Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Author Interview: Susie M. Hanley

What is your book about?
Muse is an adult urban fantasy about a woman who finds out she  is a Muse and gains some interesting abilities. The story is about her coming to terms with her new role in life, adjusting to having some superhero type Guardians stalking her every move and all the while,  keeping her kids safe.

How did you come up with the idea for your book?
I have always been fascinated with the idea of a Muse, that unseen force that influences our endeavors. Even more intriguing is the idea  that a person in our lives can be our Muse. This was such an unexplored  idea that I wanted to build upon it and bring something new to the Urban  Fantasy genre.

What makes your book different than others in your genre?
There are two things that really make Muse different to the Urban  Fantasy genre. The first is simply the idea: it has never been done  before. This uniqueness also makes for a bit of difficulty since people  don't, generally, have any idea of what a Muse is. For example: if I  told you I wrote a book about vampires, you'd have some idea of what  that means (they probably don't go out during the day, they drink blood,  etc.), but when I tell you I wrote a book about a Muse ... you probably  have little, if any idea, what I am talking about. This isn't a bad  thing, but it does make it unique.

The second thing that makes Muse different to the urban fantasy genre  is that the main character has children. I am glad I found a way to  incorporate this important aspect of many women's lives into my story.  My hope is that it makes her a much more relatable character.

Who is your favourite writer? Why?
I don't think I can pick just one. I admire the talents of many  authors and try my best to emulate each one at times. I will have to say that Janet Evanovich and Laurell K. Hamilton have been the most  inspirational while writing Muse. Stephanie Meyer will always have a  place in my heart too and more recently E.L. James taught me a thing or two as well.

 What strange writing rituals do you have?
I think the strangest ritual I have is doing my nails while I think. I  am not big on having my nails done or spending a lot of time on my appearance, but when I am writing and stop to think, I file my nails. Then the next time I stop writing to think I buff them, and so on until I  have a good few coats of clear nail polish on them. Then over the  course of the next few days I peel off the polish and then start again. I  am not sure how or why this ritual evolved, but it certainly helps me think.

Is your writing style similar to any well-known writers? If so, which one(s)?
I write first person and there are a lot of writers that also do so.  Janet Evanovich, Laurell K. Hamilton, Stephanie Meyer, and E.L. James  just to name a few. Charlene Harris also writes this way, as well as  Richelle Mead, Jeanianne Frost and many more.

Who is your Muse?
This question made me chuckle. I have to say that I don't have just one Muse. I pull from a lot of characters when I write and each character that I write has a lot of characters that inspire them. I  guess I'd have to say that my Muses are the people in my life who love  me. They each bring something unique to my writing.

What are your hobbies?
Other than writing? Laundry. Just kidding, with two kids and a  husband I often feel like laundry is a cosmic joke without a punch line  ... it really does never end.

When not writing or doing laundry, I spend a lot of time on DIY type projects. This month I painted an exterior door, last month I repainted  the man cave a couple nice shades of dark brown for my husband. Recently  I made some cool paper window coverings and embroidered curtains for my  daughter’s room and my dining room. I do a lot of needlepoint projects,  and I do enjoy crafty things like painting and such. Otherwise I am organizer extraordinaire. If it can be sorted, I'll be there!

Does your main character resemble anyone in your family or circle of friends?
I suppose my main character most resembles myself, but she is really quite unique. I like to think that I mostly pulled elements from my life  and put them into hers because they were familiar. Things like her car,  house and kids. Otherwise she is definitely her own person.

How long did it take you to write your book?
To actually write Muse only took about 8 months with the help of an award winning writing coach pointing me in the right direction. However, Muse went through no less than 15 drafts over the course of nearly 4  years. There are many important steps in editing that often take more time than the actual writing does. Let alone all the time it takes to  prepare the book for publication.

What are some writing goals for the future?
Muse is intended to be the first in a series of books about Muses and Guardians. My first goal is to have Book 2 released by the end of 2013.  I also have a specific number of books I'd like to have sold by that date, which will also be about the time I turn 30.

If you were stranded on an island which book would you bring with you?
Hmm... Definitely one that would have lots of information about how to survive being trapped on an island.

What was the most difficult thing you have learned being a writer?
This one is easy to answer: rejection.
The most difficult thing to accept as a writer is that not everyone  will like my work and that's okay. I've collected over a hundred rejection letters from agents and publishers and even had friends and  family tell me that the story just wasn't their taste. As you can  imagine, at first that was really difficult to live with, but then after  a while you realize that not everyone likes Harry Potter or Twilight either  and you do your best to get over it. People love to complain and those  who complain often do so louder that those who compliment.

What are you reading at the moment?
At the moment I am reading The Man with the Green Suitcase by Dee  Doanes and someday soon getting back to Game of Thrones. I have a  ridiculously long to-read list at the moment, but it is my to-write list that is keeping me awake at night for the moment.

In a world not unlike ours, Muses and their Guardians have walked alongside humankind since the beginning of time. From birth Muses assume they are just like everyone else. Not until their twenty-fifth birthdays do they discover their talents have a special purpose, and that Guardians, with their superhuman abilities, will help them in that purpose whether they want that help or not.

Shelby has worked hard to make a life for herself. Her parents died when she was young, and her husband left her with two kids. When her ex-husband comes back to town, he has more to say than just ‘I’m sorry’: he's a Guardian, and his new assignment is her. She is a Muse now, one coming into her own no matter how hard she fights it, and trouble stalks her wherever she goes. Her ex-husband can't keep up and, with their history, she doesn't want him to. To complicate matters, there’s another Guardian around when she needs help, and they are falling for each other. He has a dark past that’s trying to reclaim him, and Shelby is in the way. But she has to accept her Museness and figure out fast what being a Muse really means if she is to keep herself and her children alive.

You can purchase Susie's book on Amazon.


  1. I read this book last week and it was great. Thanks for interviewing this author.