Evan Jorgenson and Cassie Hamilton shared one incredible night that kept him sane during his harrowing tour in Iraq. Back in Central NY, he struggles with the memories of war, and with returning to his old life. Cassie deserves more than a shell-shocked soldier, but he yearns to pick up where they left off. But she’s in danger. Soon he’s jeopardizing not only his job as a NYS police officer, but a dream promotion to keep her safe. If only she’d talk about what happened in L.A…
Unaware that Evan’s mission prevented any communication, a disheartened Cassie moved to L.A., where she met a dangerous man and lost more than dreams. Back home, she tries to forget the soldier she once loved and opens a chocolate shop. But trouble has followed her home…
When Cassie and Evan meet again in Lake Placid, can they rekindle their old passion, or will her real secret destroy their only chance at the sweetest thing of all, true love?
The hardest part of writing Meltdown was when Susan realized the original internal conflict wasn't big enough to keep Cassie and Evan apart. "As the writer, you have to flesh out the deep seeded conflict," she explained. "Why does the h/h feel the way they do?" She ended up having to rewrite the entire book.
She's currently working on the sequel to Meltdown, Love Like You're Dying. She told me, "It’s the story of Evan’s best friend, stuntman Clay Hanson, who’s preparing for the riskiest stunt of his life, except he maybe going blind after falling from his last stunt." Susan told me, "I had to dig deep to find out the real reason for my hero and heroine's actions. When the characters talk and tell you their deep dark secret, or fear, that's your internal conflict. Luckily in Love Like You're Dying, it happened half way through the book rather than at the end."
Susan's first passion was science and, in fact, she originally wanted to be a surgeon. Raising a family and working as a scientist pushed her over the edge, though, so she picked up the first romance novel she'd ever read. Now, writing is her new passion.
She doesn't suffer from writer's block as much as she suffers from what she calls emo-block. She told me, "When Triskelion [her former publisher] went bankrupt, I wrote little for months. It took a road trip to Lake Placid for me to purge my anger and start writing again. If I’m tired or sad, I sometimes go weeks without writing, then I’ll come out of my funk and I’ll write non-stop for days."
"Who is your favorite author and why?" I asked.
"Not a fair question!" she responded. "I've had soooo many favorites. But, Karen Marie Moning’s five book Fever series is original, brilliant, sexy and entertaining. I’m currently obsessed with her story-telling, her use of metaphors and her dark, dangerous, circuitously speaking hero Jericho Barrons."
In her own works, Susan knows from the start the beginning, inciting incident, a turning point and the end. She makes many lists of things she wants included in her world before she gets too far into the writing. "This is loads of fun," she said, "and gives me ideas for scenes. For the characters, I learn more and more about them from each scene. Sometimes I put them in an uncomfortable situation to learn more about them."
She's careful, though, not to learn too much. Otherwise, she told me, "I lose the desire to write the story."
Her best plotting is done driving the forty-five mile stretch between Utica and Syracuse. "There's magic in the air on that stretch of the NYS Thruway," she asserted. "I know that's why Evan is a NYS Trooper. I've passed so many while driving that I just had to write about one!"
For a little bit of a personal look at Susan:
You can keep up with Susan on her blog, http://susanstthomas.blogspot.com