Today I'll be interviewing, Suzannah Burke, author of Dudes Down Under (Dudes Series- Book One), a romantic comedy published by Taylor Street Books.
*Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win a digital copy of Dudes Down Under! Don't forget to leave your email addy. Contest ends Sunday, October 21st, 6 PM EST.*
Number of pages: 286
Word Count: 90,000
Number of pages: 286
Word Count: 90,000
No cell-phones, no computers, no paparrazi.
They pay half a million dollars for the privilege of being randomly chosen from a barrel of names on her programme.
The winners, include Hollywood’s foremost golden couple. His very unforgiving ex-wife.
The young hotel heiress with a habit of driving whilst drunk and little else to commend her. Blend in a couple of famous expatriate actors
Add the tower owning king of power with an unfortunate hairstyle and attitude.
The television hostess and her film crew.
Add to the mixture:
The most politically incorrect bunch of Australian staff you are likely to meet, anywhere.
Cyril, who has impeccable dress sense, adores Al Pacino and Marlon Brando, drinks to excess, and has a fascinating attitude about well—everything! Well ... yes--he is a Crocodile, but he's family.
Blend the ingredients carefully then stand well back!
SKY: What inspired you to write this book?
SUZANNAH: This work is a romantic/comedy, as far from my previously published works as it gets. That’s exactly what caused Dudes Down Under to evolve. I needed to escape from the painful memories associated with writing my biography (Empty Chairs written under my pen name of Stacey Danson). I came up with the idea of creating a place where the fabulously rich and famous folks could really escape. I’d often wondered about the tragedy of the late Princess Diana and my thoughts drifted to what may have happened differently if she had had a place where she could just be herself, relax, and not have to worry about the constant intrusion of the paparrazi …the relentless glare of that ever present spotlight. So … Dudes Down Under which is the name of the resort evolved from that. I created a fictional paradise island where the Hollywood A listers and other very public figures could holiday without publicity … cell phones or intrusion.
SKY: How did you come up with the title?
SUZANNAH: The title is the name I came up with for the resort. Dudes … well that part is easy enough. Down Under…yeah, I’m an Australian and that is exaxtly where I have set the novel.
SKY: What made you choose the main setting for your book?
SUZANNAH: I had the great good fortune to have spent many years living in the tropical north of Australia. The islands of the Great Barrier Reef were my backyard for a long time. They are truly amongst the most beautiful places on the planet. I have travelled widely and have seen many glorious places, but nothing comes near the serenity and beauty of these islands in my estimation … but then…I’m an Aussie, I could be slightly biased…lol.
SKY: Tell us about your favorite writing environment. Is it indoors, outdoors, a special room, etc.
SUZANNAH: I wrote Dudes Down Under when I was living in a small seaside village. I had ocean views from one large window where my desk was set up, and the quieter views of a lake behind me. Water has always held me captive. It calms me and inspires me. I now live in the city which has its own attractions and have a quiet space in a sunlit room where I currently work.
SKY: How long have you been writing? How long have you been published?
SUZANNAH: I have been writing for many years now and it was initially for my own pleasure and a release for me. I was so very delighted to have had my work acknowledged and then published by Taylor Street publishing. My first book (Empty Chairs) came out in January 2011.
SKY: What genre/genres do you prefer to write? Are there other genres you’d like to write in the future?
SUZANNAH: You know it’s an odd thing, I haven’t yet decided what genre I prefer. I have written non-fiction. Romance and comedy…yet my latest book due out next year is a Political/psychological thriller and I’m currently working on a murder mystery. I love the challenge of attempting and mastering new ways of writing, and the psychological thriller so far was the most exhausting genre, and perhaps the most satisfying.
SKY: Do you prefer to write short stories, novellas or novels? Why?
SUZANNAH: I prefer writing novels. I love the challenge of creating a story complete or perhaps left open for a sequel. The novel allows me to have such a free reign in the development of the characters and their interactions with each other. I get to see my creations evolve over the course of the novel, I have the luxury of the length of the novel form to allow them to change and to create circumstances that can force them to adapt over time.
SKY: Thanks so much for joining me today, Suzannah. Wishing you much success in your writing career!
Lucy shook back her waist length hair; it clung in wet strands to her olive-skinned shoulders as she emerged from the lagoon. This was her island, her home. Twenty-four hours from now people ready to criticize and find fault with everything and anything would invade it.
Her stomach clenched in a tight knot. Nerves were her biggest enemy. They often blew the hell out of her attempts to present herself as cool, collected, and unaffected. Well, daddy, wherever you are…this is it. I have done what I promised you I would do. I’ve built it. It’s real daddy, I can see it from here. I wish you could see it. Can you? I hope so. It was your dream and mine, I hope to hell it works.
She gave herself a quick brush down, gently flicking the silver sand onto the pathway leading through the rainforest to her private dwelling.
Tomorrow was D Day…Dudes Day. Today was the last chance to change anything.
Lucy looked out from her wide verandah at the sparkling newness of the resort.
Dudes down Under curved around the lagoon seeming to blend into the crystal water. The separate bungalows at varying levels half hidden from view by the rain forest nestled around them. It was her baby, her pride in it a tangible thing. She had poured her heart and her entire inheritance into her dream, her father’s dream. Daddy was gone, their dream resort was here, real at last and waiting.
Every bungalow was individually created to reflect a part of her Australia. The Great Barrier Reef lent itself to every imaginable color combination. The feeling of being in the water heightened by the floor to ceiling aquariums in every bungalow, leading through corridors of terrariums and out to a private pool and spa ceilinged with rain forest vines, and a glass archway that could be soundlessly closed over by remote control.
The pool in each began inside the lower level of the bungalow, the guests could swim from the wet bar area inside and arrive outside without leaving the water. Surround sound systems unobtrusively allowed music of the guests choice to be played in any of the 8 rooms decorated to the absolute comfort of any individual.
Quality not quantity was apparent in every room.
Furnishings lovingly hand crafted by the best of the best…every accessory original and exquisite.
Lucy hugged herself and smiled as the memory of her father and his laughter at her youthful exuberance invaded again. This dream had begun with him. She had been raised with his vision of a classic place where people could come and find nirvana…piece of mind in absolute luxury. Each bungalow was unique. Beautiful stationery lay on the desks inside the library off the master bedroom. Handwritten letters replacing the urgency of email. Time was in abundance here. The urgency of the world outside would disappear for the duration of the stay.
Lucy took a last glance down at ‘Dudes’. She dressed in a white cotton sarong, wound her ebony mass of hair into a chignon, and headed down to the main reception area.
Authors are meant to enjoy talking about themselves, right? Wrong! It is so difficult to blow your own trumpet without sounding big-headed or apologetic or both at once … “I do apologize for sounding big-headed.” You get my drift? I can do this straight up or in my normal (Occasionally) manner.
So here we go…I have had the privilege of having 3 books published by Taylor Street Publishing. Books one and two are biographical and written under my pen name of Stacey Danson. ‘Empty Chairs’ and its sequel ‘Faint Echoes of Laughter’ have been well received and for that I will always be so very grateful. They are difficult books to read, dealing as they do with the explosive topic of Child abuse in its most horrific of forms. When I was writing Empty Chairs I badly needed a release of some sort; somewhere I could focus my mind apart from the memories I had to relive. ‘Dudes Down Under’ is the result.
The book is Romantic and dare I say it very funny in an over the top, off the wall, ‘what the hell did she just say?’ way. The characters I loved writing. They became my friends. They gave me an avenue to explore strong women, vulnerable men, and love with all its faults and foibles. They also allowed me to explore comedic writing to its fullest extent.
Reviewers tell me they cried laughing at the comedy … and at times simply cried. I have a sequel (Dudes Does Hollywood) in the planning stages.
I have also recently completed a psychological thriller…phew! Challenges are something I never avoid. Only time will tell if my exploration of different genres will be successful.