She's an inspirational speaker, a fantastic teacher, and an awesome writer (one of my favorites!). Please welcome the fantabulous Susan May Warren as she talks about her new book, Taming Rafe, a delicious tale about a hunk and the heroine who's got him all figured out.
Susie, what was your inspiration behind the Noble Legacy series?
I grew up loving all things cowboy - horses and trucks and songs, immersed in shows like Bonanza, and Big Valley and Louis L'Amour books. I dreamed of living on a ranch someday, in love with the land of the west. But I didn't want to write a western - I wanted a contemporary story, with real-day issues, and today's "cowboys." This story sat in my heart for three years before God opened the doors for me to actually travel to Montana and actually live the ranch life, learn to rope, and peel back the stereotype to peek at the realities of ranch life. I tried to write a story based on
theses observations and actualities, while still preserving the magic of the west.
What do you consider to be key elements to building a great hero and heroine?
A hero has to have something noble about him - I often call it a noble cause, but something he would die for. He also needs to have a flaw, something deep that the heroine can minister to. A heroine needs to have confidence in something, and she also much have a beautiful quality about her - even if it is something only the hero sees. I think the most important part of building characters is to really get to know your characters, not just their outward habits, but why they do things - and that will make them leap off the page.
Where do you start when developing your stories? With the setting, the characters, the plot?
I start with a premise, or an idea, and then match a character to that premise (or sometimes that premise includes the character). Then I have a unique plotting system that unearths the story particular to my character. I then do research and refine the plot, and the world and the setup.
What are your favorite kinds of stories?
I've written in Romantic Suspense and Chick Lit. Next year, I'm branching out into more of mystery/thriller series with a PI named PJ Sugar, although it will have all the elements of a SMW novel - a strong heroine, a romance or two, suspense, intrigue and of course strong spiritual elements. I love writing Romantic suspense, so all my books will have varying degrees of suspense in them, even if it's not the main theme.
MyBookTherapy is an awesome blog! I can't recommend it enough. Susie, what gave you the idea to start it and have you thought about turning it into a book?
I love teaching, and I'm very grateful for the Lord's generosity in allowing me to write books. I believe that fiction is one of the most impactful avenues for sharing God's truth and grace with a hurting world - so if I can encourage people in their walk to write the stories God has put in their hearts, then I feel I've used well the gifts He's given me. I'm truly thrilled when someone I've worked with gets a publishing contract. God's sovereign, and He's going to do as He pleases in all our lives, for our good and His glory. Knowing that, I'm so thrilled to be a part of the process.
Will there be a third book in the Noble Legacy series?
Yes. Finding Stephanie will release in July of this year.
In reading your MyBookTherapy blog, I've noticed you're faith seems to be a integral part of your writing process. Could you elaborate a bit on that observation?
I believe firmly that our time here on earth is meant to prepare us for eternity - and that starts with a relationship with God. So, having been a recipient of so much grace in my life, I try and pass that in into my stories - filling them with hope, and encouragement, filled with real characters who struggle with real issues. Of course, I like to do it all against a great backdrop of intrigue or suspense, or even the beauty of a state like Montana! My desire is that, when people finish my stories, they are inspired to seek after the God they met in my books.
You give great instruction for all levels of writers. What do you think is the most significant piece of wisdom for a writer to learn early on?
Write the stories that are on your heart, and learn your genre very well, by reading stories in that genre, and studying them copiously. Also - get a team of critiquers who will give you honest feedback!
Susie, thank you so much for sharing with us!