Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!
I am very happy to welcome Suzanne Tierney here, today, and thank her for agreeing to answer my questions! Read on to discover her replies and to discover more about her book, herself and have one of three chances to win a $15 to designated winner’s choice of frontline healthcare worker organization in the name of the designated winner!
Where did you get the inspiration for the book/series?
The inspiration for Blooms of War came from a conversation I was having with a group of close writing friends about the “difficult heroine.” We were discussing how a hero can be prickly and hard to get along with, but readers will love him. However, if a heroine is prickly and sharp-tongued, she is often criticized for being unlikeable.
So I thought, how do you create a heroine that on the surface is hard to like, and yet is loveable? The character that sprung to mind is from one of my favorite TV shows, Vera (starring the salty as heck Brenda Blethyn). She is often unpleasant to her team and uncomfortably snappish, and yet wears her heart on her sleeve for both victims of crime and the perpetrators. And she is a horrific dresser. Her fashion sense is painful. Still, she is loveable. Why? Because she is excellent at her job, driven to do right by it, and is herself deeply flawed, lonely, and broken.
So I created a heroine for Blooms of War who clearly is suffering from what we would now call PTSD, who often fails to think before she acts, is brittle and sharp-tongued, and a brilliant nurse on the frontlines of France in WWI.
And that is also why the heroine in Blooms of War is named…Vera!
What is your writing process?
I am a method-writer, if that’s a thing. I have to feel the emotions I’m writing. Which means that I will be sitting at a coffee shop, drinking my latte, and gnashing at my teeth as I write an argument, or blushing as I write a kiss.
I am also a walker. I don’t plot while I walk. I just let things cook and when I return from my walk, whatever scene or plot hole I was struggling with, I can sit down and solve.
I don’t plot. Or, I try to plot and then toss out everything as I actually begin writing.
I must listen to music, so there are days when I will spend all my writing time looking for the right song to listen to. But when I find the right song, it is magic. My critical mind turns off and the words flow.
Do you write using pen and paper or on a computer?
My handwriting is terrible. I’m a lefty and everything smears because I write upside down. So I am very much tied to my laptop. I keep eyeing those typewriter-like keyboards that people attach to their tablets or computers so that you can feel like Earnest Hemingway when you write.
Maybe for Christmas?
Who is your favourite character out of your stories and why?
No fair! It’s so hard to pick one. But since Blooms of War is my most recent book and is still fresh on my soul, I’m going to say Vera Betts (who is actually Lady Margaret Halladay—she changes her name when she runs away from home). I admire her strength, tenacity, loyalty, and skill. She is raw and honest and not afraid to back down in a fight. She’s the best friend you want by your side when you’re taking on a bully or a saboteur’s ring or the military.
If you were a character in your story, which would you like to be?
I think I would like to be Lady Sullivan, Vera’s mentor, who appears briefly at the beginning of the book. She was inspired by the real-life Lady Sutherland, who founded an ambulance hospital in France, saved thousands of lives, and inspired beautiful paintings. She had a colourful life, including several husbands. She was both a warrior nurse and a woman who enjoyed life.
How and why did you choose the names for your main characters?
As I mentioned, Vera was inspired by Vera Stanhope from the tv show. Lady Sullivan was inspired by the real Lady Sutherland. And I think the rest of the characters come to me with their names already attached. I don’t know how that happens. For example, when Vera’s sister appeared on the page, I knew exactly what she looked like, how she sounded, and that her name was Gwendolyn. A lot of times, characters tell me what to call them.
I probably sound slightly insane.
Thank you so much for hosting me at Splashes Into Books! I had fun answering your questions. Please don’t tell my other characters that Vera is currently my favorite. They might rebel.
Many thanks for agreeing to answer my questions – I really enjoyed reading your answers and hope you get the keyboard you like for Christmas!
Blooms of War
In war, she fell in love.
Vera Betts shouldn’t be falling in love with the enigmatic doctor she suspects of espionage. Reeling from her family’s betrayal, she’s faked her nursing credentials, invented a new name, and run away to the frontlines of the French battlefield. Four years into the Great War and she knows who she is and what she’s meant for—to save the living and sit vigil by the dying. When the cagey-yet-earnest Dr. Nicholas Wallace arrives, so do mysterious explosions destroying hospitals. Even as Nick raises her suspicions, he lowers her defenses. He wants the war to end. Are his acts of sabotage politically motivated or a desperate attempt at peace?
In peace, she fell apart.
A year later, Vera is back with her oppressive family, living under her real name, and Nick is on trial for murder. Trapped in grief and guilt, she cannot speak about the past and does not believe in the future. With Nick refusing to defend himself, she ventures to London to understand why he is so willing to embrace the hangman’s noose. Who is he trying to protect? What secrets does he plan to carry to his grave? And why does Nick insist upon hiding her true identity? To save the man she loves, Vera must tear open the past and confront the tragic price for peace.
Author Bio –
Writer of lush, historical happily-ever-after tales, Suzanne Tierney believes in true love. But she takes delicious pleasure in making her characters fight, flutter, and find their way to each other. Her books have won numerous awards and she has twice been a Golden Heart Finalist® with the Romance Writers of America.
Suzanne grew up in Oregon, adulted in the San Francisco Bay Area, and somehow ended up in Florida, where she is very much a cold-water fish learning to navigate humid, salty seas. She loves chatting with readers.
Social Media Links –
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