Die international erfolgreiche Bestsellerautorin Suzanne Brockmann hat über 45 packende Romane veröffentlicht, die vielfach preisgekrönt sind. Ehe sie mit dem Schreiben begann, war sie Regisseurin und Leadsängerin in einer A-Capella-Band. Mit ihrer Familie, zu der seit Neuestem zwei Schnauzer-Welpen gehören, lebt sie in der Nähe von Boston.
Die sympathische Autorin der Operation Heartbreaker Serie hat sich nun die Zeit genommen, um mir ein ausführliches Interview zu geben:
- When did you start to write and where did your interest come from?I've been writing since I was very small. I've just always loved getting lost in a good story – whether I was reading or writing it! (I wrote my first novel-length work in high school – in my chemistry class!)
- What made you choose to write about Navy SEALs?
I was looking for a good idea for an ongoing series of books, and a good friend of mine found an article about Navy SEAL BUD/S Training. He showed it to me, and I knew when I read it that I would really enjoy writing about these fascinating men. (I was right!)
- Your novels were very good researched. Did you talk with some Navy SEALs to get a look behind the scenes?
Not at the beginning, no. All of my research was done through books. It wasn't until I was well-established as an author that I was able to sit down and talk to real SEALs. (They truly are intriguing men. Very intelligent, very driven. And all of them had great senses of humor. It was fun – like sitting down and talking to some of my characters!)
- As far as I know, none of your books contains the same story, which is not taken for granted. Where did you get all these ideas from?
Wow, I don't know! I just never run out of good story ideas. I think, though, that most good stories come from the characters. If you have good characters who act believably, you're never going to tell the same story.
- Your love scenes are erotically charged. Was it hard to write them?
It's always a challenge to include the physical part of a romantic relationship. And I do think that sex is an important part of an intimate relationship. But I never want to include a sex scene purely gratuitously. My love scenes always push the plot in a new direction, or allow the reader to learn more about the characters. I think that's important!
- The 7th part of the Tall, Dark and Dangerous Series (Jake’s book) just came out in German this month. The Series contains 11 books. Is this the end of Joe’s SEAL Team 10 or can you imagine writing some more novels on these guys?
I've actually got the 12th book outlined, so yes, I can imagine writing another Team Ten novel. One of these days I'll find the time....
- How do you like the covers of the German Tall, Dark and Dangerous books?
They're pretty hot! I do like them. It's always fun to see the different approaches with cover art and titles.
- If you take a look at all your books you have already written, which character is your favorite?
Ooh, tough question! I really do love them all. But I think my all-time favorite character is Robin Chadwick Cassidy from my Troubleshooters Series. (He's the man who won gay FBI agent Jules Cassidy's heart.) Robin won me over, too. Out of all the books I've written (50!) and all the characters I've created, Robin was the only character who absolutely refused to follow my story outline. He demanded that I end the book Force of Nature the way he wanted. I was going to continue the Jules/Robin storyline for at least another book, but he wouldn't let me. I had to give Jules and Robin their happy ending right then and there! That's the only time that ever happened. So I was impressed by his strength!
- Just a few books of the Troubleshooter Series where published in German. Are there any plans to publish the whole Series?
Oh, I wish! You know the publisher started in the middle of the series with HOT TARGET, instead of with the first book, THE UNSUNG HERO. I thought that was a mistake. But maybe, if the Team Ten books are successful, my German publisher will reconsider.
- Jules Cassidy is a gay FBI agent. Where was this idea coming from?
I'm a huge believer in the positive power of diversity, and when I began the Troubleshooters Series, I wanted to include a wide range of characters, including a very smart, funny, highly-skilled man who just happened to be gay – and was also very okay with the fact that he was gay.
So many stories feature gay characters who are in the closet – who hide the fact that they are gay, and struggle with their sexuality. But times are changing – thank goodness – and more and more people are out and open and proud of who they are.
My own son is gay – and I knew this about him from a very early age. He was three years old when I first thought, "Hmmm. I wonder..." My husband and I made sure that he grew up in a home where his being gay wasn't an issue, where he knew he was loved, and where he knew we accepted and respected ALL people. As a result, he came out at age fifteen with no turmoil or angst – just a lot of hugs. This is happening more and more often, all over the world. And the result is a wonderful one – gay men and women no longer feel pressured to hide their true selves from their families, friends, co-workers.
But there are still too many people who are ignorant and afraid of the very idea of homosexuals. They don't understand that you can't choose who you love, and that just as they were born with an attraction to the opposite sex, gay people are born feeling an attraction to the same sex. And it's just not that big of a deal. People are people, and love is love. And love is a gift, a celebration. And as people, we are all so much more alike than we are different. Gay men like my son are no different than anyone else. They want what everyone else wants – the chance to find someone to love, someone who loves them, someone to share their life with.
And so Jules was born – intentionally to show my readers that his being gay didn't mean he couldn't be a hero. And that being gay didn't mean he didn't deserve a chance to find his own happily-ever-after.
For many of my readers, Jules was their very first gay friend. He's helped me change quite a few hearts and minds. I'm proud of that.
- How many books do you plan to write about the Troubleshooter Series?
Breaking the Rules is the 16th book in the series, and it's the last installment for a while. I'm taking a break to write a new series – something a little different – a paranormal series that's set about twenty years in the future. But I've been promising readers I'll come back to it again – I've yet to write Navy SEAL Jay Lopez's story (among many others)!
- Can you tell a little about your future release, Breaking the Rules, which will be published in March 2011?
Breaking the Rules features Navy SEAL Irving "Izzy" Zanella – a character who is a reader favorite. We've been following his storyline for quite some time now. A few books back, he collided with Eden Gillman – the younger sister of one of his SEAL teammates, Dan. Izzy and Dan have never gotten along, and their relationship got even more rocky when Izzy and Eden hooked up.
In Breaking the Rules, Izzy, Eden, Dan and Dan's girlfriend Jenn, all need to work together despite their personal conflicts, to help Eden and Dan's younger brother Ben. Fifteen-year-old Ben is not only struggling with family issues, but he also gets himself into a truly life-threatening situation when he tries to help a homeless girl.
The book's set in Las Vegas, Nevada and it's a pretty high-paced adventure.
Oh, and maybe your English-reading readers would like to know that I'm holding a "Virtual Signing" for Breaking the Rules. Between now and March 18, 2011, they can order a signed copy of this hardcover book (the American edition) via my website and Paypal. I'm including a bonus "extra" for everyone who orders a signed book – a limited edition of a short story called When Tony Met Adam. More information is at my website: www.suzannebrockmann.com/btrVirtualSigning.html
The short story, When Tony Met Adam, will also be available for sale in e-book format starting in June.
- When you begin to write a new book, how much do you know about your new characters before starting?
I'm an outliner, so I know quite a bit. I write pages and pages of notes of backstory on each character. (Although I always do discover something new about them when I'm writing the book!)
- When you work on a new project, do you also read books now and then, or is that confusing?
When I'm deep into "writing mode", I rarely read any fiction. It's just too distracting. During those months, I almost entirely read non-fiction. (And I do huge numbers of sudoku puzzles!)
I unwind at night by watching movies and TV shows. (I like to stockpile episodes of my favorite shows on my TiVo, and watch them all in a row.) I'm a huge fan of Joss Whedon (who wrote and produced Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly). I also enjoy 30 Rock, and The United States of Tara, The West Wing, Jon Stewart's The Daily Show, and yes – my guilty pleasure – American Idol.
- As far as I know, you are a very open minded person. What is going to upset you?
The extreme right-wing haters, and their ignorant, fearful willingness to swallow bald-faced lies from their so-called leaders – they can make me crazy.
Lately, I've been studying the books of Don Miguel Ruiz (The Four Agreements, etc.) to try to achieve inner peace. (It's actually helping a little...)
- Your fan community in Austria and Germany is growing every day. Is there a possibility to meet you at a book-signing tour around here?
Of course! I'd love to come!
I visited Austria and Germany a long time ago -- when I was fifteen. My grandmother took my sister and me on a marvelous trip. We have relatives living in Bremerhaven. (Our family names are Schriever and Kramer and Bose, Brockmann and Neuls...) And my friend Heidi (she was an exchange student who came to school in America) and her family live in Bremen. So I'd love to come back some day!
Thank you for your time, Suz! I enjoyed reading your books and I can’t wait for the next ones!
Thank YOU, Rhea!