Blog by VONNIE DAVIS -- International, Award-Winning Romance Author: Adventurous...Humorous...Amorous.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


My guest today is romance author, Suzie Quint. Suzie tells me she's always been fascinated with the human psyche, so she can imagine no better way to explore the human condition than through the characters she writes. Finding the happy ending for the people who inhabit her worlds is the best job anyone could have. Getting to share them with others… well, it doesn't get any better than that. Oh, Suzie, I so agree.

I have several questions for you today and I'm tickled to introduce you to my readers. Grab a slice of chocolate cake and a cup of coffee, and we'll settle in for a nice chat. Oh, wait, you must have a couple of these chocolate-dipped strawberries. Calvin says they're my speciality.

Comfy? Tell us, what is your life like away from the computer? Tell us something about your household. Jazzie, my nosy cat, wants to know if you have any kitty-pusses.
I work as an accountant for the State of Washington which has to be about the most boring job to talk about that ever existed. I do have a cat. Isn’t that a requirement for a writer? Tigger’s a bit defective though. He doesn’t seem to get what a privilege it is to be a writer’s cat. He’s the embodiment of the saying, “Dogs have owners, cats have staff.” As far as he’s concerned, my main reasons for existing are to feed him and to open the door for him a thousand times a day. If I do those things to his satisfaction, he’ll deign to let me pet him occasionally.

What authors and genres do you like to read?

I’m pretty eclectic in my reading. Romance and fantasy are mainstays for me. In romance, I like Jennifer Crusie, Rachel Gardner, and Toni Blake. I don’t read a lot of historicals unless they’re by specific authors (I adore Courtney Milan.)  Plus I read non-fiction, a lot of it as research for various stories, but some just coz. I’m also a bit of an economics junkie.

Ah, now those two words--economics and junkie--go together in my brain. I took two Honors Economics classes at Penn State--Macro and Micro--and I have to admit my grades were pretty junkie. I had to scrabble to get a B-. Tell us, what's your writing schedule like?

Lately, it hasn’t been good. With my first novel having released in August, I’m spending a lot of time figuring out how to best allocate resources for promotion. But that’s okay. I figure that’s allowed for a little while. Even though I’m not typing away on my current work-in-progress, I know my subconscious is stewing on it, so I’m hoping that when I get back to really working on it, things will fall into place easily.

Oh, I'm sure it will. I've written very little since my surgery last week, mainly 'cause I've been so muzzy-headed with pain medicine. I agree: even though you aren't actively writing, your subconscious is working on it. Do you enter contests? If so, has this been a positive experience for you?

I did for a while, and I came close to finaling a couple of times. I missed once by two points and then once by half a point. The very next contest, the same story scored a 50 from one of the judges, so I decided it was too random for me. I’ve had stellar critique buddies, so I wasn’t there for the feedback, and it was just too expensive to keep playing Russian Roulette, hoping for a win that would put my foot in someone’s door.

Do you ever dream of writing in a different genre?

I’ve actually got two trunk novels that are fantasy. One is high fantasy (You know, wizards and such. I love magic.) The other is Urban Fantasy, but that label means something different in the fantasy genre than it does in romance.

What are you currently working on?

Most of the romances currently on the drawing board are interrelated stories about the McKnight family. The one I’m currently working on (when I’m not trying to figure out how to let people know my stories exist) is Sol McKnight’s story. He’s the oldest of a rather large family, and when the series starts, the only one who’s been married before. His marriage lasted all of six weeks, but he’s never gotten over his ex-wife, and since they have a daughter, it’s not looking like he’ll get her out of his life long enough to try. When she comes back to town for the summer to help her mother recover from a stroke, he sees his chance. He’s fun because he’s a bit unscrupulous when it comes to getting her back.

Has your road to publication been a walk in the park or a steep mountain climb? Give us some details.

I resisted the idea of an epublisher for a long time, but traditional publishing isn’t going to happen for most new writers I don’t think. The big NY houses are too scared to take many risks on untried talent these days. I wasn’t very good at queries anyway. Once I made up my mind to find an epublisher, it happened very quickly. And I’m delighted with my publisher. As you can see, they get me the best covers.

Tell us about your current release...or soon to be released.

A Knight in Cowboy Boots is Maddie’s story. After her sister is murdered by an abusive boyfriend (who is also the father of her sister’s child) and he beats the rap, Maddie takes her sister’s son and runs. Using a fake identity, she lands in Galveston where she meets Zach McKnight, a good ol’ Texas cowboy. It doesn’t take him long to figure out she has “issues.” He wants to help, but she tries to keep him at arm’s length. Not that he lets her. ;) Here's an excerpt from A KNIGHT IN COWBOY BOOTS... 

“Let me get that there drink for the lady, Pete.” Mr. East Texas Drawl stepped up to the bar. “That is, if the lady don’t mind?”

She turned her head cautiously, afraid moving too fast would blur her vision.

Mr. East Texas was watching her, waiting for a cue his offer was welcome.

Maddie cleared her throat. “Thank you.”

Oh, crap. She sounded all Marilyn Monroe breathy.

He handed the bartender a ten. Maddie expected him to pull up the next barstool. Instead, he shoved it over with his foot and leaned one elbow against the bar. “So what’s a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?”

Maddie laughed. It should have sounded old, trite, and corny, but nothing said in that drawl could sound anything but enchanting to her. Her laughter lit something deep in Mr. East Texas’s dark eyes. Maddie suddenly felt warm. Sitting-in-front-of-a-raging-fire-on-a-cold-winter-night warm. The flutter in her heart moved into the pit of her stomach.

“Don’t tell the bartender, but I’m casing the place to see if I want his job.” Maddie said, keeping her voice conversational. The bartender's eyebrows rose, but he didn’t comment. He’d no doubt seen this dance often enough.

“Ah, well. Looking for employment. That’s respectable then.” Mr. East Texas nodded sagely. “Though I gotta admit, I was hoping you was here for less reputable reasons.”

“You mean like looking for a man to take me away from all this?” Maddie's open-handed gesture included the entire bar.

“Even the best watering holes have a long tradition of that sorta thing. Why, my daddy met my mamma in a place a lot like this.”

Maddie fought to keep a grin from breaking out across her face. How long had it been since she’d engaged in light-hearted banter, never mind flirting? It seemed like eons. “Really?”

“Well, maybe there wasn’t as much brass and mirrors. Or the selection of beverages this fine establishment has. And there ain’t no straw on the floor nor fiddle player in the corner . . . ” He looked away as though seeking a fiddle player. “And they had dancin’.” His nostrils narrowed with an indrawn breath. His eyes came back to hers. “Damn. A man oughta take a woman dancin’.”

The flutter in Maddie’s stomach moved lower.

“What kind of dancing do you do to fiddle music?”

“The spirited kind.” He let a beat pass before he continued. “But I think you’re the kinda woman a man takes slow dancin’. Someplace where there ain’t much light, so’s nobody’d see when I kissed you.”

He held her eyes, waiting for her response.

Someone down the bar hollered for Pete’s attention and he moved away. Their audience gone, Maddie swiveled on her barstool to face him straight on.

“What if I didn’t want to be kissed?” she asked, knowing her body language sent a completely different message.

“Why, ma’am . . . ” He leaned slowly closer as he spoke. “I don’t think I’d ask first.” His lips brushed hers lightly. Just a gentle touch, as though she’d been kissed almost in passing. He pulled back, but only a couple of inches. Neither of them had closed their eyes. Maddie swallowed, trying to work up some moisture in her suddenly dry mouth.

“My daddy says sometimes it’s better to ask for forgiveness than for permission.”

“Does he?” Maddie forced out.

“Oh, yeah.” His tone was heartfelt. “And I think I may need a passel of forgivin’,” he said just before he kissed her again.

Oh, yeah, you've got me. Loved it, Suzie. Oh, I do like your style. 

Thanks. In November, the second McKnight Romance will be released. Knight of Hearts is Zach’s sister’s story. As the oldest girl in their large family, Rachel can be tough. She has a bossy streak and a need to fix things, which serves her well as concierge at a Galveston hotel, but not so much in her personal life. Her best friend’s brother has recently gotten divorced and can’t seem to figure out the dating scene. Rachel needs a date to Zach’s wedding so her mother won’t think she’s not trying; Mac needs a dating coach, so they make a deal. (Yeah, coz Rachel so knows what she’s doing there. Not.) This is a bit of a friends-to-lovers story which is one of my favorite romance troupes.


I also have All’s Fair, a short(ish) story that I’m planning to offer as a freebie as soon as I get all the formatting for Amazon and Smashwords figured out.  It’s kind of backstory for Zach and Rachel’s brother Sol and his ex-wife Georgia, so the ending is more hopeful than Happily-Ever-After. Short stories are not my forte, but I’m actually very pleased with this one.

Where can we find you?


Anonymous said...

Hi Vonnie! Hi Suzie...YUMMY EXCERPT!!!! Love it! Damn, TBR pile doesn't seem to get any smaller... :) Best wishes for a smashing release, Suzie! Misty Dietz

Vonnie Davis said...

Thanks for stopping by, Misty. It is a delightful excerpt, isn't it? I was awake till 4 this morning reading Suzie's book.

Calisa Rhose said...

Hi Vonnie. Glad you're feeling like yourself again! Great to meet you Suzie! Did I read that you're giving away a copy of A Knight in Cowboy Boots? No? Well, hell. Ima add it to my trb just the same cos Zack is my kind of man! I almost forgot that was an excerpt (except for the abrupt cut-off). Now I have to read it!

Suzie Quint said...

Vonnie, you know how to warm an author's heart. There's little we like better than keeping readers up until the wee hours. :)

I actually am doing a giveaway this coming week on my blog. Stop by and leave a comment. I think it starts Sunday. (Have to check my calendar.)