Sunday, February 23, 2014

Featured Author Friday featuring Suzanne Sweeney

I had the pleasure of interviewing Suzanne Sweeney the author of Running Back To You. Not only did I get to interview this wonderful woman, I also was a Beta Reader for her book. I have read many books and RBTY is in my top 10!  It was such a pleasure working with her, I look forward to doing it again.
About this author

Suzanne Sweeney is a graduate of Georgian Court University where she studied Elementary Education and Sociology. For some time now, she has been sharing her love of literature with the young minds who sit before her in class each and every day. After years of teaching the art of writing, Suzanne has finally taken her own advice and put pen to paper in order to produce her debut novel, Running Back to You. She writes what she lives, residing in the community she loves, Point Pleasant, with her family who provide a constant source of inspiration and support.

For more information on this novel and author, please visit

Before we start, I would like to say that I am a huge fan of Running Back To You! I cannot wait until the next book comes out!!!! I love a book filled with funny flirtatious banter, laughter and tears.
Can you describe Running Back to You in 20 words?
RBTY is the wish-it-were-true story of young love with a dash of suspense, humor, and hometown nostalgia.
How did you come up with the idea for Running Back to You?
I love reading romance novels, and I found myself reading a lot set on the west coast.  I have never read one set in my little corner of the universe.
Without giving away any spoilers, for those who have not read Running Back to You, what was your favorite scene to write?
Since you’re asking about fun, I’d have to say it’s the drunken party scene.  The main character, Juliette (Jette) is feeling heart broken and she washes away her troubles with good friends and a little too much alcohol.  In general, watching intoxicated people is funny, and so is writing about them.
Describe a typical day when you are writing. Do you have any pre-writing rituals?
I have a full-time job, so I write when I can.  My only ritual is to make sure that the family is fed, the laundry is done, and my laptop is charged.
Do you have any plans for a book signing event?
As a first-time author, this is all very new to me.  Any events that are appropriate and near-by would be of great interest to me, so I’m keeping my eyes and ears open.
Can you give us an idea of what to expect in your next book?
It’s hard to say without giving away the ending of RBTY, but suffice it to say that I know the readers expect Jette and Evan to take their relationship to the next level, and in that respect, they will not be disappointed.  However, I am planning on some unexpected plots twists that I know will anger and infuriate some.
What came first, the characters or the concept for the story?
The first was the most important character – the setting.  In RBTY, the community plays a large role in the novel.  Having grown up here, I know it intimately and I can tell you that it’s a living, breathing character that inspired the people and the events that I wrote about.
If Running Back to You became a movie, who would your dream cast be?
I am a very visual person, and I constantly surf the net to find images to inspire me.  I could easily see Evan being played by Stephen Amell (Arrow) and Juliette being played by Lucy Hale.
Do you ever read the reviews about your books? If so, do you pay attention to any negative reviews or let them influence your writing?
During the beta phase, I sent my book out to 60 readers to help me with revisions.  I read all their remarks – good and bad – and used their insight to make some changes.  Once it was published, I stopped reading.  I do, however, check the average ratings, which I think is more appropriate.  Right now, it’s at 4.32, so that means that the average ratings is 4 out of 5, which is a number I am pleased with and proud of.
Do you have a favorite author?
I go through phases with my favorite authors.  My two all-time favorites are Patricia Cornwell and Michael Crichton.  I love the suspense woven into Patricia’s books.  Michael Crichton’s novels are always written with an eye towards science and reality mixed with enough fiction to make it interesting.
What are your favorite top 3 books that you would recommend?
Harry Potter – I have fond memories of reading them to my children and with them as they became better readers.  Hunger Games – I’ve come to love the Young Adult and Dystopian genres.  Love Unscripted – for readers who are unsure about the current trends in romance, it’s a great story line with strong characters.
What book, if any, are you reading now?
Tangled, by Emma Chase.  It’s setting is close to home, the point of view is unique and I’m enjoying the banter and comedic mishaps.
Do you prefer to read traditional books or e-books?
E-books win my vote, hands down!  I read entirely too many books to be collecting them.  I could fill an entire room with the books I’ve devoured.  I love reading books with challenging vocabulary and well-chosen references to actual people and events.  An e-book gives me the chance to research more on interesting facts.
Out of the books that you have read, which character couple would you like to invite over for dinner and why?
Natalie and Luke from “With Me in Seattle” would be great dinner guests. Luke is a former Hollywood actor turned director and he would have the best stories to tell.  Natalie has friends and family that are famous in their own right, including professional athletes.  How interesting it would be to spend time with them, potentially having dinner at their home, in the company of celebrities.
If you could work with any author, who would it be?
I would love to have Nicholas Sparks as a mentor.  He never seems to run out of ideas, and every book is exceptional and heart-wrenching in its own right.
What inspired you to start writing?
I’m a teacher.  I’ve been teaching young minds the basics of writing and storytelling for years now.  It seemed like the right time for me to put my lessons into action and try my hand at writing a novel.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
I really have just one piece of advice – research.  Before you even pick up a pen (or type your first word), read, read, read.  Find out what the framework of a good work of fiction contains.  Find communities of readers to give you feedback as you progress.  Find reputable cover designers and editors.  Start a blog, a Facebook page, and learn how to Tweet.  Writing the book is only a small part of the process.
What are you top 5 most important things in your life?
My children, my husband, my community, my students, and my friends (not necessarily in that order).  Those who know me will find pieces of themselves intricately hidden within the pages of RBTY.  It might be a mannerism, a nickname, or a shared history. 
Do you have any tattoos or piercings?
I do not, but members of my immediate family do.  Right now, I’m helping my daughter select her next tattoo, which is a very difficult process that we both take very seriously.  She’s determined to find the right combination of sentiment and art.
Do you have any fears?
Fear of failure, hands down.  I take all my endeavors very seriously, and I like to think that my colleagues and friends will tell you that I never to anything half-ass.  I’m not afraid of hard work, but I am afraid of mediocre.
What do you do for fun, besides writing?
The obvious answer here is reading, but that’s probably not a surprise.  I’m a little bit of a techie and I like to create things on the computer.  I’ve done my own book cover.  I’ve helped friends and family with webpage design, restaurant menus, business flyers, logo designs, and database creations.  I’m a little bit of a computer nerd.
Do you have any vices?
Wine and spirits.  I love to try new wines from around the world and I’m always interested in tasting a new cocktail when I go out to dinner with my husband.
What was the last thing you googled?
Football Stadiums names – I’m trying to find a fictitious name for the football stadium where the New Jersey Sentinels will play and I want to be sure the name does not really exist.  I made that mistake in RBTY and one of my beta readers pointed it out.  One of the characters from Evan’s past was the star of a reality dating show.  I gave it what I thought was a very creative fictional name.  It turned out, there was a show with that name currently airing on television that I had never heard of.  I’m just glad it was caught before I published.
If you could describe yourself in 5 words what would they be?
supportive, sympathetic, steadfast, thorough, and knowledgeable
What is your biggest pet peeve?
As a teacher, my biggest pet peeve is when people make up their own rules for English.  I’m not talking about non-native speakers.  I’m talking about people who use “supposably” when they mean “supposedly”; use “ax” instead of “ask”; “alls I’m sayin” rather than “all I’m saying”;  and “liberry” for “library”.
Where was the last place someone spotted you and asked for an autograph?
Every June when we hand out yearbooks in school.
Thank you so much for the interview! Is there anything else you would like your readers to know?
No – your questions were very thought provoking.  I hope you enjoyed my book and will read “Running Home to You” when it’s published early next year.

Where to find Suzanne
Goodreads   //   Facebook   //   Website