EDITOR’s NOTE: You know I love introducing you to my writer friends. I met Suzanne when I created a writer’s group last year. She has inspired us all to continue on our path to publication. She showed us not to let go of the dream, to work hard, to learn and it will all pay off. I’m super excited to see where her career will go. Please meet my writing friend, Suzanne Hartmann.
Suzanne Hartmann is a homeschool mom of three and lives in the St. Louis area. When not homeschooling or writing, she enjoys scrapbooking, reading, and Bible study. She began writing fiction when her children were young, and four of her short stories were published in a Milliken Publishing
reading workbook. PERIL: Fast Track Thriller Bk. #1 is her debut novel.
On the editorial side, Suzanne is a contributing editor with Port Yonder Press and has written a book titled Write This Way: Take Your Writing to a New Level, which is a compilation of her popular Top 10 series of articles on her blog.
How did you start out your writing career?
In the mid-1990’s, I sold a set of short stories to be used in a Millikin Publishing reading workbook, but I didn’t feel called to write a novel until the fall of 2006.
What did you learn while writing this book?
The main thing I learned was how to write fiction. I had a good story to tell, but I needed to learn the best way to hold the readers’ attention. Unfortunately, I learned through the school of hard knocks—by making just about every mistake there is to make in writing, learning how to fix each of them, then finding and fixing them over and over in my manuscript.
What did you hope to accomplish with this book?
I want to offer a good read with quality writing that doesn’t offend Christians like so many secular novels do anymore. I also wanted to create realistic characters who pull readers into their lives—characters you care about and remember long after you finish the book.
What came first with this story, the characters or the plot? Why?
Lady Anne, my main character, came first. The story started with a question: What if someone could do…? I created a character who could do that, then put her in situation after situation which challenged her. Those scenarios eventually formed the outline for PERIL.
What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
How much work it is to get the word out about a book. So far, everything I’ve done from a book release party to sending out press releases to doing a blog tour has taken far longer than expected.
What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?
I love it when I’m in the groove with my writing. That’s when I’m getting to know my characters and plotting all kinds of fun and challenges, disasters and successes for them.
Marketing is definitely the hardest part for me. I’ve always shied away from sales; now I have no choice, so I’m learning and applying everything I can.
What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?
1) More about what happens after the contract
2) How time-consuming marketing a book is
3) How to manage my time better
Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?
DO: Be a willing learner.
DON’T: Don’t give up.
Persistence and a willingness to learn will take you to publication if you hold on and keep at it.
What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
Writers really, REALLY do want to hear from their readers, especially new authors.
Tell us something few know about you?
Both of my knees have been replaced. The problems that lead to the need to replace them stem from a severe car accident 25 years ago.
When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Scrapbooking is my stress-reliever, and Bible study is my sanity-saver. And, of course, I LOVE to read!
What do you do to interact with your readers?
I have a Facebook page and am on Twitter (SuzInIL). I also write a blog, Write This Way (http://suzanne-hartmann2.blogspot.com/), that offers freebies for readers and resources for writers.
This month we have two themes our first is Family Literacy. Do you do anything to promote family literacy?
Reading is important in my family and all of my children are big readers. From the time they were very little, we read to them. Even though they are now teenagers, I still read to them. As a part of our homeschooling, I read them several pages from the Bible each day, and a number of novels that correspond with whatever we’re studying in history.
Our second theme is Local Authors, what are you doing locally to promote your books?
I have sent a press release to local newspapers and articles have been printed in the Troy Tribune, the Edwardsville Intellingencer’s The Edge Magazine, and the Alton Telegraph. Marketing is something that is tough for me, especially now that I have a deadline for writing the sequel to PERIL, but I have made a commitment to do at least one tiny marketing item per day. So over the course of the next couple of months, I will contact local libraries and Christian bookstores to request that they carry my book and discuss the possibilities of setting up book signings and/or writing workshops.
Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?
I know for sure that Jesus is my Savior, that He has called me to write, and that He is walking with me step-by-step through my writing journey.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?
CONSPIRACY: Fast Track Thriller #2 is due out in the summer or fall of 2012. This novel picks up where PERIL leaves off. Joanne’s boss, the head of the country’s most clandestine intelligence organization is framed for selling secrets to a foreign government. She and her friend, NASCAR champion Stuart Jackson, vow to help George set things straight, in spite of personal tragedies engulfing her life.
REVENGE: Fast Track Thriller #3 is due out in 2013. The man who framed Joanne’s boss may be behind bars, but he wants revenge. He promises to expose her deepest secrets to the entire world and isn’t afraid to threaten her loved ones to accomplish it. When he threatens Stuart’s safety during a race, will she trade her secrets to save him?
How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
My e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
My Website – FastTrackThrillers (http://fasttrackthrillers.blogspot.com/)
My Blog - Write This Way (http://suzanne-hartmann2.blogspot.com/)
Facebook – Suzanne Hartmann – Author http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Suzanne-Hartmann-Author/45955180933
Twitter - @SuzInIL (http://twitter.com/#!/SuzInIL)
PERIL: Fast Track Thriller #1
A top secret agent with enhanced strength must use her extraordinary abilities during several high-profile assignments, from the White House to NASCAR tracks, while escorting the first Muslim king to convert to Christianity. When unwanted publicity threatens to expose her, she herself becomes a terrorist target, with danger surrounding her on all sides.
“Plenty of action and unexpected twists.” Foreword by Jimmy Makar, GM of Joe Gibbs Racing