Moonlight Mondays is back again 2019! Our first interview this year is with Author Susan Old. She is a Peace Corps alumnus (Congo), retired addiction therapist, and 2x breast cancer survivor. She started writing about narcissistic, seductive, vampires 30 years ago to help her cope with stress. In Rare Blood, Miranda Ortega, like the author, struggles to make sense of the crazy vampire world she has been pulled into with a lot of strong black coffee. Susan lives with her husband and four wonderful rescued cats and dogs, on a river north of Seattle (not even close to Forks).
1. What is your debut novel and what inspired its story?
RARE BLOOD was published in March, 2018. For 30 years writing about vampires helped me cope with the stress of working as a mental health therapist. Even when I had breast cancer and lupus the world of seductive, narcissistic nocturnal maniacs was a great escape for my brain. It took 30 years to finish because a lightning storm fried my computer which held the only completed copy. Now I back-up every sentence. Miranda Ortega is my protagonist because I love to write about a spirited, quirky, no bull-shit young woman taking on the vampire patriarchy.
2. Do you write one specific genre or are you a multi genre author?
I only write about vampires. It is horror and paranormal romance fantasy. Isn’t all romance paranormal? Just saying. I researched blood types and found HH to be the rarest type. To be one of my Haute Caste vampires you must be born with HH blood. There is a little medical Science Fiction in my writing as well.
3. Do you have any memorable quotations or ‘one-liners’ that you have written and love?
“No one gets sucked to death on date night. Nice.”
– Miranda Ortega to the Baron Tristan Mordecai when he is trying to win her over.
4. Do you have a favourite character that you have penned to life and why is this your favourite character?
The Baron Tristan Mordecai who struggles with his feelings for a mere mortal. He is so powerful and yet so emotionally vulnerable. He is the only character based on someone I knew. All the other characters are just combinations of many people I’ve known. The head vampire, the Magus, is based loosely on psychiatrists I worked with.
5. Are there any close friends/ family who have proven to be a pillar of support to you in your writing?
I was a young widow and over the years my children, all my close family, friends and my new husband have been incredibly supportive. Recently when I visited Toronto, one of my daughters and her friends surprised me by wearing RARE BLOOD T-shirts when we went out to dinner. My late mother-in-law who was an author, said she liked my sex scenes! It has not been easy, but it is so worth it to publish your stories and share them with the world. I love the feedback from the readers I’ve met who appreciate my caffeinated vampire romp.
6. What are you currently working on?
Glad you asked. Editing the second book in the trilogy, Rhapsody in Blood, and writing the third book. Miranda finds her place in the vampire world and realizes her power. She loves to surprise the rulers of the night.
7. What has been your greatest challenge as an author thus far and how are you dealing/have dealt with it?
Widowhood, cancer, lupus, lightning hitting my computer, working full time and caring for my family made it difficult to find the time to write. That’s why it took so long to publish my first book. Now that I’m retired, I can finally complete the trilogy and more! Yeah!
8. How do you deal with criticism and how has it helped you as a writer?
I read Stephen King’s book on writing. I don’t take myself too seriously and stay true to my characters.
9. How has social media helped in promoting and marketing your books?
It has made it possible for me to reach people all over the world!
10. When writing your novel which aspect of the writing process do you find to be the most challenging?
My brain gets tired, so I make myself take breaks. I play with my cats, take the dogs out, drink lots of coffee. There is a cat in my lap while I’m typing this, and a pug under the desk.
11. How do you measure success as a writer/ author?
A young woman who bought my book when I had a signing, contacted me later and said, “I could not put the book down. I started reading it in the afternoon and at midnight I was still at it!”
12. What short term and/or long term goals have you set?
Short-term: Complete the trilogy.
Long-term: Tell the stories of the interesting supporting characters.
13. Do you have any upcoming book releases or events?
Book signing at an Artisan Fair this weekend.
14. What are your favourite book(s) and/or author(s)?
Neil Gaiman, Good Omens
Bram Stoker, Dracula
A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh
15. What advice will you give to other Indie Authors or those who are thinking of writing and publishing?
Do it! Don’t let self-doubt or critics stop you. Tell your story. THANKS!!!!!!
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