Today’s lovely guest, Susanne Bellamy, lives up the range from me in Toowoomba. Her latest novel, ‘Engaging the Enemy’ is out now and stars a gorgeous Irish hero. She’s very kindly dropped by for a chat. Enjoy 🙂
Susanne, thanks for dropping around and congrats on your new release. I loved Mahoney and Andrea’s story, ‘Engaging the Enemy’, from start to finish. An emotionally satisfying read!
Thanks, Helene. I’m delighted to be visiting and that you enjoyed Andie and Matt’s story.
You now have three books on the shelf. How easy or difficult was your first publishing experience? How does it compare with your latest release?
First books are generally close-to-our-heart stories but for most of us, our writing skills aren’t as polished as we think they are. Although my debut novel, White Ginger, won third place in the RWA 2011 Emerald Award and found a home with a small publisher (who has since been taken over) it was rejected by HMB and I completely understand why now. At the time, I was disappointed. Hindsight is a wonderful learning tool. I love this story but I see more conflict potential and phrasing I would change if I were writing it now.
I have several first draft manuscripts sitting in the virtual bottom drawer, a couple of which I plan to rewrite. I’ve learned so much simply by continuing to write and seeking feedback and I believe my writing has become tighter with each book.
Engaging the Enemy was contracted by Escape Publishing last year and has just released. The experience with Escape has been positive and supportive and so much easier. Naturally I have a better idea of what to expect this time round but Escape’s professionalism and practical support have been wonderful.
It sounds like you found a wonderful writing home with Escape!
What comes first for you – characters, story, setting or something else?
Engaging the Enemy was inspired by an abandoned building, which I spotted from a passing tram in Melbourne. The whole idea that there had to be somebody to love that place kicked into high gear when I realized there were two people prepared to fight for it.
And fight for it they do – a believable conflict that showed us so much about Matt and Andie.
What’s your writing process? Has it evolved with successive books?
When I began to write I started with a broad idea and just wrote. I re-read at the start of the next session and went back to seed ideas as the plot developed. I had no idea of plotting and held much of the story in my head.
Now, I consider myself an organic writer but my Entangled Ignite editor requires a reasonably detailed ‘beat sheet’ which keeps me on track…most of the time! I still get those moments when another idea strikes and I have to feed it into the plot. Even when I think I know my characters, the more they interact with one another, the greater the scope and the deeper the layers become.
And when I find an image of a character or place I’ve already described I pin it straightaway! Gosh, I love Pinterest!
Lol, I must admit I have no idea what to do with Pinterest….
Your heroines are champions in the sense that they have a strong sense of right and wrong, a need to stand up for the underdogs. How much of your own values go into your characters?
I suspect quite a bit. Social justice perspectives and environmental awareness are important to me so it’s likely my writing reflects them. White Ginger’s main character, Arne, is a marine biologist working to save the reef. Amelie has the same core values of family, community and preservation of the environment; in fact, she has to overcome her phobia (which is mine!) in order to help Arne in his crusade.
Andie de Villiers works with her friend, Lexie, to keep their crisis accommodation open because she knows that they are all that’s standing between the mothers and children and the certainty of domestic violence. When Matt’s purchase of their building threatens The Shelter, Andie faces the dilemma of lying or being responsible for the loss of their safe house. As a civilized society, we need to be more aware of our combined responsibility to protect and care for those who are vulnerable. If I have built that sense of caring for others into a romance, I’m happy!
Can we have a sneak peak behind the scenes?
Of course! I do have a lovely view from my writing space and Anna is never far away when I’m writing.
Love your writing space and there’s something very comforting about a faithful hound watching over her writer.
Finally what’s the best advice you’ve received or given?
Join RWA; enter competitions; get a critique partner. Read. Write. You can’t edit a blank page.
Oh, and Be Happy 😀 (courtesy of Bobby McFerin)
And ditto to that advice! RWA continues to be a powerhouse, encouraging new writers and supporting more established writers 🙂
Thanks for dropping by, Susanne. Wishing you stellar sales and best seller listings for Engaging the Enemy.
Thanks for hosting me! I’ve enjoyed being here, Helene.
ENGAGING THE ENEMY
One building, two would-be owners and a family feud that spans several generations: all relationships have their problems.
Andrea de Villiers can’t lie to save herself. But when developer, Matt Mahoney, buys the building she and a friend have established as a safe house in the Melbourne CBD, she decides that protecting The Shelter is more important than her aching heart. She will confront Mr Mahoney, and she will emerge victorious. There are no other options.
But Matt has other plans for Andie, and she soon finds herself ensnared in a web of well-meaning lies and benevolent deceit. To protect the building and the families that depend on her, Andie agrees to play the part of Matt’s fiancée, and play it convincingly.
But lies soon bleed into truth, and what was once a deception starts to feel all too real. Can Andie accomplish her goals and protect The Shelter, without losing her heart to the charming Irish developer?
You can find Susanne at:
- Facebook https://www.facebook.com/susanne.bellamy.7
- Twitter https://twitter.com/SusanneBellamy
- Website http://www.susannebellamy.com/
- Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/susannebellamy/
- Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard
And Buy Engaging the Enemy at: