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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Please welcome author Susan Macatee


First, could you introduce yourself and talk about your work?

Hi, first I’d like to say thanks so much for having me, Laura! I’m Susan Macatee. I’ve been dabbling in writing since I was in grade school, but got serious about it after the last of my three boys started school. It wasn’t until I decided to write romance and joined Romance Writers of America that I started having any success with my submissions, though. After having my first romance, a short stand-alone vampire story, released as an e-book last year from The Wild Rose Press, I’ve signed five new contracts with TWRP; two for full-length novels, two for short stories that will be part of two different historical anthologies and one stand-alone novella-length vampire story. All of these stories are set during the American Civil War.

I’m also working on two new full-length romances. One’s science fiction romance, the other post-Civil War.

What time-travel fiction have you written or are in the process of writing?

Erin’s Rebel, the book of my heart, is my first foray into time travel. It’s set during the American Civil War. My heroine, a modern day reporter, is thrust by way of a car accident and a Victorian brooch containing a lock of the hero’s hair into a Confederate army camp during the Civil War.

Here’s the blurb: Philadelphia newspaper reporter, Erin Branigan, is engaged to marry an up-and-coming lawyer, but dreams of a man from the past, a Civil War captain, change her plans and start her on a journey beyond time. After a car accident, Erin wakes to find herself living in the 1860s in a Confederate army camp.

Captain Will Montgomery, the man of her dreams, is now a flesh and blood Rebel soldier who sets her soul aflame. But the Irish beauty holds a secret he needs to unravel before he can place his trust in her.

Can she correct a mistake made long ago that caused his death and denied her the love she was meant to have? Or is she doomed to live out her life with nothing but regret?

The only other story I have in that genre right now is a short story to be featured in the upcoming TWRP American Civil War anthology, Northern Roses and Southern Belles. My story, Angel of My Dreams, is the story of a modern-day Civil War reenactor, who becomes entranced with a woman he keeps seeing at events attending fallen men on the battlefield. The woman turns out to be the ghost of a Civil War nurse. This is more of a reincarnation tale, as the hero goes to a therapist, has himself hypnotically regressed and learns he’s lived before as a Civil War soldier. The story weaves itself back and forth through time, so although not your traditional time travel, it does have many elements of that genre.

What are your favorite time destinations and why?

The American Civil War is my favorite destination. I love the pageantry and heroism of men and women who fought and sacrificed for what they believed in. I’ve spent the past ten years or so as a Civil War civilian reenactor, and since I love reading time travel romances, I was really disappointed to find so few TT romances set in that time period.

Where is your work available?

I write for The Wild Rose Press. http://thewildrosepress.com/ Currently, I only have one short story available for purchase, a Civil War set vampire story, called Eternity Waits. All my other releases will come out this year, starting with Erin’s Rebel, my Civil War time travel, on July 17th.

What got you interested in the genre? For how long have you been a fan, and who are your favorite authors of time-travel fiction?

I’d have to say about five years ago, when I first immersed myself in romance fiction. I’d been writing for years, but didn’t seem to be getting anywhere. I’d heard romance was a big market and decided to investigate. Although I loved reading the historicals, I found myself intrigued by time travels. They became my favorites.

One of the first time travels I remember having read is Susan Grant’s Once a Pirate. I also read medieval-set stories by several different authors. One of them was Victoria Alexander, I don’t recall all of the others, but I did read Helen A. Rosburg’s The Circle of a Promise. I’ve also read Scottish highland time travels as well as Native American ones, just can’t recall all the titles or authors. I even read one set during the Civil War that started with a woman psychiatrist who traveled back through time on a train ride. The latest TT’s I’ve read and loved are Judi Lynne’s Yankee Angel, Bess McBride’s A Train through Time, Dawn Thompson’s The Falcon’s Bride and the latest by her, published after her death, The Bride of Time.

What mechanisms do you use for time-travel? Do they vary from story to story?

Developing the time travel mechanism was the hardest part, for me, of doing a time travel. I just couldn’t seem to find any believable way to get my heroine back in time to meet the hero. Since Erin’s Rebel was my first romance, I entered it in as many unpublished contests as I could afford, but the judges kept telling me my time travel device just wasn’t believable. I almost gave up on this story, but while taking an online workshop with the late Dawn Thompson on story openings, Dawn suggested a car crash, so I went with that.

But I still needed something to tie the whole time travel theme together. I’d read a few great time travels where the hero or heroine goes back into their reincarnated body and I decided that would work here. So, my heroine goes back into the body of a woman who she thought to be her grandmother’s great-aunt, but was actually the heroine in a past life. And the object that ties everything together is a Victorian brooch containing a lock of the hero’s hair. It was common during this time period for people to preserve and carry a lock of a loved one’s hair, either as a remembrance of one who’d died, or as a way of keeping a piece of someone far away close. Victorians were notorious for their sentimentality.

What type of research do you do for the genre? Where do you find your sources?

Since I set my stories during the Civil War, I’ve used what I learned as a reenactor to give my readers a feel for the time period. What they wore, ate, what they did for fun, and any other little details of everyday life my characters should know, or my time traveler has to learn. For major events, like dates of battles and other historical facts, I use reference books and the internet.
Here's the blurb for Erin's Rebel:
Erin's RebelTime Travel RomanceThe Wild Rose PressPhiladelphia newspaper reporter, Erin Branigan, is engaged to marry an up-and-coming lawyer, but dreams of a man from the past, a Civil War captain, change her plans and start her on a journey beyond time. After a car accident, Erin wakes to find herself living in the 1860s in a Confederate army camp.Captain Will Montgomery, the man of her dreams, is now a flesh and blood Rebel soldier who sets her soul aflame. But the Irish beauty holds a secret he needs to unravel before he can place his trust in her.Can she correct a mistake made long ago that caused his death and denied her the love she was meant to have? Or is she doomed to live out her life with nothing but regret?

Is there anything you’d like to add?

I’d like to invite readers of your blog to visit my website to learn more about me and all my upcoming stories, as well as a sneak peak at my latest work in progress.

You can find me here: http://susanmacatee.com/

Or at my blog: http://susanmacatee.blogspot.com/

And I’m also a regular contributor at http://slipintosomethingvictorian.wordpress.com/ where readers can learn all about the Victorian era.

11 comments:

lainey bancroft said...

Great interview!

I'm not even American, yet I love the history and romance of the Civil War, and I especially love that you use your live reenactment experience to offer that 'authenticity,' Susan.

Erin's Rebel sounds like a sure-fire winner!

Congrats!

Catherine Bybee said...

I just visited the South for the first time in my life. I have a very different view on the Civil War after doing so and look forward to eating up Civil War stories. Best of luck with yours, Susan.

Susan Macatee said...

Thanks, Lainey and Catherine! The Civil War is just a special place in time for me and through the reenacting experience and reading first hand accounts of those who lived through it, I feel as though I can identify with them.

And thanks again, Laura for having me today on your beautiful blog!

Helen Hardt said...

Hi Susan! The Civil War is intriguing on so many different levels. I look forward to exploring your work!

Isabel Roman said...

Susan, I keep saying this, but it's true. Your research is amazing and makes your stories that much more believable. Goes to the whole suspension of disbelief: I BELIEVE your characters traveled through time, so I can go along with the story. ;)

Jeanmarie Hamilton said...

Great interview and what a beautiful blog site!
I have your book, Erin's Rebel. It came last week. Looking forward to finding out what happens next. :-)

Jeanmarie

Susan Macatee said...

Thanks for stopping by, Helen and Isbabel!

And yes, it's getting that time travel element to seem believable to a readers that's the hardest part of writing in this genre.

Mary Ricksen said...

You are a civil war reenactor? That's so cool! It sure must have helped you with the research. That was the hardest part for me.

Susan Macatee said...

Yes, I am, Mary! I've been one for over 10 years. It was my husband who got interested in the Civil War first, then it progressed to the reenacting. It made it so easy to set my stories there. Pure inspiration!

Andrew said...

I appreciate the labor you have put in developing this blog. Nice and informative.

Historical Writer/Editor said...

Thanks, everyone, for stopping by my blog. I appreciate it, and thank you to the authors for all the interviews! They were very interesting. -Laura