Interview with Susan Rae + Review of ICE blue

Before I get started, I want to thank our host for giving me this opportunity to tell you a little about myself and my new release, ICE blue.

Now for the questions…

What kind of research did you do for Ice Blue?

ICE blue is a very involved novel that draws from a lot of different areas, from illegal immigration and human trafficking, to Chicago police and Fire/Paramedic procedures, to protocol regarding abandoned babies, and even to medical procedures. I gleaned the initial story idea from the newspaper, then took it further with research on the internet, and then in person with interviews with fire/paramedics including a paramedic that worked in Chicago in the area where the novel is set. The research was fairly extensive, resulting in a stack of research files about eight inches thick. For example, I had a whole file on Chinese names, including where in China specific names originated. I am kind of a nutcase when it comes to research. I probably spent at least two days just angsting over names!

Why should people read Ice Blue?

If you like a gritty suspense story with some steamy romance thrown in then ICE blue should be just your cup of tea. Along with the passion and suspense, you’ll also get a story that is relevant to today’s issues, and one that shows that with love and encouragement from family and friends, we can find the strength to move past the obstacles life throws in our paths. Now having said all that, you should read it for the hot love scenes and the chemistry between Angela and Troy. J

TRUE blue (coming 2014) will be the third book in the DeLuca family series; can you give us any more details please?

TRUE blue features the oldest DeLuca sibling, Joey Jr., and his wife, Andi, both Chicago detectives and key characters in heartbeats and ICE blue. When a woman from Joey’s past shows up, questions arise that threaten to bring down the entire DeLuca family as well as destroy Andi’s and Joey’s marriage. I know it’s a little different having a couple that is already married in a romance novel, but I like the idea of combining a good suspense story with a love story that involves two people who are already married (to each other!), but face a crisis of trust and have to find their way back to love. It’s proving to be quite an interesting work.

Who is your favorite DeLuca family member and why?

Oh my, so hard to say. They are all my children, my creations, and I love them all, even though some don’t always act in a perfect way. I guess my favorites are the ones I happen to be working on at any given time, although my first love was Drake, who really isn’t a DeLuca by name, but a McGuire. He came to live with his cousins at the tender age of six when his parents died in a car crash on Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive. He turned out to be the perfect mate for Dr. Elizabeth Iverson, the heroine in heartbeats.

I like your writing philosophy of well-rounded characters and intriguing plots, but how does this reflect on your writing process?

A question that invariably comes up in writing circles is, “Are you a plotter or a panster?” Mostly, I am a plotter, but I am also a little bit panster. Before I sit down to write the novel, I have already plotted the main movements onto a story board. I generally know the beginning, the middle, and the end, and the important beats of the novel—the events that move the story in a different direction. I also know who the villains are, the main themes of the story, and the clues that I will plant along the way. Because I write suspense, it is important for me to know where I am going. As for the characters, sometimes when I get a story idea, I think of what kind of hero and heroine will work best in the story and then I brainstorm all their issues--how they will play off each other, how they are alike, how they are different, etc. The characters themselves grow from my observation of people in general, and even from the experiences of my family and friends and my admiration for how they deal with their difficulties.

Of course, in ICE blue and TRUE blue I had to start with a DeLuca. For ICE blue, when I first started thinking about writing a sequel to heartbeats, I was trying to decide which family member to write about and I remembered there was a younger sibling in the story who wasn’t a cop, but a paramedic. I actually had to go into my own book and find her name. Then I had to decide what kind of story I was going to write with her. Once I had that, I began to really flesh her out. Anyway, once I have the characters well-sketched out and the basic plot points, I sit down to finally write the book. By this time the characters are already nagging in my head, urging me to get their story out. And that’s when the panster comes in. I can’t possibly have all the elements or nuances of a scene in my head or even on paper when I start to write a novel. That kind of magic only happens when I actually sit down to write.

From Alice in Wonderland to Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, what books do you like to read now?
My favorite authors are intrigue/romance authors Mary Higgins Clark, Jayne Ann Krentz, Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown, Iris Johansen (You get the picture!). But also Tom Clancy, James Patterson, Robert Ludlum, John Grisham, Stephen King. J.R.R. Tolkien and J.K. Rowling, along with a slew of romance and women’s fiction authors whose books sit on my bookshelf, most of them read, the other’s awaiting some quite time by the pool.

Again, thank you to our host for having me here and thank you, readers, for spending this time with me and allowing me to tell you a little about myself. For more information on my books and my writing, please visit me at www.susanrae.com

Happy Reading,

Susan Rae 

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When lives are on the line, sometimes the wrong thing is the right thing to do.

Born into a Chicago cop family, while her brothers get their rush from catching bad guys, paramedic Angela DeLuca gets hers from saving lives. A tough beauty with a heart perhaps too big, she champions the underdog because, as the youngest of six siblings, she often felt like one.

ICE Special Agent Troy Deavers became a cop to prove he wasn’t like his father—a southern politician who brought his family down with greed and corruption. He doesn’t suffer victims well. At first intrigued by Angela’s passion, he soon fears that the fire in Angela’s heart will be her undoing.

What happens when Troy falls in love with the lovely but infuriating Angela, the Chicago paramedic who insists on protecting a young witness and her unborn baby—a witness who could break his case wide open?

You met the DeLuca family in heartbeats, now come to know them even better in ICE blue.

Angela DeLuca is a paramedic working for the Chicago Fire Department. She's strong, caring and she often goes beyond the call of duty. It's probably because of those factors someone decided to leave a newborn baby on her front door step.

Enter Troy, he's an ICE agent. His job is to uncover human trafficking cells and his gut is telling him that bay is somehow part of it. When he first meets Angela, he's convinced she knows more than she is letting on. What he didn't expect was how attracted he would be to her. Luckily for him Angela returns that attraction, but this doesn't mean she likes him all that much, in the beginning.

So while Troy is investigating the human trafficking cell, Angela tries to stay focused on her job. Still the whole baby thing lies pretty close too her heart and she decides to start her own little investigation, but how far is she willing to go before admitting she needs Troy's help.

ICE blue is a fun chick lit novel. There are no big surprises in the story and I do feel the author could have gone deeper into the main characters' past and problems. Still I loved the investigation part, human trafficking isn't a easy subject but Susan Rae approached it really well. The story is really convincible, some parts a bit sensational but not over the top. The tension between Troy and Angela could have been explored a bit more, but it doesn't leave you disappointed.

Overall ICE blue was an enjoyable read, certainly if you like mystery, romance and hot cops!!!

Total Book Geek

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