Susanna Fraser wrote her first novel in fourth grade. It starred a family of talking horses who ruled a magical land. In high school she started, but never finished, a succession of tales of girls who were just like her, only with long, naturally curly and often unusually colored hair, who, perhaps because of the hair, had much greater success with boys than she ever did.
Along the way she read her hometown library’s entire collection of Regency romance, fell in love with the works of Jane Austen, and discovered in Patrick O’Brian’s and Bernard Cornwell’s novels another side of the opening decades of the 19th century. When she started to write again as an adult, she knew exactly where she wanted to set her books. Her writing has come a long way from her youthful efforts, but she still gives her heroines great hair.
Susanna grew up in rural Alabama. After high school she left home for the University of Pennsylvania and has been a city girl ever since. She worked in England for a year after college, using her days off to explore history from ancient stone circles to Jane Austen’s Bath.
Susanna lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and daughter. When not writing or reading, she goes to baseball games, sings alto in a local choir and watches cooking competition shows.
For more information please visit Susanna’s website and blog. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
Thank you for having me here on SOS Aloha today!
When I'm trying to get a grasp on the characters in my historical romances, I often imagine what they might be if they were living in the 21st century, with a full range of 21st century opportunities. For example, Will Atkins, the hero of my debut novel The Sergeant's Lady, would still have a military career, but instead of enlisting at sixteen he would secure an appointment to West Point out of high school and become a career officer. His heroine, Anna Arrington, would most likely go into international development or diplomacy.
In my new holiday novella, A Christmas Reunion, the heroine, Lady Catherine Trevilian, is a smart, savvy young woman who's grown up in a politically active family. Her goal at the beginning of the story is to shape the direction of her country by becoming an influential political hostess. If she lived in the 21st century, she wouldn't need to stay behind the scenes, and I picture her getting her law degree and pursuing elective office.
The hero, Gabriel Shepherd, was more of a challenge to slot into a 21st century career. Like most of my heroes and heroines, he has a strong drive to public service and leaving the world better than he found it. But he also has an abiding passion for music and the talent to match. I think if he had every opportunity set before him, including a family who saw music as a respectable career choice and encouraged his gifts, music would trump all else for him. And while he'd probably be happy as a band or choir director, I'm going to dream big on his behalf and make him a rock star who uses his fame and fortune for the greater good...which would make his eventual romance with 21st-century Catherine somewhat in the George Clooney-Amal Alamuddin mode.
Have you ever imagined what your favorite historical characters might've been if they'd been born in our time? Or what you might've been if you'd been born a few centuries earlier?
Lady Catherine Trevilian and Gabriel Shepherd met in the Earl of Edenwell’s household, he the earl’s bastard nephew adopted as an infant, and she the countess’s highborn niece taken in after being orphaned as a young lady. Though not a suitable match by society’s standards, they fell hopelessly in love – but everything ended when they were caught kissing under the mistletoe. To protect Cat from Gabe’s lowborn charms, the earl bought him an army commission and shipped him out of the country. Catherine eventually accepted an arranged engagement, but never stopped scouring casualty lists for Gabe’s name.
Five years later, Gabe is home on leave for Christmas. Catherine and Gabe quickly learn their feelings have not dimmed – and a forbidden kiss confirms they’ve deepened into passion. But with Cat due to be married in eight days and Gabe still far below her social station, it will take a Christmas miracle for the star-crossed lovers to find happiness…
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Susanna offers an excerpt from A CHRISTMAS REUNION at this link.