U is for Urban Paranormal Hotties Serialized – Interview & a Recipe #atozchallenge
Welcome to the Cabin, Susannah Sandlin!
Today Susannah is here to talk about herself and to promote her new endeavor her serialized novel Storm Force! Storm Force is being released every week via Kindle Serials and Bewitching Book Tours is promoting from March through July when it will be available in a complete Novel.
I recently (April 5th) interviewed Susannah on Bewitching’s Blog Talk Radio show and we had a ball discussing everything from this project, the idea of serial novels to her other great vampire series!Sit back and enjoy, because this is ONE HELL of another awesome interview, and fulfills my #atozchallenge blog post with U is for URBAN PARANORMAL HOTTIES… because I am reading this and OOOOO LA LA LA are these guys HOT!
CG -Tweet the book: You are challenged to tweet a synopsis of the book to include your tweet handle, GO! (has to fit in a tweet, I will be adding a custom tweet button at the top of post. You can and are encouraged to include #hashtags)
SS – Army Rangers, Eagle #Shapeshifters & Big Bad Cats vs. Eco-terrorists in Storm Force, a #PNR #thriller by @SusannahSandlin #serial
CG – Introduce yourself to the captive audience that you now have before you. (As in tell us something NOT in your bio, give us a dirty little secret not having or having to do with your writing)
SS – I come out of a journalism background, and one of my first jobs was as crime reporter for a small daily newspaper in Alabama. I was up by 4 a.m. each morning, making the rounds to the police station, fire station, hospital emergency rooms, and sheriff’s office (and, sometimes, even the coroner’s office), seeing what mayhem and chaos had occurred overnight so I could rush back to the paper and file my stories by 8 a.m. I didn’t start writing fiction until 2009-2010, so I have a lot of useless journalistically-acquired knowledge to draw stories from! (Dirty little secret? Um…the one about that crime reporter, moi, who was secretly dating the cop, aka her source? That one?)
CG – Is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into? (If you want you can – I would love it if you did – a max flash fiction of no more that 500 with the prompt of “darkness” (Yes this could work with romance, mystery, humour, textbooks on quantum physics.. own it, title it and GO!)
SS – I write both paranormal romance and urban fantasy, but I’ve gotten interested in romantic thrillers from a writing standpoint, so I can see me trying that…although I do seem to stick paranormal elements into whatever I try to write. I also have a love for historical fiction.
Yow…flash fiction! Okay, going stream of consciousness here, focusing on a secondary character from the new book, Storm Force, who isn’t one of the point-of-view characters. His name is Nik, a former Army Ranger turned counterterrorism agent, and a psychic.
Nik awoke to darkness, although his internal clock told him it was well past daylight. The slow-moving Cat 3 hurricane, Geneva, was moving ashore somewhere south of Jeanerette, Louisiana, and even here in New Orleans the power was already out.
He rolled out of bed, his skull feeling stuffed with cotton, skin clammy from the contained heat. The wind moaned outside, its cry like the haunting of a dead lover. Nik knew that sound.
Kell was out there in this storm, in that damned wooden cabin on the edge of Cote Blanche Bayou, and Nik didn’t like it. Didn’t like the uneasy feeling he’d had for the past day. They’d been inseparable since Army Ranger School, but now here Nik was, stuck in New Orleans investigating a murder while Kell hid out in an isolated swamp with a woman who’d done nothing but lie to him. Hidden in the middle of a hurricane, trying to escape the homicidal freak of a shapeshifter who’d tried to kill him. Who’d try again.
If Kell lived through this, Nik knew he’d have to accept Mori as part of Kell’s life. If his friend died, there’s nowhere she could move that would be far enough. His friend was too moral to commit murder in the name of friendship. Nik wasn’t. He hadn’t been concerned with morals for a long time. He’d seen too much.
Cracking the slats of the blinds apart, Nik looked out on a sky the color of charcoal. Up the block on Canal Street, the palm trees bent at impossible angles, their fronds blowing sideways from the steady onslaught of Geneva’s winds.
Nik used the flashlight app on his phone to locate the fluorescent lantern in this closet. Its bluish light cast harsh shadows around the studio apartment, making edges harsher, surfaces seem more solid.
He carried the lantern to the postage-stamp-sized kitchen and poured a shot of bourbon into a glass. Then a second. Why the hell not drink? Not like he could go anywhere.
On the counter were Kell’s notes on the mission, written in his small, neat print. Probably wouldn’t hurt to go over them again in case they’d missed anything, in case that psycho had another bombing planned and a clue slipped past them.
As soon as he touched the pages, Nik shuddered. Images hit his brain in quick succession: Mori, in the driving rain, laughing. Kell beside her, happy. And in the swamp, hidden, sheltered, waiting, the man who planned to kill them.
wooooooah, you can write flash fiction on my blog anytime Susannah!!
CG – When it comes to the genre you do write in, what are a few of the books or writers that have influenced you and your own writing (yes I can actually ask a serious question?)
SS – I read more urban fantasy than paranormal romance, which probably explains why I tend to write PNR that has a thriller/UF element to it. My Penton series had a strong external plot, and Storm Force really does. So I enjoy reading Jim Butcher and Kim Harrison and Patricia Briggs in urban fantasy. In PNR, I love JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood, especially the first five or six books.
CG – If you could cast one of your works, who would you choose to play your main characters? (some have a huge cast, so say no more than five, I am thinking many would be able to do at least one, you do have one character right? Include photos of choice or I Can find them also – include photo credits or links where they are found)
SS – Okay, with Storm Force I wanted the hero, Jack Kellison, to be this kind of everyman guy, just scruffy enough to be sexy, but with amazing eyes that are the thing that set him apart. But strong, because he’s an Army Ranger. So as I was writing I had the actor Taylor Kinney in my head. I think he has the right look—short hair that’s kind of starting to grow out, good cheekbones. Pretty, but not too pretty.
The heroine is tall and athletic. Not a classic beauty, but striking, outdoorsy, not a game player. So I chose an athlete, Noelle Pikus-Pace, who’s a skeleton racer. She’s tall like Mori, and has that all-American look I want for Mori.
Another major character is an eagle-shapeshifter named Robin. Robin’s petite, waifish, and has a mouth on her. Serious attitude from this girl, and (though he wouldn’t admit it) she kind of freaks out Kell (Mr. Human Soldier). I chose an actress strictly for her looks—a young Winona Ryder, when she had the short spiky hair and that waifish thing going.
Finally, for Nik Dimitrou, a Greek-American, former Army Ranger, resident psychic, I needed somebody who had that dark sexy Greek thing going, so I picked actor Andreas Georgiou. I mean, really, does more need to be said?
CG – What is the first thing you would do if you woke up one morning to find one of your books on the NY Times Bestsellers List?
SS – Faint? Scream and jump up and down. Then go downstairs and feed my dogs and make sure my resident 87-year-old was set for the day. And then go to the day job. Such is life.
CG – Do you have any vices that you turn to while you are writing (as in what candy / snack food / drink / 80’s hair band you break out in song too when you just cannot figure out the next line to write and that bitch of a muse is off on her own hunt)?
SS – It varies between books. With Storm Force, which is set mostly in East Texas, I’ve been listening to Texas-based singer-songwriter Slaid Cleaves. I used the chorus from his song “Borderline” as a theme for this book: “When love for family is stronger than fear, when desperation sets in, a man will cross any line that is drawn, and who’s to say it’s a sin?” He also has a song called “Bring It On” that’s Kell and Mori’s theme song. Here’s the embed code for “Bring It On”:
CG – What do you do when you’re not writing? (ie: What festive things do you do for fun? What things do you do when you make yourself have fun, and what is on the top of your list to do when you actually take two days for you (and family).
SS – What is this thing “days off” of which you speak? LOL. I’ve had an insane twelve months, releasing six books, writing four books, taking on a new day job with a lot more responsibility, and handling primary care for an aging parent. I don’t even remember what it feels like to have a day off. Should I have one, however, I think I would sleep and play with my dogs and read a book just for pleasure—none of which I’ve had much time for!
CG – If your book was a meal what would it be? Meat and potatoes? Vegetarian? A light nouveau cuisine? (I do a recipe with many of my authors this maybe an opportunity for you to share a recipe you think could go along with this? Or just describe the actual meal, this would be the whole thing not just one dish – see below for bonus round)
SS – I guess if we’re talking about Storm Force, it would be something very native to the Texas and Louisiana Gulf coasts. It would have to be rich and spicy, with a touch of the eccentric and exotic. I’m going to recommend a favorite dish of mine that originated at my favorite restaurant in New Orleans, Jacques-Imo’s.
Jacques-Imo’s Alligator Sausage and Shrimp Cheesecake
- 1/3 cup bread crumbs
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese
- 4 oz butter, melted
- 1¾ lb cream cheese, softened
- 4 eggs
- 2/3 cup cream
- 1 cup smoked Gouda cheese, grated
- 1 cup onion, medium diced
- ½ cup green pepper, medium diced
- ½ cup yellow bell pepper, diced
- ½ cup red bell pepper, diced
- 1 lb alligator sausage, diced
- ¼ cup green chili pepper, diced
- 1 lb shrimp, diced (2 cups)
- 2 tspn salt
- 1 tspn chipotle powder
- ½ tspn black pepper
- ½ tspn white pepper
Mix bread crumbs and cheese; add butter and press into a 10″ springform pan. Bake 10 minutes in a 400°F oven to set crust. Whisk the cream cheese until smooth; add eggs and whisk; then add cream and the Gouda cheese. Sauté veggies with spices until soft. Add shrimp and cook until just done. Add sausage and chili pepper, and fold into cream cheese mixture. Wrap foil around pan to prevent leakage and fill pan with mix. Bake in water bath in a 450°F oven for 1½ to 2 hours. Remove when an inserted knife comes out clean and the filling is set. Cool before removing from spring mold.
Sauce: Mix to taste: Creole mustard, tomato sauce, sour cream, and cream, and pour on top. Serves 12 and it’s very, very rich!
CG –Now whip up a drink to go with that wonderful meal that represents your book!
The Texas Hurricane
Storm Force takes place as a hurricane is brewing in the Gulf, threatening the coasts of central Louisiana and East Texas, so it seems only appropriate to doctor up a traditional Louisiana hurricane with a little Texas twist.
If you try this one, don’t drive. If you try two, you won’t care if the hurricane comes. Mix: 1 oz white rum, 1 oz coconut rum, 1 oz bourbon, 1 oz 151-proof rum, 1 oz triple sec, 2 oz orange juice, 1 oz pineapple juice, 1 oz grenadine. Mix all ingredients except the 151—float it on top.
BONUS ROUND “MAKE MINE A MEAL” Create (or rename) a recipe for a dish, an appetizer or a dessert that goes with your book. (Even if you opted in for the recipe for your book, this is something for s specific theme dish. So perhaps a specific recipe renamed for the. Either way I will use any images you have or suggestions on what your “vision” is.)
The Storm Force Blue Plate Special:
Godzilla Meets Fried Green Tomatoes
Step 1: Slice green tomatoes into six to eight uniform slices per person. Dip in flour seasoned with salt and pepper, then buttermilk, then cornmeal, and deep fry in medium heat until insides of tomato are cooked through and they’re crispy on the outside. Drain on a paper towel and place in the center of a serving plate, stacked in one explosive skyscraper.
Step 2: Take one soft-shell crab per person (fresh in season, but frozen is okay, and get them cleaned and intact so you don’t have to cut off their faces—trust me). DO NOT SHELL OR CUT INTO THEM. (Trust me.) Combine flour with salt and pepper and dredge the whole crab, then drop into a couple inches of frying oil. Fry about four minutes per side until the shell turns red and is crispy. (Trust me.)
Step 3: Balance your killer shapeshifting crab atop the Texas Tomato Tower. Drizzle with a remoulade sauce made by mixing mayo, creole mustard, horseradish, minced garlic, and as much Louisiana Hot Sauce as you can stand. Trust me!
BUWAHAHAHAHA THIS IS EPIC! I LOVE IT!!!! I have to make this!! OMG I LOVE IT!
FAST and FURIOUS
On the Rocks, Blended or Bottle and a Shot Glass? Rocks.
Coke or Pepsi? Coke (after this interview you are forgive…)
Call a plumber or use the Duct tape? Plumber
CNN or The Onion? Huffington Post(LOL I love it!)
Carousel or Roller Coaster? Carousel
Zombie or Alien Apocalypse? Can I have elves? (Susannah, after this interview? You can have the whole Underworld!)
Fireman or Firestarter? Fireman
Vampire or Vampire Hunter? Vampire
Garfield, Snoopy or Scooby Doo? Garfield
THIS WAS SO AWESOME! THANK YOU SO MUCH!! OMG I have to make Godzilla Meet Fried Green Tomatoes this summer! THIS rocked!! thank you SO MUCH! I am LOVING the serial Novel!
CG – Anything you would like to add… appearances, upcoming releases, where I can find someone to adjust the algorithms for my time machine?
SS – Storm Force is currently being released as a serial for Kindle—if you buy it before May 14 it is $1.99 for the whole book, with a new episode each week. On June 18, it will be on sale in print, digital and audio as a complete book. The third book in my Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series (written as Suzanne Johnson), Elysian Fields, will be out August 13. And, should you be interested, I’ll be at the RT Booklovers Convention in Kansas City the first week of May, and in Atlanta for the Romance Writers of America convention in mid-July. Stop by and say hello!
About the Author:
Susannah Sandlin is the author of paranormal romance set in the Deep South, where there are always things that go bump in the night.
A journalist by day, Susannah grew up in Alabama reading the gothic novels of Susan Howatch and the horror fantasy of Stephen King. (Um…it is fantasy, right?)
The combination of Howatch and King probably explains a lot. Currently a resident of Auburn, Alabama, Susannah has also lived in Illinois, Texas, California, and Louisiana.
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As leader of the elite counter-terrorism team Omega Force, former army ranger Jack “Kell” Kellison is always focused on getting the job done. So when a Houston high-rise is bombed and the governor killed or missing, Kell’s mission is clear: infiltrate the group suspected of the bombing and neutralize the threat by any means necessary. But once Kell meets beautiful chief suspect Mori Chastaine, he realizes there’s more to this case than meets the eye. And more to Mori than any man—any human man—could imagine.
Mori Chastaine is running out of options. Suspected for a crime she didn’t commit, forced into a marriage she doesn’t want, she sees no escape—until Kell walks through her door. A lifetime hiding her true nature warns her Kell might not be who he seems. But he could be the only one able to help save more innocent humans from becoming pawns in an ancient paranormal power play. If Mori reveals her secret, will Kell join her fight? Or will she become his next target?
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What do YOU think about Serial Novels??