Meet Debut Author Susan Gee Heino

Susan Gee Heino has been stranded in the American mid-west all of her natural life. She says it’s not altogether a bad place to be stranded and that the few temporary excursions she’s made to more exotic places like Muck Swamp, Florida, and Moose-sized Mosquito, Ontario, have made it mostly enjoyable. Usually.

Susan has been writing since the age of four, creating classics that were loved by her mother. After several years in the theater (and poverty), Susan left playwriting to marry well.

Well, she married and is happy about it. (So is her mother.) Her five-year foray into romance writing has been sponsored and eagerly supported by her desperate, er, darling husband.

“Love’s funny sometimes.” So reads the blurb on the home page of Susan’s Web site. A look at the excerpts posted there prove she knows how to portray the humorous side of love, whether she’s telling a story set in the here and now or one set in the there and then. If your spirits need a lift, read something by Susan and you’ll soon find your frown turned downside up.

Susan’s first book, a Regency Historical, Mistaken by Moonlight will be released sometime next fall. It was the sixth full-length manuscript she completed and won the Regency Historical category of the Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® contest this year. She has excerpts from this and a few others at her website, www.SusanGH.com.

Susan Gee Heino

Susan Gee Heino

Keli, thanks so much for inviting me to be here. It’s been a real honor to get to know you these past few months since we were thrown together as 2008 Golden Heart finalists. And I’m excited to join the gals here as one of the Infamous 6-in-2 Pixies. It’s really, really great company.

It’s wonderful to have you, Susan. And now for your first question . . .

•August 2008 was your month. It began with your stroll to the stage at RWA Nationals to snag that special souvenir from your time in San Francisco. Yeah. The Golden Heart necklace, that nice bit of bling you never thought you’d take home with you. What was it like to stand under all those lights and accept the award? And how long did it take your heart rate to return to normal afterward?

You’d think as a writer I’d be able to explain what that was like, but it’s three months later and I’m still trying to put it into words.

Just the fact I was selected as a finalist in the Golden Heart contest was like being Cinderella at the Ball—without the talking mice, of course, which would actually be kind of cool since I’m a huge animal lover. But you didn’t ask me here to discuss anthropomorphized critters, did you?

Susan accepting her 2008 Golden Heart in the Regency category.

Susan at the RWA Awards Ceremony accepting her 2008 Golden Heart in the Regency category.

You want to know what it felt like to hear my name called out and get to walk up onto that big, glowing stage. I won’t lie—I loved it. I love attention of any sort (which might possibly explain the talking mouse fantasy, come to think of it).

I didn’t actually hear my name called that night in San Francisco, but my friend Sheri started punching me in the ribs saying, “It’s you! It’s you! Get up there!” Then the fog in my brain cleared, and I realized I had just heard the title of my manuscript. I saw my own familiar face pop up on the four giant screens they had at the front of the ballroom. Wow, it really was me! So, I got up there, of course. I’m sure I babbled like an idiot and the crowd would have really preferred a talking rodent, but it was my dream come true and I hope I thanked everyone adequately.

• No sooner had you returned home from Nationals than you signed with your agent on August 5—and had to say “No” to two others. How cool is that? So, what let you know Cori Deyoe at 3 Seas Literary Agency was the one? What advice would you give others seeking an agent as to how to best conduct their search?

An agent is really, really important as this industry is getting tighter and tighter. He or she needs to be in love with your work, and you need to know you can count on him or her to work for your best interests. It needs to be a professional relationship that is not just for today but for the future of your career.

I’d met Cori a couple times and she is just a darling person. She’s intelligent, soft-spoken, an animal lover, and she represents a close friend of mine who raves about her. But Cori’s office is in the Midwest, and I’d heard it was important to have an agent based in New York. Also, I thought it might be weird to share an agent with my friend, so I decided to focus my queries on other agents.

But the Fancy New York Agents didn’t seem all that excited about my ms, so my friend convinced me to send it to Cori. She loved it. We met up at Nationals and she offered representation even before the Golden Heart winners were announced. (And she quoted her favorite lines from my ms, which was very, very cool.)

But I knew my brain was not in any state to be signing contracts or making decisions. I’d vowed not to agree to anything with anybody until after the conference, so I asked Cori if she’d let me wait a few days before getting back to her. She was very gracious but told me repeatedly how much she loved my work. How could I not swoon over that?

After I won the Golden Heart, suddenly the New York agents thought I was wonderful, too. I started getting phone calls even before I got home. Obviously it was time to make a decision. (I hate making decisions!) How on earth could I determine what to do?

I started by asking myself some questions:
1) Who is going to work hardest for me in the long run, the agent who loves my voice and ‘gets’ me or the agent who thinks this Golden-Heart-winning ms might just be an easy sale?
2) Now that cell phones and email are the prominent forms of communication, what can an agent in New York do that an agent in the Midwest can’t?
3) Who do I know for sure has established relationships with my dream publishers and a track record of negotiating the best deal possible for a book like mine?
4) Who is perfectly comfortable sitting at a business lunch discussing the pros and cons of keeping goats as companion animals?

Well, once I answered my questions, it became a no-brainer. I called Cori first thing the next morning.

•The very next day you received a call from a publishing house interested in your Golden Heart ms and referred the editor to your brand new agent. The day after that Cori told you she had three more editors interested in Mistaken by Moonlight. What was it like to have four publishing houses vying for your “firstborn?” Disbelief? Euphoria? How did Cori counsel you through this nail-gnawing scenario?

My brain had already melted down in San Francisco, plus I was jet-lagged and had a head cold, otherwise all this first sale business would have been really stressful for me. As it was, I just sort of vegged on the couch and answered the phone for a couple days. Berkley called me with a respectable offer the day after I told Cori I’d sign with her. I kindly referred the editor, Leis Pederson, to my new agent and then went back to cold-medicine-induced sleep. (This is why you need to have ultimate confidence in your agent!)

Sometime later when I talked to Cori, I mentioned that another house had requested my ms some months prior and maybe she ought to let them know about the offer on the table. Plus, there was an editor I met at Nationals who wanted a chance to see it, so I asked Cori to contact her. Also, Cori knew two other editors who were interested, so she asked if I minded if she sent it to them as well. Uh, no, I didn’t.

In the end, five houses wanted a shot at Mistaken by Moonlight. It wasn’t like some big, frantic auction, but things did go well, and in the end Berkley was able to swing the best offer. I have a two-book contract with them now. It’s kind of funny because they were the first house to ever request this ms long before it had even finaled in the Golden Heart. So, never give up hope, even if it seems like things are taking forever!

•You endured the angst and anticipation, and then it happened. You received The Call! Even though you knew it was coming, I’m sure it was still an incredible experience. Since I’ll never get my fill of call stories, each one being such a source of encouragement to one who isn’t yet contracted, would you please tell us what it was like to pick up the phone and hear Cori spill the news? What went through your mind? Did you mutter incoherently or babble nonstop?

I was at the zoo. How great is that? Summer was winding down, and my husband and I had taken the kids for a family day out. I knew, of course, that a sale was in the works, but I didn’t know what the deal would be or which house I’d end up selling to. Yeah, that’s a totally weird feeling! Complete, utter limbo.

My cell phone rang and I saw Cori’s name there. It was either good news, or bad news like, “Sorry, Susan, but everyone changed their mind. The publishers have all talked and they decided your book is day-old tripe. Buh-bye!”

Turns out, it was better than that. I don’t remember exactly what I said to Cori, but I think I used the word “wow” a lot. And “thank you”, too, for stupid stuff like, “I’ll need to sign a contract? Oh, thank you! Berkley will send revisions in a couple months? Oh, thank you!” Sheesh.

•I love your tagline: “Fun, frisky humor for today; hot-blooded humor from history.” Whether set in the past or present, your stories are sure to make your readers laugh, as I did while reading the excerpts on your website. The first line of Deception at Dawn (tentative title), the second of two Regencies you’ve sold, brought an amused smile to my face: “Julia St. Clement had never tried to eat soup through a mustache before.” Where do you come up with your clever story ideas? Are you a naturally funny person who’s the life of the party, or does your wit wait in the wings until you put fingers to keyboard?

I don’t know about “life of the party” (I look awful in a lampshade), but I do think life’s full of really funny things. Also, it’s got some really NOT funny things, too, so I try to make up for that by keeping it light. I want anyone who’s stuck spending time around me to feel better for it. I appreciate writers who can explore the darker aspects of existence, but that’s not who I am. I think if you take almost anything and twist it just a bit, you can see the funny side.

•Your great voice reaches across sub-genres. While your Regency excerpts had me chuckling at the period-appropriate witticisms, the blurbs on your Contemporaries had me in stitches. Thanks for the Mammaries is too funny. Such a clever title. I know the focus these days has been on the titles you’ve sold, but would you tell us what this story is about and how you thunk up the great plot?

Thanks for the Mammaries is the ms where I found my voice. I’d written two (awful!) Historicals and decided to see if it was any easier to write in a contemporary voice. What do you know, it was!

But I realized if I wanted to write a really good book, it had to be about something important. But all the important things like poverty, abuse, death and disease are kind of, well, downers.

So, I figured I’d write a book about boobs. Those are important too, right? I read a statistic that their breasts are one thing women almost universally feel insecure about. I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know gravity is not our friend and I’m spending progressively more each year on better bras.

I decided to create a heroine who has absolutely nothing to worry about in that area. Her breasts are perfect. At least, to the casual observer they are, and Brant is more than just a casual observer. He designs lingerie and has seen more than his fair share of shapely tatas.

Now, however, Brant needs a very special model for a new line of bras he’s introducing. Coincidentally, shy and insecure Lindy needs a way to sneak into his office to steal something. Stumbling into a plot involving abduction, burglary, and internet pornography, Brant and Lindy are forced to pair up to solve the mystery. It turns out her perfect boobs are the key to more than just Brant’s office!

•I found it interesting that your mother named you after actress Susan Hayward and you ended up loving drama, having spent several years in theater and doing playwriting. What were some of your roles, and which was your favorite? What types of plays did you write, and have they been performed?

Shockingly, my plays have all been comedies. I started out doing repertory and improvisational theatre with a church-based group as a teenager. I love improv—it’s definitely my favorite type of acting. We traveled around and I learned a lot. In college, I studied theatre and focused on playwriting while also traveling with another church-based drama and musical group as director.

I never made it to any of the big regional theatres, but I did have several performances at various little theatres in Louisville, Indianapolis, and a few small towns in Indiana. Also, of course, I’ve written a pile of skits, dramas and musicals for churches.

In recent years, I’ve confined my dramatic interests to working with my children and their school. Last year I conducted a playwriting workshop to help the school kids create their own shows—it was a real joy to see the light bulbs going off in their young heads. I’m also currently working on a children’s musical adaptation of Noah’s Ark with my sister who is a talented songwriter.

•You came into fiction writing with your playwriting background. I’ve heard those with such skills have an edge. In what ways does your experience writing plays help you as you craft your novels? With your background, what advice from theater would you offer on how to improve a character’s dialogue and how to set a scene?

A:  Two giant, giant things I think I’ve learned from my theatre background:
1) Character development and
2) Clear, concise dialog.

If you want to learn more about developing your characters, take an acting class. Really, that’s what we are as writers, you know. We’re actors, giving life to our imaginary characters. Actors are given a script, which is little more than just words on a page. They must glean from those pages their character’s goal, motivation and conflicts. (Recognize those words?)

We, as writers, are doing that same thing for every character in our books. A good actor takes the words he’s given and makes them real, makes them alive. A good writer does the same thing—we just also have to make up the words in the first place.

As for dialog, that’s pretty much all a playwright has to work with. If the actors can’t tell what you’re trying to say, they’ll deliver their lines wrong and your play will end up being about something you never meant it to be about. Yes, I speak from experience here!

I had a fairly humorous two-act play that was meant to be about family relationships. It had a heavily female cast because, hey, I’m a girl. The play was produced out of town, so I hadn’t been to any rehearsals. When I showed up on opening night, imagine my surprise when my quaint family drama was turned into a raging feminist sermon! Oh, the laugh lines were still there and it actually got fairly good reviews, but the dialog had certainly been used to say something I’d not intended. It wasn’t bad, it was just different.

The problem was I had let my words be ambiguous, and the director was forced to take the play in his own direction. When this happens in a novel, the reader is left confused and unsure what’s really going on. She doesn’t understand or know the characters. She’s thrown out of the story and probably will not rush out to buy our next release. So, writers, keep it clear. Write what you mean and mean what you write—always!

•I visited your blog and learned that you have an affliction I share, one you call ASHD: Attention Surplus Hyper-commitment Disorder. For the benefit of your readers, here are the symptoms: chronic volunteerism, over-extended calendars, and throat spasms that continually form the word “yes.” I’m sure that as a wife, mother, volunteer, scrapbooker and writer, you were plenty busy even before The Call came. How are you going to manage your ASHD now that you’re a contracted author with publisher’s deadlines? What will you keep in your schedule, and what will have to go by the wayside?

You’re bringing me out of the closet, Keli! I’ll admit to suffering from all of the above—plus the incurable disorder of being married to a minister. Lots and lots of expectations there, as you can imagine! Yes, I’m in the midst of re-evaluating just about every aspect of my life and determining what can stay and what needs to go.

So far, I’ve determined vacuuming is not necessary and those weeds in the garden looked pretty good this year. I’ve let go of a few church commitments, but the kids and my husband have informed me they’re staying, despite my increased commitment to my keyboard and the lack of hot suppers.

•Two of your faves are consuming imported chocolates and collecting critters. Dark, light or white chocolate? And what types of critters are part of your family these days? As one who kept frogs in the bathtub as a child, I’d guess you to be the kind of mom who wouldn’t balk at snakes or tarantulas. Do you have anything exotic, or are you into more traditional pets now?

Chocolate—yummmm. I prefer the really, really creamy chocolates. There are some good German ones I’ve encountered, and Cadbury has some great melty stuff, too. I’m really not too picky when it comes to chocolate!

Critters—sorry, nothing very exotic right now. My son is forever sneaking snakes into the house, but I think wild things should be left wild, so I sneak them back out and release them. Oh, we do have seven pet rats. Are those exotic? They don’t seem like it because they come in such pretty colors and they are darling, gentle creatures. (Seriously!)

We lost our old ram sheep this year so we have nothing with hooves, but I’m a chicken fanatic, so of course there’s a pen of several varieties of them. We all love cats, so there are a dozen or so of them outside and two really energetic dogs in the house (one beagle mix and one giant rat terrier). Plus, we’ve got a tank of guppies.

Don’t tell my husband, but I’d like to get some more goats next spring. I prefer the big dairy varieties, but the kids want some pygmies. My last goats were angora, and they were soooo sweet and soooo cute, but <ugh> that hair!

•And now a question just for fun. If you could spend the day with any actor or playwright past or present, who would you pick, and why?

Oh, that’s easy. I’d invite Mike Rowe (from Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs) over and ask if I could get dirty with him. Tee hee. Then I’d make him sing. Did you know he used to sing opera professionally?

It’s been great having you as my guest, Susan. And now, in closing, is there a final comment you’d like to make or a question you’d like to ask?

A question in closing, huh? How about, “Who are you voting for next month?” No, just kidding, just kidding!

Let’s talk about critters instead. Anyone have any interesting pets? Irrational animal phobias? Favorite humane societies they’d like to plug? Fond memories of dearly departed Gingerpie or Snuggyface?

Leave a Comment for Susan

If you don’t see a comment form below, please use the link by the post title.

All those who leave a comment for Susan between now and October 31 will be entered in a drawing for one of three cool Pixie totes featuring Tink, the most famous Pixie of all Pixie’s.

Here’s how the drawing works. Between now and the end of October, I’ll be featuring interviews with six of my fellow Golden Heart finalists. After flinging truckloads of cyber Pixie dust for one another’s sales, submissions, revisions and the like, we dubbed ourselves the Pixie Chicks.

In honor of the fact that it’s Pixie Central here at Romance Writers on the Journey the rest of the month, I found Pixie prizes. These are the best prizes I’ve ever featured on the blog, imho. They are sturdy canvas bags about sixteen inches square, exclusive of the handles.

Congratulations to the winners of the Pixie totes: AJ, Darcy Burke and Sue Mason.

Pixie Prizes!

Pixie Prizes!

Learn More about Susan

Visit her Website.

Friend her on Facebook.

About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
This entry was posted in author interview, choosing a literary agent, first sale story, Golden Heart, playwriting skills, Romance Writers of America, RWA Nationals, writers conference, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Meet Debut Author Susan Gee Heino

  1. Keli Gwyn says:

    Susan,

    It’s great to have you as my guest at Romance Writers on the Journey. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to get to know you better as we prepped for your interview.

    The question you asked your visitors tugged at my heart. My family had a mellow orange tabby for ten years. We faithfully took him the vet each year for his vaccinations. Sadly he was a one in 10,000 cat who got a tumor from the leukemia vaccine. He lived a year before the cancer caused too much pain and we had to have him put to sleep.

    We got our furry friend when our DD was three. The dear fellow got saddled with the name Snuggles because he snuggled up to me, a dog person, when we went to select our DD’s first pet.

    Snuggs, his more masculine nickname, stole my heart. I’ve been a converted cat person to this day.

  2. Keli,
    Thanks so much for having me here. I love your blog!

    And I love your yellow cat story, too. Is it just my imagination, or do felines have some extra-sensory way of detecting who the dog people are, or the allergic people? Most of the cats I’ve known have seemed to take it as a personal challenge to make those people love them. Then, once Miss Kitty has her target sufficiently enamoured, she settles in to reap the benefits of being spoiled rotten. Sounds like Snuggs accomplished this goal with flying colors.

  3. Suz says:

    Sus,

    I don’t have any animal stories. I could tell you a few about Wade and the kids, but you probably already know them. I’ve already vetted you about fish, and I still break out in a cold sweat when I think about maybe having them in my house. Ask yourself this? How did you end up being such good friends with someone who thinks that all animals should be viewed behind cages and petted with gloves and a mask on? It just shows how accepting you are.
    When it comes to your book, what can I say that I haven’t already gushed about. I am so proud of you and I will be the first in line, if not a close second (even if I have to cut), to buy your book and get it signed. I am not surprised by your success as I’ve been in a few of your dramas, both on stage and off. Your creativity blows me away! And I know you’re wordy cause you’re the only person I can call to ask a simple question and be on the phone for hours with, willingly. I know that whenever I talk with you I’m going to get a listening ear, great advice, and a huge stitch in my side. I love you my sister of the heart! Many blessing on all your continued endeavors!

  4. Saralee says:

    Hi, Susan! What a great interview. You had me laughing like crazy!
    I totally agree, vacuuming is not an essential activity and a weed is just a flower out of place, so hey, it’s practically landscaping.
    We don’t have any animals at home right now, sad to say.
    I’m hoping to convince my DH that we need a dog. Unfortunately, I’m not getting the support I need in this effort from one critical source–my son.
    He wants a robot dog, and they don’t seem to have those at the pound. Sigh.
    I can’t wait for your book, “Mistaken by Moonlight,” to come out!

    Take care,

    Saralee

  5. Susan Gee Heino says:

    Hey, Suz!
    I love your gushing. Thanks. (The check’s in the mail, dearie.)
    It still blows me away there are people in this world who can be perfectly content to only have humans living in their homes. That’s just crazy! I think the added bonus of figuring out how to keep a rat terrier away from the pet rats and the beagle out of the bagels is a big part of honing brain function and creativity.
    Besides, it’s great blog fodder when one still doesn’t have an official release date to chat about!

  6. Susan Gee Heino says:

    Saralee,
    Still no doggy in your window, huh? Maybe someone will leave a comment here about possible robot-like breeds you can start plugging on the home-front.
    And speaking of plugging, I’ll mention your fabulous Regency, “A Limited Engagement” that everyone should get their hands on thru Cerridwen Press. It’s even got a theatrical backdrop for extra flavor.

  7. Margaret Crowley says:

    Susan: Thanks for the Mammaries? LOL!!! What a great title. You looked gorgeous the night of the Golden Hearts (Did you mention that you made your dress ?? lol)

    I can’t wait to read to read Mistaken By Moonlight.

  8. Hello, Susan! Wanna go by the Cheesecake Factory this morning? Tammy says to tell you HI!

    What a great interview, but I expected no less as you are a hoot!

    I can’t wait to read the first of your many, many books to come!

    Okay, I still think you should try and sell Thanks for the Mammaries! The title alone is a keeper. And I am with you, sister on the better bra purchases. Gravity is NOT my friend.

    Yes, she did make that gorgeous dress which accounts for the perfect fit and color.

    I currently have four rescued cats, nine rescued dogs – some inside, some outside and five acres of wildlife that bums meals at my feeders.

    I’ve had everything from tarantulas and Pac-man frogs to a beer stealing horse. Taz used to wander around at barbecues and pick up any beer bottle someone put down and guzzle it. Made me very glad I’m a teetotaler! I also had a deaf Great Dane who could open doors, refrigerator doors! I came home one night to an empty refrigerator, a kitchen disaster area and four sick dogs who had a party with spaghetti and the entire contents of the fridge. I had to padlock the fridge from that day on until Gus passed away.

    Pixie Chicks Rule!

  9. Annette says:

    Great interview, Susan! Thanks for the suggestion of taking an acting class to hone dialog–I might just do that.

    As far as animals are concerned, we don’t have anything exotic, but my DD and I live with a black lab and a tuxedo cat. The cat adores the dog, but the dog thinks the cat is a yawner, LOL.

    Looking forward to reading your book when it comes out, Susan!

  10. Susan Gee Heino says:

    Margaret,
    The dress wouldn’t have looked so good if my back hadn’t been tan. Thanks for the Lotion, girl!

  11. Susan Gee Heino says:

    Louisa,
    Beer swilling horses, Danes in the fridge? Wow, your parties rock! No wonder Tammy hangs with you.
    My sister had a potbelly pig that lived in her apartment and that little darling figured how to get into the fridge and help himself. He ate a whole pound of bacon one day, which is rather disturbing if you think about it. He eventually had to come live on the farm with me where he was relegated to life as a barnyard pet rather than a couch potato.
    We had a Great Dane, too, for many years. Harley lived to be 11, which is miraculous for a Dane.
    Now, what on earth is a Pac-man frog?

  12. Susan Gee Heino says:

    Annette,
    Thanks for popping in, Annette. Yay Pixies!
    I love watching the dynamics between cats and dogs who live together. And ya gotta love those tuxedo cats–so classy looking. Does yours have a mustache?

  13. Marcia James says:

    Hi, Susan! Really enjoyed your interview! You mentioned humane societies, and one group that was recommended to me is the Best Friends Animal Society in Utah. It’s the biggest no-kill shelter in America, I believe, and it takes the really sad cases like Michael Vick’s fighting dogs. I’m doing an online author promotion workshop in Feb., and the presenter fees are going to this charity.

    I can’t wait to read Mistaken by Moonlight!
    — Marcia 😉

  14. Paulette says:

    Susan, I count you as a friend and you’re a wonderful inspiration to me as a writer.
    I can say I knew you when! Can’t wait to read Mistaken by Moonlight (a signed copy of course).
    Paulette

  15. Elizabeth McCord says:

    Hey, Susan,

    We live in the woods so we share our quarters with all manner of wildlife who think our hostas and lillies and zucchini buds are their own private salad bar. But they were here first so fair’s fair, in my view.

    Inside the house (if you don’t count spiders and occasional field mice), we have a Labrador Retriever who is sleeping, not retrieving, at the moment.

    I agree a theatre background can help tremendously with character development and dialogue. I wondered if you’d encountered one of the adverse effects, though, where you feel compelled (at least in the first draft) to write down your character’s every move because you see the blocking in your head?

    Gorgeous dress, BTW. Gorgeous you.

    Libby McCord

  16. Fedora says:

    Fabulous interview, Susan and Keli! Thanks so much! Definitely looking forward to reading Mistaken by Moonlight 🙂 Your tagline is quite a hook!

  17. Susan Gee Heino says:

    Marcia & Paulette,
    Thanks for the kind words.
    Isn’t one of the cable channels doing a series about the Michael Vick dogs and that shelter that helped them? It’s great to see so many people who really care to help animals–they’ve got no one to look out for them if we don’t.
    I can’t wait to actually have a book out so I can sit with you gals at book signings!

  18. Anne Barton says:

    Hey Susan! I loved your interview and getting to know more about you. It’s so cool that you do playwrighting workshops at your kids’ school. I’m a 4th grade reading teacher, and my students love writing their own plays–esp when they get to act them out! If you weren’t so far away, I’d try to recruit you. 🙂

    Congrats on your success. Your explanation of how you ended up with your agent was very cool too. I’m so glad it worked out!

    For pets, we have an aquatic frog. Or we did. Over the summer, we kept it in a tank–with a lid–in our screened-in porch. One morning we went out there, and the frog was gone. No trace of him whatsoever. I’d like to think he made it to the creek, but I’m not so sure . . .

  19. Susan Gee Heino says:

    Libby,
    Ah yes, the downside of a theatre background.
    It is tempting to write out everyone’s blocking, isn’t it? I do get a very clear visual of what my characters are doing as they speak, so I’m constantly battling not to weigh down the scene with descriptions of how the hero is posed, what hand props the heroine is toying with, and who is turning to whom when. Of course some of this is needed, but it’s easy to get carried away.
    Also, I’m perpetually stuck with the fear of set changes!
    In theatre, the wise playwright keeps in mind that not every production can afford many diverse set changes. In fact, directors will often chose a script based on the economy of a simple set. I got used to working within those constraints so I often find myself hesitant to take my romance characters out and about. Well, this can make a very dull book if your characters are stuck having conversations in one all-purpose setting throughout. “Oh look, Lord Chincleft, the servants are laying out nuncheon right here where we’ve been secretly trysting in the same room where the murder just took place not two hours ago! How convenient.”
    (Not advisable.)

  20. Susan Gee Heino says:

    Anne,
    You lucky teacher! 4th grade is an interesting year, isn’t it? Along with all my critters I have a 4th grade drama queen living in my house. She’s half teenager, half little kid.
    And who knew aquatic frogs could escape like that. Maybe he’s out there intermingling with your local frogs and next year there’ll be a whole new mutant frog species. You could name it after yourself, Annebartonicus Tadpolius, or something.

  21. Sue Mason says:

    Hi from one Susan to another,

    Great interview. I noticed you have 3 books in your series. Has the 3rd been contracted yet or only the first two?

    I was at a workshop with Eloisa James and she was speaking about this very subject. Her advice was to be careful not to let big plot points dangle over into another book, when the publisher may not pick up the last book in a series. This would make the readers very upset. She is working on a 6 book series (whew).

    Our pets are two cats. One a male tabby and the other a huge, white princess cat. She is so comical, she keeps us laughing!

    Congratulations again and all the best with your writing.

    Sue

  22. Susan Gee Heino says:

    Thanks, Sue! You raise a great point about the partially-bought series. I do want to temp my editor into buying more, but I also want to be sure I’ve got all the loose ends wrapped up–just in case. It’s a balancing act, isn’t it?
    Ane aren’t white cats supposed to bring luck?

  23. Sue, I can’t wait to read your book(s)! You are hilarious and I love how you don’t mind getting up on stage! My boys are a little shy at times but my two girls are both hams. They love getting up on stage.

    Lots of luck with your books. I look forward to seeing your books on the shelves! Congratulations!

  24. Becky says:

    Hi Susan! Great interview. Thanks for sharing and a big wish for continued success.

    Hugs, Becky
    http://www.BeckyBarker.com

  25. Susan Gee Heino says:

    Thanks, Theresa. BTW–great blog today on the wet noodle posse!

    It sounds like your daughters have found a great, positive way to get attention. Good for them! For the longest time both my kids were shy about being in front of people, but they’re pretty much over that now. Good thing, being my children, and all.

    Thanks for the congrats and kind words. Got that Golden Heart entry ready yet?

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