I’m thrilled to have Susannah Sandlin back on the blog because she’s the author of the Penton Legacy books, a paranormal romance series featuring a different kind of vampire, and the Sentinel of New Orleans books as her other self, Suzanne Johnson. Susannah’s here today to chat about her latest release, STORM FORCE. Originally released as a Kindle Serial, the full book is now available and, let me tell you, it’s a whole lot of fun. Keep reading to get to know Susannah and her newest book!
1. Welcome back to Team Tynga’s Reviews, Susannah! It’s great to have you on the blog again. To start, could you please tell us what inspired STORM FORCE?
Thanks for having me back! When I was writing Omega, the third book in my Penton Legacy series, I got interested in the idea of a joint special ops force of Army Rangers and paranormal partners like vampires or shapeshifters—working in the U.S. instead of abroad. I liked the idea of how these highly trained human warriors would handle partnering with a shapeshifter, for example—not only learning they exist, but accepting that there are some things a shapeshifter’s going to be able to do better than a human. So in Storm Force, the human hero, Kell, is slowly (and grudgingly) coming to terms with it.
2. How would you entice readers to try STORM FORCE if they’re new to your work?
Take a sexy Army Ranger with a bad back, a take-no-prisoners eagle-shifter, a heroine who isn’t quite human, a psychic who looks like a Greek playboy, a case of ecoterrorism that doesn’t quite add up, and a hurricane—and shake it all up. I think readers new to my work can always expect suspense laced with humor and a high dose of sexy.
3. One of the neat things about STORM FORCE is that it’s related to your Penton Legacy novels but stands alone quite nicely. Could you talk about this a bit please?
It takes an element of the plot that occurs in the third Penton book, Omega—in that case an Army Ranger-vampire partnership—and expands it to cover different types of “Omega Force” teams. So while the Penton folks are off doing their thing in the Southeast, the team in Storm Force focuses on cases in Texas and Louisiana. There are no characters in common except a retired Army Colonel with mysterious ties to people in high places, who heads up the whole Omega Force program. So someone could easily pick up Storm Force and read it without having read any of the Penton Legacy series.
4. What made you choose to release STORM FORCE as a Kindle serial? Are you pleased with the response it received? Would you do it again?
It was my publisher’s idea—they were experimenting with serial releases and asked if I’d be interested. I thought my action-filled story would lend itself to the serial format, which is released in nine “episodes” over nine weeks. And I write well under deadline since I come from a journalism background. At the end of the nine weeks, it comes out as a full-length novel in print and digital. It was an exhausting schedule, turning around 10,000 words a week for nine weeks, but I really enjoyed the process and would definitely try it again. The response has been good, although a lot of readers (like me, with other serials), just waited until the whole thing downloaded to read it!
5. You’ve included so many different supernatural beings in your various series. Do you have a favourite? Are there any you’re avoiding?
There aren’t any I’m avoiding, but before I write about a paranormal species, I want to make sure I can give it my own spin and not just trot out a vampire because I like vampires, for example. In the Penton series, my vampires are in an almost post-apocalyptic situation when a flu vaccine turns human blood poisonous to them. Each of my shape-shifters in Storm Force has a different twist, although it’s too spoilerific to talk about! In my urban fantasy series written as Suzanne Johnson, I love my historical undead like the pirate Jean Lafitte and my merpeople, who are Cajun aquatic shapeshifters.
6. Why do you think paranormal romance is so appealing to readers?
I think it appeals to readers on several levels. It’s a fascinating way to explore human issues, because our paranormal characters have the same problems, only amped up and complicated by their species. I also think, speaking for myself as a reader, I love getting in the heads and hearts of a dangerous, sexy bad boy. Or in the case of Storm Force, seeing how a sexy, dangerous human hero copes with a not-so-human heroine—not a combination we often see!
7. Can we expect more Omega Force novels in the near future? (Please say yes!) And will any Penton folks put in an appearance?
I’d love to eventually have some crossover betweeen the two series, but right now I’m working on the fourth Penton book. And in the Omega Force world, I’d definitely like to do the book for Robin, our eagle-shifter. She seems to have really resonated with readers because she’s such a strong, bluntly-spoken character. (Kell doesn’t call her “Razorblade Robin” for nothing!)
To wrap things up, I have some quick questions for you because there’s nothing I like more that random questions! What or who is your…
Biggest temptation? Ah….Haha. I’ve been eating low-carb for the past five months, so if anything that involved bread or sugar wafted past, I’d grab it! I’m also a sucker for tech toys. I just lost the iPhone 5 battle even though there’s absolutely nothing wrong with my 4s.
Favourite action star? I’ll say Daniel Craig. Then I’ll add that I rarely have time to go to movies or watch TV, so at least I know who Daniel Craig is. I’m woefully behind the times with celebrities. Occasionally, I’ll see a copy of a celebrity magazine and realize I have no idea who the majority of those people are! Oh wait, who’s that Wolverine guy…Hugh Jackman!
Least favourite word? Mewl. Seriously, unless you’re an honest-to-god kitten, and a young one at that, I want no mewling, especially during a sex scene.
Ideal vacation destination? I’d like to go into seclusion at Cedar Key, Florida, for a few months. Wait, that’s not very exotic….eh, that’s okay. It’s the “seclusion” part I want. Cedar Key is cool; has sort of a Jimmy Buffett vibe without having to go all the way to the Keys.
Most cherished keepsake? I lost most of my childhood stuff in Hurricane Katrina (books, dolls, etc.), which was also an experience that made me treasure “stuff” less. So … this monstrous treadle-powered sewing machine that belonged to my grandmother.
Thanks very much for visiting us, Susannah, and congrats on your latest release!
Thanks for having me today!
More about STORM FORCE:
As leader of the elite counter-terrorism team Omega Force, former army ranger Jack “Kell” Kellison is always focused on getting the job done. So when a Houston high-rise is bombed and the governor killed or missing, Kell’s mission is clear: infiltrate the group suspected of the bombing and neutralize the threat by any means necessary. But once Kell meets beautiful chief suspect Mori Chastaine, he realizes there’s more to this case than meets the eye. And more to Mori than any man—any human man—could imagine.
Mori Chastaine is running out of options. Suspected for a crime she didn’t commit, forced into a marriage she doesn’t want, she sees no escape—until Kell walks through her door. A lifetime hiding her true nature warns her Kell might not be who he seems. But he could be the only one able to help save more innocent humans from becoming pawns in an ancient paranormal power play. If Mori reveals her secret, will Kell join her fight? Or will she become his next target?
Susannah Sandlin is the author of paranormal romance set in the Deep South, where there are always things that go bump in the night. A journalist by day, Susannah grew up in Alabama reading the gothic novels of Susan Howatch and the horror fantasy of Stephen King. (Um…it is fantasy, right?) The combination of Howatch and King probably explains a lot. Currently a resident of Auburn, Alabama, Susannah has also lived in Illinois, Texas, California, and Louisiana.