Sophia's Sofa Chat- A Visit With Suzan

 photo Sophias Sofa Chats_zpsbolbpuhj.jpg

*consults list then looks down at the vendor’s stall* Farm fresh goodness locally grown. Love it! It is a wonderful thing to finally have our own weekly farmer’s market right in town though it won’t be open for much longer.
I’ve been on a roll dragging my Sofa Chat guests around to some of my favorite Hang-Outs for our chats so I thought that I’d keep it up. Besides, now I have an extra set of arms to carry one of my sacks of vegetables. Haha! Just kidding. I’d never abuse my guests that way. *silence*
Okay maybe I would, but I’d make sure they didn’t have a bad back first. Haha!

 photo b431b4eb1ae7803c8a5972e63a382201_zpsvoix8fth.jpg attrition to The Grower's Daughter blog b/c I forgot to get a picture from our local Farmer's Market

I do hope my latest guest doesn’t have trouble finding me in the crowd. Do you think this bright orange Detroit Tiger’s shirt will be easy to spot? Hope so! I bought a special sweet for my guest today, maple fudge, in honor of the fact that she is visiting from Canada.

Suzan is a fun surprise. I read one of her books and was impressed by her creative mind. I enjoy our encounters on-line through GoodReads here, Facebook, and of course around the blogosphere. She’s engaging and insightful with her blog posts at the Meryton Press blog. She shares her helpful ideas. I know I learned plenty from her on the book release campaign last year as a couple of the co-authors for Then Comes Winter.

“Howdy Suzan! So glad you could visit today. It’s a little nippy and clouded over, but aren’t the colors great on this lovely Autumn day? What’s it like back home in British Columbia this time of year?

In Victoria, our summers are sunny but not super-hot, but the warmish weather continues into October. Our winters are mild with a few days of moderate rain a week, but we can have some huge windstorms. The roses disappear in December and the crocuses bloom in January.

Although, now that I think on it, you’re on the move to Mexico, right? What part of Mexico are you settling in? And how is the move going?

We’ll head to Mexico in mid-November when their rainy season is over. We have a tiny little Spanish colonial house in the Centro Historico area of Mazatlán.
Last year we stayed three months and this year it’ll be longer. We bring our cats. The cost of living is very low and the people are warm, friendly, and hard working.
It sounds rather cozy and nice.

You have many exciting things going on at the moment.
I saw that you are starting a new series of blog posts at Meryton Press about the writing craft. What are some of the topics you plan to write on?

The series is about my own problems in writing, so I can use humour to help others learn how to be better writers. I plan to write on Regency language, deep Point of View, over-used words and alternatives for them, a few common punctuation problems, and the word pairs that have caused me difficulty. I definitely would benefit from those posts.

Meryton Press blog link:

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I understand you have a big book release, too. Congrats on Letter fom Ramsgate! What’s the 411 on it (or maybe Canadians reference a different set of digits to dial Information)? Can you share something cool and behinds the scenes about it?

411 is correct! The basic premise is that Elizabeth Bennet goes to Ramsgate with her Aunt Gardiner to stay with a friend of her aunt’s from the Lambton area, Lady Edwina. Lady Edwina introduces them to her friend Georgiana Darcy, who becomes close friends with Elizabeth. Georgiana tells Elizabeth all about her wonderful brother and his “best friend” Mr. Wickham. Dastardly things happen before the story heads to the start of Pride and Prejudice canon, then there’s a monster misunderstanding that causes the story to veer off canon. That results in six chapters of angst before Darcy and Elizabeth’s “Happily Ever After!” Oho! Dastardly deeds! Can't wait to read about that.

Then Comes Winter by Christina Boyd
I had a good time being a part of the winter short story anthology, Then Comes Winter, with you and seeing your stop for our awesome Road Trip adventure. You chose to write a modern Pride & Prejudice retelling for this one. Now I’m curious after reading your modern and your Regency retellings…

How do the two compare? Do you prefer writing historical or modern?

I prefer to write Regency romances because I love the clothing, the balls, and the politics of the era, the challenge of the stricter society rules, the social hierarchy, and so forth. Parallels with Jane Austen canon plot points are more difficult with a modern story, and my modern in Then Comes Winter only paid a brief nod to Pride and Prejudice as a result. Once I have a good plot in my head, I find modern far easier to write, though. It’s hard to switch between them because of the cadence of the language and the contractions!

 photo jasna 2015 8x10 for author signing table suzan lauder_zpstko9er5b.png JASNA 2015 Author Signing. Doesn't Suzan look great as a Regency lady?

Now, let’s switch things up and talk about Suzan the reader. If you were browsing at the library, what shelves would you gravitate toward? Do you have any authors on insta-buy?

Most of my reading is Jane Austen Fan Fiction and Regency Romance. I like novels where tasteful passion is incorporated into the novel to move the plot forward. Tessa Dare, Grace Burrowes, Sarah MacLean, and Julie Anne Long are some favourite Regency Romance authors.Romancing the Duke (Castles Ever After, #1) by Tessa DareNo Good Duke Goes Unpunished The Third Rule of Scoundrels by Sarah MacLean Daniel's True Desire (True Gentlemen, #2) by Grace BurrowesMature novels have become rare in JAFF lately, but I liked the early Abigail Reynolds books. She’s still a go-to author, as are Karen M. Cox, Leslie Diamond, and Jan Hahn. I’ve added some newer names like Caitlin Williams and Melanie Stanford, and I’m a huge fan of the unpublished work of Amy George and Amy d’Orazio, as well as several others at A Happy Assembly and the Meryton Reading Room.

Outside of those genres, in literary fiction I love the work of Canadian poet and author Michael Ondaatje.Running in the Family by Michael Ondaatje

I read your bio and noticed you had a different, refreshing take on reviewing books. As a reviewer, what elements are you looking for in a story? And do you write up your reviews in a certain format?

Every review is unique, just as every book is unique, but I always include certain elements, like how well it accomplished some basic aspects that make a novel good: plot, flow, characterization, POV, editing, anachronisms, conflict, and so on.
If a novel is fantastic, I make sure to mention its flaws, and if it’s terrible, its strengths.
I adore a novel with a fresh premise or scenes that are memorable. A book that’s good but not memorable pales next to one that’s got flaws but sticks with you.
I like that you show both strengths and flaws. So helpful for the potential reader and, really, the author, too.

Before I forget, I got you something special here at one of the stalls. That lady makes and sells all sorts of fudge. I got you some of her maple fudge shaped like leaves in honor of you being Canadian. Hope you like fudge. ;)

I usually would prefer chocolate, but maple is great. The better maple trees for fudge are in eastern Canada and northeastern US, so you make locally what we import in my city! The tourists don’t know any better, though! But I understand that Michigan is known for its fudge. It is indeed. Fudge was one of the best discoveries I had when moving here from California. :)

Sofa Starters:
Koala Bear or Otter? That’s a tough one. I had an Aussie pen pal in high school and cherished a rabbit fur Koala she gave me until it burst its seams some 30 years later. There are river otters in the area where I walk in the mornings in Victoria, and I have some funny stories!
Super strength or Invisibility? Invisibility. Fly on the wall!
Orange or Yellow? Orange!
Sir Thomas Bertram or Sir John Middleton? Ew.
Chinese or Italian food? Italian. I make a mean sausage linguine and amazing classic Tiramisu.
Winter or Summer Olympics? Don’t get me going on my rant about the waste of tax dollars on elitism in sport!

I am tickled pink that you were able to walk the farmer’s market with me today, Suzan (and help me haul around my purchases). Did you pick out anything you could take home with you?

Pistachios! Another Michigan specialty!
 photo DSC05765_zpsousxpeiq.jpg I remember this picture. It is Suzan posing with Then Comes Winter for our Road Trip several months ago. Love the fall color and just how I'd imagine her dressing for our farmer's market excursion.

Thanks so much for the visit and again, congrats on the release of Letter from Ramsgate.

If Suzan isn’t hanging out here on GoodReads, you can find her at:
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Published on October 06, 2016 22:31 Tags: author, fall, interview, jane-austen, sofa-chat
Comments Showing 1-16 of 16 (16 new)    post a comment »
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message 1: by Suzan (new)

Suzan Lauder Eep! It's live! I didn't sound like too much of a dork. Thanks, Sophia, for a fun chat!

message 2: by Sophia (new)

Sophia Suzan wrote: "Eep! It's live! I didn't sound like too much of a dork. Thanks, Sophia, for a fun chat!"

Not at all, Suzan. You were splendid and I enjoyed your side of the chat. :)

message 3: by Ruth (new)

Ruth She's an amazingly fun lady isn't she! I met her in Toronto and spent the afternoon with her, it was great!

message 4: by Sophia (new)

Sophia Ruth wrote: "She's an amazingly fun lady isn't she! I met her in Toronto and spent the afternoon with her, it was great!"

Oh neat! That would be fun to meet up in real life like that, Ruth. I'm sure you had a blast. Thanks for stopping by.

message 5: by Denise (new)

Denise Stout what a fun Q&A!

message 6: by Sophia (new)

Sophia Denise wrote: "what a fun Q&A!"

Very fun, Denise! :)

Carole (in Canada) Enjoyed getting to know you Suzan! Looking forward to reading both your books...starting with Alias Thomas Bennet! Love your picture with Terry Fox!

message 8: by Suzan (new)

Suzan Lauder Thanks, Ruth, Denise and Carole! My published works vary a lot! ATB is Regency, mature and has sex and violence as important plot points and a mystery side story; the short in Then Comes Winter is modern and snappy; and Letter from Ramsgate is angsty Regency, and the latter two are rated teen. I hope you like them all!

message 9: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok I love your approach to reviews, Suzan, and the eloquent way you lay it out here!

message 10: by J. W. (new)

J. W. Garrett Loved the sofa chat with Suzan...Sophia you did an excellent job of introducing us to Suzan. I enjoyed her informative chat and like Abigail said, her approach to reviews. Very interesting. I have the books featured in my wish list so I shall be looking more closely now.

message 11: by Suzan (new)

Suzan Lauder Thanks, Abigail! I liked your interview, too. I had no idea you were taller than average. JW, I hope you like my books. ATB is a bit different, and many love it for that reason. Thanks for commenting!

message 12: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok Sigh, six feet tall. It’s a pain. I should give ATB a try! I do like different . . .

message 13: by Sophia (new)

Sophia J. W. wrote: "Loved the sofa chat with Suzan...Sophia you did an excellent job of introducing us to Suzan. I enjoyed her informative chat and like Abigail said, her approach to reviews. Very interesting. I have ..."

Thanks, Jeanne! Suzan made it easy. :)

message 14: by Sophia (new)

Sophia Abigail wrote: "I love your approach to reviews, Suzan, and the eloquent way you lay it out here!"

I thought she articulated well, too. Thanks for popping by, Abigail!

message 15: by Mary (new)

Mary What a lovely refreshing chat to eavesdrop on!!! I can feel the warmth and camaraderie from here!!

Dare I admit that I have yet to read a book by this author?' Where have I been?' I hear you ask. Have no idea but I've gotta right that wrong soon.

message 16: by Sophia (new)

Sophia Mary wrote: "What a lovely refreshing chat to eavesdrop on!!! I can feel the warmth and camaraderie from here!!

Dare I admit that I have yet to read a book by this author?' Where have I been?' I hear you ask...."

So glad you could stop in for a visit, Mary. Always happy to have more company for our chats.

No worries! There are so many good authors and books that I still need to get to as well. :)

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