From the heart of Australia, romance and suspense author Suzanne Brandyn stopped by the Author's Spotlight to chat with us about life, writing and her work.
Can you tell me a little about yourself and your background?
I was born on the edge of the outback in Australia. I arrived early. Lol. I was born on a friend's property, and taken to the nearest hospital some four hours by car away.
I spent most of my childhood in the outback and country areas of Australia, and moved over NSW to our cites, and country coastal areas. I now live in a quiet seaside town on the east coast of Australia where I have the ocean at my feet, and the mountains behind. It's the best of both worlds.
When did you decide to become a writer?
I was always making up stories in my younger years, but never really sat down and penned a manuscript until my early married years. I have been serious about writing for five years.
Besides your adventures living in Australia, what draws you to the genre of romantic suspense/thrillers?
I think being alone at times throughout my life, and having experienced fear along the way, I find remote places a great setup for a novel.
How did you come up with the idea for Outback Fear?
When I lived on the property, I stayed there alone for long periods. This instigated the idea for Outback Fear. I wanted to base the novel where I lived. The question 'what if' played a major role, and my imagination took over. Anyone who lives on an isolated property can vouch for me when I say, it can be beautiful, but also that stillness in the atmosphere and the rustle through the trees can sometimes have your heart in your throat.
Can you give me an insight into your main character of Outback Fear, Savannah Harris? Based on your description of writing about feisty heroines, what is so special about Savannah?
Savannah is an everyday woman; she has no special training to defend herself. It is through her courage, her determination that has her overcoming some tough obstacles. She stands up for what she believes in and won't give up.
With your experience writing your book, did you work with a certain plot or outline or did you free write?
I always have a basic outline, and a main plot. As the story develops subplots pop up long the way. Most of the time, my characters take over and dictate what direction they want to go. The suspense also takes over lol…
What authors have you been inspired by?
I began reading Nora Roberts as a child, Danielle Steel, and Harlequin novels. There's no specific writer that has truly inspired me, although now I look up to Nicholas Sparks. There isn't a suspense/thriller writer I can say inspired me.
Are you currently working on any projects that you could share?
My current manuscript is set in a remote place and it's a romantic suspense. I find my readers wanted more romance, so I have an everyday woman who's inherited a cattle station. Arriving at the property alone, and thinking that she'd meet the workers, no one is about.
In the middle of the night, someone is breaking into the house. She has never shot a handgun in her life only rifles at a young age. She is standing at the top of the stairs terrified that she will shoot herself in the foot. In prances the hero, a sexy Jackaroo who has her heart on fire and the gun wavering in all directions.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Be consistent and determined. If it's your hearts desire don't ever give up. Write what comes natural, and your unique voice will shine through.
You can keep up to date with Suzanne's novels on these sites:
Check out an excerpt from her book:
Macy Donavan battles a terrifying nightmare to protect her two-year-old daughter, Faith from an intruder, and is knocked unconscious. When she regains consciousness, her daughter is missing.
As the police widen their futile search, Macy struggles to pick up the pieces of an unimaginable life. Urged to take a break she heads to an isolated cabin with a girlfriend to recuperate so she can continue searching, only to face her worst nightmare— times ten.
Trapped by a man she believed dead, he demands she play a game.
She runs, he hunts. There is no place to hide.
'Hey slow down a bit. I'm sure she's around somewhere. You are, and have been an excellent mother. Here take your coffee,' Rebecca said, as she walked into the lounge room.Rebecca placed her cup on the coffee table, and passed the other to Macy.
'Thanks.' As she took a few sips, she suddenly said, 'I have to go back into Faith's room...I need to.' Slamming the coffee cup on the table, she sprung to her feet.
'You're in no condition to go anywhere.'
'I need to.'
'If you insist.' Rebecca cupped an arm around hers. 'I'll help you.'
Macy willed her weak legs to move, clamped her hand over the railing, and forced herself to take the last few steps. The fourteen steps felt like forty-two.
'Take it easy. You've been hurt pretty bad. I really think...'
'No...no hospital. I've already said that. What if Faith comes back and I'm not here. I can't chance that.'
Light continued to bathe the room highlighting its soft, pink tones. Rebecca let go of Macy's arm as they stood beside the open doorway. Macys gaze swept around the room, stopping to linger over every item as though she was looking for clues, looking for something that would hint on Faith's whereabouts.
She walked toward the window, moved the lace curtain aside and stared out through the dispersing mist half-expecting Faith to toddle out into the open space. Instead, the first rays of sunlight begun to carve through the white shroud signalling the dawning of a new day, a day like none she had ever experienced, a day she would remember for the rest of her life.