Writing Superheroes: Susana Ellis

Ask this Bluestocking wy Monkee’s are important…Read on and find out more…

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If you were to write the ‘origin’s episode’ of your writing what would be the most important scenes? What did your early efforts look like? Are they still around to be used as bribes and blackmail material?

 

            In fourth grade I used to write plays for my friends and me to act out. The ones I remember had to do with the Monkees. We all chose a favorite Monkee to act out. I got Mike Nesmith, but I really wanted Davy Jones. I mean, Mike was married. What fun is that? In fifth grade, we all had to write a play about a story we read in class, and my group’s play was chosen as the best. Maybe I should have been a playwright? And no, none of that stuff is still around, although it might be amusing to see it after all these years.

 

All super heroes have their mild-mannered secret identity, what is yours? I promise we won’t tell.

            Actually, since leaving my teaching job and no longer fearing that my super hero identity might cost me my job, I’ve “come out” to the world as a super hero. Which means—take me or leave me, I am what I am—a super hero romance author. So freeing that one. I highly recommend it to all the other super heroes out there.  P13 copy

 

Who are your partners in crime? What are their superpowers?

            My critique partner Selene Grace Silver was the first one to convince me that I did indeed have super powers and should not feel unworthy putting them to use. She’s excellent at helping with story structure and characterization. My other critique partner Cora Lee’s super power is her ability to find anachronisms and historical errors. My friend Ellen-the-Spanish-teacher is the cheerleader in my life. I couldn’t do without any of them.

 

Where do you get your superpowers from?

            From reading everything I could get my hands on from the time I could read. Reading was like a jolt of lightning to my imagination. In my mind I could do anything, be anything. It’s so liberating to realize that there’s so much more to life than what I can see with my eyes.

 

Where is your secret lair and what does it look like?

            Both of my secret lairs (I live in Ohio in the summer and Florida in the winter) are somewhat cluttered with books and usually dusty, although I turn Romeo Roomba loose every couple of weeks to clean the carpet. Due to back issues, I usually write alternatively sitting in a chair with my feet up or lying on a chaise. Sitting at a desk for more than ten minutes is fatal!

 

What kind of training do you do to keep your superpowers in world saving form? How do you insure they are used only for good?

            I take online classes, especially those offered by the Beau Monde. I’ll never, ever, know enough about historical subjects, so it’s a good thing I enjoy learning. Frankly, I never thought I’d enjoy learning about soldiers and battles, but I found myself really engrossed in the preparatory reading I did for this Waterloo-themed anthology. While my stories focus on romance, they aren’t fairy tales. There must be a semblance of realism in the setting for the readers to identify with the characters and their choices. I hope my readers pick up some new historical insights from my stories, but I don’t preach.

 

gown_best copy_smGranted, you probably don’t’ get to wear your superhero costume a lot, but if you did, what would it look like?

            It’s a Regency gown and pelisse my mother made for me two years ago. I like wearing it for book signings and events like the Beau Monde soirée, which is held the night before the RWA conference.

 

What is your kryptonite? What are the biggest challenges faced with in your writing?

            Social media! I love it and spend way too much time doing it! In April I’m doing Camp Nanowrimo with some of the other Bluestocking Belles and friends, because I need to get back to writing once this new release is set on its way!

 

What was the supervillain that threatened to stop your latest project and how did you vanquish it?

            Procrastination. The deadline was January 1, 2015, and I started it around December 8, 2014. I was dreadfully concerned that I would be the one not to make the deadline on the project that I created! But I just made myself sit down and do it, and I did have a 26K novella to turn in by January 1st.

 

What important lessons have you learned along the way?

            To appreciate criticism and not take it personally. To be open and honest in relationships. To expect the best and prepare for the worst. Perseverance.

 

What have been the best/most memorable experiences along the way?

            Meeting my friend Selene Grace Silver online in an Amazon discussion group. We discovered that we both wanted to be romance writers and became critique partners and close friends, even though she lives on the other side of the country. Really miraculous, when you think about it.

            The day I got a message from Ellora’s Cave saying they wanted to publish my story Treasuring Theresa in their Cotillion line—four days after submitting it! I walked on air for awhile!

 

If you did this again what would you do differently and what would you not change?

           I would have started a long time ago—even in the days when the chances of getting published were almost nil—and not given up so easily. Even with a day job, I could have written in the evenings, weekends, and summers (I was a teacher). On the other hand, I spent a lot of that time studying abroad and working with foreign language teacher organizations, and I don’t regret having done that. But I still could have been writing on the side.

 

What is the best (writing or otherwise) advice you have ever gotten and why?

            Get to know your main characters well before writing. Otherwise, they all seem the same. Know their flaws. I can’t stand characters that are so perfect that everyone loves them, even the birds and little animals.

 

Tell us about you new book and why we need to drop everything and get it now.400 x 600

            Beaux, Ballrooms, and Battles is an anthology of nine sweet Regency romances related to the Battle of Waterloo. With the upcoming bicentenary, I think readers will want to find out a bit more about what it was like to live during that time. Keep in mind that they’re primarily romances, though, and not war narratives, all the battle is certainly prominent.

 

What’s in store for you in the future? Do you have any other big projects on the horizon?

            I’m in two other anthology groups, one set to publish in June and the other for Christmas. I also have a time travel Regency novel I hope to publish later this year, and a few other projects close to being finished, including a Christmas one.

 

Beaux, Ballrooms, and Battles:

A Celebration of Waterloo

 

June 18, 1815 was the day Napoleon Bonaparte’s Grande Armée was definitively routed by the ragtag band of soldiers from the Duke of Wellington’s Allied Army in a little Belgian town called Waterloo. The cost in men’s lives was high—22,000 dead or wounded for the Allied Army and 24,000 for the French. But the war with Napoleon that had dragged on for a dozen years was over for good, and the British people once more felt secure on their island shores.

 

The bicentenary of the famous battle seemed like an excellent opportunity to use that setting for a story, and before I knew it, I had eight other authors eager to join me, and to make a long story short, on April 1, 2015 our Waterloo-themed anthology was released to the world.

 

You are all invited to

 

 

Giveaway

One randomly-chosen commenter will receive a Beaux, Ballrooms, and Battles mug.

 

 

 You can find Susana at:

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter

Susana’s Parlour ~ Susana’s Morning Room

9 comments

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  1. Thank you so much for featuring me today, Maria! Turned out quite well, if I do say so myself.

    1. So happy to have you, Susana!

    • Jillian Chantal on April 6, 2015 at 9:43 am
    • Reply

    I learned some new things about you, my friend! Don’t enter me in the drawing since I’m in the anthology, too. Jillian

    • Tonette Joyce on April 6, 2015 at 10:23 am
    • Reply

    I love the “Super Hero” theme! It really brought out wonderful answers. I wish you continued success, Susana.

    1. So glad you enjoyed the theme! I like it a lot too!

    2. Congrats, Tonette! You win the Beaux, Ballrooms, and Battles mug. Send your snail mail address to me at barbiesa@buckeye-express.com and I’ll get it out to you!

      Thanks so much for dropping by!

    • Gloria on April 6, 2015 at 8:30 pm
    • Reply

    She also got us to help with her chores as a child by promising to tell stories. She was meant to do this.

    1. Love that story! I can just imagine!

    • Tonette Joyce on April 9, 2015 at 6:10 pm
    • Reply

    Thank you , Susana!

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