- What would you say was the most fun about writing this book?
The whole thing was fun, but my favorite part was probably when my heroine, DJ, has to flee across into the preternatural world to take refuge with the undead pirate Jean Lafitte. His “otherworld” is the Louisiana coast circa 1810, so it was fun to plop my heroine in that setting. She’s a wizard, but her physical magic doesn’t work in that otherworld, plus she’s dragging along a six-foot, extremely belligerent elf. That, plus the French pirate Lafitte, makes for a fun set of scenes!
- Give us some insight into the main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
DJ is a “first” in her world, in many ways. When Hurricane Katrina hits, she’s a junior-level sentinel in New Orleans (think border guard between our world and the preternatural world). But her mentor goes missing in the storm, which thrusts her into the senior role. She has several strikes against her, other than her lack of experience: she’s a woman, and not many women are sentinels in the male-dominated wizarding world; she’s a Green Congress wizard, which means she specializes in slower, more methodical ritual magic whereas sentinels are usual Red Congress wizards with a lot of fast physical magic; and she has elves distantly on both sides of her family, which has given her a set of elven magical skills that the wizards don’t understand or trust.
- What are you working on right now?
A couple of projects are on the front burner, and several in the wings. I’m finishing up the fourth book in the Penton Legacy paranormal romance series I write under the name Susannah Sandlin, with the working title of Deliverance. Then I’ll be finishing up the fourth book in the Sentinels of New Orleans series, which has a working title of Pirate’s Alley. Both of those will be out in 2014, although I don’t have release dates yet.
- What genre are your books?
The Sentinels of New Orleans series is urban fantasy, with a touch of romance. I love this genre because I like exploring the “what if” of putting paranormal elements into our world. The series is heavily grounded in New Orleans and South Louisiana. If you visit that area, you could literally go to the same places the characters go. Eat at the same restaurants. Shop at the same stores. Get a feel for the real culture of the place. Yet beyond the world the humans of New Orleans know is this paranormal world, and it’s fun to imagine what might happen when those worlds intersect.
- What is your favorite color? Teal and purple—together!
- What is your favorite food?
I’ve been eating low-carb for quite a while, so right now my favorite would be anything with white flour or sugar in it!
- Are you a cat or dog person? Why?
Definitely a dog person. Partly because I’m allergic to cats, but mostly because I love the unconditional love you get from a dog. There’s nothing like it. I can be gone five minutes and when I come home it’s like a massive celebration.
- How are you published (*i.e. indie, traditional, or both) and why?
Traditionally, so far. I will probably self-publish something eventually, most likely a collection of my shorts set in the Sentinels world. In the long run, I think the best career for an author is a combination of traditional, small press, and self-published. But discoverability is really hard for an indie author without a backlist and an established following, and marketing and promotion can easily eat all your writing time. So while the publishing climate is changing fast, a traditional publisher can still help an author get established more quickly, even though it means less control over the end product, the price, and the schedule.
- What is your favorite motivational phrase?
To quote the great sage Warren Zevon, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” Or so I tell myself when I’m up writing at 2 a.m. and have to be at the day job by 7:30!
- To end: Give us three Good to Know things about you. Be creative.
- I come across as laid-back, but when it comes to my work I’m very intense. When I get in a zone, it’s best to leave me be.
- If you can make me laugh, I’ll love you forever.
- I’m about as spontaneous as a stick of firewood, so if you drop by for a surprise visit, don’t be offended if I don’t open the door. (Well, okay, it could be because my house is such a mess.)