The famed troubadour, Guillem, attends the king’s court to recite a marvelous tale but his suspicions are raised by a strange servant. With the help of a wizened old woman and her beautiful granddaughter, Guillem attempts to outwit a witch to save the kingdom from murder and mayhem. He then finds himself part of a ritual for life everlasting with the entrancing and mysterious Juliana.
I enjoy being able to create my own world with no limitations or rules and set my mind free to imagine.
What age did you start writing stories/poems?
I started writing in Kindergarten. I told my teacher at the time that I wanted to be a “book maker”.
Has your genre changed or stayed the same?
For the most part, it has remained the same. I enjoy writing medieval fiction.
What genre are you currently reading?
Currently I am most interested in fantasy/fiction (there’s a theme here!).
Do you read for pleasure or research or both?
Mostly for pleasure but some is research to help me with my writing.
Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?
My parents, for sure!
Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?
I created a character named Emily a while ago for one of my other stories. I would have to say that she has been my favorite so far. She is funny, smart and rather crazy at times.
Where is your favorite writing space?
I do most of my writing downstairs on the sofa with my iPad.
Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants writer?
I usually plan the plot and the first chapter or two and just let it flow after that.
What inspires your ideas/stories?
I’m not really sure. I just get an idea in my head and I want to write. Once I get started I want to keep going until I finish – just ask my parents.
Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?
No, I don’t belong to any kind of a writing group right now – maybe someday.
Do you have a book published? If so, what is it called & where can readers purchase it?
Yes, I currently have a book entitled “Falsely Accused”. It is available on Amazon as a download for Kindle. I also have had a few paperback copies made as well for family and friends and for people without an e-Reader.
a) Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?
This is a difficult question, Mandy. For some reason, the men characters I create seem to stay with me more. They are big, bold and very charismatic, I’m told. In Mirror Deep, this would be Pierce Bonner, Kat, my heroine’s, would-be hero. There is also a very flamboyant French older gentleman by the name of Charles… not to give too much of my story away. The reason I find this question a little difficult to answer is that these characters are like my children and, as you know, it’s hard to favor one child over another.
b) Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?
Yes. I love a good suspense story or a mystery with lots of twists and turns to the main plot. This means many subplots and tons of foreshadowing. This is the sort of book I like to read, which is why I love to write this, I guess. I also enjoy urban fantasy. I am writing one at the moment, and I’m almost finished. I like dreaming up all sorts of powers for my heroine. I also enjoy a good paranormal yarn. Yet in all my stories, you will always find some love connection between several characters. To me love is the seasoning that goes with all my recipes.
c) What do you enjoy most about writing?
Great question, Mandy, and in case I forget to mention it later, I want to thank you for doing this thoughtful interview about me. What writer does not enjoy talking about his or her projects? I enjoy creating something that boils and spins. All my life, while in the home, I’ve spent most of my time in the kitchen, cooking, baking, and even catering for friends’ parties at times. Now, I’ve moved my creations to paper and to an office and a computer. Writing allows me to think outside the box, and creating people and their many life adventures is my favorite form of escapism.
d) Have you got a favorite place to write?
Yes. I can’t just write any old place, although inspiration will come at the weirdest moments, and no matter what I’m doing or where I am. Usually inspiration comes when I’m doing something physical, like walking my dog, or swimming. To write, just give me an office with a window on one side and a TV on the other and I’ll be able to work. Oh, and I can’t write longhand. It has to be on a computer.
e) Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?
A story comes to me early morning, in that ephemeral state between sleep and awake. Full characters with names and personalities begin full conversations… Whenever this happens, I have to get up and write the moment down before it is gone completely.
From there comes a title, then the main plot and then sub plots. Most importantly, because the characters and their conversations come first, I have to hunt down the character pictures as I see them via photos on the Internet.
Then I proceed to write a detailed character sheet on all the main characters and even the secondary characters depending on their role. Then, the city of where this is going to take place is born, again depending on what I saw and heard. I locate it on a map and give the place a neighborhood, a house, every little detail that pops to mind. By the time I begin to write, it’s easy as everyone is clearly defined. The setting is established, and the fact that their character sheet is detailed and their pictures are real, dialogue is much easier to craft.
f) What inspires your stories?
I can’t be sure, Mandy. Once I was going out early morning to walk my dog, and I saw a neighbor four houses down coming out of his front door with his two children by the hand, and a whole short story sprang from this picture. A short story I just blogged about Vi et Veritate. Don’t know where it came from. Mirror Deep came to me while I was actually working on another story and while I was watching a Grand Slam tennis match at the same time. When my mind is occupied in more than one area, I find I get these little electrical shorts that give me insight into what I’m supposed to write.
g) What are you currently reading?
Several books at the same time. I like to review books and when I do, I like to read more than one at the time. If I can’t finish a book, I won’t review it. If I can get through it, I will rate it and review it. Finishing a story for me means I was captivated and able to get to the end. I must have bookmarks in 25 books at home that I have never finished. Thank God for Kindles. I like to read mystery, suspense, romance, and anything that will keep me hooked and far away—except horror and vividly described cruelty. If I have to close a book because of a horror passage, I will not open it again… same thing for cruelty.
h) Do you have any odd habits or childhood stories?
I guess I’ve had the same odd habit since childhood. I sing from the time I wake up in the morning to the moment I fall asleep at night, in my head or aloud; and sometimes through the night, as I have woken while in the middle of a dream because of a song in my head, countless times. I couldn’t sleep for weeks when Bobby Vinton’s ‘Blue Velvet’ first came on the radio—Shakira’s songs do that to me also. I guess it didn’t help that I could read music before I could read words. I come from a long line of singers and when my mother heard me sing at 4 years old, she thought I sang off key. So she had me take piano lessons with nuns. By the time I was 5, I was competing and winning against children 3 times my age. The result: I learned how to sing.
i) Do you have any pets?
I love all sorts of pets. I think they are soulful creatures that need our help and devotion in order to survive. Love horses, and dolphins, and dogs. I have a dog, always did, in fact. Chief is going on 13 and he is the best friend anyone could wish for. He sleeps for hours while I write. When I get up to get coffee, he follows, wags his tail, gets his ears rubbed and goes back to the same place to resume his sleep when I sit down again. We take our walks every morning and every night, even in below freezing temperatures. He wears a little coat and boots when it’s too cold, and in more clement weather, he can easily walk a mile every morning.
j) Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?
Too many to name. Romance Writers of America, The Canadian Author’s association, about 25 Facebook groups of writers, The Absolute Write Water Cooler, The Next Big Writer.com and the list goes on and on. I read many people’s blogs and I am so inspired after I do. I am forever in awe of all the great bloggers and writers there are out there, stories written in so many forms and wearing so many different styles, all of them perfectly suited to what they say and do. So much creativity and downright smarts are propagated through the Internet… You know, Bill Gates may have started the movement of the personal PC, and the rush to the World Wide Web, but we are the ones who placed the order for it. All of us, we are co-creators.
k) What age did you start writing stories/poems?
The eldest of 6 children, and having three siblings by the time I was six, my mother relied on me to tell my sisters and brother stories to help them fall asleep. I did. I invented many stories, unable to tell the same one twice as most of them were made up, of course. I guess this prompted me to read early. At 8 I was reading books without pictures and could summarize most stories for my little brood. By then, there were four younger than I was. Of course, this drove me … to write diaries, which I did until I was fifteen. Still have all of them, only no one can read them, not even me because the handwriting is illegible.
l) Do you have a book published? If so what is it called & where can readers purchase it?
Yes, I have a book that was published on November 1, 2012. Mirror Deep. It is a suspenseful romance with the subplots and twists and turns that I like, and provides 456 pages of whodunit and romance. It’s available on Amazon.com, in print form and kindle. http://tinyurl.com/aups9ep for the Kindle and http://tinyurl.com/bcky3l9 for the print version. It’s also available on Barnes and Noble and other favorite sites. It will be available in Kobo and nook in early February.
m) If you could meet one favorite author who would it be and why?
Well, I’ve already met some of my favorite authors, Anthony Robbins, and Deepak Chopra. I’ve met Zig Ziglar, and Marylu Henner as she is a fabulous health writer.
In fiction I have met Pat Conroy, wonderful literary writer. I have two of his books and I love his fiction. So that would leave me with a tossup between John Grisham and P.D. James. John Grisham is the best scribbler I’ve read in a long time. His prose is unique, vivid, real and so intense that I could read anything he writes, not caring about the story. P.D. James, of course is out of bounds to most of us. Her book Devices and Desires is absolutely phenomenal. I have read it more than once, just to revel in the turn of her phrases and the twisting of her plots and many subplots.
n) If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?
Easy. Anywhere there’s a beach. Preferably with palm trees. I am a beach bum who loves the ocean, and everything about it: the smell, the swell, the salt that lingers on me after a long swim. I love the blue look of it, the feel and the howling sound of waves during a wind storm. The only two cities that would have me rethink living near the ocean would be Paris, France… or Lyon, a close second, and New York City, both tied. Yep you’ve guessed it. I’m a city girl who needs the ocean. So Miami Beach and Maui come pretty close to heaven for me.
o) What’s your favorite movie of all time?
I have tried but find it impossible to just have one. I am a movie aficionado and I love them all. I have favorites of course, but dozens and dozens of them. Anything with Julia Roberts, with Sandra Bullock, with Michael Douglas, with Gwyneth Paltrow, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Anniston, Matthew Perry, Andie MacDowell … well, you get the picture.
p) Where can readers find you and your blog?
You can find my blog on book reviews, and such stories, and interviews at: http://www.josslandry.com/blog People are welcome to follow my blog and stay connected.
q) Do you have plans or ideas for your next book?
I have already seven manuscripts penned that need tightening and professional editing. One is being edited right now. A romantic suspense of 75,000 words called Ava Moss. That will be the next one published.
r) Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?
My husband is my best supporter. He has been there through thick and thin and is the best beta reader I know. My daughter, Mary, is another pro-active supporter. She is the voice in my head, the one always encouraging me to be positive. Since all of us practice the Hawaiian science of Ho’oponopono, I guess you could say that the best supporter we all have is of a spiritual nature.
Thank you Joss for such an enlightening and interesting interview.
My favorite character in my book is Elsie Wilkins. She’s a twenty-nine year old independent girl born in England. She actually lived so she is not fictional. To bring her to life I had to empathize with her situation, research her history and just merely fill in the blanks. She was so inspiring to me, because she was ahead of her time and had the wonderful combination of strength, beauty and vulnerability.
As a writer I tried to create an independently multi-dimensional strong character. I wanted to maintain a good balance of action and thought from the being, have a person willing to take a risk and not be paralyzed by fear or past experience. In addition, I wanted to have a young woman with positive traits, or virtues more than an abundant of weaknesses.
In such a 1930s story, too, situations must happen for her because she uses her intelligence, not simply because she’s living in reserved times.
I tried to make all the characters believable with a clear purpose.
I’ve only written one book that is historical fiction, although I’ve written several film scripts and comedy television scripts for “Alf” and “Married with Children.”
This book took me so long to write – I think I wrote everywhere. It took forever to research the characters. The love story takes place in the 1930s so I had to do extensive research on that time period. The historical nature of the book required precise and accurate information. My favorite place to write is in my living room on the couch.
What inspired this story was a powerful experience I had with my boyfriend Mike in 2001. When we first met we experienced several meaningful coincidences in our newly formed relationship and I wanted to find out for sure whether there was a past connection between us. To uncover if we were soul mates or to find out if we ever met in another life we turned to hypnosis. The initial past life regression sessions and those that followed were more successful than either of us could have imagined. Actually in my book there is a chapter at the end of it titled: “the story behind the story” which chronicles the hypnosis and research part of the story.
I was in anOrangeCountywriters group for several years that helped motivate me to write on a daily basis. Also in my daily affairs, I tried to have a reverence for life by displaying acts of harmony, love, kindness. With all this indisputable spirituality, my sometimes sluggish moods lifted and I was able to joyfully write this novel.
7. I do have a book published. It is titled “Lifetimes Ago- A Love Story Inspired from Past Life Memories.” It is historical fiction based on several past life regression sessions. Lifetimes Ago is a powerful story, augmented by the unique twist of hypnosis and regression in the discovery of the characters. This book is spiritual in many aspects, so the reader is not only drawn into the story, but is educated about past life regression.
It can be purchased on any online bookstore including Amazon and Barnes & Noble and now available on Kindle and Nook for only $1.99.
I love J. K. Rowlings! She is an amazing writer. I worked with kids between the ages of 9-12 and they began to read when the Harry Potter books came out. Rowlings is a true “rags to riches” life story in which she went from poverty to multi-millionaire status.
Philosophy and Spirituality encouraged me. In college, I was introduced to Buddhism. For many years, I embraced this Eastern Religion, although I did not entirely believe in reincarnation. I could not completely grasp the notion that I had lived before. To me, reincarnation was a plausible theory of eternal life and a believable explanation, along with many other explanations of what happens to us when we die. After having this past life experience with Mike—I am a believer. I believe this book has a sense of truth and its pages resonate with the universal certainty that love never dies.
The people in my writing group were also very supportive and encouraging.
A truly wonderful insight Susie – thank you for participating.