Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Blog Tour Stop: Stealing Fire by Susan Sloate

Please welcome Susan to my blog today as she discusses the setting behind her book. Be sure to comment as Susan will be awarding a notebook perfect for journaling to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. 

Samantha, thanks for inviting me to post on your blog today! And thanks for asking me to talk about my new novel, STEALING FIRE.

STEALING FIRE is not an historical novel, though the setting is 1980’s New York and L.A. To me, that wasn’t so long ago (I remember the 80’s with great fondness, mostly because I was still wearing a size 5 then). It’s true that computers were bigger and more expensive and no one was using the Internet. Still, much of the ‘80’s still lingers in our society today.

In particular, though, STEALING FIRE deals with the Broadway musical theatre, and in the 1980’s, there was a clear trend happening on Broadway, and his name was Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Lloyd Webber is a prolific composer who had a lot of hits in the musical theatre: JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, CATS, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (the longest running and probably best known), STARLIGHT EXPRESS, SUNSET BOULEVARD, and many more. His shows were huge productions using lots of technology (like however they managed to make the chandelier fall, night after night, in PHANTOM). These were big, expensive shows that pushed ticket prices sky-high, and I personally am not a fan.

In STEALING FIRE, my hero, Beau Kellogg, is a well-known and respected Broadway lyricist/librettist (a librettist writes the script for the show). Beau wrote most of his hits in the 1950’s and 1960’s. The Lloyd Webber kind of show is not what he does, and because of the current trend toward these big expensive productions, Beau feels out of step with the new shows. He hates their lack of substance but envies their success (who wouldn’t?) He wants to write a big, old-fashioned show but isn’t sure he’ll ever get backers in the current environment. Meanwhile, he’s writing advertising jingles to stay solvent.

My heroine, Amanda Harary, is out of step with her own contemporaries. She was raised on the kind of Broadway show scores that Beau used to write (in fact, she knows his songs as well, which is a real bond between them). She also hates Lloyd Webber but she wants to sing on Broadway, and that may be her only chance. Meanwhile, she sings a lot of old music because she likes it and relates to it.

New York in the ‘80’s had a lot of positives. There were great restaurants, some great shows (Rupert Holmes wrote THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD at this time, a show I really liked), fashions were sleek and often dressy, and in general, there was a lot of promise in the air. In L.A., where Beau lives and where I was living myself at the time, movies had money to invest in writers (ah, those were the days!) You could go into a studio meeting having written one good screenplay, pitch a story verbally for ten or fifteen minutes and end up with a six-figure contract to write the script. It was called ‘development’, and they don’t do much of it anymore, because those scripts that grew out of a short verbal pitch could end up no good at all, and the studio would have wasted its money. Back then it was okay. It’s not so okay now.

So Beau and Amanda are both fish out of water in an era they don’t really understand, and part of the connection between them is that feeling. They cherish the songs and shows of the Golden Age of Musical Theatre—late ‘40s through early ‘60s—and if you happen to be a musical theatre aficionado, there are plenty of musical references to old shows and songs in STEALING FIRE. I even wrote some song lyrics for Beau; not sure they’re all that good, but I enjoyed writing them.

Hope you’ll take a look back at the ‘80s with me and come inside a passionate love affair with Beau and Amanda in STEALING FIRE. 

“How do you recognize your soulmate?

In glittery 1980’s Los Angeles, Beau Kellogg is a brilliant Broadway lyricist now writing advertising jingles and yearning for one more hit to compensate for his miserable marriage and disappointing life.

Amanda Harary, a young singer out of synch with her contemporaries, works at a small New York hotel, while she dreams of singing on Broadway.

When they meet late at night over the hotel switchboard, what begins will bring them each unexpected success, untold joy, and piercing heartache ... until they learn that some connections, however improbable, are meant to last forever.

STEALING FIRE is, at its heart, a story for romantics everywhere, who believe in the transformative power of love.”

STEALING FIRE was a Quarter-Finalist (Top 5%) in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest.
Oh, God, it was him, the bastard who had upset the switchboard operators and bellowed through the lobby loudly enough to alert all five boroughs. At three o'clock in the morning, asking for room service. Unbelievable.

Amanda leaned back in her chair. Her stomach was tightening inexplicably. "I'm sorry," she said finally, when she could control her voice. "Room Service closes at midnight."

There was a pause. "Oh. What time is it now?"

She looked at her watch. "Ten after three."

 "Then whom am I speaking to?"

 "I'm the night operator.  This is the main switchboard."

 "Well, main switchboard, you must all sound alike down there. I could swear I talked to you earlier tonight."

Well, how about that. "You've got a good ear, 704. I was on duty earlier."

 "Good Lord. How long are the shifts around here?"

 "Eight hours for everybody else. I’m working a double today." 


 "Maybe I just love it here."

 "I guess you do. But I hope you're well compensated."

Trust a man to think of money first. "That’s not my major concern."

 "Glad to hear it."

Okay, enough's enough.  It's been a long day, made even longer by him. No reason to shoot the breeze with this guy. "Excuse me, I have other callers. Sorry I couldn’t help you."

"Well, better luck with them." 

 "Look, if you'd called earlier—"
"Absolutely. My fault entirely, for falling asleep after a cross-country flight, a time change and a screw-up in hotel administration. Forget I even mentioned it." The phone clicked in her ear.
She sat for some moments before she noticed she was trembling. This was the second time he'd undermined her—and it bothered her.
Susan Sloate is the author of 20 published books, including FORWARD TO CAMELOT (with Kevin Finn),
an alternative history of the JFK assassination, STEALING FIRE, an autobiographical love story, and REALIZING YOU (with Ron Doades), for which she invented a new genre – the self-help novel.  FORWARD TO CAMELOT was a #6 Amazon bestseller, took honors in 3 literary competitions and was optioned for film production by a Hollywood company. STEALING FIRE was a quarter-finalist in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest. Susan has also written young-adult fiction and non-fiction, including RAY CHARLES: FIND ANOTHER WAY!, which won a silver medal in the 2007 Children’s Moonbeam Book Awards, AMELIA EARHART: CHALLENGING THE SKIES, a perennial Amazon bestseller, and MYSTERIES UNWRAPPED: THE SECRETS OF ALCATRAZ, which led to her appearance on a special for The History Channel in 2009, as well as books for five girls’ fiction series. As a screenwriter, she has written an informational film for McGraw-Hill Films and optioned two scripts to Hollywood production companies. As a sportswriter, she’s covered the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the New York Mets. She’s also managed two recent political campaigns, founded the East Cooper Authors Festival (which put 18 professional authors in 17 area schools in one day) and serves on the Culture, Arts and Pride Commission of the Town of Mount Pleasant.


  1. Thanks for having me here today, Samantha! So happy to be visiting your blog!

    1. Thanks for a great post! It was my pleasure to host you. Wishing you all the best with your book x

  2. STEALING FIRE is a really great read. I thoroughly enjoyed it. This is a love story for the ages. A real page turner. Really hard to put down. You can't help but fall in love with the characters.STEALING FIRE is a romance you will not soon forget.

  3. Thanks, Mary Lou! It's WONDERFUL to hear such praise from readers! That's what keeps writers going!

  4. great excerpt! Wishing you much success!


  5. Thanks so much, KyAnn! So glad you enjoyed it!