Susan Fox, who also writes as Susan Lyons, is the award-winning author of sexy contemporary romance that’s passionate, heartwarming, and fun. She is published by Kensington Brava, Kensington Aphrodisia, Berkley Heat, Harlequin Spice Briefs, and The Wild Rose Press. A resident of both Vancouver and Victoria, B.C., Susan has degrees in law and psychology but would far rather be writing fiction than living in the real world. You can find more information about Susan and her books at http://www.susanlyons.ca./ Susan is also on Facebook.
I know you're going to love her. Take it away, Susan.
Thanks, Emily, for inviting me to visit. Isn’t it interesting, all the things that have happened in our writing careers since we both participated in that panel at the 2007 RT Booklovers Convention?
Today I’d like to talk about Eat, Pray, Love, because a girlfriend and I just went to the movie. I’d already read the book and enjoyed both. As an author, I have to wonder, when Elizabeth Gilbert wrote that book, whether she had the slightest clue how popular it would become. Personally, I doubt it.
After all, it’s not exactly an earthshaking book. A woman of a certain age realizes that she’s got some relationship problems, and she needs to figure out who she is and what she wants out of life—as an individual, not as part of a couple. How to find the answers? Take a year off and spend four months each in Italy, India, and Indonesia.
Why does this resonate with so many readers, particularly women? Because we have all, whatever our age, reached a point in our lives when certain aspects of our life don’t make a whole lot of sense any more. Maybe it’s a divorce, illness, a job loss, or even good stuff like a lottery win or new job. Something that triggers the realization, “I don’t really know who I am any more, or what’s important to me. And I really need to know.”
Or maybe the resonance is simply because we’d all love to have the wherewithal to explore the world for a year, discovering our own gusto, passion, and spirituality—not to mention, hooking up with a hot Brazilian!
Personally, I love the “finding yourself” theme. It’s at the core of all the stories I write. Of course that theme plays out in different ways in each story. The “finding” may be about how to respect your family but be independent, or how to balance career and personal life; it may be about regaining confidence after a break-up or looking at your opposite sex best friend in a whole different way.
Or it may, as in my October release, “Tattoos and Mistletoe” in the Brava holiday anthology The Naughty List, be about coming to terms with your past in order to move into a bright new future.
Why would you ever want to go home again, when the town treated you like trash? Yet Charlie Coltrane has to return to Whistler this Christmas and supervise renovations on her aunt’s B&B if she’s to inherit the money to open her own tattoo parlor in Toronto. What a surprise that the contractor in charge of the renos is LJ Jacoby, high school geek transformed into the town’s hottest bachelor. LJ’s about to teach Charlie that sometimes you have to confront your past to find your future—and that Christmas really can be the most romantic time of the year.
In Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert had some hard truths to face and lessons to learn. So does Charlie Coltrane in “Tattoos and Mistletoe.” But that’s the thing about finding yourself: rarely does it come easily. But life is, or should be, about growth. We can all be better people and live fuller lives if we confront our own demons. And as the old expression says, “no pain, no gain.”
Books and movies can inspire us to find the courage to begin our own personal journeys. How many women have found strength to make hard decisions of their own after reading or seeing Eat, Pray, Love? Lots, I bet. And I hope some will after reading “Tattoos and Mistletoe” as well. Not, of course, that everyone has to get all angsty because, after all, Eat, Pray, Love and “Tattoos and Mistletoe” are first and foremost about entertainment. But it’s always very cool, as an author, to know that your story and characters have truly resonated with a reader and perhaps helped them in their own lives.
Today, I’d like to know your “finding yourself” stories. Do you have personal examples, or favorite books or movies on this theme that really touched your heart? Or is there another theme in romance novels and movies that really, really gets to you?
Emily popping in here: Be sure to leave a comment because Susan is giving away an autographed copy of The Naughty List to one lucky commenter!
The Naughty List (containing Susan’s “Tattoos and Mistletoe” plus novellas by Donna Kauffman and Cynthia Eden) releases tomorrow, September 28. Here are some purchase links:
Barnes and Noble