Suzanne Hartmann’s love of writing began with diary entries, pen pals, and eventually a college degree in Composition and Linguistics. After college, she sought her Paralegal Certification and spent eight years using her writing skills to craft Answers to Interrogatories and drafting Complaints and other legal documents.
In 2006, she wrote off a newfound interest in writing fiction as a “mid-life crisis,” but God nudged her to take her desire seriously. She set out to write a first draft, which led to a critique group and the study of the writing craft. Peril is her debut novel.
Suzanne is a wife, a home schooling mom, and a consulting editor for Port Yonder Press. She and her family reside in the St. Louis, Missouri metropolitan area.
What sparked your fiction-writing journey?
The Fast Track Thrillers began as stories I created to entertain myself during my children’s music lessons and sports practices. I had no intention of writing a novel. That didn’t enter my mind until one day when I was thinking about the latest story while taking a walk in my neighborhood. A thought popped into my head: “Why don’t you write them into a book?” For a while I considered whether I was having a premature mid-life crisis, but finally decided that it was truly a nudge from God.
How does your faith play into your writing?
I enjoy reading secular novels, but more and more they include actions and beliefs that are offensive to Christians—sometimes even Christian-bashing. I want to write novels that not only offer a good plot and interesting characters, but also a story told from a Christian worldview.
Peril is the first in the Fast Track Thriller series and the story revolves around a top-secret agent who struggles with trusting God to protect her many secrets when she must use her enhanced abilities while escorting a Muslim king-turned Christian to the White House and the Talladega Superspeedway. This not only draws the attention of the media, but also a NASCAR champion . . . and makes her a terrorist target.
To view the book trailer click the book cover.
Besides entertainment, what do you hope readers will take away from it?
Beyond finding it a good read, I hope readers notice the important themes weaved into the story: 1) the fact that we need to follow God’s promptings even when they don’t make sense, and 2) the importance of honesty.
The book is titled Write This Way: Take Your Writing to a New Level. It offers a map to new authors and leads them through the forest of grammatical rules, stylistic guidelines, and story structure as they write, and helps them polish their novel to the point where it is ready to show to agents and editors.
Because so many people helped me along my writing journey, I wanted to give back to the writing community. So I passed along the many lessons I learned along my writing journey in the form of blog posts. Over time, I posted over a hundred articles on my blog, Write This Way. But because there are so many articles, and they’re scattered throughout the blog under a wide variety of categories, it takes effort to sift through them and find everything available about a specific topic. This realization birthed the idea to consolidate the articles into an easy-to-use e-book so authors could have all of the information at their fingertips as they write and revise.
Can you tell us about a recent “detour” in your life that taught you something?
After I had been querying agents for about four months, I became very frustrated and was well on the way to becoming bitter about the process of getting published. About that time, our church started a Bible study called Experiencing God. The very first lesson spelled out what my problem was.
I had turned my focus from God leading me on my writing journey and instead began to look towards those in the publishing industry to tell me what I needed to do next. Once I repented and gave my agent search over to God, I received two personalized responses to a couple of queries, which gave me some direction. But God wasn’t about to send those notes to me until I realized that He was the ultimate provider of that information, through those agents.
I understand you have a special contest going on at your website. Can you tell us about that?
To celebrate the release of my debut novel, I am giving away a Kindle to one lucky winner! The contest will be open from the release date, November 18, through the end of the blog tour, December 16, and I will announce the winner on Sat. Dec. 17. To enter, click here: http://fasttrackthrillers.blogspot.com/2007/01/kindle-give-away_01.html
A few fun questions…
When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?
CHOCOLATE! I keep a chocolate stash, and my family knows they’d better leave it alone. They understand very well that if Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.
This website features musicians as well as writers. Do you have musical, as well as literary, talent?
I tried my hand at the piano and the saxophone when I was in grade school, but wasn’t very good at either one. I do enjoy singing, however, and have a reasonably good voice, although not good enough that anyone would ask me to sing a solo.
If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?
I think I would be some type of classical music because of the way it tells a story. It’s not all upbeat or all downcast, but a mixture of the happy and sad, the way life is.
Are you a major or a minor chord?
Overall, I’d have to say a major chord, but I do tend to like songs that have a minor chord in them. Maybe because of the variety it offers.
In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?
I’m definitely the girl next door. I’m friendly and get along with pretty much everyone. I do my own thing and encourage others to find their niche in life. Overall, I’m a very average individual.
I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, or your favorite pet as a child.
Although we don’t have any animals right now, I have had three dogs over the years. The first was a Chihuahua/terrier mix named Muff. The second a toy fox terrier named K.C. And most recently, a chowchow named Misha. After Misha passed away, we never replaced him, so we have to go to my mom’s for our dog-fix. She has a Chihuahua/whippet mix . . . the sweetest dog ever.
Thanks, Suzanne! It’s great to have you as a guest at DivineDetour!
Thank you so much for having me here. I enjoy sharing about my books and writing in general and would love to hear from your readers about either or both. Comments, suggestions, and questions are all welcomed.
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To purchase Peril, logon to her website or