Please help me give a second warm welcome to author Suzanne Brockmann! We are hosting Suzanne Brockmann for two days, below is part 2 of her interview. Click here for Part 1. Suzanne Brockmann is here to talk about her Troubleshooters series and her new series, which leads off with Born to Darkness on March 20th! We are currently hosting a giveaway for this book — Born to Darkness (Fighting Destiny #1). A pre-quel in this series, Shane’s Last Stand, was released a few weeks ago. Please signup for the giveaway – below or on the giveaway page. So ….. let’s begin the questions.
Regina: I need to say, that one of my favorite books is Force of Nature. Yes Robin and Jules are sweet in that, but I absolutely loved Ric and Annie, and of course Ric’s friend (who’s name I cannot remember). So, okay, I have to ask – I know about the Troubleshooters anthology that will be released, but do you have any future Troubleshooters books planned? And if so, which SEAL would be the focus of the book/s?
Suz: Martell is the name of Ric’s friend. And I would love to write book for him. He’s on my short list of heroes for possible TS installments. I purposely made him both a lawyer and a former cop so I could take his story in just about any direction! <g>
And then there’s Jay Lopez, SEAL Team Sixteen’s hospital corpsman. I owe him a book (or even a full five-book story arc of torture). And Yashi, one of Jules’s FBI agent underlings, is also on my “to do” list.
You know, I just wrote a new Jules and Robin short story called BEGINNINGS AND ENDS. It’s going to be out in all e-formats this summer, from Ballantine Books, and I’m also offering it as a bonus “Extra” booklet (in a collector’s edition print format) with my virtual signing for BORN TO DARKNESS. (For more info go to www.SuzanneBrockmann.com/fd1btdvirtualsigning.html ) But I’ve also got an idea for another Jules and Robin book. I can imagine bringing them front and center again. And I’m pretty sure I will.
I’m not done with the TS series. Not even close.
Regina: Suzanne that is a huge relief! Based on my reading of Shane’s Last Stand I know I will love your new series, but I definitely want to read more about SEAL Team 16. I gotta say I love the narrator team that has done all of the later Troubleshooters books and they did Infamous as well. They are fantastic. Will they be narrating Born to Darkness?
Suz: Oooh, you are talking about the incomparable Patrick Lawlor who has read the male POVs from the moment that Brilliance Audio took over production of my audiobooks. Patrick has read my books with a variety of female readers, starting with Melanie Ewbank, who took a big chunk of time off to have a baby.
I’ve always loved Melanie as a reader, and even though the other women who came in to do the job while she was busy being a new mom were good, too, I’ve been watching my calendar, waiting for her to be ready to go back into the studio.
And this year, I got that happy email!
But they also teamed up and did the audio for an HQN reissue that just came out. It’s a 2-in-1 called UNSTOPPABLE, and it’s the reissue of two of my early-career category romances: LETTERS TO KELLY, and LOVE WITH THE PROPER STRANGER. I’ve just listened to some of LTK, which is my absolute favorite of all of my category romance novels, and it was amazing.
So I’m really stoked. And I’m working right now with Brilliance, trying to get them to record my various e-shorts, including WHEN TONY MET ADAM, SHANE’S LAST STAND and BEGINNING AND ENDS, to make them available as low-priced audio downloads. Of course, we’re talking about having Patrick read them. Yay!
He “gets” my writing so perfectly. He knows exactly what words to emphasize. He knows the exact rhythm of each sentence, and reads it exactly the way it sounds in my head. He’s brilliant. Plus, he’s a really nice guy! We talk character and story before each book. (And I give him some spoilers of what’s to come in the series, too, so he has that info in his head.) And after the recording, he sends me a list of typos that he’s caught, which is way above and beyond what a regular audiobook narrator does.
Regina: That is first funny that he is finding typos, but shows such a dedication to his work. I would love to have those shorts narrated. Thanks for letting us know.
I have read you actually visited Navy compounds while doing research for Troubleshooters. What did the SEALs think about you using them as romantic subjects?
Suz: Oh, it wasn’t until recently – until long after I started writing romance novels with SEAL heroes — that I actually made it onto a Navy base. And even then, I got on via a friend who was former Air Force.
Earlier in my career, I made plans to visit Coronado, and even flew to San Diegoto do just that, but they shut me out last minute. I didn’t hold it against them. There was a lot going on at the time, in terms of national security. But they definitely didn’t take me seriously.
But then, a few years back, word went out that an active duty SEAL needed a bone marrow transplant. I got the word from one of my readers right before I was heading out on a book tour, and with her help, we organized bone marrow donor drives at every book signing on my tour route.
It was amazing how quickly we got it all to fall into place. But this SEAL was gonna die unless he found a one in 25,000 match for that transplant. And my readers and I were determined to help him find it.
Long story short, he got a match. He’s doing okay, all these years later, which is really terrific.
But shortly after he went in for the first of a series of life-saving operations, I got an email from his CO, thanking me for my efforts in getting the word out about the bone marrow donor registry program. In the course of our correspondence, I sent him a copy of OVER THE EDGE, which he read and critiqued. For a while, he would send me a review for each new book. It was really great to get that kind of feedback.
And of course, I’ve met a number of SEALs through the years. A few years back I did a number of youtube interviews with former SEAL Tom Rancich, who has quite a few fun stories to share. (You can find them on Youtube by searching for “Brockmann Rancich.” “How Tom Met Himself” is one of my personal favorites!)
Regina: Did you do similar research for this series?
Suz: The research I did for the Fighting Destiny series started mostly with the fact that I’m a news junkie. I read everything and anything with the idea that I might use it in a future book.
This new series addresses the fact that we devalue women here on planet earth. Girls often get thrown away or are not taken seriously, and I wanted to write about that. So those themes are in there.
But since the series is urban fantasy, I pretty much set the rules.
Regina: When I first came across your series I was so excited. Finally a fun romance and action based series that had real flawed characters and a variety of different types of characters. Your characters are not all white. They are not all straight. They are not all beautiful or thin or curvy. The couples have problems in their relationships. The women breastfeed (and sometimes their milk leaks on their shirts!) and sometimes couples break up. It seems as if you are putting yourself out on a limb writing about characters that do not fit a particular mold and about issues that may seem risky. Is this a consideration to you?
Suz: I’m glad you like what I write.
When I first decided to write romance novels, I really researched the genre, and I was struck by what a “white bread” world most books seemed to be set in. I didn’t want to write books like that. I particularly disliked heroes with fancy names. Where were the Joes and the Stans and the Irvings and the plain old Johns and Toms?
America is an enormously diverse country. I’m a Northeasterner, so I’ve lived for most of my life in melting-pot urban areas, where those differences are celebrated. I also grew up in the touchy-feelie “be yourself, be an individual” 1970s. The “assimilate and be the same” attitude that some people exhibit is astonishing to me. How boring would the world be if we were all the same, with the same likes and dislikes?
At the same time, I was a little bit cautious when I started my career writing romance. I wanted to write about heroes named Joe, but I’d made note of the fact that many romance heroes were wealthy and powerful. So when I started my “Tall, Dark & Dangerous” series about fictional Navy SEAL Team Ten (and I wrote these books BEFORE there was a real Team Ten, which tells you how long ago this was!) I made sure that all of the heroes (even those named Joe) were officers.
It was a kind of a crazy SEAL team – more officers than enlisted. Which is not accurate. But I didn’t think romance readers would be interested in reading about enlisted men.
Boy, was I wrong. I desperately wanted to write an enlisted hero, and Harvard, the Senior Chief of the team, was just that. He also happened to be black.
I wrote the second Silhouette Intimate Moments category romance ever to have an African-American hero (out of over 800 books in that particular line of romances!), and you know what was awesome?
I got a TON of reader email from people who were enthusiastic about the fact that Harvard was an enlisted man!
That was awesome. (And in my TS series, most of the heroes are enlisted men. Yay!)
But bottom line is this: My books are sent in Real America – a place that is diverse. In Real America, it’s that very diversity that makes this country great.
So yeah, I’ve got Asian American heroines, and interracial couples, and gay characters, and bald heroes, and heroes with names like Stan and Irving, and on and on and on.
Real, flawed people who bring a mix of cultural backgrounds into their experience of being an American. That’s what I like to write about.
Regina: The diversity and depth you bring to your cast and characters is great. Thank you for doing that, for me personally it rings true to my life.
If you could cast Troubleshooters for a movie, who would play Sam? Alyssa? Jules?
Suz: I would cast Josh Holloway, who played Sawyer on LOST, as Sam. Without hesitation.
As for Alyssa, there’s a young woman who appeared in THE PERFECT WEDDING, an indie movie that my production company filmed last summer. Her name is Apolonia Davalos. She would be a wonderful Alyssa. (I cast her in the role of Anna Taylor in BORN TO DARKNESS, and you can see her picture on my website and Facebook page.) (See the link below. And if you want to check out THE PERFECT WEDDING, which is a sweet little boy-meets-boy romantic comedy that’s going to be screened at film festivals around the world starting this spring, you can find out more info at www.facebook.com/ThePerfectWeddingMovie )
Jules would be a little harder to cast. But I can tell you this – there are dozens of young, gay actors out there who would be psyched to play this kind of kickass openly out character. I’m sure of that.
And I suppose I should explain my “Born to Darkness Project.” I thought it would be fun to cast the six main characters in BtoD, and because I have a production company that makes indy feature films, I know a lot of actors, and I know how to hold auditions. So last fall, I held auditions and found six talented actors, and then I held a photo shoot with Shirin Tinati, one of NYC’s top photographers. I’ve used those pictures (and some video footage, too), to make a series of BORN TO DARKNESS Trading Cards, and to create videos and photo galleries, so that readers can see the characters in BORN TO DARKNESS exactly the way I see them in the movie that plays in my head!
The photo galleries are set up on my facebook page at www.facebook.com/SuzanneBrockmannBooks – just click on “photos” and you’ll see the character photo albums. (Or go to http://www.facebook.com/SuzanneBrockmannBooks?sk=photos )
Info about the trading cards can be found at www.SuzanneBrockmann.com/fd1btdtradingcards.html and at
And readers can join my official “Countdown to Born to Darkness” on my website, where I feature photos and videos and blogs and other fun stuff, at www.SuzanneBrockmann.com/fd1btdcountdown.html I feature a new countdown page each Monday through Friday, until the book’s March 20th release date. (The countdown started 2/14, but all of the pages are archived on my website!)
Regina: What do you read for fun?
Suz: I’m pretty discerning, and I still haven’t recovered from Robert B. Parker’s death. <sigh> I loved his Spenser books.
But I also really love Lisa Gardner. I just finished her latest, CATCH ME. I loved it. Get it, read it. Now!
I love Lee Child and his Jack Reacher character. Yum.
I’m a fan of Virginia Kantra, and I’m awaiting her next release. JR Ward’s Brotherhood series really works for me, too – although those two authors have very different styles. (IDIC! Infinite diversity in infinite combinations!)
I enjoy reading historical romances, too. I’m a fan of Carla Kelly, and of Julia Quinn, and of Jo Beverly. I love the Regency period, but I like it best when the story has teeth.
But in truth, because I spend so much time reading my own stuff, to really relax, I watch TV and movies. I’m a huge fan of Joss Whedon (Buffy, Angel, Firefly) and Aaron Sorkin (West Wing, Sports Night, Studio 60). I think Tina Fey (30 Rock) is a genius, and I’m a Ricky Gervais (The Office, Idiot Abroad) fan, too. I’m a Star Trek lover from childhood, and I believe that it’s possible that the first season of Veronica Mars was the best TV show ever made. Ever. Mad Men. Did I mention Mad Men? And The United States of Tara. Rocking great TV. I’m a huge fan of Diablo Cody (who also wrote Juno.)
And of course I watch a lot of news. I’m a politics junkie, and adore Rachel Maddow, and Chris Hayes’s new show, Up with Chris Hayes. (It’s on wicked early on the weekends. Thank you, TiVo!)
Guilty pleasures include both American Idol and The Voice, but my mostest favoratest reality contest show is So You Think You Can Dance. (Not the one where celebrities dance, but the one where real dancers get to show their stuff.)
Here are links, fyi:
Some information about Suzanne:
- Sign up for her newsletter at http://www.suzannebrockmann.
- Find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/
- Follow her on Twitter at http://www.Twitter.com/
- Find out about her virtual signing for Born to Darkness at http://www.SuzanneBrockmann.
Interested in entering our Giveaway? We are giving away a print copy of an early review/ARC that we received from the publisher of Brockmann’s newest soon to be released book Born to Darkness! Born to Darkness is the first book in Brockmann’s new series Fighting Destiny. The giveaway will end 3/12/12 around midnight eastern time. Born to Darkness will be sent out on the release date March 20th, and unfortunately it will be limited to entrants in the United States (due to the cost of postage). Click on the raffecopter to enter!
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