With an infectious smile and comedian’s sense of humor, Suzan Tisdale is unforgettable… Then you read one of her books, and it’s over–you adore her…
What is your favorite part of writing?
Creation. I get to create worlds with swoon worthy heroes, strong heroines, and bad guys you want to hang. I get to help people escape reality for a few hours. I love sharing my stories with people.
What is your least favorite part of writing?
The weight gain from sitting still! This year, I’m investing in a bicycle desk.
Do you have to have the hero and heroine’s names before you are able to begin a story? Do you ever change them at any point in the process?
I usually have that all worked out before I begin to write. The only time I’ve changed a name was when I worked on Stealing Moirra’s Heart. That was part of the Highland Winds Collection. All new stories with all new characters. Someone else had already chosen a last name for one of their heroes, so I changed the last name of mine.
Some authors can’t begin a book before they have the title, others say the title comes to them at some point during the writing of the manuscript. Which is it for you?
I usually have the title worked out, but in all truthfulness, I really don’t need it to begin writing the story. That was the case with Stealing Moirra’s Heart. The book was 85% complete and I still didn’t have a title. With a little help from my friends, Ceci Giltenan and Lily Baldwin, we came up with a title at the very last minute.
Was your road to publication long and winding, or a walk in the park? Can you tell us a little about it?
I’ve been writing since childhood. Everything from short stories, full length novels, screenplays and even dabbled at poetry. I wrote because I loved it and it was also a means of escaping. I was horribly, painfully introverted. My stories allowed me to be whoever I wanted to be.
My secret dream was to be an author, but I never thought it would be possible. I knew how hard it was to ‘get published’ so I didn’t even bother to submit any of my work to a traditional publishing house.
It was an accidental journey to becoming a full time, published author. I tell people that I didn’t do it on purpose, even though it was a lifelong dream.
It started out as a whim of sorts. I wanted to give my mother a Kindle for her birthday. I thought it would be a hoot if when she turned the Kindle on for the first time, the first book she saw would be something I had written. And so it began.
I would get up at 3:30 every morning just to write. At the time, we only had one computer in the house so very early morning hours were my only opportunity to write. My husband thought I was getting up early to play Farmville!
I shared a few chapters with a very dear friend of mine, thinking she’d say “Cute. But don’t give up your day job.” I was floored when she emailed me back and said, “Where is the rest of it?? I want to read more!” I thought she was just being nice.
Somewhere along the way, my husband had discovered my little book on the computer. I had to come clean and explain to him what I was doing. I also asked him for help. I’m not a technical person, but I figured there had to be a way to do get my book onto Mamma’s Kindle. Now, anyone who knows my husband knows what a research nut he is. Give him the most obscure or offbeat or technical idea or question and he’ll research the heck out of it! I had explained to him that I had seen a link at Amazon that said “Publish Your Book To Kindle”, but that I hadn’t bothered with it. I was convinced that all I needed was a ‘cord’ of some sort to hook up between my computer and mom’s Kindle.
A few days later, my husband informed me that I couldn’t just put my book on Mamma’s Kindle. I had to actually publish it. I believed him. He’s smart, this husband of mine and he’d never lied to me before.
I figured what the heck, go for it. What did I have to lose? No one would want to buy my book anyway. Now, deep down I had a secret desire to actually sell a copy, but I wouldn’t speak the words out loud. I thought it would be wonderful if I sold just ten little copies. In my lifetime. Ten. That was a good goal.
Without the aid of an editor or cover artist and not having a clue what I was doing, I decided to go for it. I figured that I didn’t want to wake up on my 60th birthday and wonder what if…. So In December of 2011 I published Laiden’s Daughter.
By February of 2012, it was number 2 on Amazon’s Top 100 Best Seller’s List! Blew. My. Mind. I thought it would take a lifetime to sell ten copies. I was certain it had to be a mistake of some kind. But when I started getting one message after another, one positive review after another, I realized it wasn’t a mistake….I was now an author.
I was selling more than 250 copies a day! I didn’t have a clue what that meant, if in fact it meant anything at all. All that I knew was that I was over-the-moon happy and people were asking for more!
I remember my first royalty check from Amazon/KDP. $78.69. I cried because I felt like I had arrived. By October of 2012, I was able to give up my day job (selling insurance) in order to write full time. That still blows my mind. I am able to do things now that would not have been possible prior to December of 2011. I have the most amazing life.
In all honesty, it has never been about the money, it has always been about the writing. Are my books perfection personified? Hardly. But I do know that my writing gets better with each new book — and that is how it should be. I want to write stories that people will enjoy. I want to help people escape the ordinary, for just a little while.
Now, I have a beautiful editor, a very talented cover artist, and other indie authors who are very dear friends. I even have a street team! Suzan’s Highland Lassies. This is a group of beautiful, sweet and smart women who I consider dear friends. I couldn’t get through a book launching without them!
I also believe I have the most beautiful readers anywhere. I know that I would not be where I am today if it were not for them.
So there you have it. I’m proof that dreams can come true and that happily-ever-afters are real.
What’s the top three things on your bucket list?
Spend two months Scotland, a few weeks in Ireland, and a week in England. 2. Become a snow bird by buying a condo on the beach in Florida. 3. Have my books turned into movies or TV series.
What’s next for you, and would you be willing to share a little about works-in-progress, or an upcoming book?
My next book is a trilogy of sorts. Caelen’s Wife – A Murmur of Providence, will be released on January 23, 2015. Caelen’s Wife – A Whisper of Fate will be released on February 27, 2015, and then Caelen’s Wife, A Breath of Promise will be released on March 27, 2015. After that, I have Saving Moirra’s Heart, and a few other books. 2015 is going to be a busy year!
Thank you for joining us today, Suzan!
Where to connect with Suzan…
Where to buy her books…