Author Name: Susan Blackmon
Genre: Historical Fiction
Books: Love in Key West series are generational stories following the vibrant history of Key West, FL. Released books include: Salvaged Love, Love in Key West, Love Again, Enduring Love and Once Upon an Island Christmas.
Are you a full-time author? If not, what’s your side gig? I took a full time leap and it’s paying off. I got two books published last year. Hoping to release book 6 this year. It’s a blessing and a curse. Not as much pressure to write when you don’t feel like it but also no pressure to be as absolutely productive as possible at all times.
Favorite author/books: Oh, my gosh! I have so many favorite authors I can never choose. Names like Laura Ingalls Wilder, L.M. Montgomery, Georgette Heyer, and Jane Austin would start the list but my current favorites are Mimi Matthews, Amanda Cabot, and Fiona Valpy. As for books, I rarely read a book more than once. The exceptions would be the Little House and Anne of Green Gables series and of those Anne of Green Gables would be my favorite. I was amused and sympathetic to all of Anne Shirley’s escapades. I also wished I could be half as bold and daring as her.
What experiences or people have influenced your writing the most? I wouldn’t be writing novels if not for a cruise ship detour that got me hooked on the history of Key West. I’ve dabbled in writing my whole life. I always thought I could write a novel but was never inspired to do so until an unexpected visit to the island, a trolley tour run down of the island history, and a spark of inspiration from the Shipwreck Historium Museum. Salvaged Love started out as just a lark. It was the encouragement of friends and family that brought it to fruition. And now I can’t stop writing.
Do you keep a writing journal and if so, how do you use it? Not really. I’m not much of one for journaling in general. When it comes to the writing process, I use phone notes for the spur of the moment thoughts. I have sticky notes and lists for to do items (real and digital). The rest of it is kept in one tidy program called Liquid Story Binder. It gives me a place to not only write but create with outlines, builders, dossiers, pictures to inspire, and many more tools to craft your thoughts into that next great read.
Do you belong to a writers’ group? If so, describe your experience: At my last job at a big company I had a wonderful group of coworkers interested in writing with two of us self-published and a third on the cusp of it. We started an amazing group that seemed to benefit us all even thought we were at different stages in the process and had a wide variety of interests as well. I miss them. Lately, my time has been jealously guarded for writing so joining another group has not crossed my mind… yet.
Are you up with the sun or do you burn the midnight oil? It used to be only after the sun went down, but now, I’m all over the place. I try to take advantage of any moment of inspiration and every moment of quiet which could be staying up until 3am or rising at 5. Once was both of those at once
How do you get over a writing slump? I used to try to fight my way to the other side but I soon learned the best thing to do was make something creative and especially reading. So often I’ll be reading one thing and get an idea that is so completely unrelated I’m often shaking my head wondering where it came from but thrilled to be inspired again.
Do you prefer writing dialogue or descriptive passages? Depends on which one is coming easily or giving me fits. I like descriptive because I don’t get bogged down by those quotation marks. I soon found out I can’t move forward if something I’ve just done has known errors. My brain doesn’t have an ignore option so I must fix before I can continue writing. On the other hand, dialogue is often more fun.
What are you working on now? The sixth book in the series, Divided Love. It is set during the Civil War. Several interesting events happened in Key West and the closest battles were on the water making for a different take on this epic conflict in our history.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about writing and publishing a book? Don’t let fear stop you. If you’re inspired – write! If you’ve written something you or others believe is good – share it – just make sure you give it a proper polish first. The best part of independent publishing is you don’t have to fit the cookie cutter.
Do you listen to podcasts? If so, which podcasts do you find the most interesting? A very selective few. Mostly Dave Chesson of Kindlepreneur. He gives great info for indies.
Favorite escape: THE BEACH – gotta have my salt & sand fix
Have you ever tried Kombucha tea? Yes, yes I have. Once. A family member was home brewing it. Most disgusting thing I ever saw. Taste? Ok. Not terrible. Not great.
Do you prefer a couch with pillows or no pillows? Love those pillows! But they’ve got to be the right size, supporting the right spot. Beauty and function or they’re history.
Would you rather rake leaves, shovel snow or weed? Of the three – rake leaves but the bagging lawnmower took that job so I’m left with just the weeds and there are plenty of them on my patch of land.
Favorite mask – disposable paper, plain fabric, colorful print or something else? I haven’t invested in anything other than disposable in the continual optimistic hope ‘this too shall pass’ and soon.
Biggest writing challenge since Covid-19: The actual disease has been minimal for my family, many of us have had relatively mild cases, but the lack of what used to be normal health care services has hit hard with my father becoming paralyzed from a compressed disk almost simultaneously with the initial lock down. The result has been I’ve spent a lot more time helping my parents cope with their new reality.
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