the Vampire Tribunal descend on Penton in the form of Aidan’s brother, Owen Murphy. Owen has been issued a death warrant that can only be commuted if he destroys Penton—and Aidan, against whom he’s held a grudge since both were turned vampire in 17th-century Ireland. Owen begins a systematic attack on the town, first killing its doctor, then attacking one of Aidan’s own human familiars
To protect his people, Aidan is forced to go against his principles and kidnap an unvaccinated human doctor—and finds himself falling in love for the first time since the death of his wife in Ireland centuries ago.
Dr. Krystal Harris, forced into a world she never knew existed, must face up to her own abusive past to learn if the feelings she’s developing for her kidnapper are real—or just a warped, supernatural kind of Stockholm Syndrome in which she’s allowing herself to become a victim yet again.
With the vampire world on the brink of civil war over the scarcity of untainted human blood, battle lines are being drawn between the once peaceful vampire and human enclave of Penton, Alabama, and the powerful Vampire Tribunal.
A Scottish gallowglass warrior turned vampire in the early 17th century, Mirren Kincaid once served the Tribunal as its most creative and ruthless executioner—a time when he was known as the Slayer. But when assigned a killing he found questionable, Mirren abandoned the Tribunal’s political machinations and disappeared—only to resurface two centuries later as the protector and second-in-command of Penton. Now the Tribunal wants him back on their side—or dead.
To break their rogue agent, they capture Glory Cummings, the descendant of a shaman, and send her to restore Mirren’s bloodthirsty nature. But instead of a monster, Glory sees a man burdened by the weight of his past. Could her magic touch—meant by the tribunal to bring out a violent killer—actually help Mirren break his bonds and discover the love he doesn’t believe he deserves?
It’s a town under siege, a powerful warrior in a battle with his past, and one woman who can make the earth move—literally—as the Penton Legacy continues.
The bloody war between the Vampire Tribunal and the defiant scathe of Penton, Alabama, rages on, forcing its residents and their bonded humans to retreat into the underground fortress of last resort: Omega. There, Will Ludlam is charged with the care of Penton's humans, though he longs to fight alongside his vampire brethren. He knows the risks: as the renegade son of the Tribunal's vicious leader, Will's capture could doom the resistance.
Yet he is determined to prove his worth to his adopted scathe, to his vengeful father and to former US Army officer Randa Thomas, his beautiful, reluctant partner. Randa has little faith that a former member of the vampire elite has what it takes to fight a war. But as their enemies descend upon Omega, Will's polished charm and Randa's guarded heart finally give way to the warrior within.
As I said at the top of the post, there are two giveaways. One lucky commenter to this post will get a copy of one print/e-book/audiobook of the commenter's choice of any book from the series.
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