RJ Interview Q and A with author Susan Carroll and giveaway!
We’re very excited to have a Q and A today with Susan Carroll, author of the DAUGHTERS OF THE EARTH series, featuring her sixth book in the series, THE LADY OF SECRETS.
***For a chance to win one of three copies of THE LADY OF SECRETS, let us know what you’ve enjoyed learning about Susan Carroll, either through her interview below, or by visiting her FaceBook page —comment below and include your email address to be entered to win.***
Thank you for spending time with us at Romance Junkies, Susan.
Tell us a bit about how THE LADY OF SECRETS began for you as a writer. What was your inspiration?
Lady of Secrets is the sixth book in my Daughters of the Earth series. The original idea came from an article I read about ancient matriarchal societies and how at one time wise women were held in great esteem. But eventually these wise women ran the risk of being called something quite different – witches. The first book in series, the Dark Queen began in France in the year 1572 and was inspired by many of the legends about Catherine de Medici and her reputed interest in necromancy.
Lady of Secrets concludes the series in England, in the year 1605. The fantasy elements of the book are set against the historical backdrop of the reign of James I. The idea for this particular novel came from my readings about the infamous witch trials in Scotland in 1591, long before James had ascended to the English throne. James believed that his political enemies were trying to destroy him through the use of witchcraft. Hundreds of women and men were caught up in the witch hunt and executed before the hysteria subsided. This provided the initial spark for my imagination and the premise of Lady of Secrets.
The first line in the prologue of THE LADY OF SECRETS sets the stage for what follows. When you write, do those significant first lines come before the story is written? Or, is the story written first before that first line can be formulated?
When I first begin a novel, usually the opening and the ending of my book are completely clear to me. It is what comes in between that gets a bit murky and I have often had to let my characters guide me through the fog. For some reason, Lady of Secrets defied that rule. I had to experiment with several openings before I found the right one – the prologue where young Maidred Brody is burned as a witch and the old crone, Ag, puts her curse on King James, thus setting into motion the events that take place years later. I always strive to make my opening as dramatic and compelling as possible. I want to hook my readers in from the very first page and not let them go until the last sentence.
Tell us about a typical writing day with Susan Carroll. How do you schedule your day so that your writing time works well with your personal life?
A typical writing day for me begins late. I have never been a morning person and my friends and family, bless them, all understand this. I often don’t even get up until ten, then have my breakfast and coffee before I ever hit the computer keys. Some of my best writing I do very late at night long after the rest of the world has gone to bed. I find it very strange that I have become a writer of stories that have a paranormal element. Though I have always loved fairy tales, stories of vampires, witches and magic, I am essentially a practical person. Often I have to work hard to turn off the rational voice in my head when I am writing what my one friend calls “the woo-woo stuff.” I have found it helps to turn off all the lights and write by candlelight. One time I lit so many candles, I set off the fire alarm which alas, completely shattered the mood.
Where is your favorite historical place that recharges your muse? Do you get to visit it often, or is it relived in your memory from past visits?
I am not much of a traveler except in my imagination. If I were a character in a book, I would be a hobbit, preferring the comforts of my own hearthside. Most of my research is done at my local library which is my home away from home. I would happily live there if they would let me, tucked up reading in one of the alcoves, surrounded by shelves and shelves of books, like thousands of magic doors beckoning me to more worlds than I can ever explore in one lifetime.
What type of books do you read for your own enjoyment?
When reading for pleasure, I love a good mystery, especially historical based ones. I am a huge fan of Anne Perry and Ariana Franklin. I also like to revisit some of the friends of my childhood. I usually re-read Little Women, Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice once every year. I enjoy historical novels as well such as those written by Phillipa Gregory, Alison Weir and Ella March Chase. And I love many of the new YA novels. Like so many others, I was insane over the Harry Potter books and the Hunger Games series. I also like the work of Rick Riordan and Cassandra Clare.
What favorite pastime do you enjoy most when you relax away from writing?
My favorite hobby and big stress reducer is knitting. I can’t relax and just watch tv, even my favorite shows like Once Upon a Time, Grimm and Masterpiece theatre. I always have to have a pair of needles and yarn handy. My poor relatives who have been the recipient of so many scarves, hats, mittens and socks probably send up prayers every night. Dear God, someone please stop her before she knits again!
What personality trait of yours do you think creeps into every book?
What trait of my creeps into every book? Well, I have been told I possess a quirky sense of humor so I think hints of that appear. And for someone who claims to be so practical, at heart I am romantic, a dreamer and an optimist. I like good to triumph over evil and I love the promise of happily ever after.
What is your one indulgence that you can’t live without?
The indulgence I can’t live without is chocolate. If I was ever told I had become allergic and couldn’t have anymore, I am afraid you would just have to pass me the Hershey’s and let me die with a blissful smile on my face.
What do you hope every reader finds when they read one of your novels?
What I hope that I can offer my readers is pleasure, a little bit of magical escape from the stresses and demands of the everyday world. Come with me to a place and time far away. Bad things will happen there, but I promise you evil will be defeated, true love will triumph and everything will all come out right in the end.
Visit Susan Carroll at her Facebook page.
She’s an award-winning romance author whose books include The Bride Finder and its two sequels The Night Drifter and Midnight Bride as well as The Painted Veil, Winterbourne, and most recently, The Dark Queen, The Courtesan, The Silver Rose, and The Huntress. She lives in Rock Island, Illinois.
From the Publisher About THE LADY OF SECRETS:
Known as the “The Lady of Faire Isle,” spiritualist Meg Wolfe can breathe a little easier knowing her wicked heretic mother is dead. But trying to lead an ordinary life proves to be anything but simple when King James summons her to his palace with the following order: save him from the curse that plagues his life using her extraordinary gifts. It doesn’t take her long to discover that there are more sinister motivations at play in the king’s world. History and a kingdom hang in the balance, and Meg realizes she can no longer trust anyone or anything—not even her own heart.