Please help me welcome Susanna Fraser to Monday Magic. She’s going to sit in the hot seat and answer some questions, and then tell us about her wonderful new book, An Infamous Marriage. I’m very excited about her new release, and the blurb sounds wonderful. And you can’t beat a cover with Jimmy on it!
Okay, Susanna, you’re on. If you could be a character in one of your books, who would it be, and why?
Everything I’ve written so far, including An Infamous Marriage, is set 200 years in the past, and while I’d jump at the chance to visit that world, I wouldn’t want to live there. I’m too fond of electricity, the internet, and the right to vote. Not to mention antibiotics to cure the nasty strep infection I had a few years back and modern medicine that got me through a complicated pregnancy and labor.
If you hadn’t decided to become a writer, what other occupation can you see yourself in?
I have a full-time day job in academic research administration, but I’ve always loved to sing and often regretted that I never got professional vocal training. So maybe I’d be a professional choral singer (I think they exist) or choir director instead of just hunting for a Messiah sing-along or two every December. (Handel wrote the best alto parts!)
How do you pick the names of your characters?
I’m something of a research geek, so I try to stick with names that were popular at the time–or at least ones that existed then. Then it’s simply a matter of figuring out what sounds right for the character. Very much a gut thing.
Jack, the hero of An Infamous Marriage, is a special case. Last summer, when I was first starting to plan the manuscript, I lost two friends from my past–a high school friend to a long struggle with cancer and one of my very best college friends suddenly in a highway accident. The high school friend’s last name was Armstrong, and the college friend’s middle name was John. So it felt right, somehow, to make my next hero John Armstrong, nicknamed Jack, even though he’s very much his own character and not actually based on either of my friends. (Had to add that disclaimer in case either of their mothers are reading this!)
Is finding the right title easy or hard?
Extremely hard. I’ve yet to publish a book with the same title I first began writing it under. Sometimes I make the change myself and sometimes my publisher requests it, but evidently my first instincts aren’t reliable.
What did you do immediately after receiving your first ‘call?’
I text-messaged my husband after I got the email from Angela James. I’d always planned to call him, and even had the script all planned out, but I had laryngitis that week and could barely even whisper.
Now for a few fun things:
Mountain home or beach house?
Mountain home, though the beauty of living in the Pacific Northwest is that the mountains and the beaches aren’t far apart!
Gloomy day or sunshine to get your muse going?
Sunshine helps…though living in the Northwest I’ve had to force my muse to cooperate through our gray and gloomy months. (The summers are lovely, though. Sunshine, long days because we’re so far north, little to no rain after the 4th of July, and we call it a heat wave when it breaks 80. Really almost makes up for the other 9 months.)
Coffee or tea?
Tea. (Earl Grey, hot.)
Cat or dog?
Cat, though my husband is severely allergic, so we’re currently a petless household.
Beach vacation or sightseeing?
Jeans, t-shirt, and sneakers, or pencil skirt, silk blouse, and killer heels?
Jeans, t-shirt, and clunky sandals for everyday, though I like to break out the fancy stuff for conferences or nice dates.
Carrie Underwood or Lady Gaga?
Neither, actually. I listen to a lot of Celtic and folk music, though my favorites have a contemporary spin. Like this song by the Carolina Chocolate Drops, or, now that the holidays are rapidly approaching, it’s time to pull out Fairytale of New York by the Pogues again.
At long last, Britain is at peace, and General Jack Armstrong is coming home to the wife he barely knows. Wed for mutual convenience, their union unconsummated, the couple has exchanged only cold, dutiful letters. With no more wars to fight, Jack is ready to attempt a peace treaty of his own.
Elizabeth Armstrong is on the warpath. She never expected fidelity from the husband she knew for only a week, but his scandalous exploits have made her the object of pity for years. Now that he’s back, she has no intention of sharing her bed with him—or providing him with an heir—unless he can earn her forgiveness. No matter what feelings he ignites within her…
Jack is not expecting a spirited, confident woman in place of the meek girl he left behind. As his desire intensifies, he wants much more than a marriage in name only. But winning his wife’s love may be the greatest battle he’s faced yet.
Now for Susanna’s exciting news: One commenter here between now and tomorrow at 5 PM Pacific Time will win a download of An Infamous Marriage in the electronic format of their choice, and at the end of the tour I’ll be giving away a grand prize of a $50 gift certificate to their choice of Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Powell’s Books to one commenter on the tour as a whole. You get one entry per blog tour stop you comment upon, so check out my blog for the whole schedule! If you wish to be entered in the drawing, include your email address formatted as yourname AT yourhost DOT com.
Susanna Fraser wrote her first novel in fourth grade. It starred a family of talking horses who ruled a magical land. In high school she started, but never finished, a succession of tales of girls who were just like her, only with long, naturally curly and often unusually colored hair, who, perhaps because of the hair, had much greater success with boys than she ever did.
Along the way she read her hometown library’s entire collection of Regency romance, fell in love with the works of Jane Austen, and discovered in Patrick O’Brian’s and Bernard Cornwell’s novels another side of the opening decades of the 19th century. When she started to write again as an adult, she knew exactly where she wanted to set her books. Her writing has come a long way from her youthful efforts, but she still tends to give her heroines great hair.
Susanna lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and daughter. When not writing or reading, she goes to baseball games, watches Chopped, Castle, and The Legend of Korra, and cooks her way through an ever-growing cookbook collection.