SPEAKER: Linda is a member of AWSA, and is available to speak to your organization, at your conference, or as part of a workshop.
Contact her at

AGENT: Linda is a an agent with Hartline Literary Agency. She would love to represent that next great American novel! She will look at nonfiction, but she LOVES FICTION--historic, suspense, romance or all of the above.

AUTHOR: Linda writes romance in all categories, but what is her fave? Suspense, and not only suspense, but SUSPENSE SEALED WITH A KISS

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Today, I’m fortunate to have with me Suzanne Hartmann,
First Suzanne, I would like to ask you how you ever chose
Suspense with a Nascar twist?
The NASCAR part of my stories started with my daughter. I had been entertaining myself with stories I created to occupy myself during violin lessons, soccer and baseball practice, and driving the kids here there and yonder. When she showed an interest in NASCAR at age seven, I realized that a track would be a great setting for some of my stories. So I set my main character, Lady Anne, in a scene at a NASCAR track, then created the character Stuart Jackson, who is a NASCAR champion. The rest of the book fell in place after that.

Secondly, tell us about your current story. What gave you the idea for it?
My current WIP is called Disappearing Mom. It is about a typical mother whose children don't listen to her instructions and her husband doesn't hear her during the game. Through a series of embarrassing incidents, she discovers that when she sinks into this non-entity state of being she truly can disappear. She learns to control it and has fun with it, unaware of how the disappearances are transforming her...until it's almost too late.

I got the idea for this story from one of those e-mails that circulates around on the internet called Invisible Mom. It talks about how a mom often feels like a nobody. I started asking “what if” questions like, “What if a mother really could become invisible because everyone treated her like she wasn’t there?” Those questions led me to develop the storyline for Disappearing Mom.

I love it. How many times as moms have we felt that way? I'm noticing, ahem, that happens often as one gets older. Once we don't feel quite as needed on a daily basis, but that's a whole 'nother story, isn't it? I'm so intrigued with the idea of a mom who can disappear. She obviously has children. How many? What kinds of interests?

Crystal has four children, the youngest of which instigates the first major embarrassment Crystal has to suffer through by completely ruining the cocktail dress Crystal bought for a New Year’s Eve gala only an hour or so before the party. The second and third embarrassing incidents which lead Crystal to discover how she can disappear by sinking into the non-entity status of motherhood happen during a trivia contest and while shopping.

Back to the Nascar book. I couldn't help but think of DAYS OF THUNDER. Please tell us there's a wonderful romantic twist to this suspense. Not that all of us want great heroes and romance (well, okay, most of us do want that).

Lady Anne is definitely a wonderful hero, but there is also a romantic twist in The Race that Lies Before Us. The twist is that it's backwards. The male protagonist is chasing after the female protagonist, who is clueless about his interest. In the process, he discovers a surprising secret and opens the door for her to witness to him about the source of her contentment.

Oh wonderful! I can't wait to read this book. Tell me one thing. When is the first time you remember having the desire to write a story? I can trace mine back to a really cheezy one I wrote in 8th grade, but it affected me so strongly that I can remember every detail to this day. How about you?

Because I love reading so much, I’ve always thought it would be neat to write a novel, but I never took it seriously until about 3 ½ years ago. I was taking a walk and thinking about one of the stories I made up to occupy my time while running the kids around and a thought popped into my head: “Why don’t you make it into a novel?” My next thought was, “Wow, I never thought about that.” I truly believe it was the voice of God calling me to write fiction. I was a little worried that I was having an early mid-life crisis, but I followed the call. With hindsight, I now see that it truly was God’s calling to write, and I see His fingerprints all over my writing journey. I can’t wait to see what His next steps for me are!

Suzanne, who are some of your favorite authors?
Who inspired(s) you?

My all-time favorite authors are Tom Clancy and John Grisham. Also high on my list are Piers Anthony, Anne McCaffrey, and Marion Zimmer Bradley. These authors all write character-driven novels, which has inspired me to create characters the readers can relate to and identify with. Overall, I consider the plot most important in a novel, but creating characters my readers come to know and care about is important to me as well.

Last question Suzanne. What would you say to someone who wasn't sure which direction to go in with their writing? Why suspense? What makes it your passion?

I don’t like predicable stories. I want twists and turns and surprises. So when I started to write, I naturally wanted to write that type of story. Even Disappearing Mom, which is women’s fiction, has some elements of suspense to it and plenty of twists and turns. So my advice to those contemplating where to go with their writing is to write what you like. It will flow more naturally and you will enjoy it more.

Besides writing novels, Suzanne also operates the Write at Home Critique Service, which offers both partial and full manuscript critiques that teach as well as correct. You can find out more about her novels and her critique service at her website, Suspense with a Twist, and her blog, Write at Home.

(In case the hyperlinks don’t come through Suspense with a Twist is located at and Write at Home is at

Thanks, Suzanne, may all your writing have a surprising twist!


  1. Cool interview! The mom story reminds me of that movie Click where he uses the remote to fast forward time but it suddenly starts changing him in ways he didn't expect.
    I love twists too! Thanks for the interview ladies. :-)

  2. Best wishes with your book! Interesting that your daughter sparked the interest in NASCAR races.
    Donna Winters

  3. Yeah, you'd think it'd be my boys, but they don't care much about NASCAR. Once my daughter picked a favorite driver, I figured I'd better find out about this guy to make sure he was a decent-type guy. Then I started writing The Race that Lies Before Us and did bunches of research...and, of course, watched the races. Eventually, I was hooked.

  4. I'm going to have to check out that movie, Jessica. It sounds very interesting.

  5. I love races, altho I don't know much about them. Wonderful interview, Linda & Suzanne! Your books, Suzanne, are going on my list to order.

  6. Thank you, Caroline. Hopefully you won't have to wait too long.

  7. Well, Suzanne. Sounds like you've got the first few sold! Can't wait for it to come out.

  8. Great interview:) I like reading how authors come up with their book ideas and the twists that can appear. The books sound great!