Stealing FireSusan Sloate
Publisher: Drake Valley Press
Date of Publication: July 1, 2013
Number of pages: 366
How do you recognize your soulmate?Excerpt:
In glittery 1980’s Los Angeles, Beau Kellogg is a brilliant Broadway lyricist now writing advertising jingles and yearning for one more hit to compensate for his miserable marriage and disappointing life.
Amanda Harary, a young singer out of synch with her contemporaries, works at a small New York hotel, while she dreams of singing on Broadway.
When they meet late at night over the hotel switchboard, what begins will bring them each unexpected success, untold joy, and piercing heartache ... until they learn that some connections, however improbable, are meant to last forever.
"STEALING FIRE is, at its heart, a story for romantics everywhere, who believe in the transformative power of love.”
STEALING FIRE was a Quarter-Finalist (Top 5%) in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest.
Oh, God, it was him, the bastard who had upset the switchboard operators and bellowed through the lobby loudly enough to alert all five boroughs. At three o'clock in the morning, asking for room service. Unbelievable.
Amanda leaned back in her chair. Her stomach was tightening inexplicably. "I'm sorry," she said finally, when she could control her voice. "Room Service closes at midnight."
There was a pause. "Oh. What time is it now?"
She looked at her watch. "Ten after three."
"Then whom am I speaking to?"
"I'm the night operator. This is the main switchboard."
"Well, main switchboard, you must all sound alike down there. I could swear I talked to you earlier tonight."
Well, how about that. "You've got a good ear, 704. I was on duty earlier."
"Good Lord. How long are the shifts around here?"
"Eight hours for everybody else. I’m working a double today."
"Maybe I just love it here."
"I guess you do. But I hope you're well compensated."
Trust a man to think of money first. "That’s not my major concern."
"Glad to hear it."
Okay, enough's enough. It's been a long day, made even longer by him. No reason to shoot the breeze with this guy. "Excuse me, I have other callers. Sorry I couldn’t help you."
"Well, better luck with them."
"Look, if you'd called earlier—"
"Absolutely. My fault entirely, for falling asleep after a cross-country flight, a time change and a screw-up in hotel administration. Forget I even mentioned it." The phone clicked in her ear.
She sat for some moments before she noticed she was trembling. This was the second time he'd undermined her—and it bothered her.
Today, we welcome Susan Sloate to Musings and Ramblings. Let's all give her a big Geeky welcome!
I have some questions for you that are writer specific as well as some fun stuff so that we can really get to know the real you. *grin* Plus we will finish things off with round of Think Fast. Ready to begin?
All set! And thanks for having me here at Musings and Ramblings today—I have my finger on the buzzer right now!!Writing Specific
1. Tell us something about yourself that's not in your bio.
I never mention it in my bio, but one of the first big experiences of my life was being on CANDID CAMERA when I was four years old. They came to my nursery school (that’s what they called it in those days) and picked me as one of the kids to talk to. My segments apparently went over very well, because the footage of me pretending to be my mother and talking to Allen Funt on a toy telephone who was pretending to be my father has continued to be rerun for the next forty years. I also had twenty pages in his book, CANDID KIDS (more than anyone else—yes, I’m crass enough to check), and I was featured also in his autobiography, CANDIDLY, ALLEN FUNT. Since that time I’ve become friends with his younger son Bill, who assures me he grew up watching me and always thought of me as sort of an older sister. Life is funny …2. What do you like to do when you are not writing?
There’s always plenty to do around here! I live outside Charleston, SC, one of the most beautiful places in the country (and #1 on the Conde Nast list of favorite places to visit on earth!). So there’s always a great restaurant to visit, or a concert going, or a family event. I live right near a beautiful beach AND the oldest working plantation in America, Boone Hall Plantation. I sit on our town’s Culture, Arts & Pride Commission, which involves helping with events that promote the arts and pride in our town; that takes time. Lunches with close friends are a real luxury, which I manage once or twice a week. I’m talking with a good friend of mine about our doing a radio show together, starting in January, on a local Internet station; that would be so much fun! I’ve managed two political campaigns in the last couple of years, and I do feel a pull toward more involvement in politics right now. And I have one son in college and another in high school who plays baseball regularly; so making time for his practices and games, and his job as an umpire in our local Rec Department, is important. And of course, I read all the time, every day. There’s always another great book out there, and I’ll never have time to read ‘em all, but I’m trying!3. How did you choose the genres you write in?
I don’t really choose the genre. I usually get taken by a story idea, and the idea determines what genre it turns out to be. STEALING FIRE was always a love story; that was the emphasis from the beginning (it’s based on a relationship I had years ago, and is the most personal book I’ve ever written). I’ve written teen romance before, and category romance, but this is the first mainstream love story I ever tried. I just felt compelled to write it; the relationship at that point was very painful, and I was trying to understand it. So I changed the names and circumstances but made the story about us, and this is what came out.
I also write mystery, history, sports, Y/A – but it all depends on what the project needs. I guess you’d call me a multi-genre writer. FORWARD TO CAMELOT is a multi-genre story—it’s a time-travel thriller with elements of alternate history, mystery, action/adventure, even a little romance—it’s hard to describe but, I think, a great roller-coaster ride for my readers. And that’s what I care most about.4. Is there any particular author or book that has influenced you or your writing?
Yes, tons! I think the biggest commercial influence, though, would have to be Dick Francis, the best mystery writer ever (sorry, Agatha Christie). I re-read his novels constantly; they’re just wonderful reading, and his heroes are fantastic. They’re all strong, smart, kind and courageous, and they always protect others and take the brunt of the bad guys’ wrath on themselves. Dick Francis especially taught me how to write simply and sparingly; he can describe a character in 2 sentences and you know EXACTLY who that person is. It’s part of his genius. The books he wrote alone are the best; his son Felix has now taken over the family literary business, and he’s a very good writer, but he’s not his father. The original Dick Francis books are among my best friends.5. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
I’m not wonderful at receiving criticism, but I think I’m getting better. Now when someone criticizes me, I try to find the lesson and take it from there. Maybe the best criticism I ever got came from my co-author Kevin Finn, with whom I wrote FORWARD TO CAMELOT in 2003. (The 50th Anniversary Edition of that novel is being published this fall; in fact, the eBook is already available.) We wanted to revise the book this summer, make it tighter and leaner, and correct a few small historical errors that I’m sorry to say got into the original edition. When he re-read the book, Kevin said to me, “Do you realize you say everything twice?” I didn’t realize what he meant till I re-read it myself. He’s right; in trying to set up a dramatic situation, I’ll re-state things I don’t have to re-state. Just tightening the prose on that book cut 100 PAGES out of the final manuscript. And I still love the book. It’s just better now, that’s all.
I cherish all the compliments I get on my writing. But the best compliment I ever get from a reader is, “I couldn’t put your book down.” Nothing touches me more than that, or makes me prouder. That’s what I want more than anything to give my readers—a story so real and so all-encompassing that they forget they’re reading a book.
One man who read the original edition of FORWARD TO CAMELOT told me he started the book after work one night, read all night long—never went to sleep—and in the morning put down the book, showered and dressed, and went to work. When he came home that night, he wouldn’t go to sleep till he’d finished the book. To me, that’s the best compliment in the world.Fun Stuff
6. If you could have dinner with anyone, past or present, fictional or real, who would it be and why?
Don’t have a heart attack, but it would have to be Lee Harvey Oswald. In revising CAMELOT this summer, I’ve been reading new books about him (which weren’t available at the time we first published CAMELOT), and he’s one of the most fascinating people ever. I believe with all my heart in his innocence, but I also think the life he led, which was difficult and dangerous, would be fabulous to hear about over dinner.7. You are going to be stranded on a deserted island and bring 3 luxury items. What would they be?
A computer, a spectacular bathtub or Jacuzzi (even better!) with a full load of my favorite Simple Sugar scrubs, so I could have long soaks during the day or under the stars at night, and a cell phone—island living is nice, but sooner or later you want to get off!8. Pick two celebrities to be your parents. Who are they and why?
Dick Francis, because his son called him the best father a man ever had. He didn’t have a daughter, but I wouldn’t mind trying out for the part! (And think what great writing genes I’d inherit.) Natalie Wood, because not only would I also get the beauty gene, but she was also supposedly a wonderfully loving mother whose values were more down to earth than most Hollywood people’s. I adore her as an actress and was very sad when she died so young.9. What would we find in your refrigerator right now?
Lots of bottled water. Boar’s Head cheese and sliced turkey and chicken (all preservative-free and with no fillers). Yogurt. Granny Smith apples (I love them). Baby carrots (I eat them sprinkled with red wine vinegar – delicious!) And stuff that my son likes, like Dr. Pepper. (With a healthy, sports-crazy teenage boy at home, we don’t usually have a full refrigerator for more than a few days!)10. If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?
GROWING – it’s what I’m trying to do every day, to become the best person I could ever be.Think Fast
Summer or Winter? SUMMER.
Coffee or Tea? TEA.
Cake or Pie? CAKE.
Car or Truck? CAR.
Print or Electronic? BOTH (if we’re talking about books). I have a very big library, and I’ve put a lot of my favorite classics on my Kindle, but there are some old books which will never make it to eBook form, and I won’t give them up! And I’m a reader who still likes to hold a book in my hands—not to mention the thrill when it’s YOUR book and you’re holding it for the first time! NOTHING compares with that!
Thanks for coming by and spending some time with us. Any final words of wisdom to pass along?
As STEALING FIRE is about soul mates, I’ve been thinking a lot about them recently. My best advice is to BELIEVE that a soul mate for you exists (if you haven’t met him or her already) and if you want to be with a soul mate, NEVER GIVE UP until that person comes into your life! Don’t settle for someone who’s ‘okay’ or ‘good enough’. Wait for the full package. You’ll know when it arrives. Meanwhile, the best way to bring a soul mate to you is to do your best to BE your best—improve yourself, do the things you’ve dreamed of doing, live the kind of life you want, as much as you’re able. You’ll be amazed what will happen!
Thanks so much for having me here—I’ve loved the time I’ve spent with you!
Susan will be awarding a notebook perfect for journaling to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.
So follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.
Book Tour Info:
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Nana Prah's Blog
The (Mis)Adventures of a Twenty-Something Year Old Girl
Musings and Ramblings
Fantasy Powered by Love
Andi's Book Reviews
Donna's Blog Home
Tina Donahue Presents
My Devotional Thoughts
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Red Wine and Books
Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews
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Lisa Haselton's Reviews and Interviews
Farm Girl Books
Reading In Twilight
Reviews by Crystal
Jody's Book Reviews and Giveaways
Author Jinni James
Nickie's Views and Interviews
Margay Leah Justice
Reading, Writing, and Roses
Beyond My Writing Space
Sexy Adventures, Passionate Tales
The Write to Read
Susan Sloate is the author of 20 published books, including FORWARD TO CAMELOT (with Kevin Finn), an alternative history of the JFK assassination, STEALING FIRE, an autobiographical love story, and REALIZING YOU (with Ron Doades), for which she invented a new genre – the self-help novel. FORWARD TO CAMELOT was a #6 Amazon bestseller, took honors in 3 literary competitions and was optioned for film production by a Hollywood company. STEALING FIRE was a quarter-finalist in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest. Susan has also written young-adult fiction and non-fiction, including RAY CHARLES: FIND ANOTHER WAY!, which won a silver medal in the 2007 Children’s Moonbeam Book Awards, AMELIA EARHART: CHALLENGING THE SKIES, a perennial Amazon bestseller, and MYSTERIES UNWRAPPED: THE SECRETS OF ALCATRAZ, which led to her appearance on a special for The History Channel in 2009, as well as books for five girls’ fiction series. As a screenwriter, she has written an informational film for McGraw-Hill Films and optioned two scripts to Hollywood production companies. As a sportswriter, she’s covered the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the New York Mets. She’s also managed two recent political campaigns, founded the East Cooper Authors Festival (which put 18 professional authors in 17 area schools in one day) and serves on the Culture, Arts and Pride Commission of the Town of Mount Pleasant.
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