1.- Welcome Suzanne! Thank you so much for stopping by. At the beginning tell us something about you.
Thank you for inviting me to be here! I have spent most of my career as a journalist, writing for college magazines. I live in Alabama now, but have also lived in Illinois, California, Texas, and Louisiana. I lived in New Orleans for fifteen years before moving to Alabama in 2008. I am single and have two very spoiled dogs named Shane and Tanker.
It has been a lot of fun to finally see it on store shelves and online, and to get to talk to people about it and see what they liked. I turned in the manuscript for the third book in the series the week before the first one went on sale, which was weird. I have to be careful not to give away things that happen in the second and third books!
3.- How the story came out in your mind?
I consider New Orleans my hometown, and was living there when Hurricane Katrina hit in August 2005. Levees around the city collapsed, and 80 percent of the city went underwater, some areas for as long as two months. Many people died; everyone I knew either lost their homes or had a lot of damage. It was a hard time, and I wanted to tell a story that would be entertaining but also honor my hometown and the amazing people who have called it home, past and present. I decided to write the story as an urban fantasy because that’s the type of stories I like to read.
4.- Who is your favorite character of the book?
The one I’d most like to hang out with is my main character, DJ, because she’s not the strongest wizard in the world but she is funny and honest and loyal and puts her whole heart into whatever she does. But my favorite character to write about is the pirate Jean Lafitte. The real Lafitte was a French-born pirate in New Orleans in the early 1800s and a very interesting man. In Royal Street, he is an immortal who comes into the modern city from the “Beyond”—the Otherworld—after the hurricane tears down the barriers between worlds. He is charming and devious, so I have fun with him. He plays an even bigger part in the second and third books.
5.- Do you have a favorite chapter that you enjoy and have fun writing it?
I think it would be chapters 8-9, which is when DJ first meets her new partner, Alex, who is a gun-wielding assassin for the wizards’ elders. DJ has been in a fight with Jean Lafitte and, just when she thinks she’s getting the upper hand, Alex comes in and starts bossing her around.I like their chemistry together because they’re so different. DJ is impulsive and emotional. Alex sees everything in black and white.
6.- What was your biggest source of inspiration when you first started the book?
My own experiences in Hurricane Katrina, and being homesick for New Orleans because I’d just moved away to take another job. Royal Street started as a personal project, but I found I really loved writing fiction and creating this fantasy world on top of the New Orleans I knew.
7.- Who are the authors that inspire you on writing the series?
My favorite author is Stephen King. I grew up reading his novels and think he’s still one of the best storytellers out there. In urban fantasy, I enjoy Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series and Kim Harrison’s Hollows series. I also like some paranormal romance—J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series is amazing!
8.- Do you have a favorite book or books that you loved reading it?
So many! Besides the authors and series I just mentioned, I enjoy reading author Rick Bragg, who writes memoir-type books about his family. I grew up in the same part of the U.S. in a family not that different from his, so I love his books All Over But the Shouting and Ava’s Man.My favorite book of all time is probably Stephen King’s The Stand.
9.- What are you reading right now and what book(s) have you had your eye on lately but haven’t gotten to read yet?
Right now, I’m reading Stephen King’s Wizard and Glass, which is the fourth book in his Dark Tower series—I read a few chapters each week and then write about them on the website www.tor.com. The book I have my eye on to read next is called Dark Companion, a Young Adult book written by my friend Marta Acosta. It will be released in July and I’ve been waiting forever to read it!
10.- On a movie, who will you like to play the main characters of your book?
That’s hard! I think the actress Emilie de Ravin would make a good DJ. Maybe Gilles Marini for the pirate Jean Lafitte—he already has that French thing going. A younger Josh Holloway for Jake. And then there’s Alex….I’m still trying to cast Alex!
Thanks again for stopping by, it was great having you and best of luck with the series. I can’t wait to see where it goes.
Thank you–I enjoyed being here!