Monday, September 20, 2010

Introducing Carina Press Author Susanna Ives!

I am very excited to introduce you to Susanna Ives today.  She's the author of RAKES AND RADISHES, an intriguing regency historical romance released just last week.  The book has already received a lot of cool buzz, and I'm waiting to enjoy it on my next quiet Sunday, preferably with a glass of red wine in hand, because I intend to get lost in each gorgeous, luscious word. 

If you're not already following Susanna on Facebook or Twitter, I really encourage you to do so.  She's hysterical and I've loved getting to know her better over shared musings of fondue, books and, of course, chocolate.

Here's a little bit more about Susanna:

Thank you for having me on your blog. I’ve enjoyed reading it and your Facebook posts these months.

You are most welcome, Susanna.  Glad to have you here!  Let's start with the most important question first...

1) Chocolate or potato chips?

That’s a hard decision for me. Chocolate gets me up and motivated. Potato chips chill me out. Both add weight to my expanding thighs.

Susanna Ives
2) Wait.  Chocolate has calories?! Why didn't somebody tell me! *bangs head on desk*  Okay, seriously, when did you realize you wanted to become a writer? Was there a defining moment?

I’m not sure I’m a writer so much as a storyteller trying to articulate the stories playing in my head. I grew up acting in the local theater so, to me, writing is being an armchair actress. When I became a stay-at-home mom, I remained in one place long enough to write a book. Before that, I had started stories, but there were urgent project deadlines, or a friend would invite me to a restaurant or movie.

3) I love your book's title! How did you come up with it?

One night, my cousin and I dined on fondue at the Melting Pot. She was driving, so I’m sure I was enjoying a minty mojito. We were throwing out titles over melted Swiss. We both knew “Rakes and Radishes” was the one as soon as my cousin suggested it.

4) By the way, next to chocolate, mojitos might just be one of my most fav things.  Anyway, what was the inspiration behind your story? Did the idea come to you in a dream? At a restaurant? Where?

Rakes and Radishes was conceived as a farce. The germ of the idea was inspired from something I read by Roger Ebert. This was a few years ago and my memory isn’t so good, but I think he was suggesting that in recent comedies, the main characters ultimately make the correct moral choices. Whereas, in the era of the Cary Grant comedies, the characters were a little more amoral and worked to their own selfish ends. Since I grew up in the theater, I thought of the great farce plays such as, Arsenic and Old Lace, Charley’s Aunt, The Importance of Being Earnest and reflected how the characters’ lies set off a chain of events that creates more and more lies.

So I started with a woman who wanted to make a rake of her country bumpkin neighbor in order for him to steal the rival for her Cousin Edward’s affections (distant cousin.) Not a very morally sound motivation. Fortunately or unfortunately, in the writing process, I found that instead of lies building upon lies, I was pulling back layers and layers of hidden pain and secrets. Farce no more, Rakes and Radishes is quite serious; however, there is quite a bit of humor in the story.

5) Besides requesting hunks Hugh Jackman and Josh Holloway (of course), if you were stranded on a deserted island, what book couldn't you live without and why?

Stephen Mitchell’s translation of the Tao Te Ching. Reading the words makes me tranquil.

6) What else are you writing these days? What's next for you?

I’m writing away on a Victorian romance, mystery, comedy. Sorry, not giving many details as I will jinx myself.

Best of luck with RAKES AND RADISHES, Susanna! And get going on your next book, okay? Don't make me wait too long to read the next one.  :-)  Got questions for Susanna? Please ask away - she'll be here all day!
And to learn more about RAKES AND RADISHES, including read an excerpt, please Click Here.
P.S. Through the magic of internet pixie dust, I also happen to be guest blogging on Susanna's blog today, appropriately called The Mojito Literary Society.  Come visit me. Please? I don't want this huge virtual pitcher of mojitos to go to waste... Click Here.
Other stuff:
Finally, because it's Monday, don't forget the Author Blog Hop that's kicked off every Monday by Lisa, the California Cheer Mom writer extraordinaire.  A great way to meet writers, bloggers, book lovers and generally other people with absolutely nothing else to do on a perfectly good Monday.  Seriously, folks, it's fun. 

Hop on, authors!  Link is provided below:


Joanna St. James said...

did someone say mojito? anyways b4 i run of in search of this thirst quencher, I was wondering if u could tell us how long ur publishing journey was and what it was like to get the call

Donna Cummings said...

Susanna, congrats on your book. I remember seeing the title in announcements of various contest finalists, so I'm excited to see it published. :)

I am a big fan of mojitos, so I can see I need to head over to your website. LOL

Again, congrats, and thanks for sharing how it all came about.

Susanna Ives said...

Hi Joanna!! I would rather tell you how old I am than how long it took me to get published. Seriously, about five years and lots of mojitos.

The call was fabulous because I didn't see it coming. I had sent off my query and then a few weeks later I realized I had sent the wrong version of the synopsis! So I kinda assumed I would receive a rejection. But I didn't!!

Susanna Ives said...

Donna, Thank you for your kind words. "Rakes and Radishes" was on the contest circuit for about a year and a half. I'm surprised at the number of people who remember it.

Cindy Spencer Pape said...

A lovely interview! Congrats on the book, Susannah!

Sondrae Bennett said...

I love what you said about being a writer is like being an "armchair actress". I couldn't agree more. When I'm not writing I'm working in theater (granted as a stage manager not an actress) but I think it helps me really put myself in the bodies of my characters. Very nice interview!

Liz - is there a theme to the blog hop?

Susanna Ives said...

Thanks Cindy!

FYI - Cindy is the author of "Motor City Fae" also released by Carina Press.

Susanna Ives said...

Sondrae, Thanks! Stage Manager is hard work, having to keep all those crazy actor types in line.

What I love about writing fiction is that I'm not bound by physical restrictions. In essence, I can play every character.

Unknown said...

Love hearing about what inspires other writers. (Arsenic and Old Lace is one of my favorite Cary Grant movies - the crazy aunts lol.)

Liz Fichera said...

Hi Sondrae,

There is no theme, per se, other than to give people a chance to meet authors and books that are new to them. Regardless of genre, any published author (or those under contract) are invited to join the hop.

Jenny Schwartz said...

I love those old Cary Grant movies. So much style and fun.

Susanna Ives said...


I'm a sucker for old movies. I love the Nick and Nora movies.

Liz Fichera said...

Hi Susanna,

Thanks so much for visiting the blog today. I loved following all the comments. I did have a question for you. What kind of research did you do for your novel? Did you visit London? Anything along those lines to share with us?