Susannah Sandlin is the author of paranormal romance set in the Deep South, where there are always things that go bump in the night. A journalist by day, Susannah grew up in Alabama reading the gothic novels of Susan Howatch and the horror fantasy of Stephen King. (Um…it is fantasy, right?) The combination of Howatch and King probably explains a lot. Currently a resident of Auburn, Alabama, Susannah has also lived in Illinois, Texas, California, and Louisiana.
As leader of the elite counter-terrorism team Omega Force, former army ranger Jack “Kell” Kellison is always focused on getting the job done. So when a Houston high-rise is bombed and the governor killed or missing, Kell’s mission is clear: infiltrate the group suspected of the bombing and neutralize the threat by any means necessary. But once Kell meets beautiful chief suspect Mori Chastaine, he realizes there’s more to this case than meets the eye. And more to Mori than any man—any human man—could imagine.
Mori Chastaine is running out of options. Suspected for a crime she didn’t commit, forced into a marriage she doesn’t want, she sees no escape—until Kell walks through her door. A lifetime hiding her true nature warns her Kell might not be who he seems. But he could be the only one able to help save more innocent humans from becoming pawns in an ancient paranormal power play. If Mori reveals her secret, will Kell join her fight? Or will she become his next target?
Q) What inspired you to write this story?
I’d been toying around for a while with the idea of the Omega Force, a combined human-paranormal team that would investigate domestic terrorism cases. Very secretive, very last-resort, operating under the radar of law enforcement, quasi-military. I wanted to explore the ways my three human team members—all Army Rangers—would interact with the three shapeshifter team members. There are brothers who are big-cat shifters and a tiny little woman with a mouth like a chainsaw who’s an eagle-shifter (named Robin, no less). So the story is a high-suspense thriller, but also a very emotional story about a soldier who’s trying to prove he still has what it takes to go on active duty and a woman, the key suspect, who is in such a deep world of paranormal trouble it’s going to be hard to save her.
Q) How long did it take you to write?
Storm Force is being released first as a serial novel. So for $1.99, people subscribe to it for their Kindle or the free Kindle app and every week, a new four-chapter “episode” is released. (If they subscribe today, they’ll get all the episodes that are out so far, which is five, and the rest will automatically download at no cost as they’re released.) So I’m still writing it as people are reading it—it’s probably as close as you’ll get to being inside the author’s head (kind of scary!). I have two episodes, or about eight chapters, left to write. Then the whole book will be available as a regular print, digital or audiobook on June 18. By the time I’m finished, the actual writing will have taken eight weeks. I’m a pretty fast writer, but that’s a crazy pace, even for me!
Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
Getting lost in the story and losing track of time. It’s an amazing thing just to get in this groove where the words are flowing, then to go back a while later and barely even remember writing the words because they poured out of some unconscious part of the brain. Unlike a lot of authors, I also really like doing revisions. Without deadlines, I’d probably revise the same novel over and over forever.
Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing?
The feeling I get about a day after I’ve turned a final manuscript over to my editor. I’m elated to have the book finished, and I’m usually exhausted because I’ve pushed a really tight deadline. But after about 24 or 48 hours, I start getting restless. I’ll stay restless until I find another project to focus on. So it’s a good thing if I have something lined up to work on when one book is turned in.
Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
Hm...I can’t think of anyone. I’m not really cut out for fame. I’m pretty private and reserved, and wouldn’t deal with the loss of privacy very well (this might surprise some people who only know me from my online personae!). If I could have a skill, it would be the ability to write songs, because I love music and have absolutely no talent at it.
Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
Ha—I had to go and look. It’s five cans of Coors that my brother bought last year when he was visiting and only drank one. I don’t drink beer, so I figure at some point he’ll come back and have it waiting. Does beer have an expiration date? Too bad he couldn’t have bought Limoncello or Midori.
Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
Well, Storm Force is out now as a serial and will be available as a regular novel on June 28. Elysian Fields, the third book in my Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series (written as Suzanne Johnson) will be out on August 13. I hope to do another Omega Force novel to follow up on Storm Force, as well as another book in my Penton Legacy vampire series. And I want to put together and submit a couple of proposals for new projects. That should keep me busy this year!