Please welcome Susanna Ives to the virtual offices this morning!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
[Susanna Ives] Mommy, wife, neurotic writer, runner, dog & cat lover, caffeine addict, devourer of potato chips, musicoholic, blessed with awesome friends.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Wicked Little Secrets?
[Susanna Ives] Vivienne Taylor is determined to repress her natural vivaciousness to be the proper meek and submissive lady for her fiancé, John Vandergrift. However, when her beloved Aunt Gertrude becomes the victim of a blackmail scheme, Vivienne can’t rely on John for help–he would jilt her in a heartbeat. Instead, she turns to her aunt’s neighbor, the wicked and world travelled Lord Dashiell. Together he and Vivienne embark on a wild misadventure through Victorian London.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
[Susanna Ives] I had gone through a creative dry spell and wanted to change direction. My previous work had been in the Regency era, so I shifted up my timeframe several decades to the early Victorian era, a few years after Oliver Twist was published.
One day, I wrote a single paragraph about a devout, stodgy woman named Gertrude who was conducting a Methodist Bible study in her home. I sent the paragraph to my best writing friend, and she loved it. So I added a heroine, Gertrude’s niece Vivienne.
Gertrude is very repressed, in fact, she suffers from hysteria–that nebulous catch-all Victorian female complaint. Meanwhile, Vivienne struggles to tamp down her own natural desires and excitable nature. To contrast their problems, I moved them next door to two uninhibited, seductive men and tossed in a juicy blackmail scheme for good measure.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Vivienne?
[Susanna Ives] Mischievous, curious, smart
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Dash had a theme song, what would it be?
[Susanna Ives] One Night in Bangkok.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Vivienne is never without.
[Susanna Ives] Hairpins. They are useful for solving a multitude of problems, such as picking the locks of secret compartments in desks to find naughty diaries.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Dash’s bedroom?
[Susanna Ives] This is a hard question to answer. It’s a joke in the book that Dashiell’s bedroom is crammed with all the antiquities and objects that he collects when he travels. He is fascinated by the world and all the things in it.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Vivienne’s greatest regret?
[Susanna Ives] Not being able to please her father causes Vivienne much grief. She is always letting him down by her inability to behave like a proper young lady. And getting kicked out of Ladies’ Seminary didn’t help matters.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?
[Susanna Ives] For this book, I would say the writers Joan Smith and P.G Wodehouse, as well as old comedy farce plays such as The Importance of Being Ernest and Charley’s Aunt.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?
[Susanna Ives] Quiet, time, and music.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?
[Susanna Ives] Headhunters by Jo Nesbo. I couldn’t believe how I rooted for the main character, a devious and deceitful individual. The pacing was incredible, and the plot kept twisting and turning, slapping surprises in my face. Somehow Nesbo managed to tie it all up in the end. And the writing, or should I say, translation was incredible.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?
[Susanna Ives] A Little Princess. I adored that book as a child and read it over and over. I wanted to be Sara Crewe.
I still do…
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[Susanna Ives] I love meeting friends for lunch or dinner to try out new restaurants. I’ve been known to run, but recently I’ve been laid up with tendonitis.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?
[Susanna Ives] On one of my numerous social media accounts!
About the book:
It’s Not Easy Being Good…
Vivacious Vivienne Taylor has finally won her family’s approval by getting engaged to the wealthy and upright John Vandergrift. But when threatened by a vicious blackmail scheme, it is to her childhood friend that Vivienne turns; the deliciously wicked Viscount Dashiell.
When Being Wicked is so Much More Exciting…
Lord Dashiell promised himself long ago that his friendship with Vivienne would be the one relationship with a woman that he wouldn’t ruin. He agrees to help her just to keep the little hothead safe, but soon finds that Vivienne has grown up to be very, very dangerous to all of Dash’s best intentions.
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