Today I am interviewing fellow Kiss of Death member Sue Ward Drake. Sue writes romantic suspense novels that feature people with disabilities set in the many fascinating places she has visited. As a fellow lover of all things Greek (I spent several years living with and studying shepherds and weaving in the Peloponnese and Crete), I am thrilled to present her newest book which is set on a Greek island.
Καλώς Ορίσατε Sue…
Can you start by telling us a little bit about yourself?
I’ve been writing romance for many years, with a break of about ten years. I taught Spanish for several years right out of college, coded and analyzed as a computer programmer at a bank and a university, and worked as a linen rental salesperson which was fabulously interesting as I got an inside peek at several restaurant kitchens and one funeral home. I even belonged to the Chef’s association in New Orleans.
I love to travel and have lived in Greece, the location for HEAR NO EVIL, and Germany. I’ve studied in Spain, the setting for stories I’m working on about two brothers, and visited friends in Morocco. My husband and I recently took a Rhine river cruise and this year we hope to get to Glacier National Park in Montana.
Is there an event in your life that affected you as a writer?
I grew up reading books. All sorts of books. Everywhere. I’m sure this is partly due to my hearing loss, but I never leave home without some sort of reading material at hand. So, I’d say this was an on-going event that really affected me. LOL.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
Easily the most influential was a thriller written by Helen MacInnes tilted DECISION AT DELPHI. The ending takes place in Delphi, Greece, where there are ruins of an ancient sanctuary. I stayed up almost all night reading that book when I was a teen. More recently I read and continue to re-read WINTER SOLSTICE by Rosamund Pilcher. Her characterizations are so amazingly relatable. You find yourself rooting for a happy resolution for all five of the main characters.
Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
I’ve written a women’s fiction story about a little girl lost, a woman with guilty secrets and a lonely single father who come together at a historic Southern inn over Christmas. It’s called WHERE YOU BELONG and it has placed in a number of contests sponsored by RWA chapters and won the Single Title entry in the Wisconsin RWA FAB FIVE contest in 2013.
How did you come up with the title for HEAR NO EVIL?
Actually, the editor of the publisher’s category line came up with the title and it’s really very apt. I called Stefanos and Molly’s story CANDLE IN THE DARK because the image was part of the hero’s past experience and also reflects how Stefanos sees Molly. She’s like a candle in his dark life. There is also a scene in HEAR NO EVIL taken from personal experience. I lived in a little farmhouse on the small Greek island of Paros and the path back from town passed a small family chapel, domed and white-washed, adjacent to the path. I remember walking home from town after dark one night and seeing for the first time a candle glowing inside through the small window in the apse.
Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
I have always been interested in Nikos, the boy who helps Stefanos escape enemy forces on a divided Mediterranean island. At the end of HEAR NO EVIL, Stefanos and Molly talk about adopting Nikos. I am currently writing his story, SEE NO EVIL. While on a business trip to this same island Nikos witnesses a political assassination and goes on the run with his lovely secretary.
What do you do when you are not writing?
Since writing involves sitting at a computer for long periods of time, I get outside for exercise as much as possible. I walk and swim and love living in the dry West after many years in rainy, humid New Orleans.
What are some of your favorite things?
Cantaloupe, fresh figs, Greek moussaka, a blooming trumpet vine brilliant with orange-red blossoms, a yellow day lily, the sight of the ocean.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Never give up. This applies to anything. If you really want something, you have to keep working at getting it.
Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
If you share my love of adventure, intrigue, and foreign places I hope you will give HEAR NO EVIL a read.
Stefanos would make falling in love so intoxicating…
When deaf artist, Molly Light, is awarded a trip to paint in Greece,
she must accompany the handsome, enigmatic stranger who granted the
prize. But is he really who he claims to be?
Bent on revenge for the brutal torture he’d once endured, guilt-ridden loner
Stefanos Metadorakis thinks Molly is sharing top-secret military plans with an
enemy. His mission is to escort her, watch her every move and mood—not fall in
lust with her.
As distrust mixes with desire, dangerous forces are closing in, their
sights set on Molly. With their lives in the balance, Stefanos and Molly must trust
each other in order to foil a deadly international plot.
Sue Ward Drake is waiting to hear from you. Ask her about her travels, her books, and writing about characters with disabilities. Post your comment below.