Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Suzanne Jenkins - An Author Interview in the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Romance and Suspense Author Suzanne Jenkins. She is the author of the Pam of Babylon series and The Greeks of Beaubien Street.

And introducing her new book: In Memoriam, Book #7 - Pam of Babylon series.

Author Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Suspense

Website: Suzanne Jenkins
Author's Blog: Suzanne Jenkins
Twitter: @suzannejenkins3
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Author Description:
My books are all creations of a rich and sometimes devilish dream life. Don’t worry—you won’t see yourself in any of my books, but if you do, it’s just a coincidence…

I live in the west Michigan lakeshore area with my high-school sweetheart husband of forty-four years. We have two children, five grandchildren, with two on the way. Oscar, a six-year-old mixed shepherd-type doggie. We have an aged sheep, Spot who lives in a pasture outside my office window with a borrowed companion, Dot.

In a former life, I was a registered nurse who worked in the Operating Room for many years. Prior to nursing school, I was an OR technician. I did my training at Marygrove College, and the clinical experiences we had took place in the Detroit Medical Center. I remember going to a mandatory autopsy in the morgue at Detroit General. All I can say is wow! I was so relieved; the only thing going on the day I was scheduled to observe was a brain dissection. After working in the OR for over thirty three years, I can’t stand the sight of blood now.

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

First things first. Let’s start with what’s next. Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

James, thank you. My next releases is due next week; #8 in the Pam of Babylon Series titled In Memoriam. I’ve posted an excerpt on my website at this url

You have a good following on twitter. How important have your social media relationships been? How did you build your following in your niche? Did you use forums, newsletters and methods like that?

James, social media is key for me. I use a tweeting service to spread the news about promotions I run, including offering giveaways and gift cards on their website in addition to my own. Right now, my last new title, Christmas in Greektown is offered.

Here’s the url.

I also tweet when I can and spend at least thirty minutes a day marketing on Facebook.

Do you do book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?

I prefer not to do public appearances. It’s just personal preference. Author friends spend a lot of time traveling and meeting with readers. I like to communicate with readers via email and Facebook.

You have great covers. They carry a theme and your brand with them. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?

James, you will laugh when I tell you how I do my covers. I usually have a cover finished before I start the book. Just once it didn’t work…I still have the cover and plan on using it for another book in the series. (A character died and that changed the tone…) I love doing the covers. I buy stock artwork on Shutterstock and then use Webmark does my covers for $5 apiece.

I like the idea of bundling a series of novels. Have you considered going a boxed set of some of your novels?

I’m not sure how to do it. Do you need a mobi file of all the books that are going into the set? Hummmm you’ve given me something to think about. Thank you!

Between your book writing, blogging, marketing, family, your dogs and all the other things that can get in your way, how do you manage your time? Do you have a set schedule or do your sort of play it by ear?

James, I’m becoming very rigid in my writing time. I love to do it, I set goals that I want to meet and if I don’t make the time in my office a priority, I won’t get the work done. In the past year, I had two grandchildren and my forty-three year old son had a heart attack, which necessitated us going out to California. I still managed to publish six books. Pride cometh before a fall, so I want to qualify this by stating that I have a huge amount of support from my friends and family. And series are easy to write! There’s this gigantic amount of material already established and one only has to move the characters on in their next endeavor.

What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this?

I love the free days Amazon allows in their KDP program while remembering a huge number of takers aren’t going to read. Also, it takes a while after giving away 30,000 ebooks to build the book’s ranking back up again. A negative-I had an experience with an online book group that I won’t repeat. I gave away paperbacks, as required, and every taker save one gave me a horrible review. The same book has 90 five star reviews on Amazon and is loved by the series followers. Hugh Howey said not to be afraid to give books away and I decided to follow his example. I also lowered the price of my books that are not part of a series and that has helped tremendously.

You have a great blog. You do a great job keeping readers informed, marketing your books and promoting other writers. What is your primary goal? And where in the world do you find the time to create great novels, take care of the social media and maintain your blog?

Thank you so much. First of all, I don’t do anything else. I no longer work outside of the house. We travel between our children coast to coast and I sit in the RV and write while my saintly husband drives me. My blog is really neglected due to the reasons I stated above. I also write more than one book at a time. Currently I have ten books in process. Ten. Some may never see the light of day, but when I get an idea I start to write. My goal is that I want to be satisfied. I don’t want to feel this anxiety that I’m going to die before all the stories that are in my head are written down. I’m 63 so I think I might have another twenty at the most.

What is your method of getting reviews for your novels? Do you seek professional reviews, use social media or do you rely on your reading audience to supply them?

I paid Kirkus Review for reviews for the first three books. Once they started to sell, I could count on the readers to review, both good and bad. Recently, Publisher’s Weekly reviewed The Savant of Chelsea; it was a good review and I almost fell off my chair when I read it. It didn’t make much different in sales.

I noticed that your author posts included the Rafflecopter. What has been your experience with that promotion? Did you run into any obstacles?

I use it all the time and love it. No obstacles.

Author's Book List
In Memoriam - Pam of Babylon Book #7
In Memoriam begins with the birth of a baby boy to Pam’s former boyfriend, Dan and daughter, Lisa as the journey of Pam of Babylon continues in this seventh volume. Still reeling from the death of her beloved son Brent, Pam endures life at the beach with remarkable strength.

Sandra tries to balance several versions of her life while striving to be part of the Smith legacy.

Lisa rises above circumstances that would destroy most, with determination.

But don't be too impressed; history does have a way of repeating itself.

Readers love the Pam of Babylon Series, including Pam of Babylon, Don’t You Forget About Me, Dream Lover, Prayers for the Dying and Family Dynamics. After Jack Smith dies, Pam and his two lovers discover secrets and lies, and each other.

Order the Book From: Amazon
Someone Like You
Life gets in the way as upstate NY sisters, Marley and Abigail cling to each other and their young children. But a babysitter introduces them both to Jay Malik, a medical student from India who becomes their lifeline to happiness, forgiveness and healing. "Another tear-jerker from Jenkins. Have the tissue ready."

Order the Book From: Amazon
The Tao of Pam - Pam of Babylon Book Six
A beautiful life at the beach is marred by secrets and lies as the legacy of Jack Smith's debauchery continues to haunt his widow, Pam. The Tao of Pam finds Pam at a crossroad which will take her to the next phase of her life. Her children, Brent and Lisa move on, dealing with their own life choices, as one by one, they all come down off their pedestals. The Tao of Pam prepares fans of the Pam of Babylon series for Book Seven....In Memoriam.

Order the Book From: Amazon
The Princess of Greektown - The Greektown Trilogy
Thirty years ago, Terry Smith was Detroit’s top news anchor. She set the standard for excellence in investigative journalism, staying at the news desk long after her time should have been over. Just as Terry’s son-in-law is murdered in the city, Detective Jill Zannos faces upheaval in her own life. A new man, family intrigue and the dregs of the last case she investigated becomes the lowest priority as she and her partner Albert untangle the mess of Terry Smith and her family.

Jill’s father, Gus is ready to begin living again, no longer smothered by secrets. His sister, Sophie makes a life changing decision and the family is powerless to help her. Peter’s wife, Joan hurries to make restitution for mistakes from the past. The rest of the family deal with the aftermath of choices they made as everyone returns to Greektown to celebrate Thanksgiving. Jill makes a chilling discovery soon after.

The Princess of Greektown is the story of an American family coming to terms with the legacy their ancestors left behind while dealing with their own complex lives.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
The Savant of Chelsea
In the French Quarter of New Orleans, the birth of a baby to a mentally ill woman marks the beginning of life for The Savant of Chelsea. An abusive childhood segues to the operating rooms of the largest medical center in New York as a gifted but unbalanced brain surgeon waits for just the right time to redeem her past. In the end, she takes matters into her own hands. The reader will decide what happens after the climax.

Contains explicit sexual themes.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Alice's Summertime Adventure
We meet Alice Bradshaw when she is at a crossroad. She's just beaten cancer and is suddenly unsure of what her next move should be. Looking back on where she's been and what the future may hold, she knows she needs to make a big change in her life. Then her car dies on the highway after an argument with her daughter. Dave, a stranger on a motorcycle, pulls along side her and saves the day. He offers Alice a chance at adventure. She jumps on it, much to the dismay of her children. The adventure starts a chain of events that will have Alice and her children, as well as Dave questioning every aspect of their lives. There will be a few casualties along the way, a lot of anger, life changes and a few shocking surprises. Alice's Summertime Adventure is the story of an average American family as they struggle with dilemmas we all have, and making choices that aren't for everyone.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Family Dynamics - Pam of Babylon Book Five
Heartbreak and devastation move toward triumph in the fifth installation of the Pam of Babylon stories. Pam is at last able to overcome the pain of Jack's rejection, and her own role in perpetuating his deviance, when she meets Dan and falls in love. Her children move on with their lives in ways Pam would have never believed possible. Sandra fulfills her dreams with Tom, and a gift from Marie helps to complete their life together. Ashton and Ted build a beautiful life, and new discoveries make it richer than they thought possible, but with a twist. But don't be deceived; what you see is not what you may get.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
The Greeks of Beaubien Street
Warning: this novel contains a graphic depiction of rape.

The Greeks of Beaubien Street is the first book in The Greektown Stories. The Princess of Greektown continues where Beaubien Street leaves you. Nestled below the skyline of Detroit you'll find Greektown, a few short blocks of colorful bliss, warm people and Greek food. In spite of growing up immersed in the safety of her family and their rich culture, Jill Zannos doesn't fit in. A Detroit homicide detective, she manages to keep one foot planted firmly in the traditions started by her grandparents, while the other navigates the most devastated neighborhoods in the city she can't help but love. She is a no nonsense workaholic with no girlfriends, an odd boyfriend who refuses to grow up, and an uncanny intuition, inherited from her mystic grandmother that acts as her secret weapon to crime solving success. Her story winds around tales of her family and their secret laden history, while she investigates the most despicable murder of her career.

The Greeks of Beaubien Street is a modern tale of a family grounded in old world, sometimes archaic, tradition as they seek acceptance in American society. They could be any nationality, but they are Greek.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Prayers for the Dying - Pam of Babylon Book Four
Book Four in the Pam of Babylon Series, Prayers for the Dying exposes more of what Kirkus Review said about Dream Lover, "A gritty, realistic portrait of the aftermath of deceit." Jack Smith's victims attempt to move forward while grappling with the pain and horror that he left behind. Pam makes a few startling revelations about herself, while Sandra hopes for a future with exciting expectations. Marie is in a most unlikely place, with the happiest news in the bleakest circumstances. Ashton's story of a lifetime love affair with Jack is finally told, with his heartache revealed. Family Dynamics, Book Five follows.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Dream Lover - Pam of Babylon Book Three
Dream Lover is Book Three of the Pam of Babylon Series, followed by Prayers for the Dying and Family Dynamics. Dream Lover is a compilation of character studies of the women and one man who Jack Smith left behind. Slowly, they make their way to the Long Island village of Babylon for an audience with his widow. No longer in denial and stronger than she thought possible, Pam Smith is able to confront the horror of her marriage in its totality as she draws a new picture of the man she was married to. The new discoveries she makes empowers her and she is able to maintain her strength and the grace and compassion she's known for. Truly a formidable woman, Pam conquers her worst demons in Dream Lover. Kirkus Review calls Dream Lover "A gritty, realistic portrait of the aftermath of deceit."

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Don't You Forget About Me - Pam of Babylon Book Two
When charming, seemingly devoted Jack Smith dies, his wife and his two girlfriends are astonished to learn that they were not the only love of his life, and that, in fact, Jack was a rogue who was carrying on secret existences with other women. Shattered by grief and stunned by Jack's betrayals, these three women, Pam Smith, Marie Fabian, and Sandra Benson, find themselves suddenly thrown together. They could have despised one another, jealously guarding their private memories of their time with Jack and hating those they perceived to be their rivals, but instead, the women begin to realize there might be strength in numbers and in shared pain. Slowly, they begin to open their hearts to one another. They bind together to try to make sense of their lives and to try to heal the terrible shock.

But the more they learn about Jack and his nefarious past, the more they begin to question everything they thought they ever knew about him. Not only did Jack carelessly cheat on each of them, without thought to the harm he was causing, but the women are stunned to discover a secret of Jack that he never revealed.

As the women try to piece together the real life story of Jack, they begin to deal with their own lives differently, as well. They must deal with Jack's heartbroken mother, who knew nothing about her son's clandestine dealings in life. The tragedy also takes a toll on their working lives, and most of all it takes a toll on them, robbing them of sleep, hope, and even dreams. But with a sense of shared sisterhood, a little laughter, and a whole lot of determination, these brave women forge brave new lives that are full of promise.

The novel probes the difficulties in thinking that we can ever really know a person, even a loved one. All the women in Don't You Forget About Me wonder if they had been really and truly loved by Jack, or if he had simply played them for fools. They question their own blindness to his faults and how they allowed themselves to believe that they might have had it all, when what they had was really more of a dream. The book investigates modern social problems with grace and warmth. Infidelity, it uncovers, can do more than break hearts. In showing some of the worst things that can happen in relationships,it also teases us to imagine the best, a world in which loyalty, devotion and fidelity are prized. As the characters grow and change, they have the possibility for those things.

Don't You Forget About Me is a tale of love lost and then found again. A sequel to Pam of Babylon, Don't You Forget About Me can also be read all on its own. You will not like this book if many characters and lot of twists and turns is not your cup of tea.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Pam of Babylon
Warning! This book contains themes of sexual abuse and infidelity.

For Long Islander Pam Smith, keeping house and staying beautiful dominate her daily routine as she awaits the return of her husband, Jack, every Friday evening. When he suffers a fatal heart attack on the train home from Manhattan, Pam's exquisitely arranged life is catapulted into turmoil as she is forced to face the realization that her marriage is nothing more than a black hole plagued with cruel infidelity, abuse, and sexual deviance. Witness Pam as she graciously and gracefully accepts the foul world her husband's "other life" forces on her previously immaculate existence. Come along for the ride of your life as you ask yourself this one question. How well do I know my husband? Kirkus Review says of Pam of Babylon, "An intriguing first novel that revolves around a husband's death and hidden secrets…consistently interesting, this psychological novel contains some mystery and moves along quickly for a non-thriller." Of Don't You Forget About Me, "An exciting, surprising story that leaves the reader hungry for the next book."

And of Dream Lover, the third in the series, "A gritty, realistic portrait of the aftermath of deceit."

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the following blogs:
HBS eBook Author’s Corner
HBS Mystery Reader’s Circle

Check out the index of other Spotlight authors. Spotlight Index.


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