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.