BLOG TOUR FLASHBACK – Black Diamond
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Wilds of the Bayou Series
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Date of Publication: October 18, 2016
Number of pages: 266
Word Count: approx. 80,000
Cover Artist: Michael Rehder
For some people, the untamed beauty of the bayou is a place to hide. For Louisiana wildlife agent Jena Sinclair, it’s a place of refuge—one where she can almost forget the tragedy that scarred both her skin and her soul. But when the remains of yet another fisherman turn up, Jena realizes that Bayou Pointe-aux-Chenes is not safe for her…or anyone else.
The mysterious deaths aren’t her only problem. A dangerous drug known as Black Diamond is circulating through Terrebonne Parish, turning addicts into unpredictable sociopaths. Jena’s investigation leads her to Cole Ryan—a handsome, wary recluse struggling with his own troubled history—who knows more than he’s willing to admit. If they want to stop the killer, Jena and Cole must step out of the shadows of their pasts and learn to help each other…before the evils lurking in the bayou consume them both.
eBook 1, Wild Man’s Curse, on Sale Through the End of October
for $1.99 at Amazon
Interview with the Author:
What initially got you interested in writing?
I don’t remember a time when I didn’t write…but I never wrote fiction. Poetry and essays gave way to journalism, which is how I’ve spent my career. Until I sold my first novel, I always thought that if I wrote a book at all, it would be a Southern essay a la Rick Bragg (one of my favorite authors, by the way). I think my desire to write in the first place came from being a voracious reader. As soon as I learned to read, I read and read and read.
How did you decide to make the move into being a published author?
I call it the “perfect storm.” #1, I was living in New Orleans at the time of Hurricane Katrina and, three years later, was still dealing with that post-traumatic stress. #2, about the same time, I moved away from New Orleans and was bored and homesick, so (#3) I picked up Simon R. Green’s first Nightside urban fantasy book. I read the whole series in one big binge, then picked up Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series. Finally, #4, I read an urban fantasy set in New Orleans at the time of Katrina and so many of the details were wrong. Good story, but wrong details. So I set out to write my own urban fantasy set in post-Katrina New Orleans. I was blessed to find a great agent and she was able to sell the Sentinels of New Orleans series to Tor Books. I write that under my other name, Suzanne Johnson, and book five in that series comes out today! As Susannah Sandlin, I write different flavors (paranormal, suspense) of romance.
What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?
I want them to have felt the setting and characters deeply enough to have gotten lost in the story for however long it takes them to read it. I work a lot on creating interesting characters who have a lot of flaws, and I spend a lot of time creating the worlds they live in. So I hope the reader is able to feel those things.
What do you find most rewarding about writing?
It still blows my mind that people read what I write, and that I can have conversations with readers about people who were created entirely in my head. We talk about them as if they’re real people…and when you’ve written the third or fourth or fifth book in a series with the same characters, they begin to FEEL as if they’re real.
What advice would you give to people want to enter the field?
Don’t jump the gun and publish before you’re ready. There is a temptation out there, because of some stupendous self-published successes, to hit “publish” on a book as soon as you’ve typed ‘The End.’ Those huge successes are the anomaly, not the norm. In the long run, experience and quality show through. Get a developmental editor. Get a copy editor. Get a professionally designed cover. Get a proofreader—or two. And be prepared to market the hell out of your book. If you have the patience to try and publish traditionally, it will help you build a readership and a backlist, although you’ll still have to do the bulk of the marketing yourself.
What ways can readers connect with you?
I have a blog that publishes 4-5 times a week: suzannejohnsonauthor.com/blog
I’m active on Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorSuzanneJohnson
And I’m on Twitter: www.twitter.com/SusannahSandlin
Thanks for having me here today!
Cole stood inside the door, knowing she’d be there any second. She would knock, probably with a firm rap to remind him who had the authority here, and it wasn’t him. She would expect to come inside, and while he could deny her entrance without a warrant, he wouldn’t. It would raise too much suspicion.
His fists clenched and unclenched. Again. Again. The press and release of tension filtered out some of the stiffness from his arms and shoulders. The woman was striking, her wistful expression had resonated with him, and he had wanted to look at her. He’d looked long and hard enough that she’d caught him standing in the doorway like an idiot. Otherwise, he could’ve pretended to be gone and not answered his door. Now, hiding wasn’t an option.
The last thing he needed in his life was a woman. Especially a woman with a badge and a gun.
Though expected, the sharp knock made his shoulders jerk upward, and his fingers clenched again into fists. Weapons his body provided to protect itself, to protect him, to keep everyone away.
“Sir, I know you’re in there. I’m Agent Sinclair of Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries.” Her voice was clear and no-nonsense. He tried to place her accent—she wasn’t from Terrebonne Parish but didn’t have a typical Southern accent either. “I want to talk to you about the gator in front of your neighbor Doris’s house. It’ll only take a minute or two.”
Damn. Now that he knew his neighbor’s real name, the Wicked Witch was dead. Now she was Doris.
He took a deep breath, turned, and opened the door an inch. Maybe two inches.
A hazel eye, heavy on the green, and the bill of a dark-green baseball cap came into view, peering through the crack. A strand of hair that trailed over her forehead from beneath the cap shone like pure molten fire.
“You can open it all the way, you know. I don’t bite. I’d like to come inside for a few minutes and talk, or you can come out on the porch. Having a conversation isn’t optional, but where we have it is. For now.”
Damn it. Cole had to admit he was stuck and it was his own damned fault for standing in the doorway and watching her for so long. He opened the door wide, dread giving way to curiosity when he finally saw her face up close. She was beautiful but lightly scarred, more on her cheeks than her forehead, so she’d probably been hit by flying glass rather than having her head go through a windshield. Fairly recent too. The spots were still pink, but they were scars and not wounds. Five or six months old, he’d say. Eventually, they’d fade and, with her fair skin, would easily cover with makeup. If she hadn’t been so close—not to mention his fixation on her face—he wouldn’t have noticed them even now.
“Are you going to let me come inside, or are you coming outside, or do I need to make it an official order?”
About the Author:
Suzanne Johnson writing as Susannah Sandlin is the author of the award-winning Penton Vampire Legacy paranormal romance series, including the 2013 Holt Medallion Award-winning Absolution and Omega and Allegiance, which were nominated for the RT Book Reviews Reviewers Choice Award in 2014 and 2015, respectively. She also wrote The Collectors romantic suspense duology, including Lovely, Dark, and Deep, 2015 Holt Medallion winner and 2015 Booksellers Best Award winner. Her new suspense series Wilds of the Bayou started in 2016 with the release of Wild Man’s Curse and continues with Black Diamond. Johnson is the author of the award-winning Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series. A displaced New Orleanian, she currently lives in Auburn, Alabama. Susannah loves SEC football, fried gator on a stick, all things Cajun, and redneck reality TV.
Twitter: @Suzanne_Johnson https://twitter.com/Suzanne_Johnson
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