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Thursday, March 30, 2006:
An Interview with erotic romance author Susan Lyons
This interview was originally posted February 20, 2006, but due to the infamous re-design, was lost in the transition. I have managed to re-create it as closely as I could to the original (minus the various links I used the first time around). Susan was extremely patient and wonderful to answer all my questions. I really appreciate the time she took with me :)

was lucky enough to "meet" Susan Lyons at a Writerspace chat for the Kensington Aphrodisia authors. I was intrigued by the premise to her debut novel "Champagne Rules" and thought it would be fun to interview her. She said yes, and the following is the result of Thank you, Susan, for taking the time to do this!

SA: It appears you've had many other careers and studied many different fields before finding your niche as a writer. I must say I'm really impressed by your wide range of interests. Do you use that knowledge in your stories, or fell that it has contributed to your experience as a writer?

SL: How flattering to say "wide range of interests", rather than "it sure took you long enough to figured out what you wanted to do"! Yes, I've studied psychology and sociology and anthropology, and those do influence my writing, but more in a subconscious than conscious way. And I studied law because I care about justice and values, and yes, those themes are reflected in my writing too. What it really comes down to is, people fascinate me. Each human being is so amazing. I especially love writing about people at transition points in their lives, where their beliefs and values are challenged and they have to figure out where to go from here.
SA: How do you feel about writing for such an erotic line as Aphrodisia? Do you have any boundaries you are not willing to cross in your writing? Have you felt pressured to crank up the heat beyond what you prefer?

SL: Aphrodisia is a blast. The authors are wonderful women, the stories are diverse and the editors aren't telling us what to do. My brand of erotic romance is definitely "lite" compared to what some of the others write, and it has a fun, chick lit element, as well as dealing with some significant conflicts and emotional issues. As for boundaries - as a writer, I don't see myself writing paranormal or BDSM (heck, I even had to look up what that meant, so it's obviously not "me" - and for other innocents who don't know, it's bondage, discipline/domination and sado-masochism). I'm not putting these things down and I know lots of readers love them, but they're not my, or my characters', idea of sexual fun.

SA: You reside in a very beautiful place on earth - Vancouver, Canada. Do you think it has been easier or more difficult getting published being outside of the U.S.? Or in today's various markets - such as many of the ebook publishers - do you think it's a moot point?

SL: I think geography is making less and less of a difference. Kensington certainly publishes a number of authors from British Columbia, and I've heard editors say that the Pacific Northwest has more than its fair share of great writers. I had definitely heard that Canadian settings and heroes were hard to sell (people think we live in igloos and are deadly dull, and our heroes are all Dudley Do-Right types of guys). But I'm from Canada and I want to promote our great cities and towns and our wonderful people, so I've almost always written Canadian settings. And I've never heard an editor complain. My firist 4 books are set in Vancouver and Kensington doesn't seem to have any problem with that.

SA: The necessity of promoting your work: how do you feel about this side of the business? Are you able to spend much time attending chats and going to conventions? What do you have planned for 2006? What's your next work?

SL: I notice you say necessity. Some authors would disagree, but I'm with you. Today, it's expected that an author will help promote her work. I still think the best thing I can do for my writing career is get great books out into the world as frequently as I can, so that's where I devote the majority of my energy. But I do keep my website updated ( ) and run a monthly contest. I send promo items to romance-friendly bookstores. The Aphrodisia Authors have a blog ( and I participate in chats whenever I can. This year I'm speaking at the Writers Weekend conference in Seattle in June, I'm attending RWA National in Atlanta in July (my first literacy signing!) and I'm considering proposing a couple of workshops for the Emerald City conference in September. (Note: I just found info for October 2006 so since I wasn't sure if it was the same event, I didn't post the link). I'm also co-authoring an article (with Aphrodisia author P.J. Mellor) for the August issue of RT Bookclub as we both have books coming out then. That's my next book - Hot In Here, where Chinese-Canadian journalist Jenny Yuen and hot firefighter Scott Jackman create the Fantasy Rules.

SA: Romance readers: they are a devoted and passionate group of people. What have they taught you about the business and their support of their favorite writers? Do you believe readers are entitled to certain liberties when it comes to what they expect from a writer?

SL: With my first book out this month, I'm definitely hoping to acquire devoted and passionate readers, and then we'll see what they teach me. As for what readers can expect from me: I'm hoping to entertain each reader with a story that makes her grin, touches her heart, and sends her rushing off to seduce her sweetie.

SA: You grow orchids, though you claim not be an expert. Orchids are such a...sensitive and temperamental plant - do you find it frustrating to cater to the whims of the orchid? They are such beautiful and elusive flowers, some only appearing for just a short time. What makes you so passionate about them? What has this interest taught you, and what types of orchids grow in your region?

SL: I'm looking at my orchids right now and they're saying, "cater to our whims? - you have to be kidding!" No, I'm afraid I don't do that. They get light and water and share desk space with me, and other than that, they're on their own. Right now only one's blooming - with the cutest little pale purple flowers. Why do they appeal to me? For the same reason cats do. It's exactly what you mentioned - they're lovely and elusive and when they do bloom, I feel so rewarded and blessed. They're exotic and arguably the most passionate flower. In Victorian times, women were kept away from orchids because the flowers were considered to be dangerously erotic and seductive. One has to wonder what the guys thought we'd do, when exposed to an orchid! Make sexual demands they couldn't fulfil? Anyhow, I figure orchids help to set the atmosphere for someone whose writing is sensual and sexual. What have I learned from orchids? Patience! As for what orchids grow locally, the only one is a lovely little plant called lady's slipper that's found in the woods in the spring.
(Note: the Lady Slipper is the state flower of Minnesota, where I, the pest, was born).

SA: Writers are also readers. Which authors do you spend your time reading? What do you like about their stories?

SL: I read lots of different kinds of fiction, but the authors I love the most are the ones who touch me emotionally. Some of those are Some of those are Barbara Samuel, Kristin Hannah, Luanne Rice and Jodi Picoult.

SA: Now for some fun. Who do you consider to be totally "hot"? What music might you be playing as your typing away diligently on your computer?

SL: Denzel Washington! (Note: I am a huge Denzel fan!) Gary Dourdan who plays Warrick Brown on CSI. Robert Redford, especially in his younger days. Morgan Freeman. They all have wonderful eyes and amazing faces, with great charm and expression. And the bodies aren't so bad either! As for music, there's rarely anything playing while I'm writing. For me, it distracts rather than enhances. Occasionally I'll have guitar music or Carlos Nakai flute.

SA: Guilty pleasures - we all have them. What are some of yours? Cheesecake for breakfast? A martini snack at 3PM? A favorite t.v. show you just can't miss?

SL: Bubbles. Champagne's my favorite drink and I keep those mini bottles of Henkel Trocken in the fridge to celebrate writing events. Yesterday, my excuse was, I got covers for Hot In Here (gorgeous!) and learned that Champagne Rules has made a foreign sale, to Germany. (Yay, Susan!) I love bubble baths too, with exotic flower scents like plumeria, white ginger and pikake. And okay, I confess, I watch The OC and Everwood - but no daytime soaps, I swear it.

SA: Thank you Susan, for taking the time to answer my questions. Any last words you'd like to share?

SL: Thanks to you, Stacy. What a fun bunch of questions! I've been traveling the road to publication for a very long time and it's been an amazing journey. I'm not sure I would have made it without the support and wisdom of my RWA colleagues. Now that it's happened, things are really taking off (5 sales in the first 8 months!) and I'm thrilled, and feeling exceptionally lucky and grateful. I'm still on a journey, and the road ahead will definitely have rocky patches, so I'm even more grateful for all the lessons I've learned and the friends I've made along the way. And I'm looking forward to making new friends, both writers and readers, and learning even more lessons.

August 2006 release:
Champagne Rules introduced the Awesome Foursome - four Vancouver gal-pals who are looking for mind-blowing sex. Hot In Here continues their sexy escapades. Journalist Jenny Yuen lands a very steamy assignment: cover a firefighter calendar competition. Her personal favorite? Mr. February. Also known as Scott Jackman. Also, known as hot, hotter, hottest!
Read all about it: the sexy rookie is the man of Jenny's wildest fantasies. And they're going to play by her rules: the Fantasy Rules. No taboos, no holding back. No commitment. The question is, will Jenny be able to stick to her own rules?

sneak preview


  1. STacy, love the new look! Very sparkly! Now, I want sparkles on my blog!!! Great interview with Susan!

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