LOVE AND CHOCOLATE

Susan Vaughan here. Saturday was indeed “Love and Chocolate.” Librarian Sue McClintock, of the Vose Library in Union, Maine, invited me to be the first romance author to do a book talk. The month of Valentine’s Day seemed to be the logical time for a romance author. Vose

The Vose Library has occupied a modern building with up-to-date services that go way beyond books since 2011, but it began small in 1931 with a bequest of books and money from Helen Ayer Vose, a teacher who was born in the town of Union. As a former teacher, I found this dear to my heart. Sue arranged a table and folding chairs in the sunny and cheerful children’s area, furnished with the best clock for readers and writers.

Read Clock

Guaranteed to draw in library patrons who didn’t know me as an author were yummy refreshments—hot chocolate and chocolate tarts prepared by Sue. My contribution was a Valentine collection of decadent chocolates from Safe Harbor Confections .

Chocolate Table

The nice-size group collected refreshments and then settled in chairs for my presentation. After Sue’s brief introduction, I shared some of my background as a teacher and what led me to writing romantic suspense. I’ve always read mysteries, and when I discovered that genre folded into romance, I was sold.

Granted, suspense is slightly different from a straight mystery. Usually a mystery is about solving a crime, typically a murder, that has already happened. In a suspense novel, with or without a romance as a large part of the plot, often the reader knows up front the villain’s identity; the plot focuses on stopping his nefarious plot. Most of my romantic suspense books incorporate both suspense and mystery.

I shared some of the background on my newest book Always a Suspect, which is a revised and updated release of my very first book, published in 2001 by Harlequin as Dangerous Attraction.

dacover

Although during most of my teaching career I taught in other areas, my college major was French literature, so the French-Canadian heritage in Maine fascinates me. Briefly, here’s how I used that background. I needed a strong internal conflict for Claire and hit on the idea of a curse. Because of tragedy in her childhood, the superstitious French-Canadian aunts who raised her led her to believe her beauty was a curse and that anyone close to her would die. When two husbands and a fiancé are killed under mysterious circumstances, belief in the curse causes her to shut herself off from the world. But an anonymous caller and persecution by the police force her to hire a PI to clear her name.

Susan_AlwaysASuspect300dpi360x540

When I received the publishing rights back, I suspected to do a lot of revision because (I believe) I’m a better writer than I was back when I wrote the original on my huge Gateway computer. In addition to tightening the prose, I needed to update the technology. My audience chuckled as I described those. Land lines became cell phones, an answering machine became voice mail, hand-held police radios became cell phones, and a mini-tape recorder became a digital recorder.

I then read three excerpts from the beginning of the book, to give the audience a sense of the characters and to set up the plot. When I finished, people had lots of questions about research, promotion, and publishing in general. I had a wonderful time chatting with this group and sharing my story with them. I did sell a few books as well.

We authors love our librarians, who not only promote reading and authors, but offer opportunities like this one for particular authors to share snippets of our books and insights into our writing processes. So thank you, Sue and the Union residents who joined me for “Love and Chocolate.” I’m feeling the love!

About susanvaughan

Susan Vaughan immerses herself in writing romantic suspense novels to escape from the dust bunnies under her furniture and the weeds in her garden. She is a West Virginia native, but she and her husband live in the Mid-Coast area of Maine. A former teacher, she has two nonfiction publications in the field of beginning reading and one young-adult mystery novel. She has written for Harlequin and The Wild Rose Press. Her books have received the Golden Leaf and Laurie awards and been nominated for the Bookseller's Best Award. f Excellence.
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22 Responses to LOVE AND CHOCOLATE

  1. Jen Blood says:

    Sounds like a great event, Susan! Romantic suspense remains one of my very favorite genres… Combine that with chocolate and a group of friendly fellow book lovers, and it definitely sounds like a nice way to pass an afternoon.

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  2. Lea Wait says:

    W#hat a fun day! Thanks for sharing, Susan!

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  3. Brenna Ash says:

    Sounds like a great time Susan, with decadent snacks and a wonderful talk.

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  4. MCWriTers says:

    I still think of the Vose Library as “my” library since I had my first job there at around 11 1/2 as the librarian’s assistant. It was an unpaid position, but it meant that I got first dibs, after the librarian herself, on the newest romantic suspense by Victoria Holt, Phyllis Whitney, and Mary Stewart. That was payment enough for me. To this day, I wish I could write description like Mary Stewart.

    They put on a good spread at the Vose, and treat authors so well. It’s no wonder we writers love libraries so much.

    k.

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  5. Barb Ross says:

    I was at the Vose this summer and I also found both the librarians and crowd to be fantastic.

    Kate and John’s mother was so wonderfully present in the physical library and in people’s memories. It must make them so proud.

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  6. What a fun event, Susan. How special to have it all to yourself. This Friday, I’m going to one of our local libraries which for the second year is recognizing local romance authors. I’ve got to practice my reading out loud before then. Last time I didn’t do as well as I expected of myself with my theatre background. LOL But like you said, the best thing is connecting with “real” readers and not just other authors (who we love dearly for all their support, but it’s different.) I always shave chocolate. In fact need to head out to get some fresh for Friday and get those goody baskets ready.

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    • Marsha, how wonderful your local library does a romance author event! For reading aloud, I find I need to do more than practice. I need to move around the speech or action tags so listeners know who’s speaking. For this reading, I tried to convey the difference between the male voice and female voice.

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  7. Nina Pierce says:

    Sounds like a lovely event. Romantic suspense is my favorite genre! I hope the visitors to your talk enjoyed listening to a romance author and that you had a wonderful time.

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  8. Michelle Libby says:

    Sounds like it was a fun time. Great to have an inquisitive group of readers to bombard you with questions.
    Michelle

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    • Yes, Michelle. At first people were reluctant to ask anything until the librarian started it off. Then they kept me there way longer than I expected. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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  9. Emily Allen says:

    Sounds like a wonderful time. I love that library’s support author’s and there work. I would love to see my local library to a panel of author’s.

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  10. That sounds like a delightful day – well attended, and chocolate! I’m glad it went so well for you.

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