Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Do You Have to Choose Between Love and Career?

Picture of book, The Return of Benjamin Quincy by Susan Lute

Please welcome Susan Lute to Behind the Book. I have to admit, I LOVE Susan's books and the one we are talking about today really a struck a chord with me--especially with all these transitions I've made in the past four months. 

Whether you are in a relationship or thinking about being in a relationship, I think most of us women have had times in our life when we wondered what we were willing to sacrifice to move ahead in our career.  Or what we were willing to sacrifice to hold on to that special one love. I know I have, at least three or four times.  It is this dynamic that, for me, was what kept me reading Susan's book, The Return of Benjamin Quincy.  That and the love story of course.

Here is the blurb:
All Benjamin Quincy wants is to make a stable home for his ten year old daughter in the town he grew up in and left in bitter disappointment. Young and hot headed, he made a mistake. Eleven years later, he’s a divorced, single dad with a troubled child, and a lot to make up for.
All Benjamin Quincy wants is to make a stable home for his ten year old daughter in the town he grew up in and left in bitter disappointment. Young and hot headed, he made a mistake. Eleven years later, he’s a divorced, single dad with a troubled child, and a lot to make up for.

Sydney Marshall has finally snagged the perfect job at a coveted travel magazine in New York. Does she care that her ex has returned to the tiny town of Rosewood with a precious daughter who’s not hers? Does it matter that every time he comes near, her heat flutters madly like in the old days? No! Her bags are packed; plane tickets are stashed in her carry on bag; the adventure of a lifetime is about to begin.

There’s only one problem. Life and Rosewood have a penchant for interfering in the best laid plans.

What was the spark that led you to come up with this story, and how did that spark blossom through your characters?

The Return Of Benjamin Quincy started out as a women's fiction story about two elderly sisters who'd been estranged over a man (the younger sister *stole* the older sister's fiance). Meredith ended up never marrying, but then has a stroke and her younger sister, a widow now (after a long and happy marriage) comes back to take care of her, much against Meredith's wishes. Since there's no one else to turn to, Meredith has no choice. The *spark* was two sisters, the eldest independent, strong, always taking care of others; the youngest, a little spoiled, always taken care of, alone now, coming home to care for the sister she wronged. I wanted to explore that role reversal, and how it could heal these sister's relationship. In that version, the Doc was always meant to be Meredith's happy-ever-after.

This sounds nothing like Ben Quincy, does it? When I conceived the story, women's fiction was tanking, so my agent at the time suggested I turn it into a small town contemporary romance, ala Robin Carr. And so Sydney, who was already a strong character in the story, became the heroine, and her ex-boyfriend, who'd left town, and made some wrong choices, came back with his daughter. It took off from there :)

I last interviewed you a year ago, when you released Jane’s Long March Home (another book I loved, by the way).  It’s interesting to me that both of these have to do with navigating the past and how that past impacts the present.  Is this a theme you like to explore? 

It is. I strongly believe who we are today is largely informed by where we've been. I don't think you can completely know a person (or character) until you know where they've been. We wear many masks :) Another theme prevalent in my stories is finding family and the community where we can become the best we were meant to be.

Is there a particular scene in this book that you really loved when you finished it? If so, which one and why?

My favorite scene is when Ben is upstairs in the house he wants to buy so he can make a home for his daughter. I love that he's a little nervous, but is determined to be the best dad he can be. Is there anything more sexy than that? I don't think so :)

Do you plan any more books set in Rosewood, Oregon?  If so, will it continue to use some of the same characters?

Yes, many more, I hope. Some of the same characters will make a return appearance. As a reader, I like to know how they're doing. Grant's story is next.

I'm so happy there will be many more books in Rosewood. Are you planning any readings, signings, or other travels where readers can hook up with you virtually or in person?

The Return Of Benjamin Quincy and I have a blog tour starting June 4th. We will go for a week. It's still being finalized. I'll put the details on my website as soon as I have them.

Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to join us at Behind the Book.

Thank you so much, Maggie for having me! It's always a pleasure :)

Dear Readers, I exhort you to run out and immediately download this book.  It really is wonderful. You can get it at many places on the net. I have it on my nook.  Here are two of the most popular download sites.



Paty Jager said...

Great interview and the book sounds wonderful. I'll add it to my TBR pile!

Unknown said...

Hi Maggie and Susan!

I always love to hear how other authors come up with ideas for characters, the setting, shoot, the whole story concept itself! And I especially like books with characters that pop in and say "hello" through a series. Fun!

Looking forward to more of your stories, Susan!

Happy writing,

Susan said...

Thanks, Paty :)

I was an avid reader (still am) long before I became a writer, Melia. My favorite thing is to find out how happy-ever-afters are going. I'm an optimist. I want to know they'll last a lifetime, lol.