Animation by Kayelle Allen at The Author's Secret

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wednesday's Writer - Susan Hughes

I'm always interested in meeting new (to me) writers so am quite excited to welcome this week's guest, Canadian writer Susan Hughes, and find out more about her and her writing and in particular her latest release Sense of Touch.  As usual, I gave her a bit of a grilling about her writing generally to start with, but firstly, here's a little bit about the author in her own words:

"Nothing gets my heart pumping like a good love story with absorbing emotion, plenty of passion, and an old-fashioned happy ending. That’s why I started writing romance novels, and I’m excited to share these stories with you. Set mainly in Canada, my novels explore the extraordinary thrill of finding that special someone and falling head over heels in love. I hope you’ll enjoy reading them as much as I did writing them.

I live in Ottawa, Ontario, with my husband and three children".

Q: What inspired you to write your first novel and did you always know your genre would be romance?
A: As a teenager I started out writing young adult novels, but I never finished any. About 10 years ago I decided to try romance and really clicked with the genre.

Q: You describe your writing as 'Sweet with a touch of heat' - does this reflect what you like to read yourself or do you have specific views on what should and shouldn't be included in romance novels?
A: I definitely favour an old-fashioned love story centering on the emotional connection between two characters. I also like a bit of spice thrown in. But a romance with any level of sensuality can be satisfying if well crafted.

Q: Has any part of yourself crept into the heroines of any of your romances?
A: Sure. My heroines are usually bolder than I am, but they share some of my insecurities. And they are always very focused on family, as I am.

Q: What is the most desirable characteristic you've bestowed on the hero of your latest romance?
A: My heroes tend to be sensitive types because that’s what appeals to me. Sean has lost his eyesight and his entire family. He’s frustrated and bitter, with good reason, but he maintains a strong sense of integrity and I think his warmth and compassion make him likeable.

Q: 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?
A: Sense of Touch is my first historical romance (set in 1923), so I have already branched out from my usual genre of contemporary romance.  It was a difficult challenge but I enjoyed delving into a past era.  The sequel I'm working on takes place in 1947 so I'm currently researching that time period.

I know from experience that it takes courage to make genre departures, Susan, so I wish you the very best of luck with this.

Sense of Touch is available from:

In the wake of the Halifax Explosion in 1917, the sense of loss was overwhelming. The blast destroyed Amy’s home and killed her parents, while Sean lost his eyesight and the little sister he’d promised to protect. In the midst of disaster Amy and Sean found each other, if only briefly, as she helped him escape the destruction of the city.

Another chance encounter reunites them in 1923. Amy’s scars and her need for security have led her to consider marrying a man she doesn’t love—until the touch of Sean’s hand sparks a desire for something more.

As their friendship blossoms into a passionate affair, Sean finds hope and strength in Amy’s arms—but as he struggles to find a sense of purpose without his sight, can love alone mend the deepest wounds of the heart?

As the first few notes of music reached her ears, Amy’s breath caught and her body stiffened. She didn’t know the name of the tune, but it often played in her head as she drifted to sleep at night—the tinkling, bell-like notes of a bright, lilting melody. A wave of cold dread gripped her, driving the air from her lungs as her heart swelled against the walls of her chest.

The jewellery store began to tilt wildly and she felt the floor shudder under her feet. She gripped the edge of the display case, knowing the sensation wasn’t real—the explosion had happened over five years ago—but she couldn’t help it. The memories imprinted on her brain had a way of flooding over her in an instant, too rapidly for her to resist them.

Finally she drew a deep breath, and as the room swam back into focus she became aware that the source of the music wasn’t her memories, but someplace nearby.

Turning her head sharply toward the sound, she came to realize the wooden box on the counter was a music box, and at once she recognized it.

Her gaze raked over the backs of the couple standing there. The man was tall with a lean frame, his hair a dark swath between the brim of his fedora and the collar of his black raincoat. The woman was slim, wrapped in a fur-trimmed brown coat, her bobbed blonde tresses all but covered by a high cloche hat embellished with floral appliqu├ęs.

Her stomach tightening with a blend of fear and exhilaration, Amy inched along the display case, her gloves sliding over the edge of the glass as she made her way closer to the couple.

Once she had the man’s profile in view, she knew it was him—the boy she had met that awful day when she was just sixteen and he a year older—and her heart battered fiercely against her breastbone. She’d never seen his eyes, but she couldn’t mistake the elegant slope of his nose and chin, or even the long, slender fingers now gripping the music box.

At first she thought his eyes were downcast, focused on the box—but then realized his eyelids were closed, his cheeks wet. He pressed a lever on the box and the tune stopped abruptly.

Amy let her own eyes fall closed, and though the shop fell silent a dreadful sound filled her head—a remembered thundering roar, unleashing memories that swept through her as swiftly and violently as wildfire.

Well I have to say, that's done it for me!  I can't wait to read this.  Thank you, Susan and I wish you the very best of luck with Sense of Touch.

You can find out more about Susan and her writing at her website:

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