Welcome! Kick off your shoes, get comfy and join in as we chat about books, romance and the ups and downs of everyday life.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Today's Special - - Suzanne Ferrell


I've had the pleasure of meeting Suzanne Ferrell in person at three RWA national conferences.  One of my most vivid memories of those meetings is of her hustling up and down the conference hallways handing out bookmarks and telling readers waiting in lines all about her good (published author) friend's newest book.  She hadn't sold yet when I first saw her doing this but I knew, from being a Romance Bandits regular, that it was her goal.  I told her that one of these days someone would be working those lines telling people about her books.  Here we are, four years later, and I'm tickled pink to welcome published author, Suzanne Ferrell to the Romance Dish so she can tell you all about her newest book, Cantrell's Bride!  Okay, Suz.  Work that line!  



Cantrell’s Bride (Or how it got this title)

One night I had an idea pop into my head of a pregnant woman riding up into the Rocky Mountains to hide from a murderer. I sat and wrote the scene long hand on a legal pad. The words just flowed out, one right after another, until the scene was complete. Wow! I’d never written anything that quickly or that long, (five legal sized pages!)

Problem #1: I couldn’t type. So I had my husband teach me how to use the new Word program on our spanking new PC and with some hunt & peck typing I managed to put it all in the computer. I quickly realized however I couldn’t write a book with this type of typing, so the lovely DH bought me a typing tutorial program. My fingers quickly learned the keys and words flew onto the screen. Wow, pretty soon I had five solid pages of single spaced writing. I was hooked.

Problem #2: The scene was obviously totally out of context. I mean, how did she get pregnant? (Okay, I KNOW how she got pregnant, I’m a labor and delivery nurse after all!) I mean when and by whom? Why is there a murderer on her trail? Who the heck is the hero in the book? Oh wait, that would be Nathan, the man whose little daughter Rachel she dropped off with a neighbor to protect her. Where is he? Why isn’t she going to him for help? AGHHH!! Now I had to write more to find out the answers to these questions and what happens to our intrepid heroine, Laura.

Problem #3: I had no title. At the time I started writing this book, and my entire writing career, my children were in elementary and middle school. When I told them I’d started writing a book they wanted to know the title. Imagine their shock when I said I don’t have one. Their reply? “But Mommy, you can’t write a book without a title!” They were even more shocked when I informed them I’d started in the middle, not at the beginning. Silly kids, seemed they knew more about my writing style than I did. This is the ONLY book I’ve ever started in the middle. All the rest start at the opening and go very linear to the end. But I still had no title.

By the end of the book I realized I’d written a theme into the book. Laura found her physical and emotional refuge with Nathan. So I took the simple approach and titled the book REFUGE.

This worked for many years. Naively I sent it out and actually got long rejection letters telling me that while they loved the story, the writing would need major work and growth to make the story marketable. Not too discouraged, I’d already started a second book, this time from the beginning.

Then something happened. The market for American Historicals and Westerns took a nosedive. Right into publication abyss! Sigh. So I started writing contemporary romances and then some Romantic Suspense books. Those RS books, KIDNAPPED and HUNTED became finalists in the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Contest. WOW. But no contracts came my way, but I continued writing and honing my craft. Two small-town contemporaries with suspense elements later, I was tired of being unpublished.

So, I tried my hand at an erotica. Not just any erotica, a historical western erotica, complete with two heroes and a heroine. The Surrender of Lacy Morgan started winning contests and getting requests and rejections from publishers.

Frustration was my middle name!

So, I pulled out REFUGE because I loved the characters from this book. I edited and sharpened the story, amazed at how rough my writing was all those years ago. Once I’d really overhauled the writing without changing the story, I decided to do a serial publication of the book on my blogspot. I changed the title to ROCKY MOUNTAIN ROMANCE. Once a week I put a chapter up complete with pictures. I got lots of comments and emails wanting more, more, MORE!

I got side tracked again. See the Lacy Morgan book was contracted by Ellora’s Cave!!! Wow! My first sale! While I was working on a sequel to TSoLM, I thought, “what the heck” and sent REFUGE/Rocky Mountain Romance to my editor. Lovely, intelligent woman that she is, she wanted to contract the book IF I was up to heavy revisions AND was willing to change the title. Of course, I’d love to do both…(ignore rolling of my eyes on this) and AGHHH I had to come up with another title.

Quickly, I began work on the revisions. As I neared the end of the first set, I was in a panic. What the heck was I going to come up with for another title? One night I was mumbling about this at the nurses’ station and some of my lovely coworkers started brainstorming with me. (Never underestimate the power of brainstorming!) And we came up with Cantrell’s Bride. Nathan Cantrell is the hero, and Laura is his mail-order bride.

Works for me!

And luckily, it worked for my editor, so she contracted Cantrell’s Bride for Ellora’s Cave’s BLUSH line. That is their non-erotic romance e-book line. I am so excited to see this book available for everyone to read, especially those of you who like historicals, westerns, suspense and mail-order brides!

Thank you so much for blogging with us today, Suz!  We wish you all the best and look forward to more great books and sexy heroes!    

Readers, what book titles stay with you long after you finish the book?  Leave a comment for a chance to win.  One randomly chosen person will receive a $10 Amazon e-gift card.

Find out more about Suzanne at her website, like her facebook page, follow her on twitter and check out her monthly blogs at the Romance Bandits blog.



60 comments:

  1. So nice to see you here, Suzanne and congrats on the new release. I really love the titles of Marianne Stillings books. The most memorable ones are "The Damsel in this Dress," "Sighs Matter" and "Arousing Suspicions."

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey Jane! Always a pleasure to chat with you! Those are fun and memorable names, aren't they? I always giggle over Sighs Matter"...hehehe

    ReplyDelete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete


  4. fsbuchlerAugust 20, 2012 2:09 AM

    Hi Suzanne, I love your roundabout story to publication! Kudos to you for hanging in there. Two of my favorite books do not have really interesting or amusing titles, but the stories have stayed with me since I first read them. It is a duo of Romantic/Erotic Historical Fiction from author Robin Schone: "The Lover" and "Gabriel's Woman." I re-read them frequenty and recommend them to friends as often as I can.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm loving all of Liz Lipperman' titles right now:

    Beef Stolen-Off
    Liver Let Die
    Murder for the Halibut
    Chicken Caccia-Killer

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Marybelle!

      You don't know this, but Liz is a friend and DARA chaptermate of mine! She is just as fun as her books and those titles are a hoot, aren't they?!

      Delete
  6. Hey Fsbuchler!

    Thanks for stopping by. Yes, it was a roundabout road to publication, but I learned quite a lot about writing and paying it forward in the process, so it was well worth it. Especially now when this very special story has found its way along with me.

    I love stories that stay with you so much you have to read them again and again. Julie Garwood's Saving Grace is my all time favorite book. I've read it 27 (I kid you not) 27 times!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi, Suzanne! Hi, PJ! I'm excited that 'Cantrell's Bride' is ready for the world. I have loved the sound of this story from the first time you mentioned it!

    I have to admit, titles do NOT stick in my head. If I do happen to remember a title, I won't remember the author in most cases. My brain simply doesn't pay attention to those things! Now, catchy ones like those Liz Lipperman titles might stick with me, because my brain would come up with a funny picture or something to stick it in there (maybe even a recipe!). I often think the titles editors come up with (or agree to accept) are not that great. Then again, I am not an editor so I have no idea why they pick the titles they do. Still, 'Cantrell's Bride' seems logical for this one. I do love a mail-order bride story!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, Caren! Glad you swung by from the Lair this morning. I'm glad Cantrell's Bride is ready for the world to read. I've live with Nathan and Laura's story for so long.

      Liz' books do give you such a funny image to remember, don't they? The stories are pretty memorable, too.

      Delete
  8. Hi Suz! So glad to have you with us today! I'm working but I'll pop in when I can.

    I like the titles from Sarah MacLean's new series: A Rogue By Any Other Name and One Good Earl Deserves a Lover. They're catchy and stay with me. Jane Graves has some fun titles too. I especially like Hot Wheels and High Heels.

    Congrats again on launching Cantrell's Bride into the world. It's on my tbr and I can't wait to get to it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks again for having me, PJ!!

      I love a play on words like Sarah's titles. And I LOVE Jane's titles. Her second book in that series, Tall Tales and Wedding Veils has been on special the past week over at Barnes & Noble! If y'all haven't read it yet, it is a fun read!!

      Delete
  9. Congratulations on your new book release, Suzanne! It sounds like a wonderful story.

    I like titles that I can connect to something else and those that sound a little different. Some of my favorites are Candice Hern's Merry Widows books--In the Thrill of the Night, Just One of Those Flings, and Lady Be Bad and Eloisa James's Essex Sisters series--Much Ado About You, Kiss Me, Annabel, The Taming of the Duke, and Pleasure for Pleasure. Pam Morsi has some great titles too: Last Dance at the Jitterbug Lounge, Red's Hot Honky-Tonk Bar, The Lovesick Cure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Janga! Thanks. I've always thought Laura and Nathan's story was special.

      Great titles, and I'm thinking I need to read Last Dance at the Jitterbug Lounge, JUST because of that title!! My mom used to jitterbug dance when she was a teen and sort of taught me a few steps. YEP, gonna get that one!

      Delete
  10. Congratulations on the book release. Best wishes. titles that are memorable, such as, A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell and Jasmine Nights by Julia Gregson.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Traveler!

      Thank you.

      Love those titles. If I had to guess, A Thread of Grace sounds like a medieval or inspirational book, while Jasmine Nights sounds like a historical set in India or China. Am I close?

      Delete
  11. Your book sounds compelling and special. Congratulations. A book that is meaningful and a title that I can recall for along time is the Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Petite!

      Always good to see you. The Winter Rose? What made it stand out in your mind? The story, the characters?

      Delete
  12. Hey, Suz! Big congrats on all your success!

    PJ, I think I may have been the author Suz was promoting in that line at the RWA booksigning. You have no idea how many books I sold that night. Nobody--I mean nobody--promotes books better than Suz!

    As for titles that stick with you, I've always remembered one from about fifteen years ago, and that was Geralyn Dawson's The Bad Luck Wedding Dress. I remember her saying they wanted to give it a much more ordinary title, but they finally stuck with this one. If I remember it all these years later, that was probably a good decision.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, Jane!!

      Why yes you would be that very author, my dear. :-) And I was glad to do it!!

      And doesn't that title make you WANT to read it, just to find out how a wedding dress can be bad luck!

      Delete
  13. Lovely blog, Suzanne and PJ! I don't think I've ever heard "the rest of the story," or at least the front of the story about Cantrell's Bride. I'm very excited to read this book. And the cover is DROP DEAD gorgeous!

    I'm so thrilled for you, Suz; I remember that night, and many others, when you religiously pimped other authors' books. Now it's your turn! Yay!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Jo! Another Bandit dropping by. We do love to chat over here with the Dish girls don't we?!

      I never told you about the beginning of this book? It really was the beginning of my writing career. Now if I can just get all the rewriting done on the sequel, I might see it make the light of day, too!

      OMG...were you one of the people I pimped Jane's book to? hehehe

      Delete
  14. There are some cheeky titles by Kieran Kramer and Sarah MacLean that I thought was hilarious. :) They are usually take-offs from movies or popular sayings. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey May!

      Love titles that twist our popular movies and sayings.

      I've always thought Rock songs could be titles.... Walk This Way, Fat Bottom Girls, Come On Baby Light My Fire

      Delete
  15. What a great post! Suz - I'm so happy to see this book is getting to readers and I love your persistence on the way to publication.

    Titles.....I'm a huge fan of the Bride Quartet by Nora Roberts and I love how they wove the titles with each heroine's profession....Vision in White (photographer), Bed of Roses (florist), Savor the Moment (pastry chef) and Happy Ever After (the one who keeps it all together). I also love Liz Lipperman's titles and the fun titles they've got on Kate Carlisle's Bibliophile mysteries.

    Addison

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought these were wonderful titles, too! They perfectly matched the wedding theme and the individual professions.

      Delete
    2. Well, Addison you might get two replies. I thought I sent one.

      Love those titles, they certainly interact with each heroine's story!

      And aren't Kate's titles fun, too? Her newest one is Perils In Paperback...too fun!

      Delete
  16. I really like this one "Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake." It's cute and catchy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Cheryl!

      It's lyrical and rhythmic, isn't it? That's another cool way to have a title stay in someone's head.

      Delete
  17. It was a wonderful post reading about how Suzanne did not give up her dream. I am bad at remembering titles unless they are very unusual like Mrs. Drew Plays Her Hand by Carla Kelly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Maureen!!

      Thanks! I believe if you want something bad enough and persist long enough and are kind to others in paying it forward, Karma really should return it to you in kind. That and my Daddy used to say I was stubborn as a Missouri mule. (Why Missouri I don't know, he never said.)

      Mrs. Drew Plays Her Hand...Poker or piano?

      Delete
  18. Woohoo!!!! It's Suz Ferrell!!!!

    Suz you're a wonderful writer with fantastic stories. Heck, I bought a Kindle JUST so I could read Lacy (fans self). Cantrell's Bride, Hunted, Kidnapped...your multi-faceted and I strongly encourage visitors get your books stat (from another nurse ;))

    And PJ! Hi!!!! (Waves madly)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww, Joanie, you are so good for my ego, my friend!!

      Did I tell you the next book to be self published is another series? Sort of suspenseful with a small town cast of characters? (I think I have writer's ADD) And oh yeah, I finished the erotic novella, too!! hehehe

      Delete
  19. I have to go back to the author and books that really got me hooked on romances - The Wolf and the Dove and The Flame and the Flower by, of course, Kathleen Woodiwiss. I enjoyed hearing about your journey!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Catslady!!! A woman after my own heart!!

      I wore out THREE copies of The Flame and The Flower in highschool!! Even got sent to the principle's office once for reading it in school. LOVED those books!!!

      Delete
  20. Sorry it took me a bit of time to reply to y'all. I just flew into Dallas from Columbus, (and boy are my arms tired...hehehe). So glad to see y'all over here!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Of course, all of Jane Austen's :-)
    But I adore Sarah MaClean's titles: Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing A Lord, Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart... All of her titles are so very witty and memorable! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Chelsea!

      Yea, Jane Austen picked some great titles, didn't she? And another vote for Sarah McClean's titles.

      Delete
  22. wow, what a story. while a long and round about road, congrats on getting your 1st book pulished (even if it isn't the 1st one to be published). can't say there is any particular type of title that tends to stick with me but some combination of different, easy, descriptive, fun &/or intriguing -- I know, I'm no help at all ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Gamistress!! Thanks for the kudos.

      LOL, actually, you sound like us writers when we're trying to brainstorm a title. It can be very frustrating, then quite funny!

      Delete
  23. Happy book release, Suzanne! I've always enjoyed historical Western romances and I hope to see them come back :) For me it doesn't matter the genre since I enjoy them all so long as the story is one that interests me. One of my favorites is Annie's Song by Catherine Anderson.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Na!

      Thanks and I hope historical Westerns, oh heck any American historical, makes the comeback, too. We are starting to see more of them, that's for sure.

      I seem to remember a book called Annie's Song, but it was a long time ago, wasn't it?

      Delete
  24. Hi Suzanne,

    Great story. It is a winding path to publication we sometimes travel, isn't it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Pam!!! Always good to see you pop by! Yes, it is a convoluted path sometimes...and you and I both had our fair share of twists and turns, didn't we?

      Delete
  25. Hi Suzanne! I loved your story. So glad that Cantrell's Bride was finally published. Now I need to get some money, find, and read it.

    I am terrible about remembering names of books after I have read them. I have to go back in time to some of my first romances I read by Kathleen Woodiwess and Rosemary Rogers: Shana, The Flame and The Flower, and the Sweet Savage Love series including Dark Fires.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Cathy P!!

      I think you'll love Nathan and Laura's story.

      More votes for the old titles. Loved both Kathleen Woodiweiss and Rosemary Rogers books.

      Delete
  26. The ones I tend to remember are usually 'punny' ones or those that are more than one or two words... I found your girls reaction to a no-title book very funny! Of course, it had to have a title... what book had they ever seen that didn't?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Girlygirl!

      Yep, the kids knew how books were made. Title first, then you know what to write about. Right?

      Delete
  27. *waving* Hi, Suz! I'm thrilled you're dishing with us today! Congrats on the release of Cantrell's Bride!! This blog is awesome! You are certainly a model for perseverence. So glad you were able to achieve your dream. :) Personally, I love American historicals/westerns and wish there were more of them!

    I really like it when book titles are a play on a song, movie, etc. They are easy to remember!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Andrea!! **Waiving madly right back**

      Always a pleasure to hang out with the Dish girls! Y'all are some of my favorite people!

      I'm in agreement. We need more American/Western historicals.

      Delete
  28. Hi Suz - I hadn't realized that Cantrell's Bride was Rocky Mountain Romance and that this was you first book. Cool! Learning to type so you could write fiction was also a surprise. I'd been typing long, long, long before I thought to try my hand at a book. There's so much learning in writing fiction, I'm in awe that you were able to combine learning both skills together. Kudos to you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Donna! Yep, this book has been through more makeovers than a contestant on "real TV"! But the basic story is so good and the characters grab your heart so quick that I couldn't let it vanquish in the mire of my computer!!

      Yea, typing and learning to write stories...who knew this lowly little nurse had such multi-tasking abilities!! HEHEHE, I went into Nursing for a number of reasons, one was so I wouldn't have to type. Guess what I chart by computer, too! hehehe

      Delete
  29. Suz, what a great story! I had no idea this book developed this way. I'm looking forward to reading it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Nancy! You know most writers have a book they say will never see the light of day and it's usually their first attempt. I have one, but it's actually book #3. This historical and its sequel are just too important to me for me not to use them.

      Delete
  30. Finally home from work! Yay! Wow, it's been busy in here today. You must have been out working that line, Suz! :)

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hi Suz,
    Great interview! I'm looking forward to reading the book! It's interesting to read how you came up with the title. I also have trouble coming up with titles. The worst part of writing next to query letters and synopses. :) As far as titles that stay with me, hmm. It has more to do with the book (as in how well I liked it) more so than the title. Although humorous punny ones stick with me even if I didn't read the book! :)

    ReplyDelete
  32. Characters really make a book memorable for me. Lord of Scoundrels and Flowers from the Storm are two that really stick with me. Interesting post; thanks for visiting.

    ReplyDelete
  33. A book title that stayed with me would be Kaki Warner's Open Country. The whole series was really good but this one really stayed with me.

    ReplyDelete
  34. It was a long and crooked road, but you made it and REFUGE (no matter what the title on the cover) has finally made it to the readers. I actually like simple titles. They are easy to remember. The first romances I read were Julie Garwood's historicals. I hadn't thought of it, but most of her books have single titles: THE RANSOM, THE PRIZE, THE BRIDE, THE WEDDING, KILLJOY, etc. (the doesn't count).

    I hope CANTRELL'S BRIDE does well.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Like series titles,, congrats o. The books,whoo, great prize whoo
    Kimh

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hi, Suzanne! I love the concept of a mail order bride. Who wouldn't? Can you imagine being one yourself? The fear, the anticipation, the excitement, and the total thrill of it all. Throw in the thrill of erotica and you have a hot, hot book!! Looking forward to reading it.

    ReplyDelete