Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Susan Meissner - Blending Historical and Contemporary Story Threads


Susan Meissner is a multi-published author, speaker and writing workshop leader with a background in community journalism. Her novels include A Fall of Marigolds, named by BookList’s Top Ten women’s fiction titles for 2014, and The Shape of Mercy, named by Publishers Weekly as one of the 100 Best Novels of 2008. A California native, she attended Point Loma Nazarene University. Susan is a pastor’s wife and a mother of four young adults. When she's not working on a novel, Susan writes small group curriculum for her San Diego church. Visit Susan at her website: www.susanmeissner.com on Twitter at @SusanMeissner or at www.facebook.com/susan.meissner. Connect with Susan at susanlmeissner@gmail.com.

As an inspirational author, how do you feel your faith and/or ethical values come through in your writing?

I actually think every novelist’s ethics and beliefs comes through in their writing. Or at least they should. I don’t think I would want to read a novel whose author has nothing to say within the pages of their story about what he or she believes about life. My Christian worldview has to show up in what I write because it’s who I am, but I don’t endeavor to make it obvious. If a character makes a decision based on sacrificial love, or the need for forgiveness or the power of affirmation, I won’t point it out as such. I would hope the story is the comment I am making on those virtues.

Is there a genre different from the one you write in, which you particularly enjoy reading? And why?

As strange as it may sound, I do enjoy from time to time a well-written dystopic novel. A dystopic world is about as tough a setting as there is, and yet characters in a world that has gone upside down still yearn for the same things we long for here, in a pretty nice place by comparison. Love, family, security, friendship, loyalty, peace, grace. So you have people like us striving after the same things we strive after, but in a wholly different environment. You can learn a lot about human character in a dystopic novel.

Would you be willing to share with our readers what a typical productive writing day in your life is like?

I research first and then I write. And since I write novels with a blend of historical and contemporary story threads, there is a lot of research up front. I call the research part stocking my grocery store and I do that first. When I transition into writing mode, I plot the story using my own version of the 3-act structure, and then I finally start writing it, shopping from my grocery store as I write.  I shoot for 2,000 words a day 4 to 5 days a week when I am in writing mode. I try NOT to edit the bigger content as I go. Just minor edits. For example, I will read the 2,000 words I wrote yesterday, fix them, and then move on to the 2,000 words I will write today. It usually takes me ten months to write a book: five months of planning, plotting, reading, and shopping. And five months of writing.

8) Do you have any tips for aspiring or new authors in marketing or blogging?

I am not a good go-to person for marketing tips. I would much rather write for my readers and have coffee with them as often as I can. I want to write good books for them and I want them to feel like we’re friends. Marketing for me is connecting with my readers. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, my blog, my newsletter – all of those platforms allow for interaction with my reading community. That’s the only thing I like about marketing and probably the only thing I am good at – connecting with my reader.

Thank you, for visiting with us at Novel PASTimes this week and all you've shared. It’s been a privilege interviewing you.

It is always my pleasure to be your guest!

Readers, don’t forget to enter our Rafflecopter drawing below for your chance to win a copy of Susan Meissner's latest novel, Secret of a Charmed Life. Just click the button and answer Susan’s question. The drawing will be open until 12:00 a.m. Friday morning. Thanks for stopping by!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

11 comments:

Britney Adams said...

I loved learning more about Susan Meissner, her writing process, and her latest release! Secrets of a Charmed Life sounds fantastic!! I love reading World War II era fiction! Kristy Cambron and Sarah Sundin are a couple of authors who stand out in my mind. Thanks so much for the chance to win!

texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

Brittany Keating said...

My sister and I love World War 2 fiction. We are always trading novels that we want the other to read. As far as recent ones, though, a novel that stood out for me was Kristy Cambron's debut. I can't wait for her next one to be released. Her wiring was great, but more than that, the story hooked me right away.

Brittany
rolltide_04( at) yahoo (dot) com

Susan Meissner said...

I have Kristy's book on my Kindle and wish the world would just slow down so I could read it! The cover on her book drew me even before I knew what it was about...

Connie Brown said...

I have been reading WWII novels for a while and I haven't read Susan Meissner's books I have read Susan Sundin's books and I like her books. The last one I read was In Perfect Time, the last of the Nightingales books. They were so good I wasn't ready for them to end.

Jen Colson said...

Great post. I always enjoy reading about an author's writing process. I'm a big fan of Susan Meissner!

As for my favorite WWII novel...hmmm, that's a tough one. I love the era and there are so many good books to choose from. I enjoyed Lynn Austin's A Woman's Place and While We're Far Apart. However, I think my favorite is Kate Breslin's For Such a Time.

jcmichigan at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. The characters were just so easy to love and I learned a lot about the island and its history.

Kathleen Rouser said...

Thank you for stopping by and sharing comments.
I'm learning about WW2 books and writers I'm
not as familiar with this week.

Sure appreciate your comments, Britney, Brittany,
Connie, Jen and Anonymous!

Woot! Another Kate Breslin fan. I enjoyed For Such
a Time as well, Jen.

Kathleen Rouser said...

Thank you so much for sharing about your passion
for writing with us this week, Susan! It was great
interviewing you!

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