Sunday, April 10, 2011

Second Time Around with Susanna Fraser

It is my pleasure to welcome back the lovely and talented Susanna Fraser. She’s celebrating the release of her second Regency novel, but she’s here to explain how having been through a book release before doesn’t guarantee you’ll be any saner the second time around. But first, let's see what this book is about.

Lucy Jones is a nobody. As an orphan she was reluctantly taken in by her wealthy relatives, the Arringtons, on the condition that she be silent and obedient, always. When her lifelong infatuation with her cousin Sebastian is rewarded by a proposal of marriage, she's happy and grateful, even though the family finds excuses to keep the engagement a secret.

James Wright-Gordon has always had the benefits of money and a high station in society, but he is no snob. He's very close to his sister, Anna, who quickly falls for the dashing Sebastian when the families are brought together at a wedding party. Meanwhile, James is struck by Lucy's quiet intelligence, and drawn to her despite their different circumstances in life.

Lucy suspects that Sebastian has fallen for Anna, but before she can set him free, a terrible secret is revealed that shakes both families. Will James come to her rescue—or abandon her to poverty? 

Today is release day for my second book, A Marriage of Inconvenience.  I suppose I get to call myself a multi-published author now, which has a nice ring to it.  But, you know what?  It’s not really any easier the second time around.

When my debut book, The Sergeant’s Lady came out last August, I was terrified of reviews.  What if they all hated it?  What if they didn’t like my voice?  What if I really WAS the only one out there who missed the old “following the drum” Regencies?

On the whole, I came through my first review process pretty well.  I got B’s from Dear Author and All About Romance, neither of which are known for being easy to please, and overall I got lots of 4- and 5-stars.  Which you’d think would make me less scared this time.  But, no.  I’m still waiting with dread for my first really bad review, because I know it’s inevitable.  And what if all those people who loved my first book don’t like this one?  What if they’re disappointed it’s NOT a “following the drum” Regency?  What if they don’t like its being a closely-linked prequel to my first book?  What if they don’t like the fact that my hero is short?

I’m still nervous.  I’m still obsessive.  I still expect to be checking NovelRank and Amazon regularly, only now I’ve got TWO titles to do it on rather than just one.  Double the neurotic fun!

“But, surely you’ve learned SOMETHING, Susanna,” I can hear you all thinking.  Well, now that I think about it, I have:  

- I’ve learned that people will STILL ask you when you’re going to write a real book, only in my experience it’s usually an e-book vs. print distinction rather than genre fiction vs. Great Lit-rah-chyoor.

- I’ve learned that I will always find a typo in the official, too-late-to-change, published version of my work that somehow my editor, my copyeditor, and I all managed to miss on multiple careful readings.

- I’ve learned that my 7-year-old daughter and I have very different valuations of money.  I think of my writing income in terms of “When can I think about quitting my day job?” By those standards I have a long way to go.  SHE thinks of it as, “How many Littlest Pet Shop toys and DS games could Mommy buy me with her next royalty check?”  In her eyes Mommy is rich rich rich!

- I’ve learned that if you’re saving your vacation time for conference travel and taking your kid to Grandma’s for Christmas and therefore go to work like normal on your release day...everyone expects you to work.  Like normal.  Personally I think I should be trailed by a dozen handsome cabana boys, half of them kilted and half of them in Napoleonic-era British riflemen’s uniforms.  They should fan me, bring me chocolate, carry my bags, hold the elevator for me, and sing my praises. A cappella, and in perfect harmony, because I’ve sung in choirs since 4th grade and I have my musical standards.   A nice backrub wouldn’t be amiss.  And at least one of them should be a math whiz who understands my day job world’s policies and procedures inside out who’ll do my job for me that day.  Because I am an AUTHOR! With a NEW BOOK!

I’ve also learned that there’s no rush quite like getting a fan letter or seeing someone rave about your book on a blog or board.  And I’ve learned that there’s nothing else I’d rather do with my life.

What about you?  Tell me about YOUR second time a writer or anything else.  One commenter wins a copy of A Marriage of Inconvenience in their choice of ePub, PDF, or Kindle format.

A bit about Susanna... 

Susanna grew up in rural Alabama. After high school she left home for the University of Pennsylvania and has been a city girl ever since. She worked in England for a year after college, using her days off to explore history, from ancient stone circles to Jane Austen's Bath.

Susanna lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and daughter. When not writing or reading, she goes to baseball games, sings alto in a local choir and watches cooking competition shows. Please stop by and visit her at, get to know her on Facebook at and follow her on Twitter at @susannafraser.


Hellion said...

I've not really been anywhere or done anything to be second time around for anything. No kids, no marriages, no publishing.

There have been a couple books and movies I've read/watched that I liked a lot better the second time I bothered with them than I did the first time--does that count?

But that's not really what you mean. I can say no matter how often I have to speak in front of people--even people I know who wouldn't ridicule me--it doesn't matter. I hate public speaking. And even if the 2nd time speaking is successful too, if I had to do it again, I'd still be a wreck. *LOL*

Congrats on the new book!! I think it sounds wonderful--and you're freaking for no reason, my good woman!!

2nd Chance said...

Susanna! Welcome back! I just had my first time these last few months and my first book signing at RT on Saturday...what will the second be like? Who the heck knows? This one was frantic enough!

But I'll take the cabana boy...I want mine under the table ready to rub my feet every spare moment I have to just sit.

And yup, how many little things I found after the book was in print! HA!

Here, pull up a stool and let me mix you a kraken rum...goes great with Baileys!

Marnee said...

Welcome back, Susanna! :)

Writer related second times? I remember when I started and finished my second MS. It felt good but I remember how different it felt than the first time. There really is nothing like finishing the first one.

And I remember attending my second conference. I didn't feel quite as much like the newbie as I did the first time.

This historical sounds wonderful. I love the Cinderella feel about it. :)

Irisheyes said...

Welcome, Susanna. Your books sound awesome. I just purchased a Nook so I'll put your name on my ebook buying list!

I never get tired of Marriage of Convenience (or Inconvenience, as the case may be) stories. And when I saw your name on the ship today I did a little search and found your first book, The Sergeant's Lady, compared to a Carla Kelly!!!! She is one of my new found buried treasures. I can't wait to dive in.

The only second time around I can think of is childbirth. At the time I wasn't real keen on repeating the whole process, but looking back it was much simpler the second time around. Although I have to say that is definitely one of those situations where ignorance is bliss.

Congratulations on #2 and I wouldn't worry too much if I were you. The reviews for book #2 are just as promising as #1. Looks like you're a hit!

Donna said...

Susanna, it sounds like there's never an end to things to fret about! But it also sounds like there's lots to celebrate too, so congrats. :)

I had to laugh about the "when are you going to write a real book?" question. I guess that will never go away, will it? Although it's funny that it's usually asked by someone who hasn't written ANY books. LOL

Congrats again. And Go Mariners!

Bosun said...

How are we to keep our illusions if you scatter them to the winds like this?! LOL! Congratulations on book number 2 (which I know will be 2 of MANY!)

I loved The Sergeant's Lady and can't wait to dive into this one too. Seems like the trend these days is for frothier historicals, but I prefer mine with more meat on them, so to speak, which is exactly what you write.

I'm just starting my second MS and it's different in that I feel like I know more about how to achieve what I want plotting/structure-wise. Unfortunately, the words I'm putting on the page aren't any better than the last time. *sigh*

I hate doing anything for the first time, so I'm always more comfortable with the second time. Be it driving somewhere or attending a conference, the first time for me is always more stressful.

Susanna Fraser said...

Thanks for the warm welcome, everyone! I'll be back later with more to say, but I'm on the West Coast and am still trying to herd my daughter out the door for school and get myself into the office for the day job.

Bosun said...

Take your time, Susanna, it takes us a while to get going to. Even here on the East Coast!

Bosun said...

It's your time, Donna! LOL!

Donna said...

Seems like the trend these days is for frothier historicals

God I hope so. Since that's what I've always written. :) And will probably always write.

Donna said...

I feel like I'm a genre assassin. LOL I'll warn you guys before I start writing something that might end up on my hit list.

Scapegoat said...

I love that - genre assassin! LOL

Writing wise I don't think I have any second time arounds yet.

Hmm...buying my 3rd house was the one I finally felt like we knew exactly what we wanted and we didn't settle. The 1st two houses felt like a learning process for how we really live. I mean, there's the way you think you live day to day, and the way you really do. We finally determined to buy based on how we know we live and not the fairytale!

I'm hoping writing takes the same approach. So much of what I'm doing this 1st time is really me just feeling out what I'll "really" do once I figure out my process.

Sin said...

I have a rule, I only have to do something once. If I don't enjoy it the first time, I don't do it a second. lol

I can't imagine after one marriage I'd want to do it again. No offense to anyone.

Good morning to Susanna! Welcome aboard the ship!

Bosun said...

That's a great way to look at a house, Scape. I've bought one (don't count the trailer back when I was married) and I already have my eye on when I can buy a slightly larger one. Since that won't be until kiddo is going off to college, it'll be something small just for me and will likely be my last home purchase.

I'm with you on the first being the MS where you learn your own process and how to really write, but I'm getting worried the second one (and third and fourth) might be learning ones as well. LOL! Do you ever write enough of these things where you feel like you've got it down?

Sin said...

I feel really odd. We are in our first house and I don't ever want to leave it. I will chain myself to the floors if the Undead Monkey makes me move again.

Bosun said...

You're only odd in that you got it right the first time, Sin. I had to buy a "starter" house. It's like a training bra but with more maintenance.

Susanna Fraser said...

@Hellion - Public speaking makes me a wreck every time I do it, at least the kind where I'm behind a podium with a mic. If it's just an open discussion I'll be one of the biggest mouths in the room.

@2nd Chance - Congratulations on your release! Hope you had a great time at RT--that's one conference I haven't tried yet.

@Marnee - Yeah, finishing the second manuscript isn't quite the same (even if the book itself is usually far better) because you already know you can do it.

@Irisheyes - I've only done childbirth once & was in labor for 4 days. We've recently decided our family is complete with just the three of us. I swear the labor experience didn't have MUCH to do with it, though the fact my body takes pregnancy as a signal for "let's shoot Susanna's blood pressure into the stratosphere!" did.

@Donna - It makes you wonder if people ask JK Rowling when she's going to write a REAL book, you know, for GROWN-UPS.

@Bo'sun - I'm always glad to find fans of the meatier historicals, since they are what I prefer to write and read. Nothing against froth, of course--I just get mine from different sources, like my current favorite TV show, Castle.

@Scapegoat - We're still on our first house, bought last year, having stayed renters well into our late 30's for various reasons. I used to say I felt like a fake grown-up because people our age were supposed to own houses, but now I'm glad we waited, given the state of the market. And at this point I'd be perfectly fine with staying in our place until we're ready to retire someplace with a bit more sun.

Bosun said...

I love Castle!

I never thought about that question being put to JK Rowling. LOL! For non-real books, they sure have paid off well.

I rented forever and thought I'd go on renting for many years. Turned out the market fall out worked in my favor, mostly because I didn't have a house I had to sell in order to buy a new one.

That blood pressure thing sounds scary. Makes three sound like the perfect number.

Bosun said...

Before I forget, what's next? Is there another in this series? What are you working on now?

Janga said...

I'm with Irish. A comparison to Carla Kelly, who has long been one of my favorite writers, is enough to persuade me to read your books. Congratulations on your sophomore publication!

I'm retired from teaching and do freelance writing now. I suppose I can think of the writing as my second career. I don't think it's easier than teaching, just different. But there is a lot to be said for no longer having to bright-eyed and enthusiastic for those 8:00 a. m. classes.

P. Kirby said...

Sean Bean. Sean Bean. Sean Bean.

Anyway...A Marriage of Inconvenience sounds really intriguing, what with two different couples and all. I really like the cover.

- I’ve learned that people will STILL ask you when you’re going to write a real book, only in my experience it’s usually an e-book vs. print distinction rather than genre fiction vs. Great Lit-rah-chyoor

I'm still trying to get it through to my non-techie friends and family, that no, at this point, I can't get you a signed copy of the book. Le sigh.

2nd Chance said...

I’m still trying to get it through to my non-techie friends and family, that no, at this point, I can’t get you a signed copy of the book. Le sigh.

Hee, hee. So true!

Bosun said...

I sent my MS off last week to an e-press - it was requested, heh - and had to explain to kiddo that if they wanted to publish it, I still wouldn't have a physical book in hand. But once I assured her it STILL means "published", she was okay about it.

Susanna Fraser said...

@Sin - I don't want to move again anytime soon if I can help it. Not unless I somehow DID become as rich as JK Rowling, in which case I could A) buy my dream house, and B) hire minions to do all the hard parts.

@Bo'sun - I'm not currently under contract for anything else, but I'm working on a Peninsular War romance novella not connected to my previous books, plus a historical fantasy with a protagonist whose unusual upbringing and paranormal abilities lead to her becoming the only woman officer in Wellington's army. So it's a chick-in-pants story, only since she's a Highlander it's more chick-in-a-kilt. :-)

@Janga - I'm so impressed with teachers, since that's one job I know I couldn't do. I took birthday cupcakes to my daughter's first grade class on Friday and was just blown away by the sheer amount of energy it takes to wrangle all those 6- and 7-year-olds.

@P. Kirby - I sometimes tell them that if they print the file, I'd be happy to sign that. :-)

Bosun said...

Wow, you definitely don't lack for high concept ideas. LOL! And I do apologize that I could not fit the pic of Liam in a kilt into the blog. I ran out of room!

Could never be a teacher. Ever. Kudos to those willing to take that on.

Hellion said...

I have a rule, I only have to do something once. If I don’t enjoy it the first time, I don’t do it a second.

I have this rule. I'm glad I broke it where sex was concerned.

I can’t imagine after one marriage I’d want to do it again. No offense to anyone.

No worries. One marriage is enough for most women, except Liz Taylor.

Irisheyes said...

LOL, Sin. I believe I'm with you, though. I heard once that those that have good marriages and lose a spouse are more likely to get married again, but I think I may be the exception. I love my DH and believe we have a pretty solid marriage but I'm pretty sure I won't ever do this again. The older I get the more set in my ways I get. I pity the person trying to deal with me at that point!

Now... there's always the possibility that Colin Firth will become available, move to the United States, settle in the midwest and find me irresistible. But bar that, I think once is enough!

Bosun said...

Once proved more than enough for me. I'm like Irish, set in my ways. Can't imagine learning new pet peeves and space issues and living arrangements. Freaks me out just thinking about it.

Donna said...

Susanna, you just got a lovely review post on Heroes and Heartbreakers! (I was looking to see if my post was up yet.)

Here's the link:

Bosun said...

Wow, that's an awesome review. And she compares you to Jane Austen. It doesn't get much better than that!

Bosun said...

And I just made the connection between this book and the first. Sheesh, I'm slow today. Wow, Lucy really dodged a bullet!

Irisheyes said...

I was just popping around on the web, Donna, and read that review. It is a good one and definitely increased my desire to read about Lucy and James.

Susanna Fraser said...

Thanks for the link, Donna! I knew the review was coming at some point, but it hadn't shown up on my Google Alerts yet.

Donna said...

Susanna, you're welcome. I was surprised when I saw it because they send an email listing which things are posting on which days--that's why I knew mine was posting today (just didn't know what time)--but your review wasn't in the notice we received. So it was a very pleasant surprise when it appeared!

Bosun said...

Thank you for being with us again, Susanna. I will be downloading this book and I'm positive I will be loving it. Reading about a young Anna is going to be a little added bonus. :)

Suzanne Ferrell said...


I was just having this discussion with my friend Joanie of the Romance Bandits about this very neurotic obsessiveness you have over your first book. The checking of the amazon ranking, the googling your title to see where it's been reviewd, tweeted or blogged about. Getting e-mails from virtual strangers who gush about your book. Waiting for that "bad" review you just know someone is going to give it....AND HOW FREAKING COOL IT ALL IS! (And how I can't wait for her to get to experience it when her Irish Paranormal sells!!)

Congrats to you on the second book. I'm still writing mine!

Susanna Fraser said...

Good luck on your second book, Suzanne!

And thanks to everyone for welcoming me here today--this is such a fun blog!

Rosie Nguy said...

Congrats on the new release, Susanna! I was reading the sampler on my Kindle for PC, and already I can pick out elements I'm loving - short hero who is kind and loving to his sister, a sensible, down-on-her luck heroine, and one of my most favorite tropes of all time - the marriage of convenience. I can't wait to read this one.

One of my second time around experiences was taking my driver's license practical. I was rather scared driving a car for the first time, and I was so nervous I pretty much automatically failed because I did a dangerous maneuver the first time. I was calmer the second time and was able to pass with no issues. I thought I would never get my license though. :P