Tuesday, April 5, 2011

If You Go Home, What Will You Find?

Just the title of this book got me to download it to my Nook the moment I heard it was available.  I'm a sucker for stories where a woman takes a look at her life and says "What am I doing? What do I want to be doing?  What am I willing to sacrifice to get there?"  Maybe that's because it's happened to me more than once.  Then when I found out this was about a Marine--even better a woman Marine--I absolutely had to have it. A woman. A hero. A journey to self-discovery.  AND it's in the capable hands of Susan Lute!  Ahhhhhhh.  Pull up a piece of rug in front of the fire and settle in with Jane's Long March Home.

Multiple RITA winner, Wendy Warren, sums up Susan Lute's sense of story best.  She said, ""Susan Lute is a beautiful keeper of the human heart. She explores the soul and leaves the reader certain life is worth the journey." So, it is with great pleasure that I am interviewing Susan Lute this week. Welcome Su!

Hi Maggie. Thanks for inviting me to Behind The Book.  

What was the initial spark that put this story in your head? 

I’ve always wanted to understand the intimate relationship between surviving grief and the enduring strength of the human spirit. And because I grew up in a military family, I guess it’s not surprising I should start that exploration with a Marine story. Interesting enough, the original version was about a wounded Marine and how he got from one day to the next after a terrorist attack took his best friend. Then I wondered what would happen if the Marine was a lady, who was desperate to return to the life she was about to lose because of a lot of insubordination and disorderly conduct. That idea became Jane’s Long March Home, the first of four novels about Marine pals who played poker every Friday night, until a bomb changed everything.

Your last book was a light and humorous category book for Harlequin. This one is definitely more serious and Women's Fiction oriented. Is this book a new direction for you?

Jane’s Long March Home is more serious in tone than Oops...We’re Married?, but at the heart of both stories is a traditional, multi-generational, contemporary romance that hopefully leaves reader’s hearts happy. You’re right - the stories I love to tell don’t fit into one specific genre, because I quite naturally write a women’s fiction flavored contemporary romance. I’ve probably always told this story, but Jane is the first of these genre blended books to be published, and as long as I can keep publishing them, I’m very excited to have at least three more books in the Falling For A Hero series. I also have two women’s fiction novels looking for a home, and a completely different genre for me, a post apocalyptic paranormal romance that was tremendous fun to write.

It seems that most authors use something from their own lives, or the lives of people they know as an integral part of the story.  Is there anything in this story like that?  If so, what?
Well, there is the Marine angle. And, when I met my husband, he lived in a little valley along the Columbia Gorge in Central Oregon, called Lone Pine. I always thought I was writing the orphan story. I come from a blended family and, looking back, I can see it’s family that most intrigues me, whether it’s the one a person is born into, or the one they gather around them. Like Jane, when I was young and just starting out on my own, I used to think I didn’t need family. How wrong we both turned out to be.

Is there a particular scene in this book that you really loved when you finished it? Which one and why?

This is an interesting question, Maggie, because I’m particularly fond of many of the scenes. But if I had to pick my favorite, I’d say it’s the opening scene. It’s been in and out of the story a dozen times, but I just couldn’t, in the end, leave it out. It’s that defining moment when Jane has to decide if she’s going to make it or not. I think we all come to this place. Then we pull up our big girl panties and do what we have to do, to be who we want to be :)

What's next for you?  Can you tell us about any upcoming releases?  Will you be traveling in the next few months where readers can find you?
This is an exciting time for me as a writer. There is, of course, the next three books in the Falling For A Hero series. I’m just finishing up a small town romance, tentatively titled, The Return Of Benjamin Quincy. It’ll be the first of many novels set in Rosewood, Oregon. Cross your fingers the editor will fall in love with it. And I have the post apocalyptic paranormal romance,The Dragon's Thief , being considered by St Martin’s Press. There are so many stories to write and so little time :)

During the next few months, writing is the name of the game, but I can be found online @ Facebook ; Goodreads; and my website.

This had been so much fun. Thanks again for inviting me to hang out with you.

I suggest you hop on over to Amazon, B&N, or your favorite e-reader home and immediately order Jane's Long March Home.  It's priced very well at $2.99 so how can you go wrong?  Click one of the button's below and get it downloaded to your e-reader or your computer right now.


Paty Jager said...

Great interview!

Su, I agree so many books and so little time for both writing and reading! This sounds like a great read!

Sarah Raplee said...

Su, I love unusual stories like this one! Isn't it amazing how so many things come together to inspire and inform a book?

Terri Reed said...

Su-this story sound wonderful. I can't wait to read it!

Kristina said...

Great interview, gals.

Su - I love the premise of this series!

Heather Hiestand said...

Congratulations, Su! I hope the editors love all your projects, and the readers love this one.

Jessa Slade said...

Yay! I'm so glad there's a new Susan Lute book available! And Jane sounds like the kind of heroine I love -- troublesome and full of heart.

Susan Lute said...

Thank you sooo much for stopping by you guys. Didn't Maggie do a fabulous job???

Paty, I was just thinking today, I wish I didn't have to work so much away from home. I could have easily spent the day promoting JANE, and working on BQ. How come the last 23 pages are so grueling?

Sarah, yes it amazes me too. I've been writing long enough, I'm beginning to count on the rhythms that move me into and through a story.

Terri! Kristina! Heather! Thank you so much!

Jessa, you and me both :) Jane was so much fun to write. Troublesome is a good place to start, right? :D

Darla Luke, Writer said...

Wonderful interview, Su! It's always interesting to find out what's going on behind the book, and of course, what's coming up in the future.

Maggie, what a great job you're doing here ... just wish I could get back more often, very fascinating!

Susan Lute said...

Thank you, Darla!

Wendy and Carolyn said...

Loved this interview, Su! I'm also fascinated by blended families. Looking forward to loading your book on my Sony Reader!

Susan Lute said...

Hey WenCaro :D I have an older half brother, a younger half sister and brother, another half brother, and multiple step siblings. It was a long time before the Mr could get everyone straight :) Happy reading!