January 18, 2012

Q & A with Author Susan Laine!

Everyone put your hands together to welcome author Susan Laine! She was kind enough to answer all of my burning questions, but if I've missed something you're just dying to know, feel free to leave a comment and ask. Or for more information about Ms Laine's books, check out her website at  So without further ado...

Q: Sub just released at BookStrand on December 29th. Can you tell us a little about it?

A: Sub is a love story between two naval officers, Captain David Williams and Lieutenant Hunter Masters. The story revolves around the concepts of dominance and submission in a naval setting, and of course there’s the added sexual component. Hunter is subordinate to David in the naval hierarchy but he’s sexually the aggressive initiator. Aside from the sex, they have conflicting personalities which causes friction and taunting of the sexiest kind. But they do complement each other too which could give them a foundation for a relationship if they want it. But it’s not all about sex and romance, and in addition to the games the two men play there are external threats and conspiracies to contend with.


Power play is one thing. Power play through sex is quite another.

David Williams is the captain of a nuclear submarine. He’s just been assigned with his new junior officer, Lieutenant Hunter Masters. Due to David’s calm demeanor, insubordinate officers are assigned to him for training to become exemplary officers.
Hunter, however, has other plans. Because of his oppressive admiral-father, he’s stuck in the navy, where he absolutely doesn’t wish to be, so he lashes out. His record shines with disciplinary infractions.

When the cool David and the frustrated Hunter meet, the game is on.
What begins with pranks, taunting, and dares becomes decidedly darker when lust and sex are brought into the mix. Both men trying to gain the upper hand, the games between them spin out of control.

But what happens when the nature of their relationship is exposed—and love is added to the already explosive situation?

Q: How was this different from writing Rivers of Wind? 

A: I wrote Rivers of Wind as a spur of the moment kind of thing, having had the story in the back of my mind for ages, but by some divine inspiration putting the first draft on paper in less than two weeks. Sub was different. I wrote it simultaneously with Rivers of Wind but the characters are so different from Mal and Jayden in Rivers of Wind that it took more time to get it right (and there’s still the head-hopping I hadn’t cured myself of when I wrote it). The practicalities of a dom-sub relationship was something I wanted to veer away from and instead make it about the emotional impact of it, and to accept the fact that people are too multifaceted to be defined in simple “just a dom” or “just a sub” terms. I was more familiar with my heroes from Rivers of Wind than David and Hunter but they revealed so much about themselves as the story progressed that I didn’t want to end their story at all J

Q: You have several new releases coming in 2012. What do readers have to look forward to?

A: I have another cowboy story, Rivers of Passion, coming out by Siren. I also have a tropical paradise short story, two contemporary stories, and a paranormal series coming from Dreamspinner Press. I doubt I’ll ever leave cowboys for long, so there’ll be more cowboys to come. As for my paranormal series, it’s about the world after the Veil between our mundane world and the world of mythos lifts, and Earth turns out to be anything but conventional. The first story, The Wolfing Way, is about cowboy werewolves. In the story the natural mating instinct produces far more problems than solutions.

Q: What kind of research do you do to prepare for a story?

A: Nothing for the characters, but a lot on the setting. For example, being a Finnish gal I didn’t know much about cowboys and ranches before writing Rivers of Wind. So, I hit the net and books to learn what I could. Yes, one shouldn’t blindly trust the Internet but with a grain of salt I found Wikipedia useful with horses, rodeo, ranching, etc. While writing Sub I studied about submarines, the navy, and codes of conduct quite thoroughly to get those things right – and Siren was on board with verifications so three cheers for them! In general, yes, I do a lot of research. I let the heroes go where they may but I keep everything else in check. One detail wrong can jump out at you and ruin a perfectly good story. I just hope I can do my heroes justice as they can get a little testy otherwise, and then I’ll never hear the end of it.

Q: Is there a genre you would like to try, or is M/M where you would like to stay?

A: I’ve been dabbling with writing since I was a kid but the M/M genre brought the fun back in to my writing. Before then I’d found the confines of various genres too constricting, and it took discovering the M/M literature for me to realize this was how I saw stories in my imagination. Sure, I’d like to try writing a historical story and a murder mystery – but even those would undoubtedly have an M/M romantic twist.

Q: What is the most challenging part of writing in your opinion?

A: My initial writing habit was to write a scene from the POV of both characters. I’ve had to unlearn to write better, and my later books have fewer POV shifts, or none at all, within a scene. But aside from that the most challenging part is the knowledge that as a published author you’re not the only one seeing your end product anymore, and it can be a little daunting and a lot frightening to put yourself out there and to expose your inner workings. That can have a severe impact on the spark of your inspiration, so the challenge is to just take a deep breath, sit your bum down in front of that computer, and write.

Q: What advice would you give an aspiring author?

A: Learn the mechanics of writing early on – like avoiding head-hopping, my original sin I’ve been trying to discard – and choose your publisher carefully. These two steps go a long way once you gather the courage within and send your manuscript forward. These two are important to avoid the general reasons for rejections even if your story has merit. Study good writing, read books that have been commented on for excellent use of language, learn all that you can, and take those details you’ve learned about what makes a good book and put them to use in your own work. As for the publishers, each of them search for slightly different things, perspectives, stories, themes etc. so check out the submissions pages carefully to see if your story fits the parameters. Finding the hip or trend topic of the day, for example vampires, and hitching a ride on that band wagon can be tempting but an overload of similar subjects can have an adverse effect too as it raises the bar considerably, so be forewarned. And last, but not least, do not get discouraged by the first rejections. We’ve all gotten them. They’re never great, but just keep writing and get better, and you will get your chance.

Q: What makes a story memorable to you?

A: Simple. Character interaction. I like contemporary M/M romances because they have that “that could be real” factor to them. If the heroes are realistic in their approaches, dialogue, and sex that fits the characters’ personalities, the story becomes alive. Even a poor story can be effective with strong, likable characters. Whatever the setting, in a romance the only thing that really matters are the heroes, and if they don’t capture your heart and your imagination, it won’t matter how fascinating the story or detailed the setting.

Q: If you were stranded on a dessert island, what three things would you need?

A: Naturally matches to start a fire (hate raw fish). A drop dead gorgeous hunk of man, or two or three, frolicking nude (their clothes got torn in the crash/storm, of course), to start different kinds of fires with. As a must an endless pile of M/M erotic romance books to enjoy myself with on the beach with those sexy guys while I nibble on chocolate and sip salmiac vodka. Oh, that sounds heavenly… Hmm, what were we talking about?

Q: If given the chance, what would you like to ask the readers?

A: Again, simple enough. Feedback. Good, bad, whatever. A simple star or number rating tells a writer nothing, and it certainly doesn’t help to match a writer with his/her audience. If readers seek something specific or particular or an improvement or a change, tell me so I can see if I can do something about it. Can’t promise I will realize everything but I’ll certainly take critique, accept praise, and listen to requests. Feedback, people!

Q: Is there anything you just have to have in order to write? Any special routine?

A: I have pretty much a tunnel vision, so clutter and noise around don’t bother me – unless I’m writing a sex scene, and then distractions complicate matters and bring me out of the mood. And good sex requires a mood, right? J Seriously, though, I require a pen and a notebook to scribble stuff down if I need to, the Internet if something comes up in the story that requires further research, and bubblegum. I can’t write without bubblegum, and my favorite is pear-liquorice.

Q: How do you know when your story is finished?

A: Sometimes I don’t if I get infatuated with the heroes too much. When that happens, an outline/synopsis helps to get the story back on track. Writing a synopsis allows me to distance myself from the intensity of the story and the heroes, so I can dispassionately come up with an end scene – and then stick with it. Regardless of my heroes nagging at me for more time on the air.

Q: What emotions do you feel upon completing a manuscript?

A: At first relief and elation. Yes, it’s done! Then exhaustion and emptiness. Oh, what’s next? Then anxiety and nervousness. Where to send this, and what will that publisher think? And finally the inevitable tranquility. It’s out of my hands now. Que sera sera. And then it’s onto the next book.

Q: What scene and from which book has been your favorite to write so far and why?

A: My WIP novel Falling for Rain has a scene where the heroes go on their first date. To his surprise Matt finds Rain as the lead performer at the club as a sultry lounge singer whose alluring voice captivates and mesmerizes. From the surprise and the music to the talk they have and the anticipation of togetherness that follows – yes, all that was wonderful to write. Matt and Rain kept it light-toned, but with a hint of deeper emotions beneath, and the instinctive falling in love was already there.

Q: Do you play favorites? Does one character capture your heart more than the others?

A: I wish I could say no. I should say that I love the characters I’m writing about at the moment the most. I really wish I could say a firm no. But…my favorite is Rain. I love writing about him. Yes, he’s flippant with that tongue of his and that sassy attitude, but I just love him. No, like Matt, I absolutely adore him. Let’s hope his story gets out of me soon, or he’ll put me through the wringer like no other can!

Q: What are you working on currently?

A: I’m working on my second and third books in my paranormal series Lifting the Veil, my second book in my contemporary series Second Chances, and a fantasy story The Crow and the Stallion. I don’t usually offer much information about WIPs but I do like to keep people apprised of the fact that I am writing something J But just a little tease…On Earth after the Unveiling there are more werewolves to come – not to mention genies, dragons, unicorns, and gods.

Thanks for having me here, Gabrielle. Happy authorship anniversary, and the best of luck with all your future endeavors!

Leave a comment (along with your contact info) for a chance to win a copy of Sub or Rivers of Wind!!!

Contest ends January 20th at midnight EST



  1. Anonymous1/18/2012

    I adored Rivers of Wind and can't wait to read Sub or the new 2012 releases. Love your work!

  2. Anonymous1/18/2012

    Gabrielle, what a great friend/colleague you have in Susan! I saw SUB in the Bookstrand selection, but didn't get it because I am a diehard vampire/werewolf/paranormal reader, but Susan has changed my mind - this interview more than anything else. I definitely want to read her work now, b/c she sounds like someone I would love to laugh with over coffee. Also, as an aspiring writer myself, I appreciate her tips (and the fact that I don't even know where to start!) Thanks for having Susan!


  3. Anonymous1/18/2012

    I have SUB on my wish list. Hopefully soon I'll be able to get it because the blub sounds so good.

    Linda A

  4. Thank you so much for your comments, Yvette, Jim and Linda :)

    I'm glad you like Rivers of Wind, Yvette. A sequel will come in March.

    I'm glad if you got something useful out of this interview, Jim. I wish you the best of luck in finding a home for your manuscript!

    Thanks, Linda, and I hope you like Sub.

  5. LeeAnn1/18/2012

    This did catch my attention also. Looks like something I would enjoy reading. Now I have Sub and Rivers of Wind on my wish list :)

  6. Thank you kindly, LeeAnn :)

  7. Anonymous1/18/2012

    Another new author to look forward to :)

  8. Rivers of Wind was really, really good. Loved the story.

    Wasn't too sure about Sub when I read the synopsis on Bookstrand, but after reading your interview it is definitely going in my wishlist for my next lot of purchases.

    Also thanks for your thoughts on publishing. I have thought about writing myself, but like Jim I haven't known where to start. :-)


  9. Rivers of Wind and Sub both sound like awesome reads. Cant wait to read them. I love finding new authors to read.


  10. Andrea1/18/2012

    I haven't read your books yet but I will. I love paranormal romances the best but the ones about cowboys are a close second. Thank you Mrs. Laine for giving us some insight. I look forward to reading more from you.


  11. I have Sub on my wishlist. Can't wait to read it. Great Q and A.


  12. I loved your interview. I have not read any of your books yet. But they are now on my wish list to get. Sub sounds amazing.


  13. Thank you, Talia, Paula, Kitana, Andrea, and Joanne, for your kind wishes :)

    Paula, if you have stories within you waiting to be heard, you must let them out to play. Write first, worry about finding the right publisher later. Good luck!

  14. Thank you, Tiffany :)

  15. Thanks for the intro to a new to me author. What is salmiac vodka? Just a brand or some type of flavor?

  16. HI, Anne, and thanks :)

    Salmiac vodka is a Finnish alcoholic beverage made of straight vodka and a type of licorice candy that's really strong. One can take a shot or two but after that you're pretty much done - unless you want your throat to burn up :) I only drink it on special occasions, like Christmas.

  17. Anonymous1/18/2012

    Actually just bought Rivers of Wind and its really good so far. Now i have another book to look forward to reading cant wait.

  18. Anonymous1/18/2012

    I enjoyed reading about Sub.It is always great to check out a new author. Thank you.

  19. Thank you both, Vampire Awakening and Sherry :)

  20. I really enjoyed Rivers of Wind and I am looking forward to reading Jamey's story in Rivers of Passion. Sub is on my TBR list as well :)

  21. Thanks so much for the Q&A! I love these types of blogs as it gives US insight into you.

    Love the whole MM genre! Glad that you write it. Looking forward to the new books!

    Stacy Wilson

    dragn_lady at yahoo dot com

  22. I LOVE the sound of this story and the double entendre of the title. Sounds like you have a lot of great reads coming up and I appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to be here.

    joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

  23. Thank you very much, Susan, Stacy and Joder :)

  24. Oh! I have Sub! It sounded interesting when it came out so I got it! >w< I have yet to read it but I'll be getting to it soon!
    As for Rivers of Wind, it really sounds intersting. I think I shall be getting it soon too. and Yay for more cowboys!! :D
    Yeah, I have that problem in trying to figure out which POV to write. I start in first, and then, it just, nags and nags at me that one of my other characters wants to explain something but can't with the way the story is being told... so. then I get stuck if I should switch to third or not... v.v.. such a struggle for me. even if it is sometimes only fanfic.
    ooh~ and yes... I like contemp. as well. I like that "could be real" feeling to it too.

    I look forward to all of your coming projects!! \o/


  25. Anonymous1/19/2012

    I've heard of SUB but I never got around to reading the blurb for it. I have to say it does sound interesting and will have to add it to my wishlist.



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