Susan Krinard

Describe yourself, what you write, etc.

My name is Susan Krinard--I go by "Sue"--and I write paranormal and fantasy romance for Bantam. I sold my first book, PRINCE OF WOLVES, to Bantam through the "slush pile" (unagented) and was offered a three-book contract, which in turn led to a second three-book contract, a two-book contract (just completed with my forthcoming ONCE A WOLF this July) and another coming up.

I fell into writing romance almost by accident. I'd gone to art school and planned to become a SF/fantasy book cover illustrator--even went so far as to taking my portfolio to the art directors in NY--but nothing came of it. So I worked a series of clerical and library jobs until I got an art job that fell through, and found myself unemployed. At that point, a writer friend of mine read a short story I'd written based on the television series "Beauty and the Beast." She urged me to try writing a romance novel. Up until then, I'd read very little romance, but I loved romance in my SF/fantasy reading. I soon found that I had a natural flair for writing the romantic relationship.

My husband, whom I'd actually met through the fan club of SF writer C.J. Cherryh, encouraged me to try writing a novel. PRINCE OF WOLVES was the result, written on a primitive table on a primitive Macintosh. It was natural that I should combine my love of fantasy with romance, and I chose werewolves as my first subjects. Not your usual slavering, evil, cursed werewolves, but true shapeshifters who had the good qualities of the wolf, an animal I'd always admired.

I had no idea then that my idea might be a "tough sell." I finished the book in six months, with a little mentoring from my writer friend, and sent it off with an agent I'd just acquired. The first publisher rejected it (they didn't even publish that kind of book!), and my agent dumped me. Then I sent it to Bantam, and the rest, as they say, is history. I'm now working on the third historical werewolf novel, following last year's TOUCH OF THE WOLF and this July's ONCE A WOLF, which will loosely tie in with my two werewolf contemporaries, PRINCE OF WOLVES and PRINCE OF SHADOWS. In addition to the werewolf books, I also have written a "vampire" romance, a time travel, a ghost/reincarnation romance, and a futuristic. I've also had stories in two anthologies, and am working on a third.

I still read SF/fantasy, as well as historicals and some mysteries and lots and lots of non-fiction for research. I am absolutely committed to fantasy romance, and I hope to be writing it from the SF direction as well, so that I can explore some of the angles I'm not able to in the Romance genre. (I can get a little too weird for Romance at times!)

I currently live in the San Francisco Bay Area with my French-Canadian husband, Serge, a spoiled dog and two cats. We hope to move to New Mexico this summer. I fell in love with the Southwest the first time I visited two years ago, and ONCE WOLF is set in New Mexico Territory in 1878.

I love nature, animals (especially dogs and wolves), New Age and Classical music, old romantic and adventure movies, and chocolate.

When did you first start writing , and what's your writing background been like?

I answered that partially above . . . I started writing PRINCE OF WOLVES in '92, I believe, and it was published in '94. That was my first book, but I still have two "trunk" books written after POW that Bantam didn't want. One of them I hope to adapt into a fantasy novel.

I had no formal writing background. I'd always been good writing reports and essays in school, and told myself stories "in my head." I'd also written a couple of "fan stories" for movies and TV shows I enjoyed ("Beauty and the Beast," The Road Warrior), but never thought I'd write a book. It just never occurred to me. But I found that I'd read so much, I'd absorbed the basic skills of writing a novel. I still don't find it easy, however. In fact, I'd say it gets harder with every book, because I learn more and become more demanding of myself.

What jobs have you held, and how have they influenced your writing, if at all?

Writing has been my first "real" career. Prior to that, I have held a lot of clerical and library jobs, none of them what I'd want to have for more than a few years (though the library jobs came closest.) They haven't influenced my writing at all . . . except to make me more determined to keep writing, since the alternate is an office job! I have the true "artist" mentality and don't do well in a highly structured, closed environment.

I love to read about werewolves and love your werewolf stories especially. How do you think up your characters?

The one thing that most of my characters have in common is that they have problems to overcome, usually of the interior variety. I write "angst" because it reflects the struggles I've gone through, and continue to go through, myself. My characters reflect the difficulties real people face in finding happiness, even if they are werewolves or vampires.

I usually start with an idea: werewolf. Then I think about the kinds of situations that would make life hard for a werewolf as well as a human being. I go back and forth developing the situation/plot and the characters, adapting them to each other. As I write, the character develops more and more, so that I only truly know him or her at the end of the book. It's just like getting to know a real person. It unfolds for me. However, I plot quite thoroughly in advance, and change things as I need to when the character changes or "wants" something different.

What books and authors do you like to read?

I've gotten a lot more picky since I became a writer! My favorite romance authors are Mary Balogh and Laura Kinsale. I also read fantasy and SF; my favorite authors in that genre are Lois McMaster Bujold, C.J. Cherryh and Sharon Lee/Steve Miller. I've enjoyed the mysteries of Anne Perry. In general, I like the really emotional stories, where characters have to work their way through problems. But I also tend to demand a happy, or at least hopeful, ending.

What advice would you give aspiring writers?

This is hard work. At least it is for me. It takes a lot of persistence and courage to be a writer. I was fortunate in that I wasn't rejected much before I sold, but I've had to pay my dues since, in lots of struggle and a steep learning curve. It takes discipline and the realization that it's not always a matter of "inspiration" and writing when you feel like it, but sitting down and writing when you DON'T feel like it, when it feels as if you'd rather be doing just about anything else!

What is your next book and when is it due out?

My next book is the second in my historical werewolf trilogy, which began with Touch of the Wolf. It's ONCE A WOLF (formerly PASSION OF THE WOLF), coming this July from Bantam. It's the story of the sister of the hero from the first book; her name is Lady Rowena Forster, and she is a werewolf who hates being a werewolf. She's kidnapped from her "safe" home in New York by a western outlaw bent on revenge against her fiance. He's also a werewolf, and he plans to teach her a few lessons about the "joy of lycanthropy." But she also has a few lessons to teach him.

I really enjoyed writing this book, especially because it's set in New Mexico, a state I fell in love with.

What attracts you to the paranormal?

It's my long-time love of SF/fantasy and stretching the imagination. I read to get away from reality . . . that means I don't read a lot of contemporary fiction, because it's too much like the "real world" for me. My imagination is always out among the stars or exploring some fascinating twist of the natural world. In fact, I'd probably write a lot more "out there" books if the Romance genre permitted it. But there are rules to follow, and so I do as much "stretching" as I can within those rules.

How much luck have you had in getting published? How long did it take?

I answered that above . . . I was very lucky. I sold my first book to the second publisher I sent it to, and the book hit the shelves within two and a half years of my completing it. I think all the reading I'd done in my life had laid the groundwork for my being able to write a publishable novel from the beginning. But I still had a lot to learn, and still do.

You're most well known for your werewolf books. Are you planing on continuing the series? If so, how far?

I do like writing about my werewolves, and probably will for some time. However, I don't want to become known as the "werewolf lady." I'd burn out, and so would my readers.

I have one more historical novel in my trilogy, which should be out in summer of 2001, and then I plan to take at least a one-book break from werewolves. After that, I can see writing a werewolf book every other year, both historical and contemporary. Ideally, I'd like to write a third contemporary to tie in with the first two, and I have a number of secondary characters to spin off from my first trilogy, including Cassidy's lost brother Morgan and two male secondary characters in ONCE A WOLF. I could also go further back in time. I'd like to build a great big werewolf 'family tree."

I especially enjoyed your futuristic "Star Crossed." Are you planning any more books along that line?

I loved writing Star Crossed. I love writing futuristics. Unfortunately, in the current print market they just don't sell. The audience is loyal but small. STAR CROSSED was my worst-selling book.

I'm currently writing an all-out futuristic novella for a Berkley anthology (out in March 2001), and it's been a real joy. But I think if I want to keep writing in the true SF romance vein, I'll have to write from the SF angle. In fact, I hope to be able to write a SF novel over the next couple of years. Naturally it'll have a romantic subplot, but the romance will have to be "toned down" a little in favor of the SF elements. This way, though, I can do the kind of complex worldbuilding I really love in SF.

Basically, I want to be able to write both Romance and SF.

Can you give us any information on how to reach you ore a web page address?

I have a web page at I have a quarterly newsletter (roughly quarterly, anyway!) and will shortly be putting up cover art and an excerpt for ONCE A WOLF. I'll also be running a contest to win an original "print" of the cover art for TOUCH OF THE WOLF, on rolled canvas, directly from the artist, Franco Accornero. It's gorgeous!


Prince of Wolves
Prince of Shadows
Touch of the Wolf
Once A Wolf
(coming 2000)
Body and Soul
Prince of Dreams
Twice a Hero

Visit Susan Krinard's webpage

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