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Monday, April 14, 2008

Interview with Susan Page Davis

Congratulations to Pamela James. She's won a copy of Carol Steward's In His Sights! If you'd like a chance to win Witness, don't forget to comment below and leave your contact information.

LISA: I’d like to welcome back Susan Page Davis to our blog again. Susan has her plate full writing for Heartsong Presents, Heartsong Presents: Mysteries, Harvest House, and Love Inspired Suspense, but it’s no wonder as her books continue to captivate her readers over and over!

Welcome Susan! What are you working on right now?

SUSAN: Hi, Lisa. It’s great to talk with you again. I just finished writing my third book for the Love Inspired Suspense line. On a Killer’s Trail will release in February, 2009.

LISA: Tell us about your experience in breaking into the LIS line.

SUSAN: I tried for a long time to sell to LIS. I’m not sure what finally got me “in,” but my super agent, Chip MacGregor and a lot of persistence must have something to do with it.

LISA: What are the necessary ingredients for a LIS novel?

SUSAN: Of course you have to have suspense, starting immediately on the first page if possible, and continuing throughout the book. You also need romance. But it’s more than that. The characters need depth and inner conflict, beyond the romantic tension and the suspense plot. For instance, in On a Killer’s Trail, newbie reporter Kate and police detective Neil fall in love, but it takes a while. Neil is a new Christian, and he’s not sure he knows how to relate to a Christian woman. His family has rejected him and his new faith. Kate is so focused on her career that she doesn’t want to be distracted by a good-looking guy, especially one with a “bad boy” reputation. So we have the romantic attraction, but we also have reasons to keep it in check, and we have the murders Neil is trying to solve and Kate is reporting to the world. Lots of levels emotionally.

LISA: How do you balance the suspense thread with the romance thread?

SUSAN: One thing I sometimes have trouble with is keeping the romantic tension to almost the end of the suspense plot. If you let the couple declare their love too early, that tension is gone. It took me a while to understand why writers kept the hero and heroine apart (either physically or emotionally) so long, but I’m starting to “get it.” If I resolve the romance too early in an LIS-targeted book, the editor reminds me to keep that thread alive a little longer.

LISA: What is your method for developing your plots?

SUSAN: I usually think of a situation first—the opener zinger that starts the suspense plot. Once I have the basic idea, I think of how this event would affect the heroine’s life, and also the hero’s. I rough out a plot. At that point, I like to brainstorm with someone who thinks like me (or a little quirkier), loves suspense, and has a lot of energy. Sometimes that sparks ideas for clues, plot points, and cliffhangers that I might not have thought of. Then I write a detailed synopsis—usually longer than an editor wants, like eight to ten pages. This is my notes for the actual writing process. It may contain chapter synopses, notes on point of view, and even bits of dialogue. Then I trim it down to the shorter version I’ll send the editor.

LISA: What kinds of stories are LIS looking for/not looking for? (Or what do they like/don’t like from your experience`)

SUSAN: In my limited experience, they want stories about fairly young, savvy single women who find themselves in danger. The heroine must have a hand in the resolution of the suspense plot, not simply get rescued. The hero is not just a prop, however. He, too, must be a likable, somewhat intelligent person who is part of the solution process.

LISA: Any advice for authors wanting to break into this line?

SUSAN: Keep trying. And if you get a rejection, pay attention to any comments you get. When you think of a new idea for LIS, try to get that suspense going early and keep it going.

LISA: Susan is giving away a copy of her current LIS book, Witness, this week. Leave a comment below and you will be entered for our drawing next Monday. And be sure to visit Susan at her Website: www.susanpagedavis.com.


Blogger tetewa said...

I would love a chance to get a copy!

12:58 PM  
Blogger windycindy said...

Hi, Thanks for the wonderful interview. I enjoy reading the mysteries from the "Love Inspired
Suspense" line. I like all of their covers. Please enter me in your drawing for this suspense book.
I appreciate it. Thanks,Cindi

1:29 PM  
Blogger ChristyJan said...

Great interview! Please enter me to win a copy of Susan's book, Witness.

4:01 PM  
Blogger Ausjenny said...

just found this blog tonight but enjoyed the interview.
im now saving it in my favourites

3:58 AM  

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