TITLE – One With the Darkness
SERIES – The Companion Series
AUTHOR – Susan Squires
GENRE – Regency Paranormal Romance
PUBLICATION DATE – October 6, 2015
LENGTH – 341 pages
PUBLISHER – Independent
COVER ARTIST – Rebecca Poole, Dreams2Media
New York Times bestselling author Susan Squires invites you into the world of two lovers who share a seductive past and a dangerous desire…
DIVIDED BY CENTURIES
Contessa Donnatella di Poliziano has power, beauty, and—as a vampire—eternal life. Her overwhelming regret is a mistake she made centuries ago when she chose not to transform her one true love, Jergan, into a vampire too. Donnatella’s choice has deprived her of the only true love she’s ever known. But just as all seems lost, the discovery of a 300-year-old note leads her to a gift left by her old friend, Leonardo da Vinci: a machine to take her back in time to rewrite the history of her heart…
UNITED BY OTHERWORLDLY DESIRE
Once back in time, Donnatella’s memory of the intervening years is lost. Yet when she sees the breathtaking barbarian slave, Jergan, from afar, she feels like she has always known him. The instant attraction she feels draws them together. For Donnatella, the romance is tantalizing, awakening a passion that feels both old and new. But as the two fall in love again, a new danger threatens to tear them apart. Now Jergan’s love for Donnatella will be tested in a most perilous way—and if he fails, the two lovers will be separated again…for eternity.
I’m not reviewing your novel for this tour. Why would I want to? From your other published novels, are there some that I should absolutely read?
Well, it’s always more fun to read a good book, and my books are generally well-reviewed (not that you can’t always find a poor review on Amazon—those are the breaks.) But two of my books, Body Electric and One With the Shadows, were named a Best Book of the Year by Publisher’s Weekly, which is pretty hard to do for a romance. And I’ve been a finalist for the Rita on a couple of occasions. I’ve won the Golden Heart for best unpublished Paranormal romance, the Holt Medallion for published romances, BookBuyer’s Best (several times), the Beanpole, and many others. I’ve built my career on producing intense, emotional books with romance, adventure and a satisfying ending that give readers a good ride. Danegeld has a special place in my heart because it was the first of my books published and the one that got me lots of attention. I think it holds up well even today. I love my Time Travel Series, which really starts with One With the Darkness (the last of my Companion vampire series). And I love the first book in my current series, Do You Believe in Magic?
I both love and hate novels that don’t leave a discrete ending for the reader. Have you ever felt the need to write sequels for specific novels?
In most of my series, I write discrete stories set in the same world. The Companion series uses the same vampire mythology, The DaVinci Time Travel Series is tied together with Leonardo’s wonderful machine. My Magic Series, however, is the multi-book story of a big family in modern day Los Angeles who have magic in the DNA they inherited from Merlin of Camelot. That series benefits from being read in order, because you get to see the younger members of the family grow up and become who they are when they get their own story. I love the Tremaine family. I’ll be sorry when I finish the series, because I’ll miss them!
There’s always another novel in the pipeline to write… Tell me about it! Does it have even a working title?
The one I’m in the middle of right now is the last (maybe) of the Magic series, called This Magic Moment. It’s Tammy’s story, the youngest daughter. And all the danger of the Clan, and the convergence of magic in the world is coming to fruition, even as Tammy meets the One who will activate her magic gene and give her true love. Unfortunately, there are just a few barriers. 🙂
Some advice other writers have given is that your first novel is best sitting in a drawer for a while, because then you feel stronger about chopping up ‘your baby’. Do you still have a copy of your first novel? Whether this was published or unpublished, I need to know!
That’s good advice. My first book was awful. I rewrote it a lot. It was WAY too long and I didn’t know how to cut it. I cut it, but it needed a LOT more. So I put it away. When I sold Danegeld to a NY Publishing house, the editor asked if I had anything else he could buy. I sent him Sacrament after I cut it even further! I was VERY motivated. I cut sub-plots. I cut entire characters. I tightened it until it hurt, because I’d learned a lot in writing my second and third books. So Sacrament, my first book, lives. But I couldn’t have been as objective about what it needed, if I didn’t have the distance from it I got by putting it away.
Do you have a dedicated writing space? Do you have colourful post-it notes on the walls? How does it meet your writing needs?
I have always written in lots of different spaces. Thank goodness for laptops. I had a big job as an executive for a Fortune 500 company for years, and I got so I could write sex scenes in the middle seat of an airplane! If you’re on contract, you produce regardless of the environment. These days, I have the luxury of a study, and a beautiful little escritoire desk. I still like my laptop, though. It also goes to the couch, or the big squishy chair, or outside in the backyard on nice days. No sticky notes. But I like having my favorite paintings on the walls, and a good big bookshelf with all my research books in it (yes, I treasure research books, and don’t exclusively use the internet.)
What is your writing process? Have you ever thought about changing it? Other authors I have interviewed talk about having an outline – post-it notes in an office, or writing in paper journals. Is there something like that in your writing technique? Or is it all digital for you?
I had to change my writing process at one point in my career. I used to write by the seat of my pants, and let the story take me where it would. My editor would get a half page email saying what the book would be about, and he trusted me to produce something good. But I switched to a powerful, and wonderful editor at ST. Martin’s Press. She had read a couple of my books, so she knew what I could do, but all I had to give her on my next project was that half page email. She gave me a three book contract on the strength of that email. BUT she also structured my next contract so I got 50% of the advance on contract, 10% on acceptance of a synopsis, and 40% on completion. Voila! I couldn’t write by the seat of my pants anymore. I actually grew to like writing with a synopsis, as it keeps you from wandering around in the middle too much. As I begin a new project, as I’m thinking about the complex interaction between character and plot, I carry around a beautifully bound little leather book, a new one for each project, so I can write down thoughts and realizations about who the characters are and why they are that way, and what needs to happen to them. That little book becomes my Bible for that project.
Do you have a preference for ebook or paperback format? This is for both your own reading and your novels.
I like research books in paper format. It’s just much easier to page around looking for what you want. But, while I like paper format, digital is just fine for me in most cases. I love the portability of having so many books at my fingertips.
Social media is becoming a big thing. How does managing media outlets come into marketing your brand and your books?
Social media is a primary way of marketing. It’s important that your Facebook page and your website, and your Pintrest or whatever you use, all portray the same message about who you are and what you write. It’s really important, and time-consuming of course. But it’s just expected by your publisher that you will spend that time and energy to support your writing,
You have answered other sets of interview questions, is there something you wish someone would have asked you? Or conversely, something you wish they hadn’t asked?
I’m so glad you didn’t ask me what my favorite book is! Books are like your children, they may be different, but you love them all. One may have been harder to write, but you don’t love it less in the end…. So thank you for not asking me to choose!
BUY & TBR LINKS
“Let me get your property, my lady,” the trader said. They turned to the back of the stall. Three men clustered round the straining barbarian, laughing as he tried to twist away. Blood dripped from his wrists where he had pulled against his shackles. He spat at them. It was his only means of defiance.
Graccus wiped his face and laughed. “Oh, he’ll be a joy to break.”
“I agree,” she said. The three yanked their gazes up, as did the barbarian. He flushed in shame. “Now unhand my new slave, sirs, so I may begin.”
“What? But I am buying him for my brothel!”
She waved the receipt scroll. “Too late.” Her She turned to the trader. “For the price I just paid, you can throw in a pair of shackles.” The trader nodded and clapped his hands. Slaves appeared with the required bindings. They unlocked the barbarian’s wrists from the poles and chained them behind his back before they released his feet. His ankles, too, were bloodied. Those green eyes stared at her, burning with intensity, as though he was still not sure what had just happened to him. Excitement churned inside her. This was the start of something—she didn’t know quite what. “Come quietly, slave,” she ordered, putting all the force of her personality behind her words, just shy of raising her Companion for compulsion. “You two—see that he does.” Two of Titus’s bodyguards nodded. Each took one of the slave’s arms and dragged him forward.
“You knew I wanted him,” Graccus was saying. The trader only shrugged. He couldn’t have gotten two thousand dinars for a slave bound for a brothel.
They pushed into the market throng. “There you are,” Titus called, hurrying over. Livia saw him frown as he registered the barbarian. “Livia Quintus, what is this? You’ve never purchased this creature!”
“I have, Titus. He was a soldier, therefore skilled in martial arts. He even speaks Latin. He’ll be a perfect bodyguard.”
“Livia, return him at once. This is no slave for a woman.”
Livia turned to her new purchase, seeing him through Titus’s eyes. Bloody and sweating, he looked fierce, with those intense green eyes and all that hair. But he was the one she wanted. She knew that as certainly as she knew her own name. “Once we clean him up you won’t recognize him.”
“He needs more than a bath to make him suitable.”
“You were the one who suggested a bodyguard slave, and now that I’ve meekly done as you ask, you rail at me.”
Titus rolled his eyes. “Meek? I would welcome meek.” Livia gestured her entourage forward. Titus sighed and fell in step. “I just hope you haven’t bitten off more than you can chew.”
Susan Squires is a New York Times bestselling author known for breaking the rules of romance writing. Whatever her time period, or subject, some element of the paranormal always creeps in. She has won multiple contests for published novels and reviewer’s choice awards. Publisher’s Weekly named Body Electric one of the year’s most influential mass market books and One with the Shadows a Best book of the Year. Time for Eternity, the first in the DaVinci time travel series, received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly.
Susan has a Masters in English literature from UCLA and once toiled as an executive for a Fortune 500 company. Now she lives at the beach in Southern California with her husband, Harry, a writer of supernatural thrillers, and two very active Belgian Sheepdogs, who like to help her write by putting their chins on the keyboarddddddddddddddddddddddd.