How long were you writing romance before you received ‘the call’?
My interest in writing romance began around 1994. Until then it had been a passion of reading romance novels - in particular, Danielle Steel. I joined the Romance Writers of SA and looked forward to the monthly meetings to learn more about the industry and be encouraged by this amazing group of women from all walks of life. They helped me immensely and their support was invaluable. I met Mills & Boon authors Trish Morey and Lucy Clark when they were beginning their careers.
My first manuscript was mailed almost 19 years ago to Mills & Boon. This was long before emailed submissions were accepted and it took many months to receive my first rejection. When the letter arrived I was devastated but picked myself up and went to work on the next story. This partial was also rejected and it became a pattern, but with each rejection came a longer letter from the editors explaining why it wasn’t suitable and suggestions on how I could improve the storyline or writing.
Career and family took precedence and in 2000 I took a break from writing. In 2004, I moved to Los Angeles where I lived for two years with my daughters. I joined a local writers' group in California where I met Mills & Boon medical author Lynne Marshall. This inspired me to return to writing but it wasn’t until 2011 that I actually submitted another manuscript. Another rejection followed but again it had a lengthy explanation of the reasons why it wasn’t suitable and the suggestion that I should submit another partial for consideration. I did and on 8 July 2013, I received ‘the call’ from London.
Why medical romance?
One of my favourite authors when I began writing was Marion Lennox. I really enjoyed her writing style with touches of humour and medical settings. My background is in the dental specialist field so I thought it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to research the world of medicine. I also love drama, emotional tension and the pace of Grey’s Anatomy and ER.
Where and when do you write?
Only a few months before I received ‘the call’ my husband bought me the most beautiful mahogany writing bureau and it is my little piece of serenity. I don’t use it for anything but writing my books. Nothing else happens…. no paying bills, nothing boring or practical. Just writing manuscripts. When I look up I can see the books of the writers I admire most behind the narrow glass doors and this inspires me to keep writing.
It is my creative zone and I find I can completely shut out the world and forget where I am. I write most days. During the week, this is after work and on the weekends I devote Saturdays to writing. I absolutely love writing and never find it a chore. The day the second book was accepted, my editor told me to take a well-earned rest and the first thing I did was begin a synopsis for the next book. It’s addictive!
Will you let your daughter - Aussie musician, singer-songwriter and guitarist Orianthi - read your books?
Just as Ori allows me to hear the songs as she writes them, I am happy to let her read my work. She is an avid reader of all genres, but has a leaning towards biographies and spiritual subjects so my books will be something very different!
How do you keep busy when you're not writing?
My role as senior program officer within Aboriginal Programs keeps me busy from 9-to-5. In my spare time, away from writing, I enjoy dressmaking. I studied design and construction at TAFE SA for three years before I was married and I design and make jackets for Ori to wear onstage. I’m also a volunteer at the Capri Cinema at Goodwood.
Susanne's hotly anticipated books to look out for...
* Unlocking The Doctor’s Heart – medical romance due out in March 2014 in North America, UK and Australia.
* Back In Her Husband’s Arms – medical romance due out in June 2014 in North America, UK and Australia.
And find her on Twitter here!