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FAQ Sheet: Frequently Asked Questions about Suzanne Brockmann and her books

[ Edited ]

*Q: I hear Suzanne has written a Broadway show -- is this true?

 

A: From Suzanne's newsletter:  

 

"LOOKING FOR BILLY HAINES is a comedy in two acts, with dance. (Yes, dance!)


It tells the story of a young gay actor, living in New York City, whose boyfriend is in the closet. The actor gets the opportunity to audition for a biographical movie about openly gay 1920s and 30s movie star Billy Haines, who chose lov over stardom. With the help of his three somewhat crazy roommates (an actress whose boyfriend is having more success than she; an actress whose boyfriend is in Iraq; and a stockbroker-turned-actor who's nursing a broken heart), and after several hours of laughter, tears, and terrific dancing (including a kickass tap number), our young actor hero makes some important changes in his own life.

We're in the process of locking in a small black box theater, right on 42nd Street in New York City. The show will run from early March through May 23, 2010, seven shows a week, with matinees on Saturdays and Sundays.

I'll have more details in future e-newsletters and on my website -- including a ticket discount code for readers looking to buy tickets!  To sign up for my email newsletter, visit my website at http://www.suzannebrockmann.com/mailing_list.htm "

 

Today at Center Stage, Suzanne recapped:I will be taking a short vacation in Feb./March 2010, in order to direct a stage play that I co-wrote with my husband Ed.  It's a comedy in two acts with dance, and it's called LOOKING FOR BILLY HAINES.  It's going to run for 10 and a half weeks in NYC, at an off-Broadway theater complex called Theater Row (42nd St. & 9th Ave.).  That projects going to be a change of pace, too.  Ed and I (and the dogs!) are going to live in Manhattan for the three month duration (the shows going to open in early March and run through May 23, 2010.  We'll be attending the show each night (it's going to run Tuesdays through Sundays, 7 shows a week, two shows on Saturdays), but I'll have time during the day to write, too.   I'm really excited about the whole project! "

 

*Q: I heard a rumor that the next book will be the last in the Troubleshooters series? Is that true??

 

A: Suzanne has been bombarded with questions about this -- here is her response: 

 

"I have every intention of returning to the Troubleshooters series.  I don't think I'll be able to go for very long without writing a book that includes Jules and Robin!

 

I've announced that the next Troubleshooters book is going to be Izzy's, as well as the fact that it's going to be the final book in the series for a while.  I'll talk a little bit more about that this week, as we chat!"

 

*Q: So who is the next book going to be about?

 

A: Suzanne says: "A warning -- I'm one of those authors who doesn't like to talk about upcoming books, sometimes to the point of not even wanting to reveal the names of the main characters!" 

 

*Q: A lot of people are curious about the movie Suzanne and her husband, Ed Gaffney, have been working on. What's it called? When can we see it?

 

A. Here's what Suzanne says about the movie, which is called JOLLY!

 

"Here's the Youtube link to our preview.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtbkjzllOBE 

 

We made this extremely low budget movie in Sarasota last November -- filmed in 17 days.

 

It stars my buddy Eric Ruben (www.EricRuben.com) and my talented son Jason Gaffney (www.JasonGaffney.com) and was co-written by my husband Ed and me.  (Ed also directed and edited!)  The music was arranged and performed by Jack Gravina, my extremely talented nephew!  

 

The movie also stars Leslie Woodies (who appeared as Cassie in A CHORUS LINE on Broadway), Apolonia Davalos, Dan Bolton, and Sylvia Batey.  (We had a fabulous cast!)"


 

Message Edited by becke_davis on 08-03-2009 01:59 PM
Message Edited by becke_davis on 08-03-2009 02:04 PM
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Re: FAQ Sheet: Frequently Asked Questions about Suzanne Brockmann and her books

[ Edited ]

*Q: I hear that Suzanne is going to publish a collection of Troubleshooters short stories. What are the details about that?

 

A: Suzanne says: " I'm not sure yet how many new short stories I'll be writing or which characters I'll revisit."

 

*Q: Do you have any plans to write a non-Troubleshooters novel?

 

A: Suzanne says:  "Next book is GALLAGHER'S CLAIM, which will come out as a paperback original next summer.  I'm doing a massive rewrite of a manuscript that I wrote years ago, but never managed to sell.  Mostly because no one knew how to market it.  That, and the heroine was pretty weak.  So I'm completely overhauling the heroine (giving her a too-stupid-to-live-ectomy) and revising the entire contemporary romance part of the story, which is set on an on-location movie set in Arizona, and also up in Alaska.  There's a major romantic subplot that set in 1898 in the American West (the subplot is also the plot of the movie that's being made -- shades of HEART THROB.  And there's also a character who bridges both the historical and contemporary story who happens to be the hero's great-grandfather's ghost.  So.  Contemporary suspense, western historical with a paranormal element -- twelve years ago, when I first wrote the book, no one knew what to do with it!   So it sat on my shelf for years and year.

 

But it's one of those stories that I've always loved, and I'm really looking forward to giving it an overhaul and putting it into readers' hands.  (That's what I'll be working on immediately after this week is over.  I'm heading to FLA, where I get most of my writing done!) "

 

*Q: Galinda commented: " I was horrified to hear that your next book will be the last TS for awhile.  I was wondering if you are going to be working on another project, or will you be taking a break from writting completely.  If you are going to be working on something else, can you tell us anything about it? I also wanted to know if you have any time frame for returning to the TS characters.  I'm not asking you to give us an exact date, I just want to know if you will absolutely be returning to TS, or is this a maybe, maybe not return." 

 

A: Suzanne says she is going to be completing another project, and then "I'll be sitting down and writing Izzy's book -- Troubleshooters installment # 16.  

 

16 seemed like the perfect number to take a break (SEAL Team 16, you know...) from this series.

 

So after I write Izzy's book, I'm going to begin work on a contemporary romantic suspense trilogy.  I'm purposely going to contain my tendencies to write open ended series, and create a three-book story arc for this one.  (Leaving open the possibility for another story arc to continue that trilogy.)

 

Somewhere in the course of writing those three books (with fresh, new characters), I'll be compiling the TS series short story anthology.  We're going to put all of the TS short stories I've written for various Extras booklets into one book, plus I'll be writing three, four, five, six, (???) new stories as well.  (One thing I want to do is to revisit Jack and Arlene -- Maggie's mom -- Maggie from ATTN...)

 

I'm also planning to return to the TS series, but I'm not sure if I'll do that in the middle of the trilogy or right after it).  Gotta write Jay Lopez's book.  And Martell's.  And Jazz's.  And the new CO, Lew Koehl's...

 

So I'm not taking a break from writing -- I'm just going to be writing something different."

 

Message Edited by becke_davis on 08-03-2009 02:03 PM
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Re: FAQ Sheet: Frequently Asked Questions about Suzanne Brockmann and her books

*Q: What's all this about Suzanne's visit to Barnes & Noble on Facebook?

 

A: Barnes & Noble hosted a visit from Suzanne on Facebook last week. It was hopping! You can access it here: http://www.facebook.com/barnesandnoble

 

You can become a fan of Suzanne's Navy SEALs at this Facebook fan page:  http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2426256106&ref=ts

 

And you can friend Suzanne here: (well, I was going to post it, but it looks like Facebook is getting so much traffic on Suzanne's page that it's temporarily frozen up!) 

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Re: FAQ Sheet: Frequently Asked Questions about Suzanne Brockmann and her books

Becke's totally biased favorite Brockmann QUOTE OF THE DAY:

 

 "Everything that you read in my books is colored by another character's perception.  There's no "narrator's voice of truth" -- the truth that is spoken is subjective.  So if you only hear about, say, Dan from Izzy or Eden, you're going to get a biased interpretation of his every word.  (Yes, okay, he says some jerky things -- that's all on Dan, but until I let you inside of his head, you can't know the pain he's feeling or the emotions that make him say said jerkish thing.)

 

Remember in INTO THE STORM, we get to see Danny through Sophia's eyes.  And we see this somewhat sweet "disney perfect hero" type guy. 

 

That old saying is true, too -- nobody's the villian of their own story..."


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Re: FAQ Sheet: Frequently Asked Questions about Suzanne Brockmann and her books

*Q: tk08 asked Suzanne: Do you have any plans to turn any of your TS novels or any of your novels into movies?


A: Suzanne responded:

 

Movies isn't the right format, IMO.  It's a length issue -- you'd have to cut out so much of the books to fit the two hour limit.  

 

The thing I've been working toward is a TV series.  But I'm not sure I'd want to try to recreate the books -- those stories have already been told.  I'd been toying for awhile with a Sam & Alyssa spinoff -- like they open their own TS office (in Boston???  Enter Jules and Robin...)  But I'm still not convinced about that, either.  

 

Oddly enough, just this morning, I woke up thinking about a TV series set back when Jules Cassidy was in high school.  I was day dreaming about that, and then I started thinking "And then he meets this girl who turns out to be a vampire slayer..."  Oh.  No.  I'm sure Jules would've loved to be in Buffy, but that's been done.  <g>


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Re: FAQ Sheet: Frequently Asked Questions about Suzanne Brockmann and her books

Here's the link to the YouTube preview of the movie Suzanne and Ed made: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtbkjzllOBE
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Re: FAQ Sheet: Frequently Asked Questions about Suzanne Brockmann and her books

Q: vi6 asked this question: Because I am now hooked and need my Suz fix, can you tell me how many new books will be out in 2010 and 2011? 

 

A: Suzanne responded:

 

 At this point in time, there's going to be a lull in the release schedule as my publisher and I move to a production schedule for the books that allows us more time.  (When books are "crashed," or moved quickly from final draft to published book, as HOT PURSUIT was, mistakes get made.  We're hoping to avoid that in the future by building in more time between my final draft due date and the books pub date.)

 

So right now the schedule is this:

 

STAND-IN GROOM (Bantam Loveswept reissue) fall 2009

GALLAGHER'S CLAIM (a stand-alone paperback original) August, 2010

TIME ENOUGH FOR LOVE (Bantam Loveswept reissue) October 2010

HOT PURSUIT pb reissue January 2011

Izzy's book, hardcover, March 2011 (which means it'll be in stores the last Tuesday in February.)

 

But like all things, this schedule is subject to change!  So don't write these dates into your calendar in pen!

 

And we haven't yet scheduled the TS Short Story Anthology or the first book in the new trilogy.  So while right now there will be only two new books coming out in 2010 and 2011, that is probably going to change.

 

-- Suz

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Re: FAQ Sheet: Frequently Asked Questions about Suzanne Brockmann and her books

Q: What's it like living with two writers in the house? (Suzanne's husband is author Ed Gaffney)

 

A: Suzanne's response:

 

Well, to start with, our two offices are on opposite sides of the house.  

 

And it helps that Ed is a "Grand Central Station" writer.  That is, his writing method allows him to write happily and comfortably amidst the chaos.  So his office is right by the front door.  The dogs also both hang out with him.  "Come be writer dogs!" is a command they now recognize and enjoy.  They sleep on the sofa in Ed's office while he's at the computer.  

And he's okay with my wandering down to hug the dogs or to talk to him throughout the day.  

 

As far as deadlines go -- Ed's always understood the importance of deadlines.  He's been thoroughly respectful and supportive right from the start of my career.  And when things get down to the wire, he goes into full support mode, which is nice.  

 

He's not as crazy as I am, which also helps, when it comes to writing method.  Once I approach the end of a book, I tend to stay up late and keep writing.  I'm known for finishing the first draft of a book at 4:00 a.m.  But he'll stop writing in the early evening, even if he's just got a few more pages to write, and he'll finish his book by noon the next day.  It's weird. <ggg>  And so reasonable!  (What?  Sleep?  Now???)

 

As for conflicting releases, it just never really happened.  Also, when you're a new author, it's very rare to get publisher support for things like booksignings.   So, actually, it would be a benefit to him to have a book come out near one of my releases -- and then we just go on tour together.

 

He always comes on tour with me anyway.  Touring can be grueling -- I can't imagine doing it without Ed (and my buddy Eric) by my side.  

 

But once Ed started writing, we made a point to request that each bookseller also have his books on hand at my signings.  So that's actually been a good thing!   

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Re: FAQ Sheet: Frequently Asked Questions about Suzanne Brockmann and her books

Suzanne's Center Stage Schedule:

 

She's in the process of packing up her office, so please excuse Suzanne when she is called away to do this. Here's what she says about her schedule for the rest of the week:

 

 Ed's just gone to Staples to get big orange or yellow stickers to put on all of my office stuff boxes.  So know I really have to go and do this.  (Deadline is Friday, I'm cutting it close!)

 

So I'm going to go get to that work right now -- I'll pop back in at lunchtime, and then again throughout the day.  

 

I also wanted to let you guys know my schedule for Friday -- I've got a booksigning on Friday night at 7 p.m. (at RJ Julia's on Boston Post Road in Madison, CT), so I'm going to be unavailable at that time.  

 

But I just got one of those mini laptops and with that and my aircard, I can get online and answer questions during my two hour drive from MA to CT, starting around 3:00 p.m. ET.  So I'll definitely be popping in then, on Friday, and I'll pop in for my final time during the drive home later that night! 

 

But today and Thursdays and I'll be here in and out throughout the day!

 

See you soon,
Suz


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Re: FAQ Sheet: Frequently Asked Questions about Suzanne Brockmann and her books

Q: Kriscita asked: Do you know going in who a character is going to end up with?  For example, did you always have Tracy in the back of your mind for Deck or was it just not working with Sophia?

 

A: Suzanne's response:

 

 I don't always have a partner in mind for a character -- but sometimes I do.  I recently (as I was packing up my office!) found my original proposal for FLASHPOINT, and because I was introducing a whole pile of brand new characters, I was working from a relatively clean slate.  Obviously I knew the book would be about Tess and Nash.  But at the end of the proposal, I wrote a short blurb for my editor about the next few books in the series and in it I'd written a very short synopsis for a Decker/Sophia book.

 

Now, remember, this was back when FLASHPOINT was in outline stage.  And I'd never met Decker or Sophia (or Nash or Tess or Dave) before.  

 

And until I actually write scenes with a character, he or she is never fully formed.  But once they walk and talk and think and I get inside of their head, then I "get" them on a completely different level.

 

Well, as soon as I wrote the scene in the bathroom between Decker and Sophia, I knew that these two people weren't going to hook up.  Not in any kind of permanent way.  And it was right about that same time (I told this story over on the facebook chat, too!) that I wrote that scene where Dave's dragged himself out to the barn, because he didn't want to keep everyone up all night, listening to him vomit, and he'd just given himself an IV so he wouldn't get dehydrated, and I thought, "Hmmm."  I think from that point on, the idea that Dave was right for Sophia began to grow.  (I even set up a little foreshadowing by having Sophia jokingly refer to Dave in that book as "her third husband.")  

 

Anyway, I was surprised to find those early notes because -- like I said -- as soon as Decker became real to me, I knew it was Not Sophia.  And then when Tracy appeared in INTO THE STORM...

 

Remember that scene where Deck goes to Tracy's motel room to pick up clothes for Sophia?  Tracy made Decker smile, and I knew that he liked her.  She also wasn't afraid to talk to him as if he were a human being -- not a hero or a mentor or a team leader.  I realized at that point that Tracy was on Decker's radar, and the more I saw of her, the more I liked her, too.

 

Jules and Robin -- that was a definite, right from the start thing for me.  

Same with Teri and Stan, even though we don't see much of them before OTE.

I knew I was going to kill Angelina right from the start, when I wrote Flashpoint.

 

Lotta times, though, I'll introduce the heroine right in the book where she wins her happy ending with the hero. Like Hannah and Murphy, or Nils and Meg, or Van and Kenny, Joan and Mike...

 

I'm not sure when I decided that Jenk and Lindsey were meant for each other.  They don't interact before INTO THE STORM, which is their book, so that's kind of the same thing.

 

-- Suz

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Re: FAQ Sheet: Frequently Asked Questions about Suzanne Brockmann and her books

Q: Random Reader asked: How do you come up with continual tweaks to the structure and format to make each story new, without driving yourself nuts or making it too different from what readers are expecting.  For the record, the flashbacks in Breaking Point didn't bother me unless I tried to add the dates up :smileyhappy:

 

A: Suzanne's response:

 

 Wow.  Good questions.

 

For me, something like figuring out the structure is a really organic process.  I rely on "knowing" what feels right, and that -- combined with trying not to write the same type of story again and again and again -- leads me to create new "rules" for each book.

 

Like you said, a major "rule" in all of the books is that each scene will have one POV -- although FYI, I do break that rule at the end of TUH, after Charles takes the bomb out to sea.  I go into an omniscient POV to let the reader see where all of the various characters are at that moment.  But I think it's important to note that, when I do break a rule, I'm very conscious of it.  It's never done by accident.

 

But when I'm preparing to write a book, I think hard about the story that I'm going to be telling, and I try to figure what is the most entertaining way to tell that story.  


For example, with HOT PURSUIT, I was extremely aware that I'd already written a serial killer book in this series -- in INTO THE STORM.  Now here I was, back with yet another serial killer.  What could I do to make it different?  With that in mind, I chose to write from the killer's POV.  (Which was creepy to do, by the way.  It made me a little paranoid.)

 

But some of the differences I choose are not really choices.  Again, with HOT PURSUIT, I knew I wanted to make Sam & Alyssa the main characters of this book, but I'd decided long ago that I would never make them face additional internal conflict -- and I'm talking about conflict that is so intense that the reader isn't sure they'll be together by the end of the book.  So I knew going in that Sam & Alyssa story was going to be focused on the external conflict of catching the killer.   

 

I think there might be some "driving myself nuts" in the process!

 

I haven't read OUTLIERS yet -- but I love Gladwell's other books, so I've got to add it to my TBR pile.

 

I think, though, that he's right on with that.  But I've always been into analysis.  Why does this work?  Why doesn't this work?  I've always been an extremely deliberate writer.  Here's where I'm going, here's how I'm going to get there (to the end of the story).  And again, the question is (as always) how can I do this in a manner that is THE MOST entertaining as possible to the reader.  (Taking into consideration that entertainment is subjective, and there are some readers who aren't going to be entertained no matter what I do.)

 

I think that being able to look at my writing and to analyze it objectively is one of my strengths.  Even though I have a goal to always improve as a writer, the goal that trumps it is to "always do my personal best for right now."  And Right Now might be a challenging time for a variety of reasons.  So my personal best is like mileage -- it may vary.  

 

So I'm able to look at the books I've written and give myself the props and respect that I deserve for doing my personal best at that moment in time -- and yet still analyze them objectively in terms of what I could've done better.

 

Let me give you an example.   In DARK OF NIGHT, I had this idea that, at the end of the book, Tracy and Deck would have a public fight and appear to go their separate ways.  It was a wink and a nod to all the times I did that in previous books in this series.  Sam and ALyssa.  Robin and Jules.   Sam and Alyssa again.  But the book had already reached its thrilling conclusion, with the exception of tying up the loose end of that one missing bad guy.  So I jump ahead in time and show the take down of the bad guy and reveal that Deck and Tracy were just pretending to break up.  

 

And hardly anyone got the inside joke.   The big comment I heard from readers was "It's like the book ended too soon, like she was rushed."  

 

And many, many reader emailed to say that they wanted to see those "missing" scenes of Deck climbing in Tracy's window!  

 

So that was a miss, IMO.  (A writer shouldn't have to go around explaining what they meant to do at the end of a book!  If you do, you haven't written it right.)

 

When things like that happen, when part of the story is misunderstood by a huge number of readers, I'll go back and analyze and try to figure out what I should have done differently.  Not so I can change what I've done.  I'm big on being okay with the book being my personal best (for that particularly "right now").  Rather, I want to know so that I can learn from it and not make the same mistake again.

 

And I think that's the best way to improve.  To recognize and learn from mistakes.

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Re: FAQ Sheet: Frequently Asked Questions about Suzanne Brockmann and her books

Q: gaharley girl wrote: Aside from your books, which all here have professed our love of, I also enjoy reading your booklets with your writer tips.  I know that you have posted your busy schedule already, but I am hopeful that you can squeak in an online seminar, or post us writer-wannabe-Suz-junkies some morsel of your writing wisdom is some format... :smileywink:

 

A: Suzanne's response:  

 

Thank you!

 

I'm hoping to revise the Troubleshooters Readers Guide and make it available as an Extras booklet for Izzy's book.  

 

ANd I do like to include a section for writers (we like to distribute the booklets at RWA, too).  

 

I've been talking about the idea of writing a book about writing for some time now.  It's still in planning stages, but it's something that I'd really like to do.  (The goal is to cowrite it with a friend and make it interesting to nonwriters, too.)

 

In the meantime, though, you might want to check out the RWA audio library from the national conference.  I did a workshop on writing the non-traditional romance (diversity in romance) and there were a lot of really interesting questions asked.  

 

AND... I'm the keynote speaker for a RWA chapter conference in Ohio in 2010.  (I got that totally wrong on the facebook chat.  I suck at math.  I knew it was two years away, except, it was too years away back in 2008.  Oopsie.   SO it's definitely going to happen in October 2010 in Columbus, Ohio.  

 

I'm sure I'll be doing a workshop or two at that conference -- it should be fun!

 

And I'm planning to attend RWA National next July in NASHVILLE.  (Thanks to Sue S. for reminding me that it's not in NYC.  I don't know why I thought that.  Maybe it's there the year after...?  

 

-- Suz


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Re: FAQ Sheet: Frequently Asked Questions about Suzanne Brockmann and her books

Suzanne's Schedule at Center Stage: 

 

She's going to have dinner, but this is her plan for tomorrow (Friday):

 

 I'll be online tomorrow at around 3:00 p.m., from my car (thanks to my aircard!) as I drive to my book signing at RJ Julia's in Madison, CT.

 

And I'll pop back on much later in the evening, during the ride home!

 

I will see you then!

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Re: FAQ Sheet: Frequently Asked Questions about Suzanne Brockmann and her books

*Several people have talked about the possibility of meeting in New York to see Suzanne's musical. Here's more on that from Suzanne:

 

  

Definitely plan field trips to LOOKING FOR BILLY HAINES!  ANd let me know (via email!) when you're coming -- I'll make time to get together for a drink or desert afterwards!

 

We're also going to have a special ticket discount code for readers, so make sure you visit my website appearances page (www.SuzanneBrockmann.com/appearances.htm) to find out how to order tickets.  (Tickets should be on sale by late Oct, early Nov!)