Susannah Sandlin (a.k.a. Suzanne Johnson) is here today to discuss her latest release Lovely, Dark, and Deep, which is a romantic thriller. Since she’s best known for her urban fantasy and paranormal romances, Susannah tells us how she shifted gears and used her skills to write action packed scenes minus the monsters. I think her new series sounds great! (But no worries if you’re a fan of her speculative novels… she’s still writing them too). To celebrate her release, she’s doing a tour wide giveaway: 1 $50 Amazon gift card, 2 $10 Amazon gift cards, and 2 Author swag packs (including books). To enter, click on the Rafflecopter link below. Welcome, Susannah!

Lovely, Dark, and Deep, Susannah Sandlin, romantic thriller

The thrill of it all, in human terms

by Susannah Sandlin

Paranormal fiction is the butter to my bread, the snap to my crackle and pop, the…well, you get the idea.

A funny thing happened, however, on the way through the writing of my Penton Legacy paranormal romance series (and my Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series written as Suzanne Johnson): much to my own surprise, I really enjoy writing high-tension, high-action scenes.

A scene calls for a thunderstorm? I’ll make it a tornado or hurricane. Need a bad guy to torment your characters? I will make them so utterly evil that a father will put his son in a dark room full of hungry rodents…naked. Or wield a branding iron on the heroine. Or…well, you get the idea.

(I’m a nice person. Really, I am. I help old ladies across the street. I rescue puppies and kittens. I…well, you get the idea.)

So when I came up with the idea of a ruthless bunch of billionaires who form a club to compete for the world’s great lost treasures—no matter who got hurt along the way—I committed the literary equivalent of walking out on a limb. Yes, I left the paranormal world behind, at least temporarily, to venture into thriller territory.

The result was Lovely, Dark, and Deep, the first book of The Collectors series. It has romance, evil bad guys with ties to the White House, sunken ships, a sexy ex-Marine who drinks too much, a geeky biologist whose ancestor stole a priceless cross from the Knights Templar, deepwater scuba diving, a crusty old lobster fisherman who believes in aliens, and a dog named Tank.

How did it differ from writing a paranormal thriller like last year’s Storm Force or the Penton vampire series?

Not as much as you might think. Here were the major differences:

–The hero and heroine have to depend on their smarts to get them through situations. In working underwater, for example, they need tanks, fins and masks—no sprouting gills for these characters!
–When the bad guy comes after them with a rifle, they actually have to worry about human emergency rooms and the pesky laws about reporting gunshot wounds to the authorities. No wizards or memory modifications to handle that detail. And they recover as slow as, well, humans.
–They can drink alcohol and actually get drunk. And have hangovers. Oh, wait, so can my shape-shifters.
–They can walk around in sunlight without bursting into flames or sparkling. Oh, wait, so can shifters and most other non-vampiric paranormals.
–No evil, politically motivated vampire rulers or alphas….Oh, wait. I have politicians.

In other words, a paranormal thriller and a regular thriller, I was surprised to discover, aren’t so very different. I miss the “what-if” factor of the paranormal worlds, and they’ll continue to be the bread to my butter. But, I’ve discovered, the alpha-male human and his geeky heroine who’s a bit of a klutz? They can hold their own.

Lovely, Dark, and Deep (The Collectors, Book 1) is currently available for download as a Kindle serial for $1.99 for the whole book. The price will increase to $3.99 after the full serial releases on February 18. The print and audio versions will be available from all online retailers on May 13.

More about Lovely, Dark, and Deep

From award-winning author Susannah Sandlin comes a heart-pounding romantic thriller that pits a quick-witted scientist and a scarred ex–combat diver against a ruthless billionaire treasure hunter with ties to the White House.

When biologist Gillian Campbell makes an offhand comment about a family curse during a TV interview, she has no idea what her words will set in motion. Within days, Gillian finds herself at the mercy of a member of the C7, a secretive international group of power brokers with a dangerous game: competing to find the world’s most elusive treasures, no matter the cost, in money or in lives.

To save her family, Gillian teams up with Shane Burke, a former elite diver who’s lost his way, navigating the brutal “death coast” of the North Atlantic to find what the collector seeks: the legendary Ruby Cross of the Knights Templars, stolen by Gillian’s ancestor and lost at sea four hundred years ago.

More about Susannah

Susannah Sandlin writes paranormal romance and romantic thrillers from Auburn, Alabama, on top of a career in educational publishing that has thus far spanned five states and six universities—including both Alabama and Auburn, which makes her bilingual. She grew up in Winfield, Alabama, but was also a longtime resident of New Orleans, so she has a highly refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of SEC football, cheap Mardi Gras trinkets, and fried gator on a stick.

She’s the author of the award-winning Penton Legacy paranormal romance series, a spinoff novel, Storm Force, a standalone novelette, Chenoire, and a new romantic thriller series, The Collectors, beginning this month with Lovely, Dark, and Deep. Writing as Suzanne Johnson, she also is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series. Her Penton novel, Omega, is currently nominated for a 2013 Reviewer’s Choice Award in Paranormal Romance from RT Book Reviews magazine.

You can find Susannah online here:

To enter to win the tour wide giveaway, click here.

Lovely Dark and Deep Banner
Thanks, Susannah, for guest blogging today. Congrats on the release of Lovely, Dark, and Deep and best wishes for The Collectors series!