In glittery 1980’s Los Angeles, once-famous Broadway lyricist Beau Kellogg is disillusioned, unhappily married and yearning for one last musical hit, while he writes advertising jingles for quick money. Meanwhile, idealistic young singer, Amanda Harary, works a demanding day job at a charming New York hotel.
They weren’t looking for each other… but what they find together is a once-in-a-lifetime understanding, impossible joy and piercing heartache… until they learn that some connections, however improbable, are meant to last forever.
STEALING FIRE is a story for romantics everywhere, who believe in the transformative power of love.
Hello book lovers! Today is a day where I will be writing another author spotlight for a well-accomplished author whose work I have loved. As you know book lovers I love learning about authors and the inspiration behind their work, it fascinates me and adds to the depth of the book because the reader will be able to better understand it. That is how the author spotlights were created because I soon discovered that you lovely readers ALSO love learning about author’s, so I am excited to tell you a little bit more about author Susan Sloate whose book Stealing Fire charmed as well as captivated me from beginning to end. I personally would recommend this book to all of those that love historical romances but really the book can be read by anybody as it is flawlessly written and highly enjoyable. With today’s author spotlight for Susan, a biography of the author and an interview between me and Susan will be shared, and I hope that you book lovers enjoy reading it! To kick this off here is an author bio about the wonderful Susan Sloate!
SUSAN SLOATE is the author or co-author of more than 20 published books, including REALIZING YOU (with Ron Doades), for which she created a new genre, the self-help novel, and the 2003 #6 Amazon bestseller FORWARD TO CAMELOT (with Kevin Finn), which took honors in 3 literary competitions and was optioned for production by a Hollywood film company. The revised version, FORWARD TO CAMELOT: 50thAnniversary Edition, was published in October 2013.
The original edition of STEALING FIRE was published in July 2013 and shot immediately to #2 on the Amazon bestseller list in its category. It was also a Hot New Release for its first 90 days and was honored in the 2014 Readers’ Favorite Literary Competition, in Women’s Fiction. Prior to its original publication, STEALING FIRE was a Quarter-Finalist in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest. It combines autobiographical experience with Susan’s lifelong love of the musical theater. She is proud to be distantly related to Broadway legend Fred Ebb, the lyricist for Cabaret,Chicago, All That Jazz and New York, New York.
Susan has also written young-adult fiction and non-fiction, including the children’s biography, RAY CHARLES: Find Another Way!, which was honored in the 2007 Children’s Moonbeam Book Awards. Mysteries Unwrapped: The Secrets of Alcatrazled to her 2009 appearance on the TV series MysteryQuest on The History Channel. She has been a sportswriter and a screenwriter, managed two political campaigns, founded an author’s festival in her hometown of Mount Pleasant, SC, and appeared in multiple volumes of Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in Entertainment and Who’s Who Among American Women.
Now, how wonderful does Susan sound?! Susan is a truly exceptional writer and I hope that you lovely readers have a read of Susan’s work because you will not regret it! Please see below an interview between me and Susan, I hope that you enjoy Susan’s answers to my questions, they are incredible and provide some great advice too!
Could you please tell us readers about your book and what inspired you to write your book?
STEALING FIRE is an autobiographical love story that actually happened to me when I was in my twenties. It’s the story of two people who are out of step with their times: Beau Kellogg is a lyricist/librettist who used to work on Broadway, but since it’s the 1980’s, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s big productions are dominating Broadway, and there’s no place for the kind of story-driven musicals Beau used to write, though he still wants to. Amanda Harary is a young singer working toward a Broadway career, while working a day job as assistant manager at The Lorelei, a local NY hotel. When the two meet over the hotel switchboard, it becomes a relationship that changes both of their lives.
I really started writing it because at the time, early 1983, I was in the middle of a love affair I didn’t understand, with someone very much like Beau, and one night I sat down at my typewriter (yes, it was that long ago) and started typing. And it became the novel I originally published in 2013 and just re-published under my own publishing imprint, which I’m really excited about.
What would your advice be for aspiring writers?
Write! Sit down at your computer, or tablet, or with a notebook and pen, and put down the thoughts going through your mind. If you see a scene in your mind’s eye, write it down. Don’t worry about where it’s going; just put down what you have, and chances are, you’ll get more ideas as you write, which will lead to your wanting to write more scenes. Keep doing this; you’ll be surprised at how fast those random thoughts add up to some written pages.
This is what I did with STEALING FIRE. I didn’t have a title; I didn’t have any idea I even had a novel. I just had some sentences that came to me, and as I wrote them down, I got more sentences. So I kept typing. (On an IBM Selectric; I thought I was pretty hot stuff.) A writer friend of mind loved my pages (which I called my ‘baby novel’) and begged me to finish it.
In those days, Microsoft only allowed you to have so many pages in each Word file, so after about 50 pages, you had to start another file. I just kept all the files–the chapters, as I wrote them–on my computer, without thinking it was a full-length novel. Years later we found the novel and transferred the files. By then I had 275 written pages and really couldn’t throw it out. I finished the novel substantially in 2007 and finally published it in 2013.
In your opinion, what is the most important thing about a book?
There are a lot of important things about a book, but at this point in my life, I’ve finally accepted the hard truth that I’ll never live long enough to read everything I want to read. So the book had better grab me within just a few pages, or I won’t stick with it. I like a novel that starts fast, sets up a good conflict almost immediately, is very readable, and, just as importantly, has good spelling, grammar and usage. I HATE it when I see glaring errors that a copy reader should have caught and didn’t. If you publish a book, you’re expecting to make money from it; ie, you’re a professional. So BE professional; make sure your book looks as good as it can, that the sentences flow easily, there are as few errors as possible in spelling and grammar. I’ll respect you a lot more for it, and will also enjoy the book!
What is your writing process like?
My writing process tends to change from book to book, because each new idea tends to grow a little differently.
With FORWARD TO CAMELOT I began to get obsessed with the JFK assassination, and the idea that it should have been stopped from happening, and wasn’t. I started to think about it, and then to write disconnected pages about a girl who got involved with it. Eventually I dragged a good friend of mine into the story, and he got involved with helping me figure out the plot. We talked about it on the phone for almost two years, and then wrote the book, dividing up the chapters, over the course of about a year.
STEALING FIRE was written as I discussed above, and REALIZING YOU came out of an idea someone else had, to take nonfiction life principles and use them as the basis for a novel. He came to me and asked me to do it, and I did.
Right now I’m researching another novel, which will be mostly about the sinking of the Titanic. I started on the research for that before I even knew I wanted to write a novel about it, but the more I read and studied, the more clear it became to me that there was a story here. I’ll be starting full-time work on that once I finish my latest project.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Research can encompass almost anything–books, movies, TV documentaries, photos, museum material–depending on what I’m looking into. Most of my subjects are historical, though, so I tend to start digging on the Internet and then jump onto YouTube for whatever might be there. With FORWARD TO CAMELOT, one of the most valuable books I used was called THE WAY WE WERE: 1963, THE YEAR KENNEDY WAS SHOT, and it was a brief look at the American culture–cars, clothes, music–at that point. This was important, because I learned from the book that there was a very brief fad–it lasted about a month–in which women bought and wore headscarves decorated with little photograph frames, and they could put photos in them. I used this as part of the plot in CAMELOT, so it was a great idea
Also, I took my car in for servicing at my local auto shop during the writing, and found a car that was in pretty junky condition but looked like it had once been beautiful. I looked it up online and found out it was a hot car in the 1950’s, and even found photos of it in mint condition, so one of the characters ended up driving that car in the novel. I love finding stuff like that; they’re happy accidents that always yield good things for my stories.
Do you have a set schedule for writing, or do you only write when you feel inspired?
If I only wrote when I felt inspired, I’d never have finished a book, and I’ve published 20! Once I’m into a novel, I try to write every day, especially in the morning, when I feel freshest. If I’m on serious deadline, I write for as many hours as I can; if I have the luxury of more time, I tend to spin things out. Either way, I’ve written books in 3 days and I’ve taken many years to write one. But it’s always a challenging process. Just figuring out what to write on any given day can be agony, when you have no ideas. But often you have to push yourself to get started, and once you do, good things tend to happen.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
I read CONSTANTLY, and I really don’t understand authors who say they can’t read anyone else’s work while they’re writing a book. I read at least as much for the inspiration as for the story, and I re-read my favorite books a LOT. Among my favorite all-time authors are Dick Francis (the best thriller writer who ever lived, bar none), Ayn Rand (ATLAS SHRUGGED literally changed my life), Margaret Mitchell (I’ll admit she only wrote one book, but that one was a doozy), Noel Streatfeild (a prolific English author of girls’ books about training for lives in the theater), Daphne du Maurier (elegant writing, wonderful stories), and my great friend Robbie Branscum, who wrote truly marvelous young-adult novels about life in the back hills of Arkansas, where she grew up. I also love reading history and nonfiction; right now I’m going through a phase where I’m reading tons of books about the Beatles, which is great fun.
Lastly, when can we readers expect to read more wonderful books from you?
I’m hoping to have my next novel, the sequel to FORWARD TO CAMELOT, ready before the end of the year. I’ve worked on it for a long time, and it’s starting to finally come together. Will certainly come back with that one!
Its official book lovers, I am obsessed with Susan! If you have liked what you have read about Susan and are interested in learning more about Susan and reading Susan’s work, then please do have a browse of the links below and be sure to have a read of the preview too! You will not regret it.
Goodbye for now book lovers,