Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Aloha to Susan Grant and THE LAST WARRIOR

As some of you know, I am a military veteran (as well as military spouse).  I received a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Air Force in 1987 when barriers were coming down for women in the workplace.  I credit those who went before me for setting a high standard of excellence, making it possible for new opportunities for the next generation.   Susan Grant is one of those women.   She joins us today at SOS Aloha to celebrate the release of THE LAST WARRIOR.

As a decorated soldier, the young General Tao knows only one kind of honor -- to his people. But when his own king betrays him, he discovers that his sacrifices, his successes, may not have been for the good of the country at all.

Fate -- and his enemies -- throw him together with Elsabeth, a red-haired beauty who has served as the royal tutor, though her loyalties remain with her father's people, the rebellious Kurel, who worship the old ways, even harboring the forbidden arks that brought their people to this planet ages ago. When a threat greater than their peoples' wars looms, intent on destroying the world they both know, the fierce warrior and the sensitive scholar must unite. Together, they must fight for their planet, for their world, and for their love.

Susan's bio is impressive:

"RITA award winner, New York Times best-selling author, USAF veteran, 747 airline pilot, and mom Susan Grant loves writing about what she knows: flying, adventure, and the often unpredictable interaction between men and women!"

Please join me in welcoming Susan to SOS Aloha!

Kim:  Your bio has so many milestones in the military, aviation, and romance!  As you were making history as an pilot, did you envision yourself as an award winning author? What reaction have you received from you family, co-workers, and classmates about your writing success?

Susan:  Aw, thank you for those kind words. No, I never imagined I'd write a book much less get it published, and then gain recognition from it! It's been an absolutely fantastic ride. My family and friends think it's great. My USAF Academy classmates are so supportive, and I get mail from other graduates, giving me "high fives." My co-workers at United are alternately amused and supportive--I write books with “girly stuff”, aka romance, in them, after all. :)

Kim:  You shared some of your highlights of flying, including,

"In my years with United, I've landed in typhoons at 4 am body-clock time in Taipei; I've flown over Iceland and Greenland, the Aleutians, Russia, landed in Fiji when we didn't have enough gas to make it to Sydney, and flew during the tense times in the wake of 9-11."

Can you compare and contrast flying to writing - did flying prepare you for some of the challenges and rewards of writing?

Susan:  If anything about flying prepared me for the publishing industry, it was how many aspects are out of your control--like covers and publisher bankruptcies and editors leaving. Much like unpredicted turbulence, these things can really dump you on your rear-end. But as we pilots say, "Fly the plane first." No matter what happens, that's what you have to do; you can't let distractions throw you off your goal, which for me was to write the best books I could, under the often less-than-optimum conditions I experienced.

Kim:  I follow you on Facebook. You recently posted a picture of a cloud that looked like an alien ship. No doubt your flying and traveling inspire your writing. How do you balance flying (and its extended requirements such as crew rest and sim training), mom-ing, dog walking, and writing (with another list of extended requirements of writing, editing, and promoting)?

Susan:  I have always prioritized my life where family comes first. I place my children and my raising of them before work, whether it be flying or writing. Now I am feeling the squeeze of the "sandwich generation" where the care of elderly parents comes in. Again, family before work. Prioritizing in this way made life easier for me, not harder, because it was always clear what decisions I'd make--the ones that enabled me to see to my family's needs first. Otherwise, I'd have written more books and more often. I'd have attended more conferences and done more interviews. No regrets. I know I made the right choices, because I am very happy and my kids, now 18 and 19, are the greatest any mom could wish for. There is a saying that at the end of your life, what matters most are loved ones, not how many bestseller lists you were on or how fantastic your website was, and I firmly believe this to be the best advice.

Kim:  I love the blurb from your new book, THE LAST WARRIOR.  What inspired the story? Any real life events influence the plot? What would you like readers to take away from reading this book?

Susan:  I challenged myself to write a story without spaceships. Seriously, that was how it began--a science fiction romance without the science. It was a mental exercise that took on a glorious life of its own. If there was no science, then why wasn't there any? I worked backward and created a world where a war had brought the population "back to the stone age" and they had to start all over, split along the ideological lines of those who those who blamed the warriors for the result and those who blamed science and technology. I absolutely love the historical fantasy feel infusing this story, which is quite unlike anything I have written before, and also the love story that came out of this enemies-to-friends romance. Of course, current events always influence my stories. In this one, there are elements of the Middle East conflict, and the seemingly impassible divide between cultures at times.

Kim:  What's next for Susan Grant?

Susan:  I am a few months into a short hiatus to focus on family needs: we are selling our house and moving, and helping to transition my kids from high school to college, all while looking after the medical needs of my parents. I have looked forward to taking a break for a long time--after all I have been on back-to-back deadline for twelve years! It doesn’t mean my muse is being idle. While I do not have any dates for future new books, rest assured I am playing in the world I created for the Lost Colony series by working on the next book in this series, as I’ve promised my readers. Of course, I am still flying, as well. I am fortunate to have a really awesome career as an airline pilot, and it's great fun to be able to share my adventures around the world. Look for my blog to be greatly expanded in coming months for more "arm-chair traveling."

Kim:  I love arm chair traveling!  Looking forward to reading about your adventures!   Mahalo, Susan, for joining us at SOS Aloha!  In honor of your visit, I am giving away the Pacific Aviation Gift Pack - aviation souvenirs plus Hawaiian treats (Susan flies over the Pacific but has yet to visit me in Hawaii!). 

Breaking news - Susan is also giving away a copy of THE LAST WARRIOR!

To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about Susan, flying, science fiction, and THE LAST WARRIOR.

2.  This giveaway is open to US readers only.

3.  Comments are open through Saturday, May 7, 10 pm in Hawaii.   I'll announce the winner on Sunday, May 8.

"Off we go, into the wild blue yonder ..."

Kim in Hawaii

Today is a double header with the Warrior Theme - check out my second post with Anita Clenney and AWAKEN THE HIGHLAND WARRIOR:


Sunday's news about Osama Bin Laden reminds us how military personnel put themselves in harm's way.  Although the Navy Seals can celebrate their success on this mission, they have sustained significant losses during the last 10 years' campaign to end terror.  Thus, I have identified a special fund to benefit military families of Navy Seals as the beneficiary of our ongoing Silent Auction of Jodi's beautiful quilt:


Place a bid.  Make a donation.  Forward this link to your family and friends.  Thank you for your support during Armed Forces Appreciation Month.


  1. Nice work on this post Kim I love the pictures !

    Susan thank for a very lovely interview I have a question how does flying compare to say the thrill of a writing a new book?


  2. I love Susan's books. I like the fact that in real life Susan's a pilot because when I read her flight scenes, or anything regarding a ship, they seem more realistic. The Last Warrior looks like an another great read!!!

  3. I've heard so many great things about Susan's books. The fact that she's lived an adventure sweetens the deal! Next time I see a United 747, I'll wave!


  4. Congrats on the new book. I could never fly a plane, I am way too scared of heights and looking out the windshield or windows would really make me sick and probably passout! Lol

  5. Thanks for sharing your flying and writing experiences with us, Susan! Congrats on the new release, The Last Warrior sounds fantastic! I like the being brought back to the stone age as an aftermath of war premise, it'll be so interesting to see where you take it along with the friends to enemies love story!

  6. Susan,

    Considering what you have accomplished, you deserve a break! Like Kim, I love to hear about traveling stories so I'll check out your blog!


  7. Congrats on the release, Susan. I've always wanted to see the view from the cockpit.

  8. I have not read any of Susan's books. I don't usually read sci-fy but this one sounds interesting and I love the cover! It would take me out of my zone for awhile and its always good to try new things! Thanks for sharing with us today! Great Post!

  9. Congrats on the new book. I would love to see the world from a pilots seat.

  10. My Dh is so jealous he had just got his pilots license when he had an MVA needless to say he has not been able to fly since, It was wonderful in the Summer going up in the plane almost like the Sunday drive.
    I Have NOT read Susan's books I do hope to change that.
    Love the pictures in this blog today Kim.
    Have a good one Ann

  11. Great pictures. I admire you being able to work as you did.

    debby236 at gmail dot com

  12. Great interview. I can't imagine what it would be like to be in the military and fly jets or even a 747...must have been thrilling! I love Sci/Fi Romance and The Last Warrior sounds great..lots of conflict and tension that always ratchets up the romance scenes. Thanks for the contest!

    junegirl63(at)gmail(dot)com/ US Res.

  13. Thank you all so much for the sweet words! I just returned from Shanghai after flying all night and can hardly focus, but, I wanted to reply before I went full-out unconscious from exhaustion. :)

    Yes, Kim did an amazing job with the blog and the pics and generally making me look good. Mahalo, Kim!

    desere_steenberg said: "how does flying compare to say the thrill of a writing a new book?"

    Desere, I've been flying for so many decades that some of the thrill has worn off, so sometimes beginning a new book can be even more exciting that flying. But, I still love both. I feel so lucky to get to do both, although each of my careers involve lots of hard work as much as they are also fun.

    June M, I am actually terrified of heights! In a plane you just don't get the sense of it like you do on a rooftop or cliff edge. In fact, i know many pilots who hate heights. Funny to contemplate, eh?

    Johanna, i hope you do take the leap and try something new. The Last Warrior is very un-science-y and a really great place to get a taste of the genre! I'd be so happy if you were motivated to try more like it in the future. There are so many great Sf romances out there!

    Estella said...
    Congrats on the new book. I would love to see the world from a pilots seat."
    Come visit my blog and go to the archives! I post lots about what it's like in the cockpit. Just go here www.susangrant.com/blog
    See you there!

    Again, thanks to all of you! You have ended my long day with a big smile!!!!!!!

  14. The Last Warrior has such a beauitful cover!! I cannot wait to read it!!!!

  15. Thank you for serving in our country's Air Force, Susan! I have many a friend who served in the USAF and was engaged to few of them too. :D But I ultimately married a Grunt. :)

  16. Thank you for replying Susan I am facinated to hear that you enjoy both your careers so much! Take Care and safe flying !

  17. Congratulations on your accomplishments, Susan! I think the only thing possibly more fun than travelling across countries is travelling across countries and time:) The Last Warrior sounds like a great read. Good luck with your transitions!

    Mary M

  18. Susan what an amazing bio you have. Thanks for sharing it with us. Congratulations on a job well done all the around. The book sounds fascinating and will look forward to some arm chair travels. I always joke if I won the lottery I'd buy a home to come home to and travel and see the world. Thanks again for sharing with us.

  19. The book covers are great!

    I know of pilots who hate to fly (as passengers). How are you at being a passenger?

  20. Sue, I love your writing and thank you for your military service.

  21. Thank you all so much! Sheree, i am a terrible passenger. :) I know too much!

  22. Nice interview of one of my fav authors. Thanks.