Here to Stay is now available on Amazon!
In honor of the release of Here to Stay, the third book in The Fish Tales series, Rach Lawrence Books is proud to present our first author interview. With us today is the author of The Fish Tales, Suanne Laqueur.
RLB: Welcome, Suanne! Thanks for joining us. Can you tell us a little about yourself and what inspires you to write?
SLQR: I’m the daughter of a dancer and a translator which I guess is the perfect combination to make me a writer. I was a dance major in college and then I taught for ten years. I’ve since gone from choreographing bodies to choreographing words. I love to write stories from life. I love to take life’s little moments or big feelings and flesh them out into something people can connect with.
RLB: Who is your favorite author and what’s your favorite book?
SLQR: I can’t pick one favorite but I do have my gurus and certain books of theirs that are my bibles. I love Rumer Godden, in particular her novel In This House of Brede. That and Laurie Colwin’s book Family Happiness helped me discover what kind of writer I wanted to be. Stephen King’s Eyes of the Dragon taught me about storytelling. Catherynne M. Valente’s Fairyland series showed me how to make everything in a story come alive. I also love Philip Pullman, Neil Gaiman, Ann Patchett and Joanne Harris.
RLB: What are the best and worst things about being an author?
SLQR: I can’t think of a worst thing except the pressure of having to come up with new material and the obsession with checking your sales graphs. The absolute best thing is getting fan mail. When a reader reaches out to you to tell them what your words meant to them. When they say your book changed them. Or your book made them think differently. There is nothing like that high. Connecting with readers, bloggers and other writers is the best. But I also must say that when I used my royalties to buy a new garage door, it was pretty cool as well.
RLB: How did The Man I Love come about?
SLQR: It was a story about 23 years in the making. I created the characters in college but I just played with them like paper dolls. They had a lot of college-centric, sitcom scenes but no story arc. I came back to them in my late 20s and all that post-adolescent drama was boring to me, so I took the couple at the center of it all and began to write about them as adults. Except they weren’t together anymore. This was Erik and Daisy.
So I had material about them meeting. And then material about them being apart and reconciling. What happened in the middle? I didn’t get an idea for that until 2013, when I was in my mid-40s. All at once I felt it was time and I made a very sudden decision to give this couple an arc and finish this book. I started writing in earnest in November 2013, published in June of 2014 and have never once regretted it.
RLB: What made you write the second book, Give Me Your Answer True? How did you make the same time period from another character’s perspective different and interesting?
SLQR: I was all set to write a sequel. Or rather, a prequel. Perhaps a bit of both. But something kept happening whenever I sat down to write about Erik’s past or future: Daisy kept tapping me on the shoulder with something to say.
I realized I’d finished The Man I Love loving Erik, but not 100% sure Daisy deserved forgiveness. Not entirely clear on what had driven her to do what she did. I realized I didn’t know her as well as I knew Erik. And it soon became clear I wouldn’t and couldn’t write anything new about her and Erik and their “new normal” until I’d dug deeper into Daisy as a character in her own right. I needed to find her voice.
The challenge with this alternate-POV was to avoid a play-by-play rehash of what readers already knew. The story wouldn’t become fresh until Daisy and Erik parted ways and the reader followed her path. I avoided the rehash by writing the rehash. Sounds weird, right? But I figured it was better to have too much material and cut, rather than not have enough and write in panic mode. So I wrote EVERYTHING from Daisy’s side, and then I ruthlessly chopped what served no purpose. If I kept a scene that had already been told, I made sure it was only because the reader learned something new by seeing it from Daisy’s eyes.
I also played around with time in Give Me Your Answer True. I’m not a huge fan of flashbacks or books that jump around in time, so I wrote The Man I Love in a strict linear fashion. Start at the beginning, tell the story. With Daisy’s story, the readers already knew the ending, so I could jump back and forth between past and present. I also used Daisy’s therapy sessions, her letters and her newspaper articles as a vehicle to jump large stretches of time while maintaining a narrative.
RLB: Is Here to Stay the last we’ll read from these characters?
SLQR: For the time being. I do have an idea for a fourth book which is a prequel telling Erik’s family story. But now it’s time to peel my fingers off The Fish Tales and see what other people are living in my head. It’s time to do something that scares me.
RLB: Are you working on anything at the moment?
SLQR: Yes. I’m not sure exactly what but so far it involves a town called Guelisten and a family called Lark. A drugstore soda fountain, dollhouses and treehouses. A dressmaker, a journalist and a massage therapist. A used bookstore, a tattoo parlor, slutty brownies and coffee. I really don’t know where I’m going with this. It’s the first book I’ll ever think up from nothing and not take 20 years to finish. So come back in a few months. Did I mention it’s time to do something that scares me?
RLB: Anything else you’d like to share with us?
SLQR: It’s never too late to follow a dream or reinvent yourself. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose by trying. Try something new.
As Elizabeth Gilbert says, “Done is better than perfect.”
And as my friend Ami says, “Not everything has to be a thing.”
RLB: Thanks for taking time for the readers at Rach Lawrence Books!
Suanne Laqueur’s debut novel The Man I Love won a gold medal in the 2015 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards. Its other accolades include the 2015 Beverly Hills Book Award, a gold medal at the 2015 eLit Awards, and is a current finalist in the 2015 Kindle Book Awards.
Laqueur graduated from Alfred University with a double major in dance and theater. She taught at the Carol Bierman School of Ballet Arts in Croton-on-Hudson for ten years. An avid reader, cook and gardener, she started her blog EatsReadsThinks in 2010. She lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband and two children.
With The Man I Love and its companion novel, Give Me Your Answer True, Laqueur has gone from choreographing dancers to choreographing words. Her goal is to create a new kind of emotionally-intelligent romance that appeals to the emotions of all readers, crossing gender, age and genre.
You can find Suanne Laqueur at:
Rach Lawrence Books Reviews of The Fish Tales
Excerpt from Here to Stay:
It’s a strange thing to find a lost lover in your hands again. Like finding your childhood baseball glove in an attic box of memories. You’re sure it won’t fit. But the heat of your palm, a flex and a bend. A cautious knead of the leather and a tentative reach into the furthest recesses… It knows you. It remembers you.
It fits you.
“Do I feel the same?” Daisy asked, her voice a silken caress.
After twelve years, Erik thought, of course not. He had loved a girl. It was a woman’s body up against him now, with the heft of wisdom and the weight of experience. He ran his fingers up her backbone and felt all the bits of new fused steel, overlaid with the strong assurance in her muscles and the soft aplomb of her skin. She was a hundred times more beautiful. A thousand times more thrilling.
And as her blue-green eyes stared into his, he was keenly aware of her vulnerability.
“You feel more,” he said, his hands moving along her body, trying to remember how she felt when he last touched her. Thin. Beyond ballerina thin—she was drugged thin at the end of their days in college. Yet beautiful to him. Never anything but stunningly easy on his eyes and liquid in his embrace and sweet in his mouth.
“You feel right,” she said, her own hands gliding along his limbs, in and out of him. “Maybe a little thinner.”
“I probably am. I lost and gained weight over and over. Depending on how I was feeling at the time. When the dark times came around, I’d stop eating.”
“I know, but…” Her delicate, arched eyebrows flickered in her brow. “I think over the years, in my head, I made you bigger than you were. Or maybe I beat myself down into something smaller. But now I remember your body. I remember mine with it.”
She was kissing him, pulling him to roll on top of her again. The digital clock on her bedside table read 2:06 in the morning. They had been going at it like possessed demons for hours now and no matter how tight he held or how hard he clung, Erik could not get both arms around making love to her. Too much feeling grabbed at him, clamoring for attention and precedence. Euphoria, lust, guilt and sadness were four wild stallions chained to each limb, intent on tearing him apart. Yet at the center of the jerking, pulling emotion, his heart was calm and accepting. Quietly riding out the storm, safe in the knowledge he was living his truth, living the life he was born to live.
“Don’t leave me,” she whispered under him.
“I can’t,” he said. “I’d never breathe again.”
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