Thoughts from Susie Warren, author of RUTHLESS PERFECTION – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Susie will be awarding a $50 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Background of the book

For Ruthless Perfection, I came across a beautiful coffee table book with images from the Carrara Marble Quarries in a local bookstore. The images were so captivating that I purchased the book and began to consider telling a story with the marble quarries as the setting. I spent time researching the history of the marble quarries and the background for the characters naturally evolved. There are so many beautiful works of art created out of marble that it seemed like a natural extension to carry that over to seeking perfection. I knew I wanted to weave in a character’s struggle with the issue of seeking perfection and how that would impact falling in love.

Balancing life and writing

I think it is very hard to balance life and writing. I work as a CFO for a small independent school so my days are extremely hectic and I spend a considerable amount of time crunching numbers. Through much trial and error, I’ve discovered the only way for me to successfully write a novel is to spend time writing each day. Even if it is only fifteen minutes some days. I used to wait until I had a block of time – usually every few weeks but I would lose the thread of the story and was always starting over. By changing this to writing each day, I completed three novels this year.

Where do ideas come from?

I’ve discovered that I’m actually a rather visual person when it comes to story ideas. It seems my ideas always come from a blank canvas – whether I’m traveling to a new area and take a look at the horizon or see a captivating photograph or painting of a landscape. My mind then begins to play with the idea of who would inhabit the landscape and how would the setting impact them. For example, a beach community is vastly different than a marble quarry. The characters would need a different skill set and approach to life.

5-10 musts every story in your genre should have

Falling in love, happily ever after, fast-paced story line, emotional impact, conflict, sex or the desire to move the relationship to a physical connection.

My take on critique groups

I enjoy being part of a critique group. The direct feedback is helpful in understanding aspects of writing that may have eluded me. For example, I was always showing and telling and it took several sessions for the group to get me to understand the issue. In a group situation, when everyone has read the same pages, an interesting discussion can result. I think it moves everyone closer to understanding the elements of writing.

A day with Susie Warren behind the scenes

My day starts before six a.m. I wake up my teenage son, make coffee and walk the dog. Finally, sitting down at my computer to write for a short period. At seven o’clock, I drive my son to his bus stop and talk about his day. Getting back to the house, I write for another twenty or thirty minutes then wake up my daughter and husband. My daughter and I get ready for the day and head off together. I return in the late afternoon and begin making dinner. When everyone in the house is set for the night, I will often write for another hour or so.

If I’d never heard of me would I read my book?

I do read new authors frequently but it would depend on the cover, premise of the novel and the excerpt. I always read the excerpt before committing to a purchase so I hope that my excerpt would draw a new reader in!

Pondering the muse

I don’t worry about the muse. I do worry about learning and growing as a writer. There is so much to know and it is difficult to look objectively at your own process.

How to handle negative criticism

I’m a very sensitive person but lucky I don’t take offense easily. I feel like everyone has their agenda and motivation for doing and saying things that say more about the person criticizing and less about the person being criticized. I’ve seen friends deeply hurt over a throw away comment. For some reason I don’t take those comments to heart.

The making of a Romance writer.

I think it can be hard to be a romance writer. For some reason, society in general has seen romance writing as less serious writing or a ‘secret indulgence’. I think this is slowly changing.

For me, the hardest part of being a romance writer is the willingness to explore the emotional core of the story. I get lost in intriguing plots and the structure of the story and have to push myself to fully investigate the emotional life of the characters. But the reader ultimately is looking for the emotional impact in the story so the setting and plot details in a well told romance will be somewhat invisible.

MediaKit_BookCover_RuthlessPerfection_2500pxA filmmaker wanting to honor her family’s legacy approaches a reclusive billionaire for help

Isabel Neri’s innocence captures the attention of a well-known Italian marble mogul, Marc Santoro, when she approaches him against her family’s wishes. Wanting to honor her disgraced grandfather, Isabel needs Marc’s permission to produce a film about the Carrara marble industry.

Faced with honoring an old family obligation, Marc allows Isabel to travel to Italy with him but seeks to limit her exposure to his family’s tragic past. Isabel discovers the untold story and challenges Marc to reveal the truth. She is forced to expose her own secret as their desire sparks out of control.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Isabel felt a moment of panic as she watched the driver make a swift exit. She carefully walked up the stone path that led to the front door, being careful not to catch her black Manolo Blahnik heels in the stones.

The front door swung open and Isabel felt the oxygen leave her body. She wasn’t prepared for seeing Marc Santoro in the flesh again. She could feel his gaze rake over her in appraisal, apparently sizing her up. He looked every inch the wealthy business owner: he was dressed in an expertly tailored gray shirt with slightly darker gray trousers that were pressed to exactness. He was even more striking than she remembered, and she reminded herself to just breathe and focus on her pitch.

It was his intensity that she responded to; he seemed to be absorbing everything about her. Isabel hid her expression as she acknowledged to herself that while he may appreciate her outward appearance, he wouldn’t appreciate her damaged body.

Would he remember meeting her before?

She forced herself to reach out and offer her hand. As his warm fingers enveloped hers, she felt a spark of attraction travel through her body. She immediately pulled back, but not before she saw his eyes darken.

He merely smiled at her reaction, saying, “So you are not just a figment of Alberto’s imagination.” Guiding her inside, he added, “I was beginning to doubt that the old man had any relatives interested in the marble trade.”

Isabel felt her spine stiffen. Was he questioning her family’s loyalty?

“My grandfather speaks very highly of you,” Isabel said as she took in the luxurious setting, trying to get her bearings.

His voice was cool and didn’t give her any clue if he welcomed her visit. “It isn’t often that Alberto Neri asks for a favor.”

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_RuthlessPerfectionSusie Warren writes contemporary romance. Besides being an avid reader, she spends much of her free time crafting intense and complex stories about falling in love. When she is not writing, Susie works as an administrator in a small, independent school while caring for three teenagers and keeping tabs on her inventor husband. With the launching of her first book, The Forgotten Heiress, she has slowly begun to navigate the social media realm.

Susie loves to hear from readers and responds to each email and Facebook post. Please reach out to her via Facebook or Twitter @susiecwarren

For more information on her upcoming releases, new excerpts and other related postings, or to sign up for free promotions, please visit

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  1. Salisa Waheed says:

    I love the main plot of this story… added it to my TBR.

  2. Thanks for hosting!

  3. I enjoyed the excerpt, thank you.

  4. Enjoyed reading your guest post today

  5. important elements to have

  6. lori faires says:

    Ruthless Perfection sounds awesome, it my kind of book. I enjoyed the interview with Susie. I agree with her on the 6-7 must haves for a book.
    Blessings & Thanks to All.

  7. Loved all thoughts from Susie! 🙂

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