Welcome to the six hundred and sixtieth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with romance novelist and short story author Susan DiPlacido. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Susan.
Susan: Hi Morgen, and thank you so much for having me here.
Morgen: You’re very welcome, Susan. I’m delighted you could join me. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
Susan: After seeing Quentin Tarantino’s “Reservoir Dogs” I decided to try writing. I know he’s a screenwriter and not technically an author, but in his work and his writing, it was so obvious that he was going full guns for what HE loved onscreen, and he was doing his own twists on it and making it fresh and seemingly original. That sort of passion and talent and disregard for what the mainstream would purchase was entirely energizing and inspiring. I figured if he could write with that one thing in mind, so could I, and then hope my tastes matched up with a set of readers. But even if the audience didn’t come, at least I’d be writing what I loved.
Morgen: Wow. I bet Quentin would be chuffed that his film had that effect on you, and it’s great hearing you saying that you love writing. We have to, don’t we? What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
Susan: I generally write romantic, either suspense, comedy, or erotic. Sometimes I consider other genres, but I tend to write what I love and those are the direction I’ve always leaned.
Morgen: It’s a great mixture. What have you had published to-date?
Susan: My first book came out in 2005, and it was a sexy, romantic suspense story set in the world of blackjack in Las Vegas titled 24/7. Since then, I’ve had a total of six novels and one collection of short stories published. My latest is a sexy romantic comedy set in the world of poker with the prime location being Las Vegas and it’s titled Shuffle Up and Deal. Sounds similar, I know, but while I use a lot of the same elements, it’s a very different plot and tone than the first one.
Morgen: There’s nothing wrong with sounding similar. Apparently there are only seven plots to choose from – it is about making them different and the great thing about series (as an example) is that if readers will love one they have something else to look forward to. You’ve self-published, what lead to you going your own way?
Susan: I’ve had great experiences with both small presses and doing it on my own. There’s something very satisfying about being in complete control of every aspect of the book, from the content to the cover. I guess I’m a bit of a type A personality like that.
Morgen: That makes two of us then. 🙂 Are your books available as eBooks? How involved were you in that process? Do you read eBooks or is it paper all the way?
Susan: Most of them are available as eBooks. The involvement level depends on if you’re publishing them yourself or with a publisher. Most publishers release in eBook format now, and so they take care of all that. But when you self-pub, obviously, you do the work. Sadly, I still read paper only.
Morgen: Many people do. I came to eBooks quite late (early 2012) but comparison and it’s great having the choice, although I think I already have enough (‘real’) books in my house to last the rest of my life! eBooks just mean I don’t have to take them with me when I go away. Do you manage to write every day, or ever suffer from writer’s block?
Susan: When I’m working on a project, I’ll work on it virtually non-stop. I don’t even sleep or eat much until it’s finished. But then I’ll take good long breaks until inspiration hits again. I don’t know if it’s writer’s block, but I’ve been on a very prolonged break like that, about three years now. Ahem.
Morgen: Oops. It’s important to take a break because then you’ll be more objective when it comes to editing. Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Susan: Definitely plot them in advance.
Morgen: That’s interesting. I’d say 99.5% of the (nearly 700 – I also run them on http://morgensauthorinterviews.wordpress.com) authors I’ve spoken to are ‘pantsers’. I was but I’ve just started a series and it’s become clear that I could do with plotting them. 🙂 Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Susan: I’ve learned to edit on the go now, I think. It’s become easier. But I still have to check for typos and such and end up changing some things along the way.
Morgen: Do you have to do much research?
Susan: Research is the best! Most of my research involves travelling to places I want to write about.
Morgen: 🙂 Some authors decide to write about exotic locations so they can go to them. 🙂 What point of view do you find most to your liking: first person or third person? Have you ever tried second person?
Susan: I tend to split pretty evenly between first and third, each has its advantages. I have used second person, and it’s my favorite story ever. It’s called “I, Candy” and it won my first major award at the Moondance Film Festival.
Morgen: Yay! Second person’s my favourite (although only in short stories) so it’s always great meeting another author who writes in it (especially when so positively) and good on Moondance for liking it too! So you’ve written short stories. Do you write any poetry or non-fiction?
Susan: I don’t write poetry at all. I like to write non-fiction in the form of movie reviews, but that’s about it. But I love short stories. I have a collection of them called “American Cool”. A lot of them end up being a starting point for a novel.
Morgen: Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?
Susan: Of course I’ve had tons of rejections! More than I could keep track of. It’s just part of being a writer.
Morgen: I’ve actually had a handful of authors who haven’t received rejections – I know, it surprised me too – but mainly because they’ve not written much and been successful in those submitted (how great is that!)… or not submitted at all but self-published. So a win-win. Do you enter many competitions? Are there any you could recommend?
Susan: I have entered some and had some good luck. (bragging insert here)
Susan: I mentioned that “I, Candy” won the Moondance Film Festival. “American Cool” won an IPPY award and Indie Book award, and “Shuffle Up and Deal” and “Trattoria” were nominated for the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice award. (end shameless bragging)
Morgen: Feel free to keep going. We’re all pleased for you. 🙂
Susan: Of course, awards make me feel great, but I can honestly say that if sales is your goal, I haven’t seen much help in that area from any of them, unfortunately.
Morgen: Oh dear. It’s tough to know what to do for the best on that one. I’m biased but guesting on writing blogs does seem to be a key way to go. If you could invite three people from any era to dinner, who would you choose and what would you cook (or hide the takeaway containers)?
Susan: I would cook, because I love to cook and feed people. I’d have Julius Caesar as my first pick. I’d have to really think about it after that to fill the other two slots. But I’d make him risotto and osso buco. And I guess a Caesar salad 😉
Morgen: 🙂 I’d gate crash for risotto. Where can we find out about you and your writing?
Morgen: Is there anything you’d like to ask me?
Susan: I’d like to thank you again for having me here!
Morgen: You’re so welcome, Susan. It’s been great getting to know you.
I then invited Susan to provide a synopsis of her book…
Meet Izzy Santillo. She’s a charming-but-lonely thirty-four year old woman who loves poker and harbors a secret crush on the reigning king of Hold ’em.
Meet Nick Nolan, the reigning king of Hold ’em. On the tables, he’s fast and loose and almost always wins. But when it comes to women, playboy Nick holds his cards too close and always loses.
When Izzy and Nick meet in embarrassing fashion at a Las Vegas poker tournament, Izzy’s secret dreams turn into a public nightmare. But despite her humiliation, she may have finally sparked Nick’s interest in something other than cards. Before long, Nick takes a gamble on Izzy and raises the stakes when he offers to help her sharpen her game. But Izzy’s convinced that Nick is bluffing and will fold his hand after he’s had her on the flop. But a string of outrageous proposition bets and steamy trips on the poker tour, from Los Angeles to Miami, make these two fierce competitors realize that it may be time to put all their chips on the table. Will Izzy and Nick pair up? Or will they lose it all if they go all-in for each other? Sit down, ante up, and hang on, as Nick and Izzy get ready to Shuffle Up and Deal.
Susan DiPlacido is the author of 24/7, Trattoria, Mutual Holdings, House Money, Lady Luck, Shuffle Up and Deal, and American Cool. Trattoria was nominated for the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Small Press Romance 2005, and her short story, “I, Candy,” won the Spirit Award at the 2005 Moondance International Film Festival. American Cool won the bronze medal in the 2008 IPPY awards and was a finalist in the 2008 Indie Book Awards. Shuffle Up and Deal was nominated for the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Small Press Erotic Fiction 2010. Her fiction has appeared in Susie Bright’s Best American Erotica 2007, Maxim Jakubowski’s Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica vol. 6 and 7, Zane’s Caramel Flava, and Rebellion: New Voices of Fiction.
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