Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance. This week, I’m excited to bring you Susanne Dietze. Any girl who can switch between high tea and guacamole and chips is a friend of mine. Add to that the first crush being Luke Skywalker, and I almost feel like we should be living next door to each other, sipping on that tea. Please enjoy this interview as much as I did. And, read on — Susanne is giving away an autographed copy of her book! Check out the Rafflecopter to see how you can be entered to win this 9-book collection!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. I began writing love stories in high school, casting my friends in the starring roles. I’m married to a pastor and we have two hilarious teenagers. When I’m not driving them around, I love tea parties with fancy china, scones and cream—the works. But I also love a good plate of nachos with plenty of guacamole, which is perfect to eat on the couch while watching a costume drama.
Tell us about your current release. Love’s Reward is a novella in Barbour Publishing’s The Most Eligible Bachelor Collection. It’s set in 1896, and when a hefty reward is placed on the hero’s heart, San Francisco’s single ladies are caught up in the competition—something which horrifies the heroine. The hero is engaged in an architecture contest inspired by a real event, sponsored by William Randolph Hearst’s mother, Phoebe Hearst.
Reserved, affluent architect Daniel Blair is a man with a price on his head—or his heart, to be precise. When it seems Daniel will best his old university rival in their competitions, both personal and professional, his opponent hopes to distract him by advertising a monetary reward for Daniel’s heart. Daniel always thought women wanted love over money, but the most mercenary maids in San Francisco now find him irresistible—all except the childhood friend-turned-do-gooder he’s long admired who has made it clear she wants his money, not his heart.
After joining a Society dedicated to helping San Francisco’s poor women, Josie Price is eager to provide the neediest a home, and who better to donate his skills and money than her dear architect friend? His “no” disappoints her. Granted, a pauper’s home is not the prize-winning sort of project that could solidify his reputation like the international competition he’s engaged in, but the ultimate reward of helping others is far sweeter. When he’s distracted by the so-called competition for his heart, however, she agrees to help him ward off women in exchange for his assistance. She never expected she’d be caught up in a quest of her own to win Daniel’s heart.
If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? Absolutely! As Christian authors, we yearn to write for an Audience of One—for His pleasure, His purposes. That said, I’d love it if someone was blessed by my story, too. If anyone got something out of it—a bit of encouragement, or the urge to refocus on an aspect of God’s character—I would be humbled.
How do you push past the fear of your writing being average and be bold enough to sell it to a publisher (or agent or audience if you self publish)? For me, the stories in my head, the feeling that God wanted me to write them down, and the childhood dream to see my name on a book cover were stronger than my fear (which I have in proverbial spades).
Not that it wasn’t scary to submit to an agent and publisher. When I first sent a manuscript to agent Tamela Hancock Murray, I felt sick whenever I thought about her reading it. If I hadn’t risked rejection by sending her my story, though, I would never have known the immense joy that came with her offer to represent me.
Also, I’ve learned through experience that rejection can be my friend. Pain can be a good motivator, and with some rejections, I’ve seen places where I could improve my stories. However, sometimes rejection isn’t predicated on anything other than my story just isn’t the right fit, right now. It still hurts, but I have learned to trust that God is in charge. Rejection is a huge part of writing. For most of us, anyway!
Whats the first major news headline that you can remember and what do you remember? I remember Elvis’ death. I hardly knew who he was, but my aunt called the house in tears.
Who was your first Screen/Musical Crush? Luke Skywalker. Maybe it was his swooshy blond hair. I was really, really young, but after seeing Star Wars for the second or third time, I came home and wrote “Susie Skywalker” on a piece of paper.
Do you have pre-determined length in mind when you first begin a book? So far, I’ve written each project with a particular publisher in mind, and each publisher I’ve considered has preferences for the lengths of submissions they’d like to see. I’m a plotter, and knowing the total word count before I start writing helps me break down the story in advance.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers? It’s cliché, but read a lot. Books on writing, yes, but also fiction, especially in the genre you’re writing. We absorb information about writing from the novels we read: how to weave details and setting into the story, how to introduce characters, etc.
I also found help and guidance by entering writing contests. I wanted feedback to see what experienced authors thought of my writing. Generous judges gave me great advice, which helped my writing improve.
I think it all comes down to being teachable. Writing is a craft that takes practice, sweat, and perseverance. I don’t think I’ll ever stop learning how to write, and we writers are truly blessed because many members of the writing community are eager to help others.
Do you ever change your mind later on in the book, and go in a different direction? This is happening to me right now! As hard as I try to get to know my characters before I write a story, I always have something to learn about them. In this case, something needed to change. That necessitates a time out, and in this case, a rewrite. I’m grateful God pointed it out to me now.
Find Susanne’s book at the following locations:
Enter to win an autographed paperback of The Most Eligible Bachelor! (US only, please)
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