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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Susan Noel Sands: Again, Alabama

FREE signed copy of Susan's book to some lucky commenter!
Susan Sands grew up in a tiny Southern town in Northwest Louisiana near the Texas border. Calling it a town is generous, really. She graduated with a degree from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana where the movie, Steel Magnolia’s was filmed during Susan’s time living there. There’s no more Southern, small town claim to fame than that.

Her characters and setting are pulled from those very Southern, small towns and open spaces, where the air is clean and the words are often spoken with more syllables than necessary, y’all.

Her lifelong love of reading and the realization that her children were growing up and would eventually move on spurred her to try her hand at writing. Susan lives with her dentist husband and three nearly grown children in Johns Creek, GA. She is a member of the Georgia Romance Writers and the Romance Writers of America.

Welcome to the blog, Susan.

Thanks so much for hosting me today, Susan! I grew up in a tiny town in North Louisiana, I now live in Georgia, but my novel, AGAIN, ALABAMA, is set in small town Alabama. My own small town upbringing feeds my stories with the kind of humor and situations that can only spring from first-hand immersion in this real-life setting. Small towns are crazy fun!

I am delighted to have you on the blog.

How has your environment affected your writing?

My current environment living in suburban Atlanta, not so much. My past environment was a fertile breeding ground for some whacky Southern stuff, let me tell you. I graduated high school with thirty people—in public school. We had a big class. Between the gassy well water at school and the toilets blowing up when kids sneaked a smoke in the bathroom, to my class hosting the first prom in the school’s history where there were more chaperones than students, let me tell you…

Give a short synopsis of Again, Alabama.

Dragged back to her small town to help her mother recover from surgery while rescuing the family event planning business should be a cinch. Even for a disgraced television chef, right?  Wrong.

Among the many secrets Cammie's family’s been hiding is the fact that their historic home is falling down.  Oh, and the man hired to restore the house, Grey Harrison, is the same high school and college love of her life who thrashed her heart and dreams ten years ago.  Yeah, that guy.

Grey, a widower with a young daughter, has never stopped loving Cammie, and when they are face to face once again, the chemistry is off the charts.  Cammie may be in full-blown denial, but letting go is no longer in Grey’s vocabulary, even when winning Cammie’s forgiveness and renovating their love may seem like an impossible build even for a master architect and carpenter.

As Cammie finds herself forgetting all the reasons she can’t trust Grey or love again, he finds himself remembering all the reasons he wants her to stay with him in Alabama… forever.

How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?

Um. I’m almost afraid to look at that too closely. I would say I’m more in the voice of the characters than in the actual story or behavior. I do have a good sense of humor—pretty snarky at times. So, if you know me, you can definitely hear me when reading my work.

What challenges did you face while writing this book?

This book has gone through many versions. It’s been edited half to death, then shortened and tightened. The title was changed from MISERY, ALABAMA by the publisher because it wasn’t “romantic” enough. True enough. It went from a true women’s fiction title to more of a Southern women’s fiction/contemporary romance. First I found an agent who believed in the book, and then I found a wonderful editor who believed in the story and was willing to put in the time.

What do you think is the greatest lesson you’ve learned about writing so far? 

There are so many lessons. I learned the importance of spending time learning how to write according to a set of rules, and ways to make words fit together so they tell a story and make reader’s feel.

What advice can you give new writers?

Spend time learning how to write. Buy craft books, attend conferences, and learn to take criticism with grace. Grow skin thicker than an elephants. Listen to what your trusted readers tell you. It hurts to get feedback that isn’t from your mom. And don’t give up.

We all know how important promoting our work has become. How do you get the word out both off and online?

I beg, borrow and steal. No, I don’t steal, but it’s challenging as a new author to get your name and work out there. I’ve done blog tours, been lucky enough to have published author friends host me on their blogs, share my good news on their author pages and websites, and had news articles published announcing my book release. I’ve yelled at the top of my lungs on social media every time any of those things have happened. My publisher put my book on Net Galley before it was released, which garnered many reviews by reviewers and bloggers who posted them on their websites and blogs as well as on Amazon and Goodreads. I set up an author page on Amazon, Facebook, and Goodreads, then linked my blogs and website to all of those sites. I tweet about my books and am on loops with other writers and actively tweet and re-tweet their good news and releases. It’s the hard part of this job.

Can you tell us your future writing goals/projects?

I am currently working on a connected story to AGAIN, ALABAMA.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

I can be found in all the fun places!
Twitter: @SusanNoelSands
Blog:  Sweet Home Alpharetta at: http://susansands.com

  
Are your books available in print and ebook formats? 

My books have been released online in both print and e-book formats. 
http://www.amazon.com/Again-Alabama-Susan-Sands-ebook/dp/B00Z318GNY/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1442974325&sr=8-1

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/again-alabama-susan-sands/1122111605?ean=9781942240921&st=PLA&sid=BNB_DRS_Core+Shopping+Books_00000000&2sid=Google_&sourceId=PLGoP345&k_clickid=3x345&kpid=9781942240921


Please leave a comment for a chance to win a free signed copy of Again, Alabama!



4 comments:

Susan Whitfield said...

Susan, it's great to have you over.

Steve Speight said...

I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It is a great story with real characters and Susan Noel Sands handles their interactions and emotions extremely well. I enjoyed the themes of family, love lost, and love regained. Looking forward to reading anything else she writes.

Susan Whitfield said...

Thanks for weighing in, Steve.

Mary Deal said...

This sounds like an interesting story. I've taken to reading books with settings in areas I know nothing about. This is not only purely interesting but lets me be pulled into the setting the author describes. Another nice interview, Susan!