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Getting to Know Susan May Warren Interview

by Rel Mollet

"...my dream is to write a book that gets into your soul like Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, and reminds the world that God loves them more than they can ever grasp."
-- Susan May Warren


Susan May Warren is the award-winning author of seventeen novels and novellas with Tyndale, Steeple Hill and Barbour Publishing. Her first book, Happily Ever After won the American Fiction Christian Writers Book of the Year in 2003, and was a 2003 Christy Award finalist. In Sheep’s Clothing, a thriller set in Russia, was a 2006 Christy Award finalist and won the 2006 Inspirational Reader’s Choice award. A former missionary to Russia, Susan May Warren now writes Suspense/Romance and Chick Lit full time from her home in northern Minnesota.

Rel: If you could have chosen your own name , what would it be?

Susan: I really love the name Susie. I’m sort of a Susie, all the way through. I don’t really feel like a Susan. *grin*

Your first pet’s name?

Blackie. The black dog. But the first dog I had on my own was named Petey. Of course, now I have a son named Pete.... (don’t tell him he was named after the dog!)

Your best friend’s name in primary (elementary) school?

Stephanie. Love that name, too.

Did you have a special toy that went everywhere with you when you were young? Please describe.

Oh, you mean Boppy the one-eyed bear? The one with the embroidered nose, the one brown eye, and no recognizable fur remaining anywhere on his body? I carried him by his stub tail, all the way to Russia and back, and he lives on his royal Teddy Bear throne on the ottoman in my bedroom.

If you were stranded on a desert island what one object would you want with you? (Besides your Bible of course)

My cell phone. (with reception, of course). I’d be willing to have the text-only option. Or wait – maybe my computer, so I could write, but then I’d need a power supply.

Maybe just sunblock.

What's your favourite ice cream flavour?

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A cowgirl. Then, an Ad Exec on Madison Avenue. I know... I’d love to remember my thought processes back then.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Italy. Or maybe Greece.

Taming RafeBesides God, who has influenced you the most?

My husband. I’ve always admired him for his wisdom and grace. His quiet, “are you SURE you want to send that email?” has saved me on more occasions than I can count.

What's your favourite book?

Besides the Bible? Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers. I know, so it’s everyone else’s, but my dream is to write a book that gets into your soul like that one, and reminds the world that God loves them more than they can ever grasp.

What part of your daily routine do you enjoy most?

Coffee and Devotions.

What's your favourite movie?

Oh boy! That’s too hard! Maybe, Return to Me. And, of course, the Princess Bride. (anybody want a peanut?)

Where's the most interesting place you have been?

Night Market, Taiwan. Ever seen deep fried chicken’s feet, or a frog burrito? ‘nuf said.

What's your most fervent prayer?

Own my heart, Lord, so it’s nothing but You I desire.

What's the bravest thing you've ever done? Reclaiming Nick

Skydived! Only, I wasn’t even afraid. So...maybe, I’ll change that answer to: Give Birth. *g*

What is your favourite Bible verse (or "one" of your favourites) and what does it mean to you?

My current favourite is: Hebrew 4:16, “Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” It means that even when I come crawling, my face to the floor, He still pulls me into His arms. Phew.

What was your most embarrassing moment in High School?

Really? I have to pick? Okay, fine, here’s one – in trying to create a fashion statement, I wore white shorts, and black cowboy boots, a sort of preppy meets the old west. Yeah, didn’t work. I still remember the laughter.

How did your husband propose to you?

He took me out for pizza, then we did a Bible study on the words, “I love you” and then he got down on one knee. Very very sweet.

What was the best advice you received on marriage before you were married?

Don’t tear down your house with your own hands.

Ask your children one thing they think is special about you and share it with us, please!

My daughter actually wrote a blog about this.... go to: http://www.mybooktherapy.com/?page_id=285


Wiser Than SerpentsOn Wiser Than Serpents

This is a story close to your heart due to the subject matter ~ please share your inspiration for this book.

When I lived in Russia, I became increasingly aware of the plight of woman struggling to care for their children, or wanting a better future. More and more of them were going overseas to “waitress” or even marry Americans. I had American friends working with NGO’s to fight human trafficking, and perhaps because of their work, I began to see the truth... especially when my friend’s daughter went to Japan... and disappeared. We left Russia before I heard whether she found her again, but in my heart, I feared the worst. I’ve been in enough foreign countries to know how it feels to be in a place unfamiliar, and even scary. Taiwan – as interesting as it was – felt so foreign to me, and I couldn’t help but think of all the girls who went to foreign lands and found themselves trapped. I wondered who might intervene to save them. About that time, I read an article Sara Groves did about the plight of human trafficking, and what IJM does to fight it, and I knew I had to get involved. I believe in the power of fiction to change lives... and in this case, I hoped to raise awareness, and perhaps funds to fight this horrible crime.

Do you have a favourite character in your Mission: Russia series?

I love Roman – he’s a strong Russian Special Forces guy who knows what he believes and is a hero in every circumstance. His story is told in Sands of Time... about a coup in Russia that traps the woman he loves, and his race to save her.

Will you take us back to Russia in another story sometime?

I just signed on to write three more Mission:Russia books (called, Mission:Russia, Beyond Boundaries), in mass market format, so yes, we’ll be meeting up with Vicktor and Roman, as well as other characters, possibly in Russia, or in other Eastern European countries. I think it’s important for us to remember that there are Russian Christians who grieve the closing doors of Russia, just as we do.

How did your time in Russia on the mission field prepare you for the life of a writer?

Commitment to the task, dealing with stretches of aloneness, and trusting in God for provision!

Finding Stefanie by Susan May WarrenFinding Stefanie

I’ll be honest, at the close of Taming Rafe, I thought please don’t make Stefanie’s love interest Lincoln Cash! Having now read Finding Stefanie, I can see you were right and I was wrong. Where did you dream him up from?

Oh, that’s interesting! Lincoln came from a few places – I have a friend who has MS, and it’s difficult to watch his body betray him, especially since he used to be a strong, active man. It made me wonder how we see him, and how a man brings so much more than physical strength to a woman. I loved putting that theme with an “action hero” who makes his living being a superman. I thought... could he see beyond his disabilities to how God might be using him? I also knew there was MUCH more to Lincoln than the shallow, smooth talking movie star we met in Taming Rafe. But I had insider information. *grin*

Do we see anything of you in Stefanie?

Of course! Stefanie is the strong cowgirl side (although I’m not a cowgirl except in my head). She’s the rescuer of the defeated, and the believer in the good in people, and the person who “gets it done” or, at least, tries to.

Lincoln and Stefanie both struggle with their purpose in life ~ what did you hope readers to take away from their journey?

That God can use a surrendered heart, regardless of the circumstances, that He knows our hearts better than we do, and that He likes to surprise us with more than we could ask or imagine.

Nothing But Trouble by Susan May WarrenWhat are you working on at the moment? A sneak peek, please.

I just finished book 2 in my “Trouble” series – a fun, romantic, light suspense series about a wanna-be PI who just can’t seem to stay out of trouble. Here’s the blurb for the first one:

It's not fair to say that trouble happens every time PJ Sugar is around, but it feels that way when she returns to her hometown, looking for a fresh start. Within a week, her former teacher is murdered and her best friend's husband is arrested as the number-one suspect. Although the police detective investigating the murder--who also happens to be PJ's former flame--is convinced it's an open-and-shut case, PJ's not so sure. She begins digging for clues in an effort to clear her friend's husband and ends up reigniting old passions, uncovering an international conspiracy, and solving a murder along the way. She also discovers that maybe God can use a woman who never seems to get it right.

It hits the stands just in time for a summer beach read! Go to: http://gotsugar.susanmaywarren.com for sneak peeks and to sign up for free stuff and updates!

Thank you so much for having me today – what fun questions! God bless!

Rel MolletRel Mollet is a lawyer, wife and mother of three young daughters and lives in Melbourne, Australia. Reading has been her passion since childhood. She is a Book Club Co-ordinator and has her own website ~ relzreviewz ~ dedicated to reviews and author interviews with the sole aim to support authors writing from a Christian worldview. She believes Sir Francis Bacon's (1561 - 1626) creed, "Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body".