Thursday, November 24, 2011

Interview with Suzanne Hartman & Giveaway

Suzanne Hartmann is a homeschool mom of three and lives in the St. Louis area. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Composition & Linguistics from Western Illinois University. To relax, 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 operates the Write This Way Critique Service. Through her blog, Write This Way, she has become known as an author who can explain writing rules and techniques in easy-to-understand terms. Her popular Top 10 series of articles formed the basis for her e-book on the craft of writing, Write This Way: Take Your Writing to a New Level

Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I love books full of unexpected twists and turns I don’t expect. I want to write the type of book I would like to read, so that’s the kind of book I write.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
Marrying my wonderful husband, Steve. God blessed me more than I could have known when he drew Steve and me together more than 23 years ago. I always think our marriage can’t get any better, but it does every year.

How has being published changed your life?
The main difference so far is that it has added a lot more to my to-do list. Besides homeschooling, writing, networking, and blogging, I am now marketing my book as well.

What are you reading right now?
I just finished reading James Patterson’s Alex Cross novel, London Bridges and am starting a pre-published novel by a friend and fellow ACFW St. Louis writer, Phyllis Wheeler.

What is your current work in progress?
I am writing the sequel to PERIL, titled CONSPIRACY, due out in the summer or fall of 2012. This novel picks up where PERIL leaves off. Joanne’s life falls apart around her as she deals with a family tragedy and unfounded accusations against her and her boss George regarding Lady Anne’s assignments. When the attempt to discredit George fails, someone frames him for selling secrets to foreign governments. Joanne determines to do whatever it takes to find the truth even as Stuart helps her pick up the pieces of her personal life.

The third book in the Fast Track Thriller series is REVENGE. The man behind the conspiracy in book two isn’t content to sit in jail. He vows revenge. Joanne must fend off his attempts to expose her deepest secrets while testing a possible cure for the life-threatening illnesses stealing the lives of those with enhanced abilities. When Stuart’s life is threatened during a race, will she trade her secrets in order to save him?

What would be your dream vacation?
I have always wanted to visit Australia. In recent years, an e-pal emigrated from S. Africa to New Zealand, so I have added to that dream visit a jaunt over to visit Jeanette and her family as well.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
I choose a setting that will fit with the plot. For example, in PERIL, one of the main characters received the gift of a suite at the Talladega Superspeedway. I chose that one because it is one of the most well-known and popular NASCAR tracks and hosts exciting races. For their second visit to a NASCAR track, I needed it to happen within a certain timeframe, so I was limited on which tracks I could choose from.

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
As I mentioned above, I would love to visit my e-pal Jeanette. We’ve known each other for many years, but never had an opportunity to meet in person. Meeting her would be like getting together with an old friend. We would talk and talk (and drink more than a cuppa or two) and bask in the joy of our friendship.

What three things about you would surprise readers?
a) I have had both knees replaced.
b) I’ve never had the chicken pox, measles, or mumps .
c) Short of physically putting a book together, I have worked in every area in every broad aspect regarding books: at a library, at a bookstore, as a publisher representative (Usborne), as an author, and as an editor (with Port Yonder Press).

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I love to read, of course. I also enjoy doing Bible studies. My favorite form of relaxation, though, is scrapbooking. Something about the creativity, working with pictures, and physical manipulation of laying everything out has a calming effect on me.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it
I am probably my own worst enemy. I allow myself to get distracted way too much and take too many breaks to check e-mail and social media. If I recognize that I need regular brain breaks, I can use them to my benefit by forcing myself to write for a certain amount of time, then rewarding myself by doing something else (often scrapbooking) which offers the break my brain needs. Then I can come back to the story fresh.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?
a) My husband gave me this advice when I struggled to finish the first draft of PERIL and it kept me from spinning my wheels and getting stuck: Just finish the book.
b) Be willing to learn. Read about the craft of writing. Attend writing conferences. Be open to errors other writers point out and to their suggestions.
c) Be persistent. Keep writing, keep revising, keep querying. Eventually your writing will improve enough to catch the eye of an agent and/or editor.

Tell us about the book.
PERIL: Fast Track Thriller #1 is a Christian suspense novel with a NASCAR twist and is about a top secret agent with enhanced strength, who 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 and the attention of a NASCAR champion threatens to expose her secrets, she becomes a terrorist target with danger surrounding her on all sides.

What do you want readers to take away from the book?
First of all, I hope they enjoy the story and consider it to be a good read. Beyond that, there are some important themes in the book. I hope readers take away the fact that we need to follow God’s promptings even when they don’t make sense. There is also an undercurrent about honesty, and how important it is in relationships.

What one question would you like us to ask your readers? (this is the one that they answer to win what you’re giving away IF there is a giveaway, if not, ignore.)
What do you like best about reading suspense novels and thrillers?

Tell us about the giveaway you’re offering.
I am giving away a signed copy of PERIL to one lucky commenter.

I also have a give-away that is open for the duration of my blog tour (until Dec. 16)

To celebrate the release of my debut novel, I am giving away a Kindle to one lucky winner!
The contest will be open from the release date (Nov. 18) through the end of the blog tour (Dec. 16), and I will announce the winner on Sat. Dec. 17.
To enter, click here: WIN A KINDLE (

Where can people find your book on-line?
OakTara Publishing (
Amazon (
Barnes & Noble (
Christian Book Distributor (
At my website: Fast Track Thrillers (

Where can people find you on-line?
My Website – FastTrackThrillers (
My Blog - Write This Way (
Facebook – Suzanne Hartmann – Author!/pages/Suzanne-Hartmann-Author/45955180933
Twitter - @SuzInIL (!/SuzInIL)

Thank you so much for hosting me here, Laura. I have enjoyed answering your interview questions and look forward to interacting with your readers.

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