I had the delight of meeting Susan Dennard at Comic-con last year. It was before Something Strange and Deadly was released and I was so so so happy that it was for sale before her signing. I got my book signed, got a picture, made an ass out of myself in front of her [and Sarah J. Maas, who happens to be Susan’s BFF]. You know, normal things.
So, when I saw that she didn’t file a restraining order there was going to be a novella, I knew I wanted to help promote it. I emailed Susan and asked if she would do an interview. She said yes [hooray!!] and as far as I know, still hasn’t filed anything with the cops. That may change as I keep entering her arc giveaways.
Now, before we get to Susan, check out Daniel’s story in A Dawn Most Wicked.
Daniel Sheridan is an engineer’s apprentice on a haunted Mississippi steamer known as the Sadie Queen. His best friend–the apprentice pilot, Cassidy Cochran–also happens to be the girl he’s pining for…and the captain’s daughter. But when it looks like the Sadie Queen might get taken off the river, Daniel and Cassidy have to do whatever they can to stop the ghosts that plague the ship.
Fortunately, there happens to be a Creole gentleman on board by the name of Joseph Boyer-–and he just might be able to help them…
Sounds good, right?
1. Where did the idea for the series come from and what prompted you to combine all of the elements you did?
So, as lame as it is, the idea for the series came from a dream. I dreamt my brother was missing and I would have done anything to get him back. Yet he’d been taken by supernatural forces, and I was totally NOT equipped to deal with that. For help, I turned to a ragtag team of supernatural-fighting outcasts (who had a super cool lab and skills). My dream was vague on setting, though, so I actually spent weeks and weeks just scouring history for a time period that jumped out at me as The Time and The Location for this story idea. :) As I wrote, the necromancy, ghosts, Dead, and electricity-inventions just sort poured out. It was as if the world and all its components had always been in my brain, I just had to tap into them and discover it as Eleanor did. In books 2 and 3, we get to see more of that supernatural world–other creatures, spells, and a lot more darkness. And of course, the novella shows a different side of this ghost-filled alternate 1876 too.
2. Let’s talk Eleanor. I’m a sucker for a smart girl who gets things done and I adore her. Did writing her come easily?
At first, I made Eleanor way too fluffy. I always do this! I can’t help it–when I sit down to write a first draft, my heroines are always too nice, too good at everything, and too happy. Usually I have to start the book a few times before I finally hit on the right balance of darkness, flaws, and likability. But once I have the voice, I have it. ;)
3. Daniel. He’s swoony in a gruff sort of way and it absolutely works. Did he evolve on his own or in response to Eleanor?
Daniel definitely evolves throughout the series in response to Eleanor. A big part of his character is that he’s volatile–he knows he’s short-tempered and sometimes cruel–but he can’t seem to control it. Yet he so desperately wants to be a better person, and as the series progresses… Well, I’ll let you see how he does at improving his character. ;) I knew who Daniel was from the get-go. He was in my dream, actually–an angry inventor with a super shady past–so I had his character worked out from the start.
4. When you wrote the ending for Something Strange and Deadly, did you sit back and laugh, knowing all of the people you were going to drive crazy?
Ha! NO! Not at all! It was just the natural, appropriate ending based on who Daniel is and how the time period works. Heck, had I known how many people would be furious, I might’ve changed it. But I’m so glad I didn’t–more often than not, people like that the ending is just so…up in the air. That said, there will be a ton of closure once readers have the novella in their hands. They’ll at least understand Daniel’s character a lot more.
5. You’re killing me with the relationship between Eleanor and Daniel [Empress? *swoooon*]. Is there anything you can tell us about what happens between them in A Darkness Strange and Lovely?
>Um….Hmmmmm. All I’ll say is that it takes a bit of time for Daniel to appear (he doesn’t show up until about halfway through), but once he’s on the page, the sparks are FLYING. Like I said, the novella explains so much about his character, but Eleanor doesn’t know all that info. So though the chemistry is high, so is her frustration. ;) I think readers will like it, though.
Speed [ish] Round:
1. What is your go-to guilty pleasure thing to eat?
Cookies. Any shape, flavor, size–I don’t discriminate.
2. If you could wake up one day, just knowing how to do something, what would it be?
How to draw! Oh goodness, that is the one thing I wish I could do!!
3. What are you reading right now?
I’m reading (admittedly slowly thanks to deadlines) Archangel by Sharon Shinn. I adore her books.
4. Are there any authors that you fangirl over?
Omg, I made a HUGE fool of myself in front of Robin Hobb. Twice. I first met her at Comic Con and started crying. So. So. SO EMBARRASSING. Then I met her again at the Decatur book festival and flailed like an idiot. I was mortified. Fortunately, she didn’t seem to hold it against me, since she invited me (and the less flail-y Sarah J. Maas) to dinner. It was amazing and insightful. Turns out my idols are just normal people too. ;) If I ever met Garth Nix or Sherwood Smith, I would probably have the same ridiculous meltdown reaction.
Huge thanks to Susan for dealing with my fangirling answering my questions!
Haven’t read any of Susan’s books? Wellllll, that’s where I come in.
To celebrate the release of A Dawn Most Wicked, I’m giving away stuff! There will be three winners. The grand prize winner will win a hardcover copy of Something Strange and Deadly, an e-book of A Dawn Most Wicked and a hardcover copy of A Darkness Strange and Lovely [when it is released on 7/23/13]. Two winners will get an e-book of A Dawn Most Wicked.
The grand prize winner will get books from The Book Depository [so make sure it ships for free to you before entering!]. Winners of the e-book copies will choose between Barnes & Noble or Amazon for delivery.
Rules for the giveaway are listed under the “terms and conditions” on the Rafflecopter widget.