Today, Suz deMello, also known as Sue Swift, joins us to chat about her incredible collection of romance books. Suz writes sweet romance and erotic romance, and her work includes historical and vampire romance. She has written nineteen titles, has been featured on morning television, and is a former trial attorney. We’re going to find out more about this amazing author right now.
Hi, Suz, thanks so much for visiting Booktastik. You’ve done so many interesting things, but I’ll start with asking about your pen name, which is quite different and has a European feel about it. How did you choose deMello?
My true name is Sue Swift, so I chose what is, for me, an “aspirational name.” Suz the mellow as opposed to someone who is hasty and swift.
I like that reasoning, Nice choice!
How long have you been writing?
Twenty years. Shocking, isn’t it?
Are all your books self-published or are some with publishing houses?
I’ve been a hybrid author—some books indie while others with houses. I’ve been published by Harlequin/Silhouette. Kensington/Zebra, Five Star, and a host of epubs: Totally Bound, LSB, EC, LI.
As with agents, I’ve been disappointed by publishers again and again. The vast majority of the publishers I’ve been with are either dishonest or incompetent. At this point in my life, I don’t mind making my own mistakes, even failing rather than suffering the faults of others.
That’s such a shame, but thank goodness for indie publishing!
You’re also an editor. How do you juggle editing with writing time?
I haven’t been editing much lately, and that’s probably the reason. Unless you have private clients, you’re grossly underpaid and it’s not worth the time. And if you have private clients, you can’t edit honestly because the goal becomes client retention rather than quality editing.
I’m financially independent enough that I don’t have to compromise. So I don’t.
Being a trial attorney sounds extremely interesting, and is probably one of the best jobs you can get in terms of prestige, so what made you decide to give it up for writing?
A person has to have the right kind of personality to be a happy trial attorney. I don’t have that personality. I tend to feel deeply and am often unable to shed stress and negative emotions. I was very unhappy as a trial attorney.
Prestige and money aren’t everything. In fact, they’re not much.
Health and happiness definitely comes first :).
Do you need to get yourself in the writing mood or do you write religiously whether you’re in the mood or not?
I’ve been fairly blocked for about ten years. When I’m religious about it, I do better, of course, but these days I have a very full life. I prefer to live that life rather than write about it or even conjure up imaginary lives, which is really what writing is.
Writing is great, but life is not meant to be lived in front of the computer or even in a coffee shop with my journal.
Do you listen to music when you write?
No, I eliminate distractions.
Your bio mentions that although you’re from America, you’ve lived in different countries. Which countries have you lived in and can you see yourself partaking in more travel?
I’ve lived in Europe, Thailand and China, and I’ve traveled to a number of other countries for shorter visits. I absolutely will live outside the USA for prolonged periods of time in the future—little makes me happier or more engaged in life.
Does your experience of other countries find its way into your stories?
Oh, yes. For example, I’ve visited Britain several times—I have family there. I have written one or two books set in England, and an entire series about Scottish vampires. Here’s a link to that series: http://www.suzdemello.com/highlandvampireseries.html
You write so many different genres, including romance, memoir, erotic, and comedy (to name a few). Do you find your readers cross over into everything you write, or do you have specific fans for specific genres?
Well, I sure hope they do! Actually, I’m pretty certain that my failure to stick to one subgenre has damaged my career. I notice that the most successful authors write in one subgenre for awhile before branching out. It didn’t happen that way for me, IMO because of incompetent advice from my first agent.
Can you tell us about your Highland Vampires series?
Gladly! Here’s the series blurb:
Rumors have followed the chieftains of Clan Kilburn for centuries. Said to be descended from the Viking Berserkers, they were ferocious in battle, known for tearing off the heads of their enemies and drinking their blood.
The gossip is frightening, but the reality is even darker.
From the elegant mansions of Mayfair to the mist-shrouded Highlands, the Kilburn vampires hunt, swive and kill. None are immune to their dangerous allure.
And who are the women who would dare to love them?
What’s your favourite genre to write and why?
Historical, hands down. I love the research, especially about the way people lived, what they ate, what they wore.
What’s your latest release about?
My latest is a short story collection of tales I wrote for the Naughty Literati, an anthology writing group I founded and co-organize. So far, we’ve published eight boxed sets since 2015. We put out four short story sets annually, and also have a set of novellas and a recipe book in the works. Here’s the NL website: http://naughtyliterati.com/
I wrote a number of new stories for the sets, and each is exclusive to the set for three months. After that period of time was over, I decided to put them out in a collection of my own called Six Steamy Shorties: Short Romances by Suz deMello.
The stories in this anthology include contemporary, multicultural, New Adult, historical, paranormal, shapeshifter, medieval Scottish, vampire and power exchange, and they’ve been very well received by readers with many calling the collection “steaming hot.”
What are you reading at the moment or what was the last book you read?
I just finished a book called Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert. It’s non-fiction about why we humans find it so hard to be happy—it’s because we misremember the past, misperceive the present, and therefore mis-imagine the future. Gilbert writes in a conversational, funny style that makes absorbing the info about a bunch of psychological tests and experiments, and the conclusions they reach, pretty readable.
Initially, I got it from the library and found myself highlighting so much stuff in my digital copy that I decided to buy it.
What are you working on right now?
A couple of things. I have reacquired the rights on a number of reverted works and am putting them back out, so I have to edit again, either buy or create covers, format, etc etc. That’s a lot of work.
I’m struggling through a cowboy story, a historical, I’ve been asked to write for another anthology—not one of the NL sets. That’s quite a task for someone who doesn’t find cowboys appealing.
Gee, that does sound like a lot of work, but I’m sure you’ll enjoy being able to bring them to life again the way you want, and I bet your readers can’t wait.
What’s your favourite part about being an author?
The hours <<VBG>>.
Thanks for the interview, Dionne!
Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule. I’ve really enjoyed chatting to you!
Readers, if you’d like to know more about Suz, you can find her on Twitter @SuzdeMello, Facebook, her website, and her books are in all the usual places. And click on the covers below to find the books on Amazon.
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