I'm just in the neighborhood with Susan Baganz, author, editor, and teacher, with her new book, Pesto & Potholes. You gotta admit, that title alone makes you go, whaaaa??!! I'm picturing hitting a giant asphalt break while chomping on linguine covered in pesto. Oooh. I think the swimming pool is not the only thing that could turn my hair green! Should probably save that take-out meal until I arrive home. Kudos on the name, though. And the cover is gorgeous! But with that aside, I want to load you up with more information about Susan. So, get your shopping carts, readers, and we'll begin our information spree!
PT: Welcome, Susan, to the Mine!
SB: I'm thrilled to be here!
PT: I've had the extreme pleasure of working with you the last year or so, but our readers are wandering the aisles for a glimpse of you. I'll start with my favorite question. How long have you been writing and which genre do you prefer to write in?
SB: I first started writing historicals in 2009 during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo.org), I wrote Regency-era romances (time period of Jane Austen), since that was a genre I’ve always loved to read. (I’ve written all 5 of my Regencies this way)
I’ve also enjoyed writing contemporary inspirational romances. It is fun to go from writing with no phones or cars to people who text and go check Facebook! I’ve dabbled a little with romantic suspense as well.
As for preference—I love them all! Which is probably why, as an editor, I enjoy working on both historical and contemporary romances. I’m a prolific writer. I have 11 full manuscripts written in six years, in various stages of revision. Two are under contract with Prism Book Group and another being shopped by my agent.
PT: I see. Do you like to center your novels on a theme/Bible verse? Is there one for Pesto and Potholes?
SB: I don’t center on a Biblical theme per se. Pesto and Potholes came out of an attempt to illustrate
The road to healing, emotionally or physically, is often jagged and has ups and downs. I’ve seen this similar image in my chiropractor’s office as well. So I thought, how could I illustrate this in a story form? How could a woman who has been emotionally, spiritually and yes, physically wounded, recover with the help of a loving, caring, faith community (aka: Church). So that’s how I got Pesto and Potholes. That, and Antonio is Italian.
PT: Hmmm. Can't hate a gorgeous Italian! LOL And God is definitely in the healing business. What Bible Character would you say your hero would be most like? What about your heroine?
SB: Renata Blake might be somewhat like Job in that she’s lost everything. Not that she had things great to begin with, but holds on to her faith in the midst of tragedy and little support.
Antonio DeLuca, in a way I wanted him to be a real life example of Christ’s love and care for someone, patience, protection, respect for boundaries and humility. The difference is, Tony is a romantic love interest where as it feels odd to think of Jesus that way. Oh, and Tony is far from perfect.
PT: I love imperfect characters! I can so relate to them. Wow, you've got several WIP’s (unfinished stories-Works In Progress) right now. Do you write on all of them at the same time or plot and do one at a time?
SB: I’m a panster when it comes to writing fiction so other than the names and some basic backstory for my two main characters along with an initial inciting incident, I don’t always know where it’s going to go. It’s a wild roller-coaster ride and I love the rush of a first draft. After that, while I enjoy the process, it definitely becomes harder.
With all the rough drafts though, it is sometimes hard to prioritize where I should focus next. Just hoping no new characters emerge to start me on that journey any time soon!
PT: All righty. Tell us quick, 5 things not related to writing that you enjoy.
SB: Spiced chai latte
My dog, Spatzle (a maltese mix)
· Rubber stamping/card making
· Watching the birds outside my window
· Gardening (flowers, not interested in food much to my husband’s dismay)
PT: So let's talk about where Potholes and Pesto is set.
SB: Northwest suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 2009-2010. Tony is a huge Green Bay Packer’s fan.
PT: An Italian football buff. Niccccce! So what’s next for Susan Baganz?
SB: Along with writing and editing, I teach at writer’s conferences. The next big thing on my “to do” list is to write a 90 minute workshop on “Writing your Past into Your Fiction”. Kind of scary because with Pesto & Potholes, I think there is more of “me” in there than any other book I’ve written. So I have a little experience with this topic. Should be fun.
PT: Well, it's time to close the registers, shoppers, but you can still find Susan all over. Check out these links.
PT: BONUS! Susan has a book trailer!!! (Mouths agape! Now, shut.) Click this link and head on over to learn more about Susan's new release, Pestos & Potholes!
PLEASE, PRETTY, PRETTY PLEASE leave a comment for Susan! She would love to hear from you. And she's giving away a free copy of her book, Pesto & Potholes, to one blessed person. Thanks for joining us. J
Susan M. Baganz chases after three Hobbits and is a native of Wisconsin. She is an Acquisitions Editor with Prism Book Group specializing in bringing great romance novels and novellas to publication. Susan writes adventurous historical and contemporary romances with a biblical world-view.
She has been published in Splickety Magazine and in the I Choose You anthology with OakTara Press. Pesto and Potholes is her first contemporary romance novel in the Orchard Hill Series, the second, Salsa and Speedbumps will follow. She is represented by Mary Sue Seymour for her adventurous Regency Romances.
Susan speaks, teaches and encourages others to follow God in being all He has created them to be. With her seminary degree in counseling psychology, a background in the field of mental health, and years serving in church ministry, she understands the complexities and pain of life as well as its craziness. She serves behind-the-scenes in various capacities at her church. Her favorite pastimes are lazy ones—snuggling with her dog while reading a good book, or sitting with a friend chatting over a cup of spiced chai latte.
You can learn more by following her blog www.susanbaganz.com, her twitter feed @susanbaganz or her fan page, www.facebook.com/susanmbaganz