Interview with Susan Grant
Riley: Visiting Whiskey With My Book today is author Susan Grant. Susan is the author of several books that are favorites of many Scifi Romance readers, including yours truly. Her most recent release is Warleader, the first book in her Borderlands series. Susan, welcome! And thank you for taking the time to answer my general, personal and possibly impertinent questions!
Susan: Thank you! And thanks for having me. I like impertinent. Bring it on. 🙂
Riley: I always like to hear how an author got started writing. What inspired you to start making up stories and writing them down?
I can’t remember a time that I didn’t make up stories. I was always the go-to kid when we played imaginary games. My friends would ask, “Where are we going today, who will we be?” (AKA early world-building skills). Before I knew how to write, I’d get out my crayons and color scenes to go along with the tales in my head. I loved creative writing all through school, however my years at the US Air Force Academy didn’t allow for many English classes, it was mostly engineering there. (my nightmare, but I wanted to fly jets so badly that I struggled through). It wasn’t until I was in my thirties, a mom of two young kids, that I started to write a real novel. It was an epic historical saga about immigrants. I never published it. My second attempt was a time travel romance (AKA someone explained “writing to market”, and time travel romances were hot at the time (1997) so…. The book I wrote next was Star King, about a couple in their forties, and the hero is an alien. (clearly I had no learning curve about writing to market, lol). But these became my first two published books on 2000, and wouldn’t ya know—Star King ended up doing great and birthed a series I still write now and again).
Riley: You have a ‘day’ job as an airline pilot. In flight, you are almost way out there in space (like the heroine and hero of Warleader). In that job, have you seen any UFOs or other unexplained phenomenon?
Susan: It’s funny you ask that, Riley… Just last week I was crossing the Northern Pacific in the middle of the night. No moon. The sky was filled with stars. The Milky Way was brilliant. Suddenly, there was a bright object streaking sideways, level, right to left, heading north. Whoa! The captain saw it too. Shooting star or alien visitor? You decide!
Riley: (Ooh, I just got a chill.)
Will you tell us a little about Warleader and the Borderlands series?
Susan: Warleader is a true book of the heart. It was a joy to write. It is also a joy to see the book wearing the cover it deserved, and the story told like I wanted it to be told. Admiral Brit Bandar was a character I carried around in my head for years while I waited for her story to evolve. Then Finn showed up, and everything coalesced.
I had written a humorous-but-touches-on-serious-themes sci-fi romance series (Otherworldly Men) for Harlequin. As the trilogy went on, the world expanded, and I wanted to continue it. I wrote Moonstruck (which became Warleader ten years later) that launched the Tales of the Borderlands trilogy, a slightly darker take on that world.
The Coalition and Drakken civilizations have fought each other for centuries. There would be times of relative calm, but it was only to regroup and keep on going. How could there be peace when neither side was willing to accept anything less than absolute domination and utter annihilation of the other?
Here’s some backstory:
In the world of the Borderlands series, no one alive knows what peace looked like, what it feels like, or if it’s possible to sustain it. Yet once, long ago, the galaxy was whole. In fact, the worlds of the Drakken were the original cradle of the goddesses (more on this in Royal Recruit (was My Favorite Earthling) that comes out this spring. Eventually, under threat of religious extermination, the goddesses were forced to flee their home. They found refuge on the icy planet Sakka (the Ring from Warleader orbits this world), where they formed a new government, the Coalition. The two sides have warred ever since.
Every Coalition schoolchild can recite the history of the Great Schism, but not even the most respected military minds and scholars could have predicted how it all would come crashing down. No one considered the potential power of all the undocumented believers living across the Drakken border, worshipping in secret. When the warlord is killed, billions of faithful begin pouring out of the shadows. In an almost bloodless coup, the Drakken Empire implodes, a people’s revolution like what happened in Eastern Europe in the 1980s when the Berlin Wall fell, or, for a short time, the Arab Spring.
This occurs only months before Warleader begins. Now they have to make peace work if trillions of lives are to be saved. But Brit’s issues with the enemy are deeply personal. When she receives the news that she’s to command a ship crewed by Coalition (her side), Drakken (her former enemy), and newcomers from Earth (pains in the butt), she’s horrified. She still has trouble accepting that the war is over. She thinks peace is a fairy tale and diplomacy is the foolish choice of naïve politicians. To make matters worse, she’s forced to accept a Drakken and a former space pirate as her second in command. As if that isn’t bad enough, she’s attracted to him. Heh. Let the games begin!
Riley: Thanks for that backstory Susan. It really enhances the story.
Recently, I read a book that took place in post-WWI Europe that I found fascinating. The post-war setting of Warleader also interests me very much. What influenced your decision to place the Borderland series in that setting?
Susan: Me too! Like you I’m a history buff. I’ve always been fascinated by the rocky periods after wars end. Former enemies now have to play nicely, forced to do so by peace treaties and politics, rules on paper attempting to govern people’s hearts. What if you’re not ready to forgive? I visited Estonia a few years ago. In a small store in the countryside, they were selling some rusted WW2 German helmets. With clear disdain, the owner used one in a dipping motion, telling us they weren’t that special: “We use them to shovel the ‘sheet’.” So seven decades later, there’s still hard feelings.
Riley: When you are not flying or writing, what do you like to do?
Susan: I am the caregiver for my 94 year-old dad, and savor family time and playing with the pets. I love to cook and read. I work out—love taking long walks on our hilly country roads. I’m a true homebody when not flying around the world.
Riley: What books have you read recently that you really enjoyed?
Susan: I just read two wonderful novels: The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah, and Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. Both are so good. On deck are some sci-fi romances—Inherit the Stars by Laurie Green, and the Edge of Eon by Anna Hackett!
Riley: Can you tell us about what you are working on next?
Susan: I am currently immersed in revising Borderlands 2 and Otherworldly Men 1, 2, and 3. For now, I’m not sure if I’ll publish Borderlands 3 or give it away for free. It’s less connected to the Borderlands world. I am leaning toward giving it to my newsletter subscribers after some revision, but we will see. I’d like to write more Borderlands stories. I’d love to continue the Lost Colony Series (The Last Warrior reverted to me recently as well—a mash-up of high fantasy and sci-fi romance.) So, I will be hard at work on all of this through next spring/early summer, releasing the books in rapid fashion one a month. It’s a worthwhile effort because it forms the foundation of the stories I want to write next in two different, unrelated series, Borderlands and Lost Colony. So! I’ll be busy!
The outlaw has taunted her in a galactic game of cat and mouse for years, but she never caught him. Now they’re supposed to make peace AND serve together on the same starship?
Not so easy to do when your sworn enemy turns out to be the hottest piece you’ve ever seen.
Warleader Finn Rorkken doesn’t care how many medals Admiral Brit Bandar has. He’s going to show her what it’s like to be pursued and caught by a master. Intergalactic peace is on the line, and if she wants his obedience, she’ll have to pay his price…
Challenge accepted, Admiral.
Welcome to the Borderlands, where rules are meant to be broken…
Add Warleader to your Goodreads shelf:
About Susan Grant
Susan’s childhood dreams of becoming a space explorer fizzled when she found out calculus was involved. Luckily, she didn’t need math skills to fly jets—or to create space stories in her head, first for herself, then for friends, and now for readers everywhere.
A New York Times/USA Today bestselling author and a military veteran, Susan won the prestigious RITA® Award for her book Contact, a sci-fi aviation-thriller romance.
Find Susan at:
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