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
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
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
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 http://members.aol.com/skrinard/ 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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