Veronica Scott for AMAZING STORIES: Welcome to my periodic series of author profiles. Today I’ve chosen S. E. (Susan) Smith, who is one of the most prolific, kindest and imaginative science fiction romance authors I know. She’s also extremely savvy about the indie publishing business and a wonderful mentor. Her readers adore her and her real life adventures as much as they enjoy her interstellar tales. I’ve enjoyed her books for years and appreciate all the hours of happy reading she’s given me and so many others.
VS for ASM.: What was the first scifi romance book you ever read and what did you like about it?
SES: I can’t say that The Accidental Goddess was my first Scifi Romance book I ever read, but it remains one of my favorites! I think my first scifi book that I fell in love with was Alexander Key’s The Forgotten Door, and of course, Escape to Witch Mountain. The Accidental Goddess held all the elements that I adore in a great scifi romance book: strong female lead, a compassionate hero, action, adventure, humor, fantastic characters, amazing world-building, a touch of paranormal… the list goes on and on!
ASM.: What was the first scifi romance book you wrote?
SES: My first scifi story was Abducting Abby: Dragon Lords of Valdier Book 1. I published her story on March 24, 2012. I actually published her story and three others all on the same day, but it was the date I had finished getting them ready is what I’m going by. Here are some loglines for Abby and Zoran’s story.
- When an alien crashes on her mountain, a woman opens her heart and home to him.
- A human woman’s life changes forever when an alien crashes on her mountain and saves her from certain death.
- Abducting Abby was the best thing Zoran ever did – now he just needs to convince his mate.
- A young woman discovers an injured alien on her mountain leading to a series of events that will change her life forever.
ASM.: That was the first one of your books I ever read so I have fond memories of Abby and Zoran. Which of your SFR books is the bestselling?
SES: Oh, my. This is a hard question! I’ve made the USA TODAY Bestsellers List on books in most of my series and the New York Times three times. I would have to say my Alliance series and my Dragon Lords of Valdier are probably my best sellers. My Seven Kingdoms series is a very close third. Here are a couple of loglines for the series.
- The Valdier, an alien species who are dragon-shifters, world is about to change forever when the dragon warriors discover their true mate can be found among the humans.
- Humans have sent messages for decades asking if they are alone in the galaxy. When their call is answered, the humans aren’t as ready as they think. The Trivators are there as first contact. Their job is to welcome new worlds into the Alliance and calm fears. Join the journey of discovery as the Trivators learn that not all humans want the world to remain the same. Warriors come in all shapes and sizes.
ASM.: I will say the Valdier are the first series which comes to my mind when I’m thinking of your books although I certainly picked up Hunter’s Claim (The Alliance Book 1) and kept reading as each new story came out. None of us can ever pick a favorite book or character but if you had to go live in one of your own books, which would you choose and why?
SES: The Seven Kingdoms… because there are seven of them and they are amazing! I could visit the Isle of the Dragons, hang out with the monsters on the Isle of the Monsters, float in the sky with the Elementals or live under the sea on the Isle of the Serpent. Then, there is the Isle of Magic and the Isle of the Giants and who could turn down a chance to visit with Ashure and those sexy pirates? There are so many wonderful things to see, do, and enjoy… especially now without the dastardly alien threatening to destroy our world and theirs!
ASM.: How do you go about world building? Do you do elaborate planning, keep a big file, use post its, wing it – what method works for you?
SES: I’m a pantser, so everything unfolds for me like a painting slowly being unveiled. I love it because it is like seeing it for the first time. It is bright, vivid, and I get lost in the creation process.
ASM.: Which character in your books is either most like you or who you’d like to be and why?
SES: I like to think I am most like Gracie Jones from Gracie’s Touch. I’m kind, caring, yet I don’t give up. When I feel overwhelmed, I may rant and whinge a little, but I always get my act together. I realized this especially after hiking over 500 miles on the Appalachian Trail this past year. You learn a lot about yourself when you do something so far out of your element/comfort zone. You also realize what you are capable of and which you may not have been aware.
ASM.: I was astonished by your entire adventure hiking that trail and glued to your updates! What was your most recent book and what was the story spark or inspiration for that story?
SES: I’ve just released Wynter and the Stone Dragon: Rings of Power Book 1. Wynter’s story was a mixture for me. The idea came from my wedding ring which I was playing with at the time. Wynter’s story is the story of family, friendship (between her and her family and her and her dragon), loss, and love. It contains both paranormal and scifi worlds and ties to several of my other series. I love hiding Easter eggs in my stories!
ASM.: Which book was the most fun to write and why? The most challenging and why?
SES: The most fun has been a mixture of stories. There are some I have become so excited about that I had to stop and just write it. Dust, Hannah’s Warrior, Gracie’s Touch, The Seven Kingdom series, and my Girls from the Street series are just a few. Oh, and the Dragonlings! I love writing the Dragonling stories! At times, I make a deal with myself and will give myself a chapter a week in an exciting series as a reward.
The hardest stories are the more complex ones deep in a series. Jarmen’s Jane Doe has proven to be that because he is in so many other stories and series and his world/situation is very complex. I want to do his and Jane’s story justice, so it requires a lot of thought.
ASM.: Your own favorite tropes? Least favorite tropes?
SES: I don’t really go in for tropes much. I love a great story… period. I don’t like immature or shallow characters. I can’t read stories where someone is unfaithful to another or abusive. That is a big button pusher for me. I have to have my HEA or HFN stories. I love fantasy, scifi, paranormal, and a good historical, contemporary romance. I also enjoy Michael Crichton, Dean Koontz, and Clive Cussler.
ASM.: Do you also write other genres? Which ones?
SES: Because I have a wide taste in stories, I have written in a wide variety of genres. I have Contemporary Suspense Thrillers, Contemporary Fantasy, Young Adult, and Romantic Suspense. I am also working on a series that will defy a specific age group and will be for anyone who loves action, adventure, suspense, fantasy/paranormal stories.
ASM.: Do you have a ‘writing buddy’ pet? Care to share a photo?
SES: I guess Pia would have to be considered my ‘part-time’ writing buddy pet. She loves to keep me company… and let’s me know when I need to take a break.
ASM.: What’s next for you?
SES: I’m finishing Jarmen’s Jane Doe: Lords of Kassis Book 6, then my last book in the Girls from the Street series before focusing on Waking the Golden Goddess in my Dragon Lords of Valdier series and heading off into my Alliance and Zion worlds. I have a lot of stories to finish this year and this is just the beginning!
ASM.: What’s on your To Be Read List?
SES: I’m looking forward to diving into Cassandra Chandler’s newest series.
ASM: Give us your short author bio and where you can be found on social media.
S.E. Smith is an internationally acclaimed, New York Times and USA TODAY Bestselling author of science fiction, romance, fantasy, paranormal, and contemporary works for adults, young adults, and children. She enjoys writing a wide variety of genres that pull her readers into worlds that take them away.
WYNTER AND THE STONE DRAGON (WINGS OF POWER BOOK ONE) by S. E. Smith
When a doorway between worlds opens and unites two lives, anything is possible…
Since she was a child, Wynter Stormhold’s curious nature has taken her to far-off worlds. In one world, she touches the life of a human boy. In another, she finds her most trusted friend, a stone dragon she calls Pow-pow. Hiding her growing powers from her mage family started out as a childish prank, but now she uses them to go on secret adventures.
Sheikh Khalid el Amid’s life changes forever when he encounters a beautiful but alien girl. Wynter brings unexpected miracles during his darkest hour and he vows to always protect her—but then she disappears through a portal.
When grown-up Wynter suddenly reappears years later, Khalid falls in love. All too soon, however, she is ripped from him again. As Wynter and Pow-pow fight for their lives against a mage who would use Wynter and her father’s Rings of Power to control the vast worlds across space, Khalid fights for his people and his rightful place on Earth.
Can an alien princess and her dragon find her way back to her beloved sheikh or will their responsibilities keep them apart forever?
*Previously released in Pets in Space 7! Thank you to everyone who supported the Hero Dogs charity. Together, we make a difference!
VS NOTE: At the time this interview was done for AMAZING STORIES MAGAZINE blog, JARMEN’S JANE DOE hadn’t been released, but it’s now her newest book!
JARMEN’S JANE DOE (LORDS OF KASSIS BOOK SIX) by S E Smith
He is a monster who discovers he had a heart; she is a woman who wants to remain unknown…Jarmen D’ju has no memories of his previous life. They were stolen in the lab that changed him into a monster. Though he was rescued, he knows he will never truly have the life he wants. As a being of half organic material and half cybernetic engineering, Jarmen will always need to hide. Finding a partner is not an option, for who could ever love a monster? Jane Doe awakes aboard an alien spaceship with haunting memories of her former life—a life filled with tragedy that almost killed her. Rescued and protected by her new circus family, she knows she has been given a second chance at life—but chances are fleeting and happiness is nothing more than an illusion where she came from. She thinks it will be the same here until she meets an alien who is more machine than he is man. In the most unlikely of places, Jarmen discovers he has a heart and Jane finds the only man in the galaxy who can take away her nightmares. A single moment in time changes their lives forever and forces Jarmen to make a decision that could change the history of the universe. With the help of some unusual friends, can Jarmen defy time? Or will a cheated death refuse to be denied?
LINKS TO OTHER PROFILES IN SFR INTERVIEWS (listed alphabetically by authors’ first names):