S.R.Claridge writes Mystery and Romantic Suspense novels. Her work has been said to have the energy of Dan Brown, the mystery of Mary Higgins Clark and the humor of Janet Evanovich. Claridge novels will take you to the edge of your seat, keep you guessing until the very end and ultimately warm your heart. It is on the pages of every S.R.Claridge novel that Mystery and Sensual Suspense collide.

For more information on bookings, interviews and upcoming releases, please visit the author website and Facebook fan page.

Thursday, March 10, 2011



Before we get started talking about your books, tell us a little about yourself.  Where are you from?  What is your occupation outside of writing?  Hi Susan, thanks for having me. I live in Wellington, the capital city of Aotearoa (New Zealand), the land of the long white cloud.  I have lived in New Zealand all my life except for the seven and a half years I spent living in London, England, when doing what we kiwis call our big OE (overseas experience). With a country of only 4.5 million people, stuck down the bottom of the world far from everywhere, (it’s a three hour flight to our nearest neighbour, Australia) most New Zealander’s feel the need to explore the wider world. Through my grandparents, I’m lucky enough to hold a British passport, along with a NZ.

It was during my time in England, I visited Chawton, and sat in the garden of Jane Austen's house reading Pride and Prejudice. I contacted Mills and Boon and my drive to become a romance author began.

While waiting for my writing career to take off (it was a long wait) I worked in corporate marketing and general management roles. I have a marketing and business degree from Victoria University in Wellington, NZ. Currently I work part-time as Executive Director of a small professional surgical association in New Zealand. This allows me plenty of time to write while keeping an interest in the business world.

I am one of five sisters, one is my twin sister, (no she doesn’t write but she paints and is very artistic), and I’m not married – yip I’m still waiting for Mr. Right (I know he’s out there).

Would you describe yourself as an introvert or an extrovert?
I’d have to say extrovert. I enjoy meeting new people, visiting new places and I love life in general. I’m definitely not shy and I’m not scared to offer an opinion (some of my employment positions probably impacted my inability to keep my mouth shut).

Do you have any pets?  If so, what kind and tell us their names.
I love animals, I grew up on a farm when very young and animals have always played a part in my family’s lives. Unfortunately, I am allergic to cats and dogs – except dogs with wool coats such as poodles or poodle crosses etc. My mother has a gorgeous black and white poodle bechon freise cross called Jazz. I want a dog but not just yet. I am not home enough and I travel most weekends – not fair on a dog.

What are your favorite books to read?
I love just about any book except those about murder of children or grisly crimes etc. The world’s ugly enough without having to enter that environment in a book. I love people stories – books like Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont. I also love biographies; I’ve just finished The Fry Chronicles by Stephen Fry an English comedian, writer and intellect extraordinaire. I love romance books – all genres but historical in particular. There is something so un-politically correct about history that allows you to have staunch alpha heroes matched by strong never give up heroines. This environment offers conflicts and plots to die for.

Where is the most unique place you have travelled?
When I had my big OE in England, I took the opportunity to travel widely. I spent three years working for a few months then travelling for a few months. There is not many countries in the world I have not been – I’ve been everywhere except the south of South America. One place I found fascinating was in Southern Tunisia in the Sahara. My twin and I went on a three day camel safari and visited the area where the very first Star Wars was filmed – an area with people called Troglodytes. They build their homes directly into the earth. If you walk around at night you have to be very careful or you could fall about thirty feet into a big hole – the courtyards of their houses. Rooms have no windows but all lead off an open central courtyard. Beds are carved out of stone. In one of the homes I saw a woman grinding corn and she had a tattoo on her chin that looked almost exactly like the ‘ta moko’ the Māori’s (natives of NZ) have on their chins. It made me realize that somewhere along the path of history we are more closely related than I’d considered.

Aside from your successes in the writing industry, what in your life has given you the greatest sense of accomplishment?
Hmmm – simply being healthy and content is not to be overlooked. But I guess one of the things (other than being published) that I am most proud of, is that I started my own e-commerce company when I returned to NZ from England and in 2000 I listed it on the NZ Stock Exchange and sold it in 2005.

How many books have you written and how many of those are published? 
I started seriously writing in 2006 but fell into the new writer’s trap of starting and stopping and then starting another book. I was a serial non-finisher. Then my critique partner and patient friend reminded me I can’t sell what I have not finished. So I buckled down and finally finished a book – and sold it!

When I sold my first book it was a two book deal so I suddenly had to write and finish another. I have completed two fully edited Regency historical books – Invitation to Ruin (release 1 March 2011) and Invitation to Scandal (release date early 2012)

I have several others almost complete. Three more in the ‘Invitation to’ series, another historical series called The Disgraced Lords started, and a category romance.

Do you have one particular genre that all your books fall under (i.e. suspense, romance, etc?)  Or do you write in many different genres?  I write very strong alpha heroes so definitely suit historical genre and also Modern Presents in category.

How much character and plot detailing do you plan out before you begin writing a novel, or are you a “pantser” (fly by the seat of your pants)?  I am a definite plotter. I plan out a full book before starting it. I use Karen Wiesner’s – First draft in 30 Days planning techniques and then Schivener for building and plotting each scene – action plot, emotional plot, villain plot and sex plot for each scene.

I find I need to do this because I was spending too much time re-writing and when you suddenly have book submission deadlines, re-writing takes too long. If it’s good enough for Stephanie Laurens the queen of Regency Romance writing then it’s good enough for me.

Prior to becoming a published author, how many rejections did you receive?  How did you handle the rejections?
You are all going to hate this but my first published book, Invitation to Ruin, a Regency historical, was my first ever submission – mainly because it was the first book I’d finished. I submitted it on 1 December 2009 to 3 agents and 2 editors and signed with an agent on 3rd January 2010 and sold it on 7th January 2010 to one of the editors I had submitted to. One agent did decline, so I do know how rejection feels. I’ve also taken knocks in my business life but you can’t give up. Learn from your experiences and grow. An experience or rejection is never bad unless you learn nothing from it. What I also tell myself is that not everyone will like my voice (competition results have shown me that) so there is a huge element of luck in submission – the right story, in the right place, at the right time to the right editor is a bonus.

How and when do you write? Do you keep yourself on a schedule or do you work while the muse is with you?
I work at a set time each day but because my book is plotted out I usually write the scene that happens to be in my head. Each morning I usually awake with my characters racing inside my head, directing me to the scene I should write and I normally follow their lead. I also give myself a deadline to have the book finished and track my word count each day. I belong to a small group of romance writers in NZ, some published, some agented and the rest unpublished. We have a yahoo group called Book In 50 Days and about three times a year we run exactly that – a book in 50 days. We all have to post our daily totals and we support, critique and drive each other towards the goal of getting books finished, submitted and sold. Since we set up last year over 6 of us have found agents and over 6 of us have sold. Joining a good writers group, I feel is a necessity; otherwise you’re stumbling in the dark.

If you have a new release coming out, tell us about it.
My first book Invitation to Ruin was released on 1 March.

One Good Lady is About to Go Bad...

The only thing Miss Melissa Goodly has ever wanted out of a marriage is love. But any hope of that dissolves one wild night, when she loses herself in the arms of the most irresistible-and unobtainable-man in all of England. For when they are discovered in a position as compromising as it is pleasurable, she has no choice but to accept his proposal.

Avowed bachelor Anthony Craven, Earl of Wickham, never meant to seduce an innocent like Melissa. Yet now that the damage is done, it does seem like she'd make a very convenient wife. After all, she is so naive he won't have to worry about ever being tempted. Or so he thinks, until the vows are spoken and they are left alone-and his new bride reveals a streak just as brazen and unrestrained as his own...

If you could give one piece of advice to writers trying to get published, what would that advice be?Learn your craft! Like any job, those that hone their skills and persevere, and have determination, will succeed. I analyzed my areas of weakness and took loads of romance writing courses from character development, conflict and plot, editing etc I am still learning and always will be.

But most of all never give up. Keep writing and grow as a writer. Read loads of authors in your genre. Take their books apart and learn how they build their characters and story.

What's up next for you and your writing?
I’m waiting to see how sales of my first book goes, to see if Kensington will pick up the option for book 3 and 4 of the ‘Invitation to’ series. But I am hedging my bets and my agent, Melissa Jeglinski at The Knight Agency has approved my new idea for a Disgraced Lords series which will consist of six books.  I am about a third of a way through the first book, A Kiss of Lies.
Where can we read more about you and your work?I have some excerpts of my books on my website. I also love hearing from other writers or readers. You can contact me via my website www.bronwenevans.com or my blog http://www.regencyseductions.blogspot.com/
I’m also on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home
It has been a pleasure getting to know you and your books today, Bronwen.  Thanks for dropping by!

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