For this post, I have a super special friend as my guest. I met Susan on Facebook, and I’m so happy I can call her a friend :)
Besides her fabulous new book just released today, she also has a short story collection available that is just as amazing!
1.) Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Shucks, Melissa, do I have to? *wink* I’m a wife, mom, grandma, and a writer with a dog hair fetish because I can’t keep up with housework when I’m on a roll with my stories. Shoe freak, purse freak, can’t deal with coffee, can’t live without tea. Oh, and I smoke too much. Hate to cook and I take shameless advantage of my hubby, who loves cooking.
2.) How long have you been writing?
As is the case with most writers I know, I’ve been at the keys or an old Underwood, since I was 10 and read Gone With the Wind.
3.) Do you have a preferred genre that you read? Is it the same as what you write?
I like all genres, except the extremely far-fetched. This has either been my blessing or my curse regarding me finishing my work, because I just can’t resist a compelling read! The book I’m publishing now is Contemporary Fiction.
Dinosaurs and Cherry Stems will be available on Amazon, September 17, 2012, though I’m not sure if I’m doing KDP Select yet. If I go strictly with Amazon and not KDP, I plan on broadcasting it on all the online stores, including B&N, Mobe. (and Dick…)
5.) Describe your novel in 15 words or less.
Learning to make prehistoric baggage work for you in romantic relationships, while conquering mid-life adolescence.
6.) Where did the inspiration for your story come from?
Real life coupled with a very strange and vivid imagination.
7.) How long did it take you to complete this novel from concept to published?
Eighteen months. Give or take a few days.
8.) When you sit down to write, how does that process go? Do you outline or just let it evolve?
When ideas grab me, I write them on post-its, in my checkbook register, in a journal by the bed in the middle of the night. Then I just go from there. The sequel for the Dinosaurs and Cherry Stems title came to me in a dream a few months back—more late night post-its!
9.) Are there any aspects of writing you struggle with?
Seeking the perfect word to fit a paragraph/scene during revisions, self-discipline to keep me focused since I’m distractible, and those sorts of things. It’s called BYOWED or being your own worst enemy disorder. Kind of like that BOHICA thing, people used to laugh about…
10.) Are there any aspects that you simply glide through?
NONE! I don’t know any successful author gliding through any aspect of writing, do you? I guess there must be some, though.
11.) What sets your book apart from others in the same genre?
Mine is set apart from others like it, because it is about mid-life adolescence, a disorder recently discovered by experts, and told from the heart!
12.) What is the location of your story setting and why did you choose that place/time?
My prehistoric mind chose the location for me, along with the histories that brought me to present day.
13.) Your main characters, tell me about them. What is their back story? How did they find themselves where they are now?
My primary characters are both twice divorced and have misgivings about beginning anew. They’ve also had similar experiences via cyberspace dating, but emotionally, they both want the same kind of relationship. They just don’t know enough about each other just yet, to know for sure! I assure you they do, though sometimes they take the hard way around it.
14.) I’d like to know more about your book. Tell me all about it.
15.) What do you want readers to take from your writings?
Never give up! Move forward and embrace life’s greatest gift: Share yourself with another, even if there’s more mistakes. There is life after divorce, even after a second one, and learn from your memory cemetery. Get through your mid-life adolescence and forge ahead.
16.) Are more books to follow or is this a stand alone?
There’s a sequel framing out via post-its and my brain, but I’m not sure if I’m going to revise another book I already have in the works or share the sequel yet. Decisions, decisions! I’d like to know more about what my readers want, once Dinosaurs and Cherry Stems goes live, so I will leave that up to them! What do YOU want, readers?
17.) Where can readers find you?
My website is: http://www.susanjeanricci.com, Contact me on twitter @susanjeanricci. I will have an Amazon page as of September 17 and I’m in process of creating a Facebook Fan page. (I also have a cell phone if anyone is interested in phoning me…)
18.) What are 3 random things about yourself that readers might like to know.
I’m not a quitter, bad reviews don’t scare me, (but they do make my innards curl). I don’t thrive on chocolate…sorry! And my husband told me to say I’m very talented, when I asked him what else to say…
19.) What do you do in your down time? For fun.
I play with my sweet Lab, Emma, go on wine tastings while traveling, visit my grandchildren, and I LOVE football, specifically, the NY Giants!
20.) How about letting me have a sneak peek at chapter one?
DINOSAURS AND CHERRY STEMS
Intense emotion, leading to prose or poetry, cannot be described in any other fashion…
Chapter One: Moral Ineptitude
I’ve been rendered a dinosaur, a relic…
I’m sitting in the theater where my grandson’s rehearsing his spring band concert and darling hubby just texted me, “We should separate.”
“Oh, Glen, that’s so you,” I whisper. In the twenty years I’ve known him, Glen always finds a way to sneak out the back door.
It’s not his motive that’s the shocker. I knew exactly how he operated. Marrying him was not my wisest move, and we’ve been communicating via sarcasm since our first wedding anniversary three years ago. Arguments evolved, too–how we spend our down time, his and my adult kids’ snafus, even our new bedspread, for Christ’s sake.
He had his picture taken without me the last time we traveled, six months ago (using the word vacationed implies an enjoyable event). I later found his photo posted on a social network he joined. In the relationship section, he’d written it’s complicated.
I’ve even kept my mouth shut about the way we’ve been stagnant as a couple, thinking it would be better for both of us to let the situation ride for a while.
Several weeks ago, Ella Stuart, a woman I know socially, phoned and inadvertently cleared up those rumors I’d been hearing about hubby’s slick trespassing.
“We thought you and Glen might like to join us for a house party we’re having next Friday night,” she’d said. “It’s been a long time since we’ve all gotten together.”
I was confused. Ella’s husband, Bill, and Glen are tight, childhood friends and they’d gone to an attorney seminar together just the week before. I thought for sure, since they’re so close, Glen must’ve told him our marriage was in the morgue.
“Didn’t Glen tell Bill at that seminar last week about our personal situation? That our marriage is not going so great?” I ask.
“Wow, I’m sorry to hear that. I didn’t know and I don’t think Bill knows either because he didn’t mention it. As a matter of fact, he hasn’t seen Glen since last winter. I had a hell of a time tracking your phone number and finally called information. The last number Glen gave Bill, well, something’s not right about it. I tried calling it several times, and some woman kept answering, but when I asked for you or Glen, she’d hang up.”
“What’s the number?”
Ella gave me the number, and as I copy it I’m thinking, you bet your ass something’s not right, because I don’t recognize this.
“Glen told me he went to a seminar last week with Bill, the one in New York when they stayed over,” I said again. “Are you saying Bill didn’t go?”
“Yes, that’s what I’m saying. Bill has been home after work every night the past month. He hasn’t gone to any over night seminars in a long time.”
“What about that baseball game they went to last month?” I ask. “It’s hard for me to believe Glen didn’t say anything to Bill about us. I’ve never seen a man love to gossip more than he does.” I try to laugh, but the noise coming out of me sounds more like ARRGH.
Ella sighed. “I’m sorry, but Bill hasn’t been to any ball games this season, either, Cindy. Bill hasn’t seen Glen since the winter.”
“Are you absolutely sure?” The pleading in my voice makes me almost as sick as this conversation.
“Yes, I’m really sure. Again, I’m sorry.” Click.
I lean over my desk to put the phone back in the charger, but my hand trembles and it drops.
I bury my face in my hands. Yep, not only am I a dinosaur, I’m a throwaway…and so humiliated I have those cramps people get when they’re in urgent need of the bathroom, but there’s no time. Glen will be home soon and I want to call the woman who kept hanging up on Ella.
When she hangs up on me, I’m not a bit surprised.
What transpired afterward is muzzy, but what remains with me is the sudden crash at the window during Glen’s lively denials after I confront him.
Diverted from our shouting match, we’d hurried over and saw a bird, lying in the garden below. Even as we watched, it soon gathered its wits and flew away.
As we withdrew to our separate regions in the house, my self-esteem questioned: How many slams into the window of surprises do I need before I fly this marital coop?
I once heard about some celebrity who sent his wife a fax saying he wanted to divorce, but texting such a message is un-fucking-believable, even for Glen. My hands flex with the urge to choke him as I recall how he kept checking his cell during my mother’s wake last spring.
Take deep breaths, I tell myself. Focus on the stage and Jesse’s drum solo.
The pounding drums mimic my heartbeat, but I know until this rehearsal is over and Jesse’s safely home, I must stay calm. There’s forty miles of driving on a freeway loaded with wild weekenders to cope with, and it’s a definite my grandson’s going to want to stop and eat since it’s past lunchtime, and we always do that anyway.
I pinch my fingers on the bridge of my nose to keep the angry tears at bay. I want to text him back, continue the battle, but the situation will only escalate if I do, because Glen never loses his wars.
Instead of retreating, I text him anyway, and ask if we can talk about this when I get home.
He responds he’s busy for the rest of the weekend, and won’t be there.
Christ, today’s only Saturday. What’s supposed to happen on Monday, when we have to go to work in the same office?
Where he’s my boss…