Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Author Interview with Susannah Sandlin

I recently had the chance to chat with the wonderful Susannah Sandlin, author of The Penton Legacy. Her new book, Omega, comes out today and she was kind enough to stop by as she continues her blog tour with Bewitching Book Tours. After the interview, scroll down to the bottom of this blog post to find out how to win the offical tour prizes.

About the Author

Susannah Sandlin is an author of paranormal romance set in the Deep South, where there are always things that go bump in the night! A longtime journalist, Susannah grew up in Alabama reading the gothic novels of Susan Howatch, and always fancied herself living in Cornwall, although she's never actually been there. Details, details. She also read a lot of Stephen King--the combination of Howatch and King probably explains a lot. Currently a resident of Auburn, Alabama, Susannah has also lived in Illinois, Texas, California, and Louisiana. Her vampire romance trilogy, The Penton Legacy, is available in print, audio, and for Kindle.

Thank you for stopping by during your blog tour for Omega. Are you excited that it is finally out?
I am! There were only four months between the release of Absolution and then Omega, but it seemed like longer. I’ve been anxious to get Will’s story out there. I came up with the story arc for this series, at least the bigger parts of it, back in 2010, so I’ve been living with these guys in my head for a while now.

Is this your favorite part about finishing a new book? Getting to visit various blogs and meeting new readers?
It’s my favorite part and also the scariest part. Even if I love a book and know I’ve done what I wanted to with it, I never know how people will like it—or if they’ll hate it. So there’s a lot of nail-biting when release day finally rolls around and people finally get a chance to read it.

If you were approached by a reader in a bookstore and they said to you "I want to read a vampire series." What would you say to persuade them to pick up Penton Legacy?
I think I’d tell them that it’s different than a lot of the vampire series out there. There’s a romance at the heart of each of the books, but there’s also a big, overarching story that carries over from book to book. I think of this series as “paranormal romantic suspense” or “paranormal romantic thrillers,” because there’s a building tension that something big is going to happen. It starts slowly in Redemption and then ramps up big-time by the time Omega starts. That’s not so common in paranormal romance, and it’s something readers have liked so far.

One thing I loved about the series was how the story progressed from one book to the next. If almost felt like I was watching a movie trilogy instead of reading a series by how the books progressed. In a perfect world, the series would get picked up and become a trilogy, who do you see playing Aidan, Mirren, and Will? How about Krys, Glory, and Randa? Not the easiest question, I know. :)
I-yi-yi (as we say in Louisiana). That is a hard question. I had actually “cast” a French actor as Aidan when I was writing Redemption. His name is Gaspard Ulliel, and he did some print ads for Chanel Bleu for men. He had a broody, sexy look I really loved. If you Google “Gaspard Ulliel Bleu” you can see him. I never really found anyone I liked for Mirren or for Will, because by the time I was writing their books I had their faces fixed in my mind and never quite found a good match. I’m open to suggestions! As for the women, I did find a photo of the actress Julia Jones and thought she’d be perfect for Glory (in Absolution), but I never found the right Krys or Randa. Again, open to suggestions!

Speaking of Krystal. I love it when a character has the same name as me (spelled differently of course). It does not happen enough! :) How do you pick names for your characters?
It varies. Sometimes, like with Mirren Kincaid, it just comes to me out of nowhere and sticks. Aidan’s original name was Galen, but a good friend who reads all my first drafts broke the news that the name Galen wasn’t in use in Ireland in 1600 so he couldn’t have that name. We researched Irish names from that period and I chose Aodhan instead, which of course got Americanized as Aidan. Eoghan (Owen) was another name in use then, so I chose that for Aidan’s brother. It took me forever to stop calling Aidan “Galen.” Krys was originally named Beth, but I saw the sign to a Krystal hamburger place—it’s a fast-food chain found here in the South—and knew I had to use that name. Will Ludlam is named for that same friend’s ancestor who came to the US from England back in the 1600s. So character names really come from anywhere and everywhere.

I love the titles you picked for the books and how the one word perfectly describes each character. Aidan's was redemption (from the death of his wife) and Mirren's was absolution (from those he killed). What one word would you use to describe Will and why?
I thought about changing the title of Will’s book to Salvation, because the salvation of Penton ultimately rests on his shoulders, and yet he also needs saving emotionally himself—something Randa is able to do for him. But I liked the word Omega as the last word of the Greek alphabet, the end, and thought it was appropriate for the book. Will is the last hope for Penton, and the book reveals a last endgame that will change all their lives.

This question will probably make a couple vampires angry, but I'll risk it. If you could become the familiar to Aidan, Mirren, or Will, who would you pick and why?
Ha! Hm….I wouldn’t turn any of them away, but probably for the long haul, I’d pick Aidan. A little danger and smartassery goes a long way, and in the long term the steady, sensitive guy would be a better match for me.

Now that you are a familiar and bonded, would you choose to stay in Omega knowing that you may not survive?
Absolutely. I’m a lot like Aidan, I guess, in that I’m loyal to a fault, probably even to the point of stupidity. Once I’m yours, I’m yours. So if I were bonded and a familiar I’d take it seriously. Of course if he wanted to wipe my memories and send me off to keep me safe, well, who am I to say no? LOL.

Thinking back to when you first had the idea of Penton Legacy, did the series end the way you first thought it would? Were they any major changes from how the series played out in your mind to the way it is in the books?
Small details emerged as I wrote the series, but I had envisioned the big story arc all along and knew how each book would end and how the series would end. I knew who the key players among the vampires would be in each book. When I did the proposal for the trilogy, I knew Krys would be the heroine of the first book, but I had only very rough ideas of the other two heroines. I knew the second one would be a witch or have some sort of psychic ability, and I knew the third would be a soldier-turned-vampire. The details of their personalities and their backstories developed as I went along.

Lastly, I think this question is on the minds of all your readers. Is this the last we see of Penton or will Aidan, Mirren, and Will make appearances in your future books?
Never say never! I hope to do another book in the series eventually, to follow up on the new character in Omega, Cage Reynolds, and the romantic dilemma he finds himself in (I can’t say more without serious spoilers). But there’s no date set for it yet. I’m moving on to a new project now that has very loose ties with Penton but will not have any of the same characters.

Susannah, thank you so much for stopping by and being my first interview! Any final thoughts?
Thank you for inviting me! You asked some fun questions, and things I hadn’t been asked before.

Don't forget the check out Susannah's Virtual Book Tour hosted by Bewitching Book Tours. To celebrate the release of Omega, you have the chance to win amazing prizes. Grand prize is the winner's choice of a Kindle Paper White, Nook Simple Touch, or a $100 gift card to Amazon, B&N or Book Depository. There are also five $10 gift card prizes.
To find the Rafflecopter form, simply click on this link - OMEGA Book Tour - and scroll down to enter to win the official tour prizes.
Show Susannah some love at the following places...

To purchase Susannah's books, go to one of these booksellers...
Barnes & Noble

Buy them today!! :-)


  1. I love how Krystal got her name! I haven't seen Krystal restaurants in years!

    1. Thanks, Rebe....We still have Krystals in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana. In other places, I think they're the same as White Castle.

  2. Wonderful interview, thanks. I need to go outside now and wait for the mailman to bring me Omega. Susannah, congratulations on release day.

  3. Thanks, Roger....hope that mailman gets there soon!

  4. I am starting Omega now! I absolutely love this series. I think I would be a familar with Merrin. I would know without a doubt that I had the most badass warrior vampire protecting me. Besides I like alot of the same food that he likes so it would be easy for me to feed him...and give Glory another mouth to cook for!
    I have to say Will is my favorite Penton Vamp...I love his ADD personality!
    Happy Release Day!

    1. Thanks, @shellbelle--hope you enjoy Will's story. It's probably even darker than you expect it to be! And, yeah, he does have more than a touch of ADD :-)

  5. Thank you for this interview, it's really a great one so i was surprised to learn it's your first attempt to it^^

    Very instructive too^^

    Congratulations once again suzanne! i wish you a lot of success!!

    1. Thanks, Miki! This was a fun interview.

      And a big Thank You to Crystal for having me here today :-)

  6. Happy release day.great interview,enjoyed reading it.

  7. Congrats Suzanne! Woohoo! Great interview, too. Excellent questions, Crystal. Hugs to you both! Carole

  8. Congratulations Susannah on the newest release and thanks for the fun interview! Seriously, what I want to know is how you do it: you have 2 series a day job, real life and constant releases, do you have some clones you can send out in the real world while you do the writing at home? lol :-)