Do you like romances that are out of this world? Meet Susan McEachern. She has just released her fourth paranormal sci fi romance. Susan has based her novel somewhat on a famous UFO incident that happened just down the road from where I am living. Today she shares what goes into writing her otherworldly books. Welcome Susan!
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
A bit about me … mmmm, let’s see … I’m from the east coast of Canada and spent most of my twenties in Halifax, Nova Scotia, working on an International Development honour’s degree at Dalhousie University. I also worked at Dalhousie alongside some pretty big names in ocean development, until I married an Airforce officer and entered the life of a military nomad. We’ve lived all over Canada, travelled half of the world—we’re working on the other half now—and even spent a year in England during which time we were invited to Buckingham Palace for tea with the Queen. My life is rarely boring, and I’ve met so many interesting people in my travels, experienced diversified cultures, and walked through some pretty amazing landscapes, that I have acquired a wealth of inspiration for my many fictional characters and worlds.
Shag Lake is your fourth, and most recent novel. Can you tell us how you came up with the title?
LOL! The title has caused a stir among my fellow romance writers as well as quite of few of my readers. In fact, I’ve had to put a disclaimer on the book that there’s no graphic shagging in Shag Lake, which has delighted some readers and disappointed others 😉 But long before Austin Powers redefined the word, the name Shag Harbour conjured up images of UFOs. Back in 1967, an unidentified flying object slammed into the sea just offshore of Shag Harbour, and it was later joined by another UFO, which reportedly came to the rescue of the aircraft stranded in the water. The incident is well documented by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the local police, the Rescue Coordination Centre in Halifax, the Canadian and US Naval forces, and the hundreds of Shag Harbour inhabitants who reported the UFOs. It’s Canada’s very own Roswell and I just couldn’t ignore the fictional possibilities it presented. And here’s a fun fact about my book, Shag Lake: I included a live link to the Shag Harbour UFO Museum in the ebook for readers to tap on and learn all about the 1967 event.
How much research do you do for each book you write?
Science fiction requires a lot of imagination, but it takes a lot of research to give credibility to an imagined world. You already know that Shag Lake was inspired by research into an actual event, but you may not know that my first book was inspired by a Biodome experiment in Arizona. I studied the results of the experiment back in the 1990s for an academic paper I wrote on ocean-atmospheric interaction, and I found the idea of a biodome so intriguing, it became the inspiration for Sunset Rising. As I expanded my world-building beyond the Dome, I found myself delving deeper into research, which included reaching out to a professional engineer of nanotechnology to bring that element into my second book, Worlds Collide. For the third book of the trilogy, New World Order, I did a ton of research on North American animals that could survive a nuclear winter, which included a fun night brainstorming what a post-nuclear creature world would look like with naturalist and wild life expert, Chris Kratt of the Kratt Brothers (there’s an interview with him on my blog: http://smmceachern.com/chattin-with-chris-kratt-about-a-post-apocalyptic-creature-world/). And because there are gun battles throughout all three books, I went to a shooting range and learned to how to handle a high-powered rifle and a Sig Sauer. Bottom line: research is one of the aspects of writing I love most!
If you had to go back and do it all over again, is there any aspect of your novel(s) or getting it published that you would change?
I quite often consider “renovating” Sunset Rising, for a couple of reasons. First, it was my very first book and my writing has improved a hundred fold over the course of writing three more books. Second, a prequel to Sunset Rising has been occupying my thoughts. The current political climate of our own world is heating up and nuclear war isn’t such a farfetched possibility. Cramming people into a Biodome to live in subhuman conditions may seem like dystopian fiction; but how far would a father or a mother go to protect their children from a radiation storm and secure a future for them? So Shane O’Donnell and his pregnant girlfriend Hillary keep waving at me from the recesses of my imagination, begging me to put them down on paper.
As for the publishing end of things, I started out on my own in 2013 and shortly after I released my second book, which shot into the top 50 on the Amazon charts, a company reached out to invite me to join them in building a new ebook platform. The company was called Vook at that time, then it morphed into Pronoun, and now it’s a division of MacMillan. I learned a lot about digital marketing during the three years I collaborated with Pronoun—knowledge that I don’t think I ever would have learned in a traditional publishing relationship. That said, I’m not against being traditionally published. In fact, I gave very serious consideration to shopping Shag Lake around to literary agents … but in the end I went with what I know best and published on my own. Maybe the next book!
Is the prequel to Sunset Rising what you’re writing right now? Or do you have other projects in the works?
I’m currently working on the follow up to the Sunset Rising Trilogy, which my readers have named The PIT Series (it’s a fine name, so I’m going to use it!). Here’s a quick description: The people of the Biodome have been liberated into a scarcely populated post-apocalyptic world. Human life has managed to cling to the toxic earth and evolve in ways the people of the Dome have yet to discover. The first book of the series is entitled “Blood Ties” and will focus on Ted Kenner and Willow’s arranged marriage as the contract that will unite Pacem in Terris (PIT) with the Nation.
As for a sequel to Shag Lake, it’s too early to tell if there’s demand for a series. So far the response has been unanimous for a sequel, so we’ll see if demand continues over the next few months J
Thanks for stopping by my blog, Susan.
Thank you so much for inviting me today, Zara! It’s been great to get to know another writer, and I wish you all the best for your August release of, “Close to the Skin.”
Geri McKenna hasn’t seen her brother’s best friend, Sean Eastman, since he graduated high school. Sean left their little town of Pembroke just hours after she nailed him with a kiss behind the shed, never to be seen or heard from again. No calls, no texts, no social media to stalk online.
Eight years after the awkward incident behind the shed, Geri and Sean meet again. She’s now an ambitious journalist working in a dead end job, and he’s a successful structural engineer working on a classified government project. For different reasons, they’re both interested in a woman who has gone missing amidst allegations of a Sasquatch encounter in the vicinity of Shag Lake. Geri is determined to get the scoop on the hottest story to hit the Internet, while Sean is determined to stop her.
Dodging alien creatures and a corrupt shadow government, Geri and Sean struggle to find neutral ground in this debut new adult adventure by author Susan McEachern (who also writes young adult as award-winning author S.M. McEachern).
Susan McEachern’s website: http://smmceachern.com