What would you like to tell readers about yourself?
* Susie Warren writes contemporary romance. Besides being an avid reader, she spends much of her free time crafting intense and complex stories about falling in love. When she is not writing, Susie works as an administrator in a small, independent school while caring for three teenagers and keeping tabs on her inventor husband. With the launching of her first book, The Forgotten Heiress, she has slowly begun to navigate the social media realm. Susie loves to hear from readers and responds to each email and Facebook post. Please reach out to her via Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Susie-Warren/647556668647832 or Twitter @susiecwarren
* For more information on her upcoming releases, new excerpts and other related postings, or to sign up for free promotions, please visit www.susiewarren.com
* The Rosa Legacy Series
* The first novel in The Rosa Legacy series, Ruthless Perfection, started with the idea of a traditional Italian mother who wanted her only daughter happily married. The mother, Carla Rosa Neri, along with her two sisters, Francesca and Marie, had emigrated from Italy as young girls and each went off to create a dynamic and successful family. Each of the sisters had an only daughter and they made sure the girls spent time together. They attended the same boarding school in the northeast and visited each other’s homes in the summer.
* Ruthless Perfection
* Carla Rosa married into the Neri family with a long history in the Carrara marble industry. Her daughter, Isabel Neri, being a filmmaker and wanting to honor her grandfather’s legacy, approaches a reclusive billionaire, Marc Santoro, to ask permission to produce a documentary about the life of a quarry worker. Ruthless Perfection is the story of how they fall in love.
* The Exiled Jeweler
* Francesca Rosa married into the Berceto family with a long history in the jewelry making business. The Second novel in The Rosa Legacy series, The Exiled Jeweler, is about her daughter, Emelia, who went into seclusion after a scandal tore the family apart. Emelia is a talented jewelry designer who lived a sheltered life and was drawn into a passionate encounter with her family’s rival, Alexander Armati at a gala. Outside in the garden, photographs were taken on them and sold to the tabloid press. Her family was shocked and embarrassed and sent Emelia off to Florida. Four years later, she returns when her grandfather has a heart attack and her parents are deciding to sell the family business.
* The Convenient Wedding
* Marie Rosa married into the prominent Montgomery family, with a successful background in politics. Her only daughter, Lucia, is fascinated by politics and becomes a campaign aide. The opportunity to work on a senate campaign in Connecticut draws her into the middle of a scandal. Anderson Adams is a dark horse in the senate race yet convinces Lucia to play along with a strategy to save his campaign. The third novel in The Rosa Legacy series, The Convenient Wedding, is the story about how they reconcile their public image with their private life.
Today Susie Warren will be talking about how she handles balancing life and writing.
* I’ve sacrificed most of my free time and quite a bit of sleep in the last five years to pursue a writing career. I have a full-time job as an administrator in a small school and three growing children who are now teenagers. I get up early each day to write and then spend longer stretches of time on weekends and holidays.
* I think it is very hard to balance life and writing. I work as a CFO for the small independent school so my days are extremely hectic and I spend a considerable amount of time crunching numbers or problem solving.
* When I started writing consistently, there were often gaps in the time I could dedicate to writing. Being a mother keeps me insanely busy and there are times that my day job needs unexpected focus and attention. I can’t not answer the phone or an email and say ‘sorry but I planned to write during this break.’
* Through much trial and error, I’ve discovered the only way for me to successfully write a novel is to spend time writing each day. Even if it is only fifteen minutes some days. I used to wait until I had a block of time – usually every few weeks but I would lose the thread of the story and would have to start over. In these intervals, new story ideas would surface and I would start a new project if I had a few hours. I would have three or four stories going at the same time. Ultimately, this approach didn’t work for me and nothing got completed.
* So out of sheer necessity, I became more disciplined. I started writing an hour each day, even if it was late at night, and wouldn’t allow myself to switch projects. If a new idea surfaced, I would write it down in an idea folder and go back to my current project. Something interesting happened. I became more focused and productive. And I started completing projects. By writing every day and focusing on one story, I completed three novels this year.
* Even as I gain success as a writer, I consider my most important and greatest accomplishment to be my children. Each day brings new challenges but I’m so entrenched with their development and happiness that each step along the path brings a feeling of accomplishment and joy. When they were little, they needed me in a different way. They wanted me to read stories to them and lay down with them at bedtime. I would fall asleep before they did. Now as teenagers, they sleep until afternoon on the weekends and stay up quite late. I’ve figured how to be available to them between four o’clock in the afternoon until about eight o’clock. Beyond that they are doing homework or are talking with friends or each other. They will hang out in the kitchen while I prepare dinner and they will use this time to connect with me.
* I also find that routines help me get into the mental space to write. I like to start my writing each day with a scalding hot cup of coffee from my French press and almost always wear an old cashmere sweater. I live in an 1830’s stone house in upstate New York. My home office has an historical feel with refinished plaster walls, built in bookshelves and deep window seats. I much prefer to write in my home office but sometimes, I’ll take a notebook or my laptop and write wherever I happen to be – waiting at the orthodontist, a ballet class or in my car.
* In the coming year, I’ve told my Head of School that I plan to transition to a part-time role at the school and will begin working on training my replacement. Luckily, I‘ve found someone extremely talented. But I imagine it will be difficult to manage and contain my day job to a part-time role so I’m thinking it could be my last year or possibly it could continue for the foreseeable future. I’ll have to stay open to the possibilities.
* A reluctant socialite is pulled into a scandal and must choose between her families’ reputation and her future happiness.
* Lucia Montgomery is from an old and powerful political family in Connecticut and desperately wants to shed her reputation as a superficial socialite. Against her family’s wishes, she seeks a position working for a fiercely contested political campaign and the dark horse in the race, Anderson Adams. She is thrown into the middle of a scandal of her own making when she is tricked into going to his hotel room. Anderson persuades her to play along with a pretend engagement then an actual wedding to save her reputation and his campaign. The media falls in love with the charismatic couple and they must figure out how to reconcile their public image with their private life.
* She nodded. “Lucia Montgomery.”
* He met her gaze. “My campaign manager seemed to think you go by Bella.”
* Lucia gasped and shook her head. “Bella was a childhood nickname. It’s Lucia these days.”
* “Bella suits you.”
* “I was hoping I would have an opportunity to speak with you.”
* He raised his eyebrows slightly, and she cringed at her forwardness. He didn’t need more adoration. She fiddled with the slim rope belt on her gown and smoothed the fabric down, trying to remember what she wanted to say to him.
* His penetrating gaze sent a slow blush over her skin. “Do you have advice for me? It seems everyone in this room has an opinion on how I could win this race.”
* Her mind went blank. “I don’t know if winning is possible.”
* He looked at her intently. “Would you care to dance?”
* Lucia straightened her spine. Why had she said that? Was it because she didn’t want to fall into the category of people wanting something from him? Or had his nearness elicited the truth from her?
* He led her to the dance floor and she could feel his hand resting lightly on her lower back. The band was playing a love song and she realized she hadn’t even attempted her pitch for Isabel. She didn’t want to date Anderson Adams. She wanted to spark his curiosity in creating a documentary and tactfully mention her cousin. She had also wanted to appease her grandfather by being seen speaking with the candidate. But she had no intention of seeking a position in his campaign.
* He gathered her into his embrace and she could feel her body respond to him. The evening was not going according to plan. She could barely string two words together and now she was dancing with him.
* Her body stiffened and he said, “Relax. We can talk about the campaign later.”
* She looked up into his eyes. “How did you know I wanted to talk about the campaign?”
* He drew her slightly closer as they continued to dance. “There are very few secrets in politics. My campaign manager informed me that your grandfather mentioned that you are seeking a public relations position.”
* She shook her head. “No, I’m not interested in working on your campaign, but I have an interesting idea for you.”
* “Do you?” His face showed no expression.
* She decided to go ahead and pitch her idea. “My cousin is an enormously talented filmmaker and I wondered if you had given any thought to recording your run for congress? Images of you campaigning could be used as a powerful marketing tool if done well.”
* He smiled at her. “I agree. Maybe we could get together and discuss it further?”
* Lucia nodded and allowed herself to let down her guard slightly and enjoy the dance. Anderson was agile and impressed her with his ability to dance. She stopped worrying about the intimacy of their embrace and let him lead her through a series of intricate moves.
* After a second dance and then a third, she was slightly breathless and laughing at her inability to keep up with him. When the song ended, he said to her, “Let’s get a drink.”
* She followed him to the bar and he ordered two glasses of Perrier with lime. Lucia cautioned herself not to be too taken with him. He was an expert at luring people in and impressing them. It didn’t hurt that he was a marvelous dancer.
* He lifted his glass to her and said, “May that be the first of many dances.”
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