Thursday, June 26, 2014

Author Interview & Giveaway: Allegiance by Susannah Sandlin

Penton Vampire Legacy
Book 4
Susannah Sandlin

Genre: Paranormal Romantic Thriller
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Number of pages: 344

Book Description:
From award-winning author Susannah Sandlin comes the fourth book in the smart and steamy Penton Legacy series.

British vampire psychiatrist and former mercenary Cage Reynolds returns to Penton, Alabama, looking for a permanent home. The town has been ravaged by the ongoing vampire war and the shortage of untainted human blood, and now the vampires and humans that make up the Omega Force are trying to rebuild. Cage hopes to help the cause, put down roots in Penton, and resolve his relationship with Melissa Calvert. The last thing he expects is an attraction to Robin Ashton, a trash-talking eagle shape-shifter and new Omega recruit.

Meanwhile, as a dangerous saboteur wreaks havoc in Penton, the ruthless Vampire Tribunal leader Matthias Ludlam has been freed on the eve of his scheduled execution. But by whom? And to what end? As war and chaos rage on, love is the last thing Cage is looking for, but will his attraction to Robin distract him from the danger living among them?

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PRFL would like to extend a very warm welcome to Susannah Sandlin, author of Allegiance. Susannah, to begin, tell us where you're from and what inspired you to become a writer? 
I’ve lived all over the U.S., from Chicago to Houston to San Diego, but have spent most of my adult life in New Orleans. I was born in rural Alabama and find myself once again living in semi-rural Alabama. I was always a reader, and my love of writing spun out of my love of reading. I think that’s true of most writers.

Can you say that your journey to publication was difficult? If so, what were the hardest moments to get through?
I didn’t have a normal journey to publication, really. I trained and spent my career in journalism, specifically editing magazines for universities. I only turned to fiction writing in 2009 as a kind of delayed reaction to being in Hurricane Katrina, which caused a lot of us to assess our priorities. I was ridiculously blessed to have found an agent with my first book, and she then was able to sell the series to Tor/Macmillan. I always feel guilty when I hear writers talk about beating their heads against the door of publishing for years before breaking through, because my journey seemed so simple and straightforward. On the other hand, I work really hard. LOL. I always say there are a lot of authors who outsell me, but I doubt you could find anyone who outworks me.

How do you overcome i-suck-at-this, that little voice in your head that tells you your writing isn’t good enough?
Ack. I hate that little voice. He’s really, really loud sometimes. The answer, for me, is just to keep plowing through. He usually pipes up somewhere around the 40 percent mark of a new manuscript and yells at me all the way through to about the 80 percent mark. I know he’s going to be there, so I just ignore him and keep writing. I set a daily word goal and try my best to reach it, even if I think what I’m writing sucks. Usually, when I read back over it later, it’s not nearly as bad as I thought. And anything can be fixed.

What is your dream vacation?
Somewhere quiet, either in the mountains or near the water, with no people except whoever I’m vacationing with. I want an escape. No crowds, no traffic, no phones, no email…well, okay, maybe email.

Describe your writing style in five words.
Devilishly twisted, humorous, violent, unexpected.

What movies are you currently excited to see?
See earlier note about work. The last movie I saw was “Lincoln,” only because a friend dragged me to it. I honestly don’t even know what’s out right now. I downloaded the first season of “Game of Thrones” but haven’t watched it.

What are you currently reading? I just finished a book about life in 1215 England, which was research for the second book in my Collectors series, Deadly, Calm, and Cold. I’ve been doing a slow read of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series for the past three years (!) for, and am almost finished with the seventh and final book. I just started a contemporary romance by Jill Shalvis—I can’t read in the genre in which I’m writing or it messes with me.

If you weren’t a writer, what other careers would you pursue?
I’ve worked for a long time as a magazine editor, and still do. But that’s sort of writing as well. So if I couldn’t work in publishing at all, I’d want to pursue commercial art. That was my first love.

If you could create a holiday of your own, what would it be called?
National Day of Sleep, because I’m so sleep-deprived it’s scary. Too many deadlines! I probably shouldn’t be on the road.

For people who haven’t read your novel, how would you summarize the plot?
Allegiance takes place in a near-future Alabama, after a human virus has swept the globe and killed a lot of people. A vaccine was developed that, as an unknown side effect, made the blood of vaccinated humans poisonous to vampires. So the vampire world is starving and on the verge of civil war between those who want to continue to live as predators and those who want to find a peaceful solution by working with humans. In Allegiance, the “good vampires” of Penton, Alabama, are trying to rebuild, but their enemies are setting up an elaborate sabotage that has horrible consequences. At the heart of the book is British vampire Cage Reynolds and his journey to find love with a damaged, fierce shape-shifter named Robin.

What are two of your pet peeves?
Only two? LOL. Passive-aggressive people, and bullies. I have no tolerance for either one.

To you, what makes a good story?
A good story is a perfect marriage of deep emotional characters and nail-biting action or suspense. The characters are key, though, because…(next question)

What usually turns you off about a story?
If I don’t like or care about the characters. I have to get emotionally invested in them to care about their story. If a book is a DNF for me, it’s usually because by the time I hit my 100-page test, the author hasn’t been able to make me care.

If you could collaborate with any author, who would you choose, and why?
I hope to collaborate sometime soon with author Lexi George, who writes the awesome Demon Hunting in Dixie series. We get along really well, have similar writing styles, and I think we could do something amazingly fun!

What is on your night stand?
A book on mixed-media art, my Kindle Fire, and a Dick Blick art-supply catalog. Yeah, weird, I know. I’m an art supply addict. I need help.

What is your favorite book?
I’m not sure I could say one. In urban fantasy, it’s the Harry Dresden series. In paranormal romance, the Black Dagger Brotherhood. In the real world, it’s the memoir writings of Rick Bragg (someone else I’d sure love to collaborate with).

Thanks for having me here today!

Thank you so much for joining us today, Susannah. We really enjoyed the visit. Good luck and great sales with Allegiance.

About the Author:

Susannah Sandlin writes paranormal romance and romantic thrillers from Auburn, Alabama, on top of a career in educational publishing that has thus far spanned five states and six universities—including both Alabama and Auburn, which makes her bilingual. She grew up in Winfield, Alabama, but was also a longtime resident of New Orleans, so she has a highly refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of SEC football, cheap Mardi Gras trinkets, and fried gator on a stick.

She’s the author of the award-winning Penton Legacy paranormal romance series, a spinoff novel, Storm Force, a standalone novelette, Chenoire, and a new romantic thriller series, The Collectors, beginning with Lovely, Dark, and Deep. Writing as Suzanne Johnson, she also is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series. Her Penton novel, Omega, was nominated for a 2013 Reviewer’s Choice Award in Paranormal Romance from RT Book Reviews magazine. Absolution was the winner of the 2013 Holt Medallion in Paranormal Romance.

Author Links:
Website | Twitter | Facebook 

Tour giveaway 
1 $50 Amazon gift card
2 $10 Amazon gift cards
2 Author swag packs (books, swag)