WriMo Q&A: Susan Ann Wall

Susan Ann Wall
Big dreamer and certifiable overachiever Susan Ann Wall embraces life at full speed and volume. She’s a beer and tea snob, can be bribed with dark chocolate, and the #1 thing on her bucket list is to be the center of a Bon Jovi flash mob. Susan is a multi-genre author of racy, rule-breaking contemporary romance, romantic suspense, women’s fiction, and erotic fiction (her erotic titles are published as Ann Victor).  Her bragging rights include nine books in three different series,  three perfect children, and a happily ever after with her Hero Husband that started while serving in the U.S. Army and has spanned nearly two decades (which is crazy since she’s not a day over 29). In her next life, Susan plans to be a 5 foot 10, size 8 rock star married to a chiropractor and will not be terrified of large bridges, spiders, or quiet people (shiver). She’s a member of NHRWA, RWA-WF, RomVets, NHWP, NEIW, and WREN. All of her books are available at all major ebook retailers and the paperbacks are available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Please tell us a bit about yourself.
Seven years ago I moved home to the White Mountains after a 13 year hiatus to raise my three kids and live a quiet life with my husband. My friends describe me as crazy and fun and that’s probably not far off the mark. I write racy, rule-breaking contemporary romance, women’s fiction, and romantic suspense.  My NaNoWriMo handle is sawall.
What inspired you to take on NaNoWriMo?
Honestly, I can’t remember why I opted to do it the first time, but ever since then, I’ve been addicted. I write fast anyway, but it’s a good motivator when you know many of your writer friends are drafting a novel at the same rapid pace that you are. This is my 4th consecutive year and I’m writing my very first romantic suspense titled Broken Strings. Here is the premise of the story:  
Best friends since college, witty and guarded Colleen Cooper and misguided playboy Jake Donovan have both sold out to propel Jake’s music career, but now they are trying to find success on their own terms. As a radio station DJ, Colleen has finally made a name for herself, but when Jake offers her the opportunity of a lifetime her own self-doubt and the anonymous threats she can’t escape have her second-guessing her qualifications and ability. Jake will do anything to prove to Colleen that he’s worth taking a chance on, but when the women around him start turning up dead, his reputation makes him the prime person of interest in the investigation, threatening his career and his future with Colleen.
Please tell us a little about your plan for the month.
Because I’m writing in a genre I’ve never written before, I did a lot of planning for this novel. I worked out the backstory for the hero, heroine, and villain, as well as the goal, motivation, and conflict (GMC) for each of them. I brainstormed a list of horrible things that happen, a list of suspects and red herrings, and got some input from some of my writer friends at NHRWA. Then I wrote a loose outline and plugged that into Scrivener so that on November 1, I’d be ready to write.

If you have done this before what did you learn from your previous experiences?
My first year, I didn’t plot the novel, I just sat down and wrote it (we call that being a pantser – writing by the seat of your pants). That’s how I tend to write anyway, and I achieved 50,000 words in 20 days. My second year, I wanted to be more efficient, so I plotted the novel. On the first day, the story went in a completely different direction than I planned, so the outline didn’t help me at all. I hit 50,000 words in just 12 days. I swear that novel wrote itself. Last year, I opted not to plot the novel, but because I had major surgery mid-month, it took me all 30 days to finish. Because this year’s story is a bit of a challenge, I opted to prepare and plan, that way if I got stuck, I had an outline as Plan B. So far, I’ve been following the outline, so all the planning and preparation has worked out well. On the first weekend, I wrote over 12,000 words.

What about NaNoWriMo are you most looking forward to this year?
I LOVE to write first drafts. Just getting the raw words, emotions, and reactions of the characters in to the story is the most fun for me. After I finish a first draft, I go back and revise, adding in the layers such as setting details and details gathered through the five senses. This isn’t as much fun as writing the first draft, but I’ve found that my writing has developed a lot of the years and I tend to include more of those details when writing a first draft than I used to. First drafts still require a lot of revising, though.

What advice do you have to offer other WriMos?
Set daily and weekly goals, get the support of your family, and let everything else take second chair to your writing goals.

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