Su, what inspired you to write your first novel and did you always know what your genre would be?
Circumstances inspired my first novel. One of my hobbies is painting, especially with oil paint. That involved chemicals like the paint itself, turpentine, thinners, among other goodies. But when I had my son, I also became a super hygiene-freak. I wouldn't touch anything that might pollute his milk, or bottles, or juice. Keep in mind please that I'm the type of person who goes crazy if they aren't creating something. While reading an especially badly written horror book, I thought I could do better than that, couldn't I? And so I tried my hand at it and discovered a new passion that pushed painting to the backseat.
I knew horror as a writing genre would always be there since I read, breathe, and survive on horror movies and books. My surprise was when I discovered a softer side to my writing in penning romances, albeit containing entities from the darker side as well.
But paranormal romance is so popular at the moment - it's great that you could adapt and give readers what they want. So would you say that horror and paranormal romance reflect what you like to read yourself? Do you have specific views on what should and shouldn't be included in romance novels?
My reading pile spans over several genres; thriller and suspense, historical romance, contemporary romance, and of course, paranormal romance and horror. To tell you the truth, as long as the story is well written and is intriguing, I will read and enjoy the book.
The romance genre has many subgenres, and even those are reproducing. The only limitation I see is having to adhere to what's expected. For example, a detailed love-making scene will be unexpected—perhaps even unwelcome—in inspirational or sweet romance. We don't want to disappoint readers, they choose their books/genres with specific expectations in mind.
This is so true. Genre-boundaries lend themselves to flexibility, but that can also cause problems for the author. I always like to ask if any part of yourself has ever crept into the heroines of any of your stories?
I'm not sure. These ladies take over when I write them, so if any piece of me is in there then it's by accident, especially when I'm writing horror. I would be a sadist to subject myself to the things I put my characters through.
Lol - yes, I suppose that's true. What about your heroes? What is the most desirable characteristic you've bestowed on the hero of your latest novel?
Luke, from Avenger, can't tell a lie. He isn't beset by sickness, it's just his nature. It's also the reason for his downfall and his death. Of course, that means he plays around with the meaning of words to compensate.
How fascinating. I love an honest man, but sometimes a little white lie is a must.
Do you think you'll always write in the same genre and style or do you have desires to experiment and if so, in what way?
I learn new facts, myths, and techniques with each book I read or write, so staying in the same style is out of the question. My goal is to continue growing and learning, and if in the process I come across genres or styles more suitable, I will most probably adopt and adapt to them.
Well, you've really whetted my appetite now and I want to find out more about Luke and Avenger, so let's check out the blurb and then read an excerpt of Avenger, which is book 2 of the Unsettled Trilogy.
Luke has two purposes, hunting spirits and avenging his own death.
Pru has one goal, to return to her body, especially now that Luke is interested in her. Her memories of his shady past haunt her and keep her on guard around him.
Ignoring his teen infatuation with Pru, Luke looks for ways to exorcise her, while she must face the fact that she might never be united with herself again.
Amidst rogue spirits, ferocious drug smugglers, and unbendable celestial rules, Pru and Luke’s love demands a sacrifice that can snuff out their rekindled romance before it has even begun.
When Luke has to decide between his conflicting desires, which path will he choose? And will the sacrifice be worth it?
Excerpt from Avenger
“Hey, you,” some moron screamed at the top of his lungs. Would these people ever consider adding a name when they call each other? Sheesh! Pru straightened up and resumed walking while massaging her middle.
“You, girl in violet shirt! Wait up,” the man shouted again. Yeah, adding an adjective might attract some girl’s attention. What a lousy pick up line.
She stopped in half stride. Hold on a second, she thought, I’m wearing a violet shirt.
“Yes, I’m talking to you. Turn around,” he said, more calmly now that he had her attention.
The resonance of his voice kindled a flicker of recognition in her. His voice, full of authority, demanded immediate yielding. Pru half turned, hope surging through her like an electric shock. She pointed at herself and asked in a shaky voice, “You’re talking to me?”
The man’s upper half was in shadows, but he seemed to still at hearing her voice. Anyone would if they could see through someone else.
“Pru?” He uttered her name in a husky and deep whisper. It did nasty things to her pulse.
He stepped out of the shadows. Long, muscular legs clad in black pants were revealed, the swagger slow and surefooted. The shadow receded and the man’s torso emerged. Black t-shirt stretched over a broad chest, outlining every bit of its firm muscularity. Raising her gaze, Pru encountered a firm mouth set in a smirk and deep cryptic, dark eyes that made her their sole focus. All that rugged handsomeness was topped by army style trimmed black hair.
“Luke?” Pru blinked, not believing her eyes. Occasionally, memories of her teen crush pushed through her mind for no reason and she used to push them back. She couldn’t do that now, those memories were in the front seat because he was standing right in front of her.
He just had to develop a voice that dripped awesomeness.
Pru shook her head. What’s wrong with me?
Luke gawked at her, his hands tucked casually into pants pockets. Pru had the impression he wasn’t as nonchalant as his appearance implied for meeting the girl who—according to him at the time—qualified to enter a mind-fuck contest.
“What are you up to?” He barked at her.
Definitely tense. She chose to ignore his rudeness. “You can see me?” She rushed toward him then halted as memories of previous attempts to touch others surfaced in her head. They were nasty experiences that left her reeling with emotions alien to her.
“Are you looking for a place to stay?”
She tucked a runaway strand of hair behind her ear and frowned. “What do you mean?”
Slowly, he said, “Are you up for a stay?” His voice had an edge to it, one she didn’t trust.
Eyes narrowed, she said, “I’m not homeless. Your hostility doesn’t make sense.”
He lowered his head and shook it. Perhaps if she explained her situation, he might know what she should do. “I guess I should be grateful for meeting someone. It’s been very lonely. No one to speak to—”
“And no one to possess.” A vein throbbed in his jaw.
She took a step back. “Possess?”
“Since I’m the only living person who can see you, I suggest you drop the innocent act.”
People gawked at him and changed paths as they neared him. It didn’t seem to bother him that others thought he was talking to himself.
Pru laughed, pointing a finger at herself. “You think I’m dead?”
“I know you’re dead,” he said through gritted teeth and pulled his hand from his pocket. “Time to send you home.”
Home was too far away, way beyond her lifeline’s limit. An ache pulsed in Pru’s chest and birthed a fury that paralyzed her with its intensity. Instead of facing her, Luke swiveled about, his gaze following a woman pushing a baby stroller. Pru ceased to exist for him and that infuriated her even more. She stomped a foot. “You don’t even know where I live.”
He kept looking at the other woman.
“I’m talking to you, Luke. Look at me.”
He tilted his head as though tuned to something else. Finally, he said, “Yeah, I see that.” His eyes flicked back to Pru. “I’ll have to give this one a rain check then.” Smirking, Luke lifted his hand and saluted her. “Catch you later, sunshine.” With that, he followed the other woman.
“Don’t call me that,” Pru shouted and dashed after him. After few strides, her breath caught and her steps faltered. Like a lasso, the invisible lifeline tightened around her mid-section, constricted her chest, and snatched her back.
She had overstepped her boundaries.
Oooh! Sounds great, doesn't it?
Oooh! Sounds great, doesn't it?
Su Halfwerk writes paranormal romance and horror stories. From a tender age, the written word left a strong impression on her and later on, terrifying, blood-chilling books became the object of her interest. Somehow, in her mind, the blossoming of romance in the midst of that mix was only natural.
Her style in horror combines shuddery terror with an element of surprise--some would even call it an enigmatic twist. However, in the world of paranormal romance, she transforms the desire to scare into a quest to seduce and tantalize.
Besides writing, Su designs book covers and trailers for herself and other authors (including me). Isn't she amazing?
Click on any of the following links to find her: