Today’s guest is Suzanne Johnson, author of the recently released PIRATE’S ALLEY, the fourth book in her Sentinels of New Orleans series. She’s been a guest blogger here at least a few times (more if you count her alter ego Susannah Sandlin) so when I heard she was doing a BBT tour to promote Pirate’s Alley, I signed up. We discussed several fun topics, all of which I would have been happy to hear her thoughts on, but in the end she said she wanted to do a “Five Photographs” post. (For anyone new here today, I’m doing a photo themed guest blog series this spring. It features a bunch of writers who write romantic, otherworldly/supernatural tales. They submit five photos and answer seven questions.) As part of Suzanne’s tour, she’s giving away one $50 Amazon eGC and two $15 Amazon eGCs. Details below. Welcome, Suzanne!

Something that represents something unique about you

Suzanne Johnson ADD Collector

I will call this “The ADD Collector.” I get on obsessive collecting kicks and then, just as obsessively, grow tired of it. Represented here are some previous collecting frenzies: a piece of Early American Pattern Glass with animal motifs, some early 1960s glassware with Greek characters that was given out at Texaco stations with a fillup, a mask and, from my current collecting binges, a wooden cigar box, an alligator, and some Mardi Gras throws. You could also add dolls and Fenton colonial blue thumbprint glass to this list. And music. And…

Something about where you live

Suzanne Johnson boef gras

Meet two version of “Boeuf Gras,” the plush version thrown from the Mardi Gras float and the “special” version acquired for me by a friend from a member of the Krewe of Rex, the original oldest Mardi Gras krewe. Boeuf Gras is my favorite Mardi Gras float—it’s a huge white bull the size of an eighteen-wheeler that’s a signature float in the Rex parade. But it also represents my current home city of Auburn, Alabama, where there are a lot of cattle and, at the university, a big meat sciences program. Alabama fans who hate Auburn call it “the cow college.” Them’s fightin’ words ’round here.

Something or someone you care about

Suzanne Johnson Shane and Tanker

I debated whether or not to use this photo. It feels a little like cheating, but these are the loves of my life, Shane (the Irish terrier mix) and Tanker (part black chow-chow, part golden retriever). Both of them were rescues I adopted in 2000. I lost Shane at age 16 about six months ago and Tanker, also at age 16, three weeks ago. I will have another dog eventually, but it’s still too raw and hurts too much.

[Jill: That’s rough losing them so close together. I’m so sorry. When you’re ready, I hope you find another dog. He or she will be different — I’m sure neither Shane nor Tanker can be replaced — but I’m equally sure the new dog will bring you just as much joy.]

Something that frustrates you

Suzanne Johnson Fiji House

The FIJI House. I thought about taking a shot of pollen on my car, or my office building where I spend my day job. But, in the end, I chose the Auburn University Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house, aka the FIJI house. I’m sure they’re lovely kids, but the house sits just outside my office window and they’re always yelling and playing annoying music at full blast and hammering on some secret project in their courtyard. I have to work with earbuds stuffed in my ears.

[Jill: Ah, this one made me laugh. 😀]

Something that brings you joy

Suzanne Johnson art stuff

Um…remember all those collections? This isn’t exactly a collection, but it’s one corner of my sprawling art space, where I dabble in paint and have copious amounts of art supplies. There’s also a 20-drawer cabinet, two multi-level rolling carts, and three bookcase shelves full. It’s a sickness…but it makes me happy. That’s my happy space.

Interview

What’s the elevator pitch for your latest published novel?

“The hand that rocks the cradle rules the preternatural world.” An unexpected interspecies pregnancy has the preternatural world on the brink of war, with DJ, New Orleans’ wizard sentinel, caught squarely in the middle—and who she sides with won’t be an easy decision.

What are you working on next?

WILD MAN’S BLUFF, the first book in a new suspense series (written as Susannah Sandlin) about a Louisiana game warden caught up in the case of a murdered voodoo priestess, a long-buried secret, and a woman who’s about to learned that you can take the Cajun girl out of Louisiana but the swamps stay deep within the heart.

What are you currently reading?

Better sit down, or the excitement might do you in: Game Warden: On Patrol in Louisiana, by Jerald Horst. LOL. Gotta do my research!

 What are you currently watching (TV shows)?

Currently, I watch NCIS: New Orleans, The Amazing Race, Chicago Fire, and Cutthroat Kitchen, of which I’ve never missed an episode. I DVR the shows and watch them in 20-minute spurts. My attention span is the size of a gnat, which I blame on my iPhone and too many years of General Hospital.

Favorite fantasy creature, villain, or weapon not from your own work?

I still wish I’d thought to animate a dinosaur. Jim Butcher did that in one of the Dresden books, and Harry Dresden rode the dinosaur skeleton from the Field Museum down the middle of Lakeshore Drive in Chicago. It was freaking brilliant.

Biggest challenge facing writers today?

Discoverability, without a doubt. The downside to authors having so many publishing options these days (which is great) is that it’s harder than ever for an author to find readers. The number of books released in the U.S. was about 300,000 in 2005; in 2009 it had grown to more than 1 million; in 2012, more than 2 million—including more than 500,000 self-published titles PER YEAR. That means a ton of authors and a lot of good books are getting lost in the noise while everyone (authors and publishers) are scrambling around, trying to figure out how to be “discovered” in that crowd. Meanwhile, the number of readers has not grown proportionately.

[Jill: that’s an insane number of books!]

 How can we meet that challenge?

I honestly don’t know. If I did, I’d be a very rich woman…or at least be able to give up my day job! 🙂 The same thing doesn’t work for every book or every author and technology is in constant flux. We’re all trying to figure it out.

[Jill: too true. The thing that keeps me from going batshit crazy is remembering that the majority of those 2 million+ books are not in my wheelhouse — either as a writer or as a reader.]

Suzanne Johnson Pirate's AlleyMore About Pirate’s Alley

From award-winning author Suzanne Johnson comes the fourth book in the smart and sexy Sentinels of New Orleans series.

Wizard sentinel DJ Jaco thought she had gotten used to the chaos of her life in post-Katrina New Orleans, but a new threat is looming, one that will test every relationship she holds dear.

Caught in the middle of a rising struggle between the major powers in the supernatural world—the Wizards, Elves, Vampires and the Fae—DJ finds her loyalties torn and her mettle tested in matters both professional and personal. Her relationship with enforcer Alex Warin is shaky, her non-husband Quince Randolph is growing more powerful, and her best friend Eugenie has a bombshell that could blow everything to Elfheim and back.

And that’s before the French pirate Jean Lafitte, newly revived from his latest “death,” returns to New Orleans with vengeance on his mind. DJ’s assignment? Keep the sexy leader of the historical undead out of trouble. Good luck with that.

Duty clashes with love, loyalty with deception, and friendship with responsibility as DJ navigates passion and politics in the murky waters of a New Orleans caught in the grips of a brutal winter that might have nothing to do with Mother Nature.

War could be brewing, and DJ will be forced to take a stand. But choosing sides won’t be that easy.

Available at   Amazon   BN   Book Depository

More About Suzanne

Suzanne Johnson writes urban fantasy and paranormal fiction 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.

Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she also is the author of the best-selling Penton Legacy paranormal romance series and The Collectors romantic thriller series. Elysian Fields, book three in the Sentinels of New Orleans series, won the 2014 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence while her Sandlin-penned novel, Allegiance, is nominated for a 2015 Reviewer’s Choice Award from RT Book Reviews magazine.

More About the Giveaway

Suzanne is giving away one $50 Amazon eGift Certificate and two $15 Amazon eGift Certificates as part of her Bewitching Book Tour. To enter to win, click here for the Rafflecopter link. For my complete giveaway rules, click here.

Suzanne Johnson Pirate's Alley Banner

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Thank you, Suzanne, for sharing your pictures, thoughts, and great giveaway with us!