Today I’m pleased to host an author friend from Prism Book Group, Susan Baganz
Tell us a bit about you and your background.
I’m a stay-at-home mom raising three kids, a dog and a parrot. I have a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and have worked in the field of mental health for years, as well as worked in church ministry (paid and unpaid) for the past 26 years.
What are your hobbies away from the computer?
Reading, rubber stamping homemade cards, and sometimes I pretend to play the guitar.
Do you start a new story with the plot or characters first?
I start with characters and most likely an inciting incident. I might have a vague plot but no details. I write romance so I know at the end there will be a “happily ever after.”
Is your writing style planned or freestyle?
I’m freestyle all the way. I call myself a “panster.” I write like I drive – by the seat of my pants! (thankful for cruise control on my van!). I sometimes do research beforehand but even with my novel due out at the end of April, I was looking up and following the Green Bay Packer’s schedule as I went along as my timelines was linked to that season’s games.
If you use music while writing, name your favorite types.
If I’m writing historical (Regency era) then it’s classical. But for my contemporary series I’ve got a shuffle of songs by Burlap to Cashmere and Steven Delopolous. Love the sound of their music so that’s been my most recent soundtrack. It used to be I wrote to nothing and sometimes I still do. Depends on my mood.
Have you traveled to any locations that appear in your books?
My contemporary series starting with Pesto and Potholes, takes place in the northwest suburbs of Milwaukee and I used to live and work in that area I write about. I can imagine myself driving on those roads. My historicals take place in Great Britain and while I have traveled there, it was long before I started writing so I do long to return. I have to watch great movies (BBC’s Pride and Prejudice anyone?) to absorb the culture and traditions. I don’t think my husband wants me to return there though as he fears I may never return (he might be right!).
What was your biggest surprise in the editing/revision process?
How terrible I writer I am. I type fast and I think my fingers struggle to keep up with my brain so the spelling errors and tense irregularities startle me when I read them later. I’m often shaking my head saying “What was I thinking?”
Describe a normal writing day (or period, if you have other employment obligations).
Up at 5 a.m. and get ready for the day. Make a cup of spiced chai and sit in my favorite spot for some time with God. Sometimes I read for a little after that. Or go and check my email and Facebook. 6:55 I get my kids up and make lunches and get them off to school by 8. Recently I’ve had therapy appointments so off I go to that, maybe grocery shop and then home to write or work on novels I’m editing. 2:30 pm my alarm goes off to remind me to wind things up. I go get the mail and pick up the kids from school and come home by 3:15. Then it’s often back to editing or writing until my kids complain that they are hungry. Because writing is so isolating, I do try to be intentional in planning a few hours away from my desk every so often to meet with a friend over coffee or lunch. Sometimes great ideas are born out of those times!
Do you write in a genre other than the one of this release?
My novel is contemporary but I also write historical romantic suspense (Regency period). I also have some contemporary romantic suspense novels that are awaiting attention.
Are you a pet person? If so, what do you have?
I have a cranky Quaker parrot named Quincy who is about twenty years old now. We also adopted a Maltese mix two years ago. His name is Spatzle and he’s so unique with one brown eye and one blue eye. He’s my buddy.
What do you hope readers gain from your stories?
I hope they gain encouragement in their struggles. That they can see God at work in the lives of my characters and recognize the work He is doing in their own lives. Most of all I want them to see that the greatest romance is with Jesus Christ. His love, devotion and sacrifice as modeled, in the instance of Pesto and Potholes, in my hero, Antonio.
This series is also set against the backdrop of a church. I want to help show people the value and importance of being involved in a community of believers and how central that can before God’s work in growing us up in Christ.