Forget Desert Island Discs – we’re all about the books!
In the second of my occasional series of Desert Island Books blogs, I have enormous pleasure in introducing US author, Susan Meier. Susan, born in Pennsylvania, comes from a large family and puts that down to her understanding about sharing, and how love encompasses more than just romance.
She started writing one month before her 30th birthday when she realized that she hadn’t accomplished her personal vision of herself and her books deliver heartwarming stories that remind readers that family and love go hand in hand,. That deep down most of us are looking for home – more than a place to hang our hats, but a place to love and be loved. Her books have been twice shortlisted for the Romance Writers’ of America, Rita award.
Susan’s FB posts about her adventures on the golf course , carb temptations and her love of “beer Friday” are great fun.
Susan, welcome to your desert island. There will be fresh spring water, fruit, coconuts to pick and the sea, if fishing is your thing. And traditionally, the bible and complete works of Shakespeare will be waiting for you. All you have to do is choose the books that you couldn’t live without.
Thank you, Liz, for the lovely introduction! It is my great honor to be writing with you, both for HR and in the Harrington Hotel continuity. I had such a great time collaborating with you and Kandy Shepherd! And what a joy to research Christmas in London!
So, I’ve shipwrecked you on this beautiful desert island. White sandy beaches, palm trees, a fresh water stream falling into a pool. Obviously reading is essential to help you pass the time between doing your hunter/gatherer bit and waiting to flag down a passing ship, so tell us about the first book that would keep you happy while you’re drinking coconut milk.
As for what book I bring to a desert island as a first choice? Honestly, I’d have to take a series. LOL Nora Roberts’ Chesapeake Bay series. Nora Roberts has a way of taking family – in this case three brothers – and making them the same but different.
The bottom line is that her heroes are always heroic, and her heroines are strong. It’s pure joy to watch them navigate their conflicts.
I tell my non-writer friends all the time that readers read because we want to see the best shine through in characters put into difficult circumstances. We want to believe we’d be as good and as strong and trustworthy as the characters in the books.
Even in the stories where characters laugh at cheating at cards or admire a hero who manipulated his way to the top, there’s still an undercurrent of honesty and trustworthiness. Cheating at cards is fluff. Stealing French fries when grandma isn’t looking is silliness. And business is hard, cutthroat. The people who get to the top have to be hard as nails.
In Nora’s books, and most romance novels, no matter who cheats at cards and who undermines his competition, hearts are honoured and respected. Love isn’t a word tossed around lightly and it doesn’t just pertain to romantic love. It’s a verb. It’s a way of life.
Nora Roberts always seems to put that truth into her stories, making her books very comfortable places for her readers to live in for a few hours or days.
And that’s why that series would accompany me to the deserted island. J
How it all started
Great choices so far, Susan. Tell us a little about how you started your own writing career.
I’d always known I wanted to be a writer…to be a storyteller. But I met my husband, got married, had three kids, bought a house…and one month before my 30th birthday realized I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do with my life. My husband said, “What did you want to do with your life?” I said, “Write.” And he said, “So write.”
That is so my idea of a hero!
Yes, two little words sent me on the adventure of a lifetime. I’ll never forget the clarity of his thinking. LOL Or how kind he was to send me down the path.
What drew you to the romance genre?
I gravitated to romance because to me romances are the ultimate story of fulfilment.
That’s so true. The fact that these emotional connections appear in almost every genre – even Poirot fell in love with a beautiful jewel thief – demonstrates that human need. I read series crime fiction such as the Ruth Galloway books by Ellie Griffiths not for the who done it, but for the emotional development of the main characters The will they/won’t they…
On the island
So, how do you think you’d survive on a desert island? Could you cope with being on your own? Build a shelter? Live off the land?
I’ve been giving this a lot of thought. Would I be Ginger or Maryann (from Gilligan’s island) and I’m almost embarrassed to say I’d be a Ginger. If I had a suitcase of pretty clothes and a cosmetic bag with nail polish, I’d make myself pretty before I made a cocoanut pie. LOL
(Liz is laughing!)
I’d have to hope someone who could figure that stuff out was stranded with me and if I was stranded alone, I’d go hungry for a while. Eventually, though, I’d become a vegetarian and live off the available plants.
God only knows how I’d sleep, though. When my husband is out of town and I have to sleep alone – even in a house with locks – I still make Susan Meier Intruder Alarms. I stack chairs in front of doors, scatter things in the foyer and front hall that a burglar would trip over, so I’d hear them and be able to call 9-1-1before he found me.
Of course, in a jungle I’d be more afraid of snakes than burglars and I wouldn’t have to worry about rescue. The first time I saw a snake I’d have a heart attack and die on the spot.
I do know how you feel, Susan and I thought I’d be the same but I once had one in my kitchen – I was living in Africa! – and fascination got the better of that ingrained fear. Spiders, now, that’s a different story…
A special book
Tell us about your last book? Why it’s so important to you.
My August release, HIRED BY THE UNEXPECTED BILLIONAIRE, was one of the books I’m the most proud of. The heroine was the victim of sexual harassment and bullying in high school when the boyfriend who took her virginity posted naked pictures of her on the Internet and sent them to his friends.
It’s years later, and she’s still skittish about men and romance. Her trust is hard won.
I think a good many women have an episode like that in our pasts. Something humiliating or embarrassing or horrific like an acquaintance rape that we absorb the guilt and shame for – when in truth it shouldn’t be ours.
In HIRED BY THE UNEXPECTED BILLIONAIRE the heroine learns not so much to let go as to rise above, to figure out who she is and embrace that.
And it’s a great romance. J
It sounds wonderful, Susan. And tell us more about this month’s release, Stolen Kiss with Her Billionaire Boss, which you’ve already mentioned is set in London.
Researching London has to be one of my favorite things I’ve ever done. I always thought of London as being like Washington, DC, the center of government (yawn) with tons of government employees (did I just fall asleep?) and not much else.
Then I began researching and I was blown away. I’d LOVE to go to London.
I’ve been to Washington, Susan and believe me, it’s nothing like London! There is a part of London around Westminster with the Houses of Parliament, that has a lot of government buildings, but it also has Westminster Abbey, too, with its centuries of history. London has been growing since the Romans settled there. It’s ancient and modern, big and sprawling — the result of many villages growing together. Think New York but with 2000 years of history! I absolutely love it. Come soon!
You fell in love, but back to the book. How did your American heroine settle in?
My heroine also fell in love with the city as she was falling in love with Hugo Harrington. I think that’s part of what makes the story rich and engaging. A young widow, she’d lost her zest for life, Hugo (and London) help her find it again.
I have it pre-ordered, Susan, and can’t wait to read it!
Sadly, we’re nearly at the end of our chat so tell me, if you could only grab one of those books from the waves, which would it be?
I’d grab the first in the Chesapeake Bay series, Sea Swept.
And finally, the luxury
What will you take to make your life a little easier? It can’t be anything practical – not a toolbox! – but something that would make life more enjoyable on your desert island.
I’m thinking hand-held fan or a hammock. I love silence so much that I really could see myself on a hammock, sipping a cool drink (maybe coconut milk) and reading for a month before the solitude would get to me. LOL.
Make it the hammock, you could use a banana leaf as a fan! Thanks so much for being my guest on what I hope will be a peaceful visit to your desert island, with lots of time to do your nails but, bearing in mind your lack of survival skills, I think perhaps you should include a book that identified which plants are safe to eat! Maybe this one!
Susan’s latest book, Stolen Kiss With Her Billionaire Boss is available on Amazon and at all other retailers in both digital and paper editions.
Here’s the blurb –
Christmas has arrived…
And she’s spending it with her boss!
Erin is intrigued when Hugo Harrington asks for her help on a hotel renovation in London, just weeks before Christmas! But Erin soon discovers how personal this project is to her brooding boss. Working with him, Erin uncovers a side to Hugo she’s never seen. And then a stolen, snowbound kiss changes everything…
And here’s Chapter One as a taster –
Buy links –
Stolen Kiss with Her Billionaire Boss is the third book in the Christmas at the Harrington Park Hotel mini series.