I’m a true Pacific Northwester, having lived in Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia, all my life. I love the great outdoors as well as wonderful restaurants and theatre (ah, New York City…). I have degrees in psychology and law, but rather than choose a sensible profession with a secure income, I drifted from job to job, looking for the right fit. I found it, with writing.
I’m fascinated by people, personality, character growth, relationships (hence the psych degree). Writing romance and women’s fiction is the perfect place to indulge that fascination. My world is a diverse, multicultural one, and that’s the kind of world I write about. I believe a writer has a responsibility, and so my stories always have messages, sometimes pretty blatant and sometimes more subtle. Equality and appreciation of differences are strong values for me. You’ll find some issues in my books, such as dealing with major illnesses or injuries (e.g., Eden’s mother’s cancer in Fly Away With Me) and dysfunctional families (such as Aaron’s in Fly Away With Me), and so on. The stories aren’t heavy, dark ones, but they do involve some emotional stuff. As well as love and laughter, good friends, and some steamy sex. I love romance because the reader (and author!) always knows that no matter how much angst the characters go through, they will emerge stronger, and they’ll find love.
The idea for my new Blue Moon Harbor series came from my boating in the Gulf Islands near Victoria, British Columbia (something my partner and I do every summer). I love the ocean and the islands, which have a diverse and quirky population. So I’m writing about a small community setting, as with my Caribou Crossing Romances which are set in ranching country in B.C.’s interior. But an island has the added quality of only being accessible by water or air – it’s isolated and weather-dependent.
I created a fictional island and named it Destiny, because I thought that would lead to some interesting book titles. I named the village Blue Moon Harbor because who doesn’t love the romantic notion of a blue moon? My publisher, Kensington, decided to use Blue Moon Harbor rather than Destiny Island as the series name, and also chose not to use “destiny” in the titles. Oh well, original concepts don’t always pan out!
I love seaplanes, and they’re an intrinsic part of island life, so making my first hero a seaplane pilot was a “well, duh!” kind of thing. To make for contrast and conflict, I thought Aaron needed an off-island heroine, and who could be more different from him than a big city lawyer? Eden’s not there on holiday, but on a mission for her ailing mom, to find her mother’s long-lost sister who ran away from home in 1969. A newly-discovered letter indicates she joined the island commune way back then.
Eden is responsible and driven. Aaron is easygoing (at least that’s the image he presents to the world) and he’s determined to teach Eden how to have fun.
Coming off a breakup, Eden’s not interested in a serious relationship, but a rebound fling sounds good to her. And Aaron, whose dysfunctional childhood made him cynical about finding love, only ever seeks casual relationships. So they’re on the same page – at least until their heartstrings start getting tugged!
But how could long-term be possible for them? She’s devoted to her family and career in Ottawa. He’s equally devoted to his career on Destiny, and to his single-parent younger sister and her little girl.
All the same, when you find your love on Destiny, life will never be the same!
Let’s Get To Know Susan Fox
Q: What are the top five books that have influenced your career?
A: Ooh, tough question.
- The Nancy Drew books because they showed that girls could do anything boys could, and they promoted intelligence and curiosity.
Mary Stewart’s romantic suspense novels because of their great writing, suspense, wonderful settings, heroines who were spunky and smart, and fantastic heroes. (In fact, one of my books, Fly Close to the Sun, is an homage to Mary Stewart.)
To Kill a Mockingbird, which I’ve reread numerous times. Harper Lee highlighted serious issues, promoted strong values, had a terrific heroine in insightful yet innocent Scout, and (along with Mary Stewart) gave me my model for a great hero: a man with strength of character who struggles to tackle tough challenges, who leads when he feels he must, and is never arrogant or showy about it.
Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones. A friend gave me that book and told me I was a writer – and when I read it, I discovered that he was right.
There’s no other book or series that stands out as much as these, but I have always been addicted to reading and I am grateful to and influenced by every fabulous writer who provides readers with entertainment and insights into life. They continue to inspire me.
Q: What fictional character would you punch if the face if you thought you could get away with it without going to jail?
A: There are tons of them, but the one that immediately springs to mind is Tom Booker, the “horse whisperer” in the novel of that title by Nicholas Evans. [spoiler alert!] This is a case where someone, at the end of the book, does something that seems to me to be entirely out of character. Tom is a healer, with huge compassion for damaged horses and humans. Over the course of the book, he works patiently with a broken teenager, Grace, and her broken horse Pilgrim, and they both heal, physically and emotionally. But Tom is having an affair with Grace’s married mother (which I could sort of understand, in the circumstances) and Grace finds out. Shattered and betrayed, Grace runs away on Pilgrim and unintentionally gets them both into a dangerous situation. Tom goes after her, which is in character and heroic, and saves them. But he also commits suicide by horse, deliberately letting himself be killed by a wild mustang, and right in front of Grace.
To me, that act was a “jump the shark” one and totally out of character. Grace would be traumatized for life by witnessing it, so I can’t believe that any healer, no matter how much personal guilt and pain he might be dealing with, would commit such a selfish act. If you haven’t read the book but saw the movie, you’ll realize that the movie has a different ending. One that, for me, better suits Tom’s character.
Q: Pick a super-power and tell us what you’d do with it.
A: The power to broaden people’s minds so that they no longer hate or fear those who are different. I would use it to promote equality and the appreciation of diversity. Although I don’t possess that superpower, I do have the power of the pen – or the keyboard – and I wield it with that same goal in mind.
Q: What’s your favorite AND least favorite thing about being a writer/author?
A: Favorite thing: Being able to write stories about women and men who, like all of us, struggle with the serious issues of contemporary life, who value integrity and friendship and love, and who earn their happy endings. And getting feedback from readers who tell me that I’ve touched their hearts, that they’ve learned something from my books, or that my stories have helped them get through a tough time in their lives.
Least favorite thing: The requirement to promote one’s work. If I wanted to be in sales, I’d be in sales. What I do want is to be a writer, which means I want to spend my time writing and editing, researching and brainstorming, bringing characters and stories to life, and trying to make my writing the best it possibly can be. I also love to connect with readers, but not in the sense of promotion.
About Fly Away With Me by Susan Fox
Known for its rugged beauty and eccentric residents, tiny Blue Moon Harbor is big on love…
For busy lawyer Eden Blaine, a trip to a Pacific Northwest island she’s never even heard of is far from a vacation. Eden’s ailing mother has tasked her with finding her long-lost aunt, who once had ties to a commune on the island. Still reeling from a breakup with her longtime boyfriend, romance is the last thing Eden is looking for. But her gorgeous seaplane pilot has her wondering if a carefree rebound fling is exactly what she needs…
Aaron Gabriel has no illusions about happily ever after. His troubled childhood made sure of that. But he does appreciate a pretty woman’s company, and Eden is the exact combination of smart and sexy that turns him on. Still, as he helps her search for her missing aunt, the casual relationship he imagined quickly becomes something much more passionate—and much harder to give up. Can two people determined to ignore romance recognize that their heated connection is the kind of love destined to last?
“Take off your sunglasses,” he said, needing to see her eyes, their expression. To find out if he’d been right about the gold flecks.
“Why?” But she didn’t wait for his answer, just took them off and held them in one hand.
Her beautiful eyes sparkled up at him, brighter than the stones in her new earrings.
“You dazzle me,” he said, the words jumping out of his mouth. The kind of compliment he’d never before given.
Her eyes widened and then her lips made a tentative curve. “You kind of dazzle me, too, Aaron Gabriel.”
“Then why are you acting different today? It feels like you’re pulling away.” Oh God, he was mouthing girlie, needy shit. Still, he didn’t take it back.
“I… Pulling away? What do you mean?”
She’d given him a chance to retreat, but he didn’t take it. “You’re acting different. Not sharing stuff the way you usually do.”
She blinked, gazed down for a long moment, and then looked back up at him. “You’re right.” Another blink, but then she held his gaze. “The truth is, I realized I was coming to…well, maybe more than just like you. Even though that’s not what we agreed, or what either of us want. I guess it’s the danger of a rebound relationship.” She pressed her lips together.
So he was just a rebound relationship. She’d have felt the same for any guy she hooked up with. Again, why should that bother him?
Because for him she wasn’t just another fun hookup. Eden was special. Clearly, she didn’t feel the same way about him.
She unpressed her lips. “But then I realized I was being silly. You’re a great guy, but not the type of man I’d be looking for if I wanted a serious relationship.”
Hurt and pissed off, he was about to ask what the hell was wrong with him, and then he remembered he had zero interest in a serious relationship. That must be what she meant. “No, I guess not, eh?” He managed a small laugh.
“I want a man who sees life in more of a serious, responsible way, rather than being all about having a good time. One who’s passionate about things other than the outdoors, flying, and, well, sex. A man who does have depths and is willing to share them with me.”
“Yeah, that’s not me.”
She blinked again and said quietly, almost sadly, “You kept telling me that, and I finally realized I should listen.” Another blink, and she spoke more briskly. “Anyhow, I also thought about how you told me I needed to lighten up and have fun. That’s what this week was supposed to be about. You’ve taken time off work and gone to all the effort of helping me look for my aunt, which I truly appreciate. In return, did I give you fun?”
Being with her had been different. Not as frivolous as times he’d spent with other women, but in truth more fun. He was trying to figure out how to respond when she went on.
“Not so much, right? I was forever dumping family stories and work ones on you. Just as I’d do if I were seriously dating someone. I guess I don’t know how else to act. So I’ve decided to take my cue from you and lighten up on the heavy stuff. I’m not great at it, but I’m trying.”
I liked you the old way. She might say lighten up, but he felt as if she’d erected a barrier between them.
Just as he did, between him and the rest of the world.
“I get it,” he told her. “But don’t stress out over it, okay? I’m not changing for you and I don’t want you changing for me.”
My favorite quote from Fly Away With Me is:
“There’s a lot of serious thinking going on over there,” Aaron said.
“That’s me. Serious thinker. I need to analyze situations before I make decisions. It’s the only sensible way.”
“Because being sensible’s so much fun,” he said dryly.
“Life’s about more than just fun.”
“Yeah, but it’s also about fun. Otherwise, what’s the point?”