BDSM Bedtime Stories Season Three Episode Thirteen ~ Suz Demello

Today is our final episode for season three.  Lucky number thirteen is sexy Suz Demello.  She finishes takes our pimp spot with Sirly Eric narrating Rakes in Tartan.




La Crimson Femme: Welcome Sue!  Thank you for joining us today.  I see you used to be a trial attorney.  How did you switch to become a romance writer?  Was a gradual transition?

Suz DeMello: Candidly, I loathed my life as a trial attorney. It's a very stressful job in which a person always seems to be arguing and conflicting with everyone. I prefer conflict in my books, not my life. I had always sensed a wellspring of creativity inside, but never found the right outlet, though I tried everything: sang, painted, made sculptures and so on. But I'd always loved to read. When I took a class on writing for publication, I realized that writing fiction was something I could do and maybe find success. 

I started writing my first manuscript in autumn 1997, I believe, or maybe it was 1996. I sold my first book in 1999, and then a couple more. At that point I closed my practice--when I felt that writing could be a viable business venture instead of only a creative outlet.

La Crimson Femme: I see you traveled overseas a lot.  Where did you go?  What was your favourite place and why?

Suz DeMello: I love to travel--it's my passion. My itchy feet have taken me to a number of wonderful places and it's hard to choose between them. But I do love Europe, despite its costliness. I have family in London and it's my favorite city. I've traveled to Italy quite a bit, and hope to visit Spain soon. I've lived in Thailand and China as well. Loved the Angkor complex in Cambodia, too.

La Crimson Femme: Ah!  I do enjoy Europe too.  I haven’t been to Italy and want to explore there.  I have been to London and lived there a bit.  I can understand the appeal.  Have you picked a place you always wanted to go and use it for a book you write?

Suz DeMello: No, I don't work that way. I usually find I want to write a book set in a particular location and then often travel to the place to do what I call "setting research," to get the lay of the land, absorb its ambiance, listen to what people say and how they say it. 

La Crimson Femme: How do you do your research for your books?

Suz DeMello: Mostly on the internet, but as I say, I do sometimes travel to a setting I've never checked out before.

As for specific research in BDSM--I got into it a couple of years ago and actually doing it, so to speak, has been really educational as well as fun. 

Regarding the Highland Vampire series--they're mostly historicals, so a lot of research is from the internet. They're set in Scotland and England, so visits there have been really helpful. I like museums, and several have been great in terms of inspiring scenes in the books and infusing them with historical accuracy. The sex tends toward BDSM, so enjoying BDSM encounters has been helpful.

La Crimson Femme: So sometimes you come home to your lover and go, wanna tie me up? Hmm, lovely.  Writing seems to be an isolated job.  How is it for you?  Do you meet other writers? 

Suz DeMello: It can be isolated but most of us are fairly introverted. Meyers-Briggs testing has consistently shown me that I'm evenly balanced between extrovert and introvert tendencies, so I'm comfortable with long stretches of quiet. But I do need to be with others and have an active social life. I get together with my critique partner, Diane Farr, often to talk about our Work in Progress.

La Crimson Femme: Looking back, what is something you wish you could tell yourself before you wrote your first book?

Suz DeMello: Hmm. That's hard to say. I actually wish that I could tell myself before getting my first agent not to have been so desperate. She was not a good fit for me and did not give me good advice, so my career was almost derailed before it started. I can see if I'd had better guidance at that point, I'd be more successful now. Oh, well.

There's a lot to learn about writing itself, but I had already taken classes before I started my first manuscript. And after technical and craft details are learned, there's the business aspects of being a professional writer, which are much more demanding and difficult.

La Crimson Femme: Ouch.  I did hear a good agent is worth his/her weight in gold.  Did you always write erotic romance? If not, why did you start writing erotica?

Suz DeMello: When I started writing fiction I wrote "straight" romance. When I found myself in a stuck place in my career as well as my writing, two of my most trusted writing buddies, Lisa Marie Rice and Vanessa Hart, told me that they'd  jump-started their careers by turning to online erotica and advised me to do the same.

La Crimson Femme: Erotica is on fire as it is becoming more and more acceptable.  What do you like to read? What's your favorite book? 

Suz DeMello: I love YA paranormal, like Harry Potter and the Hunger Games. I think Libba Bray is a fantastic writer and that Going Bovine is great. But the book I respect and love more than others is probably To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. There are such big themes in this book but they are handled with so much intimacy and emotion that it’s unforgettable.

La Crimson Femme: Young Adult paranormal is also quite on fire.  Those are good books.  What’s your biggest writing achievement? Why?

Suz DeMello: A book written by my alter ego, Sue Swift, reached the finals of the RITA Awards, which are given by the Romance Writers of America annually to recognize the best in romance writing. Being esteemed by one's peers is wonderful. My books have also hit a couple of bestseller lists and been reviewed in Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus and Booklist.  I'm grateful for recognition.

La Crimson Femme: Congratulations!  That is a great recognition.  Thank you for joining us today for an interview.  Hope everyone enjoys the excerpt read by Sirly Eric.

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