Susan Spencer Paul
The wait is over for fans of Susan Spencer Paul! After nearly a four year absence, she's back with an exciting new trilogy featuring the magical Seymour family introduced in THE PRISONER BRIDE. The author, also known as Mary Spencer, recently took time to tell us about her latest release, TOUCH OF NIGHT, and other upcoming works.
It's been a while since we've seen anything from you, either as Mary Spencer, which you also write as, or Susan Spencer Paul. Your fans have been impatiently waiting for something new. Where have you been and why the long absence?
I've been here! I actually never intended to take such a long break from writing, but I was having so much fun just being a wife and mother that time got away from me. After ten years of non-stop writing, having fourteen novels, one novella and various works of nonfiction published, I realized that my kids had just about grown up believing that I was permanently attached to a computer. My oldest daughter was twelve at the time and my youngest three, and I knew that if I didn't take a break I was going to completely miss out on all the fun of their childhoods. But I kept the writing pot simmering all the while, working up the proposal and first chapters for this new trilogy. When I finally decided to get back to work full-time, everything was ready to be submitted.
You introduced the magical Seymour family in the final book of the Bride Series you wrote for Harlequin Historicals, THE PRISONER BRIDE. What made you decide to keep writing about them?
My editor at Harlequin actually suggested that I keep going with the Seymour family and write about their descendants. Her boss, unfortunately, wasn't as keen. But once the idea took hold in my mind I couldn't seem to get rid of it-Seymour plotlines kept popping up in my head-so I pressed on and came up with a three book series set in the Regency era, featuring three truly wonderful Seymour heroes. Happily, I've landed at St. Martin's Press and my editor there is just as enthusiastic as I am about carrying on the stories of this fascinating family.
TOUCH OF NIGHT is definitely a departure from your previous Susan Spencer Paul books, with the exception of THE PRISONER BRIDE. What drew you toward writing paranormal historicals?
To be perfectly honest, I was influenced by the Harry Potter books, which my kids (and I!) adore. I owed one more book to Harlequin for the Bride series, and had a wonderful potential hero from a previous Bride book, Kieran Fitzallen, to work with. Adding a touch of magic to the story on the side of the heroine seemed like a good idea, and thus the Seymour family was born. I discovered, as I wrote, that the paranormal element offered me an entirely new dimension to work with, and gave me so many new avenues to explore. The freedom of writing a paranormal is definitely alluring to the creative side of a writer.
Something that stands out as different regarding the Seymour family is that they possess amazing magic, but try to live in the world of mere mortals without that magic being discovered.
Part of what's so intriguing about paranormals is that the writer sort of gets to play God-more than usual, I mean, since we always create our own characters and plotlines. But with the Seymours I was given a chance to come up with my own race of beings and give them a history and structure unique to them alone. Along with this I got to decide what rules they live by, and how they live by them. Rather than let my magic mortals possess unlimited powers, it seemed more interesting to give them laws and limits and, most important, consequences. Having to keep the character's actions within certain lines is not only more challenging for me as a writer, but makes the characters themselves far more unique.
Two more installments in the TOUCH trilogy are due out soon. TOUCH OF PASSION will be released this December and TOUCH OF DESIRE will be out in mid-2006. Tell us a little bit about these books and who they feature.
Love to. TOUCH OF PASSION will feature Kian Seymour, a cousin of the hero, Niclas Seymour, in TOUCH OF NIGHT, and the woman Kian's been fated for, Loris McClendon. Among the magical families in my books, fated unions are called unoliaeth, or oneness, and it's among the most powerful magic that such beings can know. Kian and Loris are unoliaeth, and their oneness can't be altered, but they're both also living beneath a blood curse that Kian brought about years earlier. TOUCH OF PASSION tells of Loris's journey to accepting that Kian is her fated one, and of how they strive together to break the curse while also overcoming grave danger. TOUCH OF DESIRE, the final book in the trilogy, will tell the story of the Seymour family's Great Sorcerer, Malachi, and the maddening woman, Sarah, who captures his heart. She happens to be a writer, which explains the maddening part.
Do you have plans for future books about the Seymour family, once the TOUCH trilogy is done?
I'd love to keep writing about the Seymours, if it's possible, and carry them through other eras, even bringing them into today. THE PRISONER BRIDE was set in the 1400's, so there are plenty of years to cover between then and now!
One last question. Why did you choose Wales for the place that the Seymours choose to call home?
Because Wales is magic itself. It's a stunningly beautiful country with an amazing history and wonderful traditions. There are so many fantastic tales of mythical beings and magical happenings in Welsh folklore, especially harkening from the Celts, that I'm not sure I could write enough books to cover them all.
Thank you for taking time out of your busy writing and family schedule to let us know about your new series. I know your many fans are excited to see you back on the book shelves!